Charch's Week 1 Tight End Rankings

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This is one of the most opportune tight end matchups we'll see all season long. There's nobody like Rob Gronkowski, and there are few teams worse than Houston when it comes to stopping tight ends. The Texans defense finished 26th in receptions, and 27th in both yards and touchdowns allowed to tight ends in 2017. In their one matchup last year, Gronk dominated, gathering 89 yards and one touchdown over eight receptions. And it wasn't just him beating this team up, as Houston surrendered multiple touchdown receptions to tight ends on two different occasions and let a whopping eight reach 50 yards in a game last year. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 10.00/10

2
KC @LAC

The Chargers are anything but an easy first assignment for Travis Kelce. Obviously, he's no stranger to this Chargers defense, and unfortunately, he hasn't played well against them. He's seen them four times in the past two seasons and has averaged a measly 32 yards, 3.5 receptions, and zero touchdowns. Los Angeles ranked in the top half of both yardage and receptions allowed to tight ends. They really shined in the red zone, ranking fifth in touchdowns allowed. Making them even better, this defense added a stud safety, Derwin James, in the first round of April's draft. He has dominated in the preseason, and could easily end up assigned to Kelce often. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 9.25/10

3

Inexplicably, Walker was one of the few tight ends who failed to put up big numbers against the Dolphins defense last year. In their meeting, Walker totaled 25 yards and zero touchdowns over three receptions. We say "inexplicably," because Miami was downright embarrassing trying to stop tight ends a year ago. We're talking about a defensive unit that was dead last in opposing tight end receptions allowed, and second-to-last in both yardage and touchdowns surrendered. Walker looks to be ready for week 1 after a preseason toe injury, and isn't on the injury list. When he's on the field, look for the Dolphins first-rounder, Minkah Fitzpatrick to potentially shadow him. Fitzpatrick has looked great in the preseason, but he may not be ready for this lofty assignment in his very first NFL game. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 9.25/10

4
ATL @PHI

Last year, Atlanta was a top-ten defense by many measures, but it was far from elite when it came to holding down tight ends. Look for Zach Ertz to exploit a team that ranked 16th in receptions, and 17th in yards allowed to tight ends, which are to areas he typically flourishes in. The one thing the Falcons did do, was keep tight ends out of the end zone well, tying for sixth in the league, which is something Ertz will have to work around. His recent history against Atlanta provides us with one other minor concern. In Ertz' last two matchups against the Dirty Birds, he's combined for a nondescript 9 receptions and 87 yards and has been unable to score a touchdown. With Alshon Jeffery out and Nelson Agholor playing hurt, Ertz should be Nick Foles' go-to target. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 9.00/10

5
DAL @CAR

Greg Olsen should have little problem tearing up a Dallas defense that was mediocre when it came to stopping tight ends in 2017. The Cowboys ranked in the bottom half in both receptions and touchdowns surrendered to tight ends. In Olsen's final four outings last season, including the playoffs, he showed how dominant he can be, averaging 5 receptions, 68 yards, and .5 touchdowns per game. It's a home game for Carolina, but history suggests that it won't necessarily create a better box score for Olsen. The Panthers were one of 12 teams to throw for fewer yards at home, and Dallas ranked fourth best in road passing yards allowed. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 8.75/10

6
WAS @ARI

Jordan Reed has a chance to make his first game with Alex Smith a memorable one. Last year, Arizona ranked below league-average in receptions and touchdowns surrendered to tight ends. Adding to that, their jack-of-all-trades, Tyrann Mathieu, has left the Cardinals, which will only make matters worse for Arizona. As always, Reed been battling toe issues, but Jay Gruden says that he'll play. As you already know, in the rare instances Reed isn't hobbled, he's really good. And throwing his way is one of the best ways for Smith to avoid Patrick Peterson. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 8.75/10

7
CIN @IND

Tyler Eifert could enter 2018 with a splash, playing a defense that finished 26th in touchdowns allowed to tight ends a year ago. The Colts let an opposing tight end score in eight games, including the likes of Luke Willson, Jeff Heuerman, and Maxx Williams. Eifert may have a harder time racking up numbers in the other areas of his game, as Indianapolis tallied some impressive numbers a season ago. The Colts let a tight end get to 65 yards on only one occasion, and in receptions allowed, finished 11th. Eifert, thankfully, is fully healthy. But the fact that he hasn't seen regular season action in nearly a year, could be a reason to stay away. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 8.25/10

