Published: Sept. 13, 2017 at 10:14 a.m.
Updated: Sept. 15, 2017 at 01:34 p.m.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 2: Tight ends


Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is the ultimate weekly look at NFL matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team. Fantasy superstars such as Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown will not be featured. NFL researcher Careen Falcone and former #2 FF World Player Rank and NFFC Platinum and Ultimate Champion Derek Pierson have contributed to the column. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

Start 'Em

Start of the Week - Kyle Rudolph vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Rudolph continued to be a red-zone machine in his season opener, finding the end zone in a win over the Saints. He's a good bet to post another solid stat line this week in Pittsburgh, as the Steelers allowed an average of more than 19 fantasy points per game to tight ends at Heinz Field last season. That includes 5.6 receptions a game.

Jimmy Graham vs. San Francisco 49ers

Graham put up a stinker last week in Green Bay, but that's no reason to bench one of the better tight ends in fantasy football. In fact, I'd consider him a virtual must-start when the Seahawks face the 49ers in Seattle. San Francisco surrendered an average of 4.8 catches and 19.39 fantasy points per game to tight ends on the road in 2016.

Delanie Walker vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars defense looked tremendous last week, but still allowed a combined 12 fantasy points to a group of average Houston tight ends. I can see Walker alone reaching that total as one of Marcus Mariota's most trusted pass catchers in the offense. He has also scored 11-plus points five times in eight career meetings versus Jacksonville.

Austin Hooper vs. Green Bay Packers

Hooper, a deep preseason sleeper, made the most of his two targets last week with 128 yards, one touchdown and 20.8 PPR fantasy points. While I'm not expecting that huge of a stat line again, I do like him as a back-end No. 1 tight end against Green Bay. Their defense allowed 20.83 fantasy points to the position on the road in 2016.

Martellus Bennett vs. Atlanta Falcons

Bennett's fantasy totals weren't all that impressive last week, but he did lead the Packers tight ends in snaps (67) and targets (six). He should improve in the stat sheets this week, as a potential barnburner against the Falcons looms. Last season, Atlanta allowed an average of more than 15 fantasy points a game to tight ends at home.

Sleepers: Coby Fleener vs. Patriots, Charles Clay at Panthers
Deep sleepers: Jared Cook vs. Jets, Evan Engram vs. Lions (MNF)

Sit 'Em

Sit of the Week - Jordan Reed vs. Los Angeles Rams

The Rams allowed an average of just 3.9 catches and fewer than 10 fantasy points a game to tight ends at home last year, and Reed is at less than 100 percent with a busted toe. Also, who knows Reed and his role in the offense more than his former offensive coordinator/new coach of the Rams, Sean McVay? I'd beware this matchup.

Jack Doyle vs. Arizona Cardinals

Doyle, much like the rest of the Colts offensive skill position players, has seen his value take a nose dive with Andrew Luck on the sidelines. That trend is likely to continue this week against the Cardinals, who allowed an average of two catches and 5.34 fantasy points to tight ends on the road last season. Keep Doyle on the bench.

Jason Witten vs. Denver Broncos

Listed as a start 'em last week, Witten rewarded the faithful with seven catches, a touchdown and 18.9 fantasy points in a win over the Giants. Unfortunately, I'm not in favor of streaming him this week based on a matchup against the Broncos. Their defense surrendered just 3.7 fantasy points to the Chargers tight ends in their opener.

Julius Thomas vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Thomas will see his first regular-season work as a member of the Dolphins this weekend, but I don't consider him a must-start even with Adam Gase at the helm. There are no guarantees when it comes to Jay Cutler, and the Chargers allowed just 4.1 catches per game to tight ends at home last season. I'd beware of Thomas here.

Hunter Henry vs. Miami Dolphins

Henry has a good matchup on paper this week against the Dolphins, but it's tough to trust him after his zero-target stinker in a loss to the Broncos. If the Chargers continue to use him as a blocker in two tight end sets, Henry could end up as waiver-wire fodder sooner than later. I'd err on the side of caution with and bench him this weekend.

Busts: Eric Ebron at Giants (MNF), Jesse James vs. Vikings
Bust bewares: Tyler Eifert vs. Texans (TNF), O.J. Howard vs. Bears

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Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Do you want the most up-to-date fantasy football news, updates and analysis? Follow Michael on both Twitter @Michael_Fabiano or Facebook!


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