Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews are back for Week 2, and not a moment too soon for those of you who invested in them in the early rounds of your Fantasy Football drafts this season. Because, before we move on to the Week 2 tight end rankings, I think it's worth highlighting just how bad Week 1 was for the tight end position by looking at the top players in Week 1 and their roster/start rates:
Yikes. We basically got nothing from Dallas Goedert, George Kittle, Kyle Pitts or Darren Waller last week either, meaning anyone who drafted an early tight end got very little benefit from it in Week 1. I don't think that'll be an issue moving forward for all of them, but there are definitely questions worth asking here. Here are three big questions for the TE position before we get to my Week 2 rankings:
Any concerns about Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce?
I have relatively minor concerns for both in their returns from injury, though for different reasons. In Kelce's case, the injury is the concern. Is he fully recovered and ready to play a full share of snaps? Can he look like himself? Can he avoid an in-game setback? Those are all fair questions, though they're all totally unanswerable at this point, and they're certainly not enough to scare me away from the clear top option at the position.
I'm also not sitting Andrews, but I'd be lying if I said there were no concerns there. He also has some re-injury risk with his quad issue, but the bigger concern is that we just haven't seen him in this new-look Ravens offense. I still expect him to be the clear top target moving forward, and I have to assume some part of Zay Flowers' inflated target share in Week 1 -- not to mention the overall low pass rate -- was related to Andrews' absence. However, we just don't know exactly how much this offense is going to feature Andrews yet. It's not a reason to sit him, or even move him down the rankings. But it's a small unknown factor that impacts how we confident we can be in Andrews. I think he'll still be a star, but I'm only, like, 95% certain.
How did the rookies fare?
- Sam LaPorta, Lions: Ran 26 routes in the opener; Brock Wright was second among Lions tight ends with five. He's clearly the top guy at the position and his five targets in Week 1 feels like a safe assumption moving forward. He looks like a low-end PPR starter already.
- Michael Mayer, Raiders: Only ran nine routes, while Austin Hooper ran 16. It might not take much for Mayer to claw out a larger role, but it's not there yet. He's not on re-draft radars yet.
- Luke Musgrave, Packers: Played 75% of the snaps and ran a route on 24 of 30 pass plays, the highest for any player on the team. Had a real chance for two touchdowns, but he didn't track the ball well on two deep passes and stumbled, catching one and letting the other go over his head. There's real potential here for Musgrave to be a contributor for Fantasy, though only earning a 15% target share with Christian Watson out and Romeo Doubs limited suggests he might be a frustrating weekly start since he might need to rely on big plays.
- Luke Schoonmaker, Cowboys: Just a 27% snap share. Clearly behind Jake Ferguson, but was also behind Peyton Hendershot in Week 1. He's not on re-draft radars yet.
- Brenton Strange, Jaguars: Was used primarily as a blocker. With Evan Engram under contract for three years, Strange likely won't matter for a while, if he ever does.
Is it more of the same for Kyle Pitts?
The Falcons dropped back to pass on just 22 of their 48 snaps, as they played both a very conservative game plan and had an unusually low play volume overall. The problem, of course, is that this might have been Arthur Smith's preferred way to play. The hope for Pitts (and Drake London) was that the Falcons might trust Desmond Ridder a bit more and operate more like a more typical NFL offense, but that's not what happened in Week 1 – Ridder's 3.5 average intended air yards Sunday was the second-lowest in the league. I don't want to write this offense off yet, but it sure looks like a repeat of last year, which was a waste of Pitts and London's considerable skills as receivers. That's frustrating.
Do you play in a deeper full-point PPR league? Over at Sportsline, Jacob Gibbs has you covered with full-point PPR position-by-position rankings for Week 1.
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Here are my full rankings for Week 2 at tight end for PPR leagues:
- Travis Kelce @JAX
- Mark Andrews @CIN
- Darren Waller @ARI
- George Kittle @LAR
- Tyler Higbee vs. SF
- Kyle Pitts vs. GB
- Evan Engram vs. KC
- David Njoku @PIT
- Juwan Johnson @CAR
- Hayden Hurst vs. NO
- Zach Ertz vs. NYG
- Dalton Kincaid vs. LV
- Gerald Everett @TEN
- Luke Musgrave @ATL
- Sam LaPorta vs. SEA
- Hunter Henry vs. MIA
- Pat Freiermuth vs. CLE
- Adam Trautman vs. WAS
- Durham Smythe @NE
- Dawson Knox vs. LV
- Cole Kmet @TB
- Dalton Schultz vs. IND
- Chigoziem Okonkwo vs. LAC
- Jake Ferguson vs. NYJ