Which tight ends should you start this week? Which ones are best left on the bench or, better yet, in someone else’s lineup? If you’re hunting for help at one of fantasy’s most boom-or-bust positions, here’s our advice for Week 1.
Tight End Starts
Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Henry has earned the injury-prone label, missing six games over the last two seasons. And while that makes it hard to bank on him for a full season, he’s capable of being one of the top tight ends in the game when he is able to get on the field. The good news for the Chargers is that Henry starts the season with a clean bill of health, and he’s got a matchup this week against a Bengals team that bled yards to tight ends last year.
Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks
The potential production level for Atlanta’s new tight end isn’t exactly a state secret at this point. But because Hurst still isn’t a guy on the level of Travis Kelce or George Kittle, he’s still a bit of a mystery in what kind of numbers he can put up. With Matt Ryan throwing him the ball and opposing secondaries forced to account for Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley on the outside of the field, Hurst could finish the season among the top five tight ends, easily. Setting aside season projections, he’s a great start this week. The Seahawks were one of the NFL’s weakest defenses against tight ends last year.
Tight End Sits
Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens
Without the security blanket of the Falcons offense, it’s hard to think that Hooper can repeat the kind of fantasy numbers he produced last season (75 receptions, 787 yards, and six touchdowns). Whatever kind of stats he does post this season, the ones he puts up this week are unlikely to add much to the totals. The Ravens allowed the fewest fantasy points to tight ends last season, giving up just three touchdowns to opposing players at the position. They even held Kittle to a mere 17 yards in a Week 13 matchup.
Chris Herndon, New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
Expectations were high for Herndon last season, but injuries short-circuited his sophomore campaign. However, he’s healthy this year, and likely to be a solid contributor to fantasy lineups given his talent and the lack of other options. But not this week. The Bills defense is just too good.