8
SF @MIN

Kirk Cousins has a long history of throwing to his tight ends, but Kyle Rudolph could be in for a rough game against a sneaky-good 49ers defense. San Francisco finished in the top half of receptions and gave up the fourth-fewest yards to opposing tight ends in 2017. If there's one positive for Rudolph, it comes in the end zone. While the 49ers were otherwise impressive, they ranked 24th in touchdowns allowed to tight ends. Rudolph is known as a red-zone wrecker, but he isn't necessarily a reliable scorer. A season ago, five of his touchdowns came within a four-game span, and the rest of the year, he was mostly inconsistent, with a mere three touchdowns. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 8.25/10

9
CHI @GB

Jimmy Graham's inaugural game as a Packer will be a stiff test. Chicago boasted a stout defense a year ago, and no matter the offensive position, hardly anybody was finding success against this defense, tight ends included. The Bears finished eighth in yards surrendered to tight ends, and tied for sixth in touchdowns allowed. Yes, they were middle of the pack in tight end receptions, ranking 17th, but quantity has never been a strong point of Graham's game. He played in four games against defenses that ranked in the top ten of tight end yardage a year ago, and didn't fare well in any of them, averaging 1.8 receptions, 11 yards, and .3 touchdowns. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 8.00/10

10
CHI @GB

Many analysts are anticipating a 2018 breakout for Trey Burton in Chicago, thanks to Matt Nagy's offensive wizardry and Burton's impressive show against the Broncos in the preseason. Facing Green Bay in their season opener, that breakout may just need to wait until next week. The Packers are hardly known for being a defensive force, but a season ago, they were elite when it came to stopping tight ends. Green Bay was a top ten defense in receptions, yards, and touchdowns allowed to tight ends a year ago. The many draft picks that the Packers sunk into their pass defense will only serve to help too. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 8.00/10

11
JAC @NYG

To the surprise of nobody, Jacksonville was one of the best at stopping the tight end position. They were remarkably consistent all last year, never allowing a tight end get to seven receptions, 80 yards, or catch multiple touchdowns. Even more impressive, they played three of the top ten yardage tight ends in 2017 and dominated all of them, allowing a paltry average of three receptions, 23 yards, and zero touchdowns. The Jags tied for 11th in touchdowns, 9th in receptions, and were in the top five of yards allowed to tight ends. Evan Engram got rolling a little bit this preseason, with five combined receptions through weeks two and three. He is recovered from his preseason concussion, but you may wake up with a headache if you rely upon him for fantasy points in this brutally tough matchup. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 8.00/10

12
CIN @IND

Assuming Eric Ebron doesn't snipe too many of his targets, Jack Doyle begins his season with a promising outlook. Andrew Luck is back, and the Bengals present one of the easiest matchups you could hope for. These two teams met once in 2017, and Doyle obliterated the Bengals, finishing with 12 receptions, 121 yards, and one touchdown, which was by far his best performance of the season. Cincinnati had a horrible time stopping tight ends a season ago, placing 29th in receptions, and 25th in yards given up. This, despite the fact that the Bengals were gifted an incredibly soft schedule, facing none of the top five scoring (per game) fantasy tight ends. Ebron was a preseason standout, and there's more reason for Doyle owners to fear his teammate than the opponent. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 8.00/10

[UPDATE: CHECK HIS INJURY STATUS ON SUNDAY] New York ranked dead-last in tight end touchdowns allowed, by a long shot, surrendering over .8 per game. Placing 27th in receptions, 28th in yards, they were just as bad in those departments. The Giants have done little to address their week back end, leaving us with no reason to believe they'll be much better. So, the opportunity for Austin Seferian-Jenkins seems ideal. He's on his third team in four years, and he was mostly invisible for Jacksonville in the preseason. With Marqise Lee out, AS-J could see a few extra targets. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 8.25/10

14
PIT @CLE

With Tyrod Taylor as his new quarterback, and an impressive preseason under his belt (71 yards, two touchdowns), David Njoku has rocketed up cheat sheets. Unfortunately, Njoku draws an extremely tough matchup to begin his sophomore campaign. The Steelers defense ranked fifth in yardage and first in touchdowns allowed to tight ends in the 2017 season, which equated to a meager 47 yards and 0.1 touchdowns per game. Njoku's history against the Steel Curtain doesn't give us much hope either. In two games against Pittsburgh a year ago, Njoku ended up with a total of 4 catches, 58 yards, and zero touchdowns. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 8.00/10

The Buccaneers present a deceivingly tough test for tight ends. Tampa Bay let up a league-worst 260 passing yards per game last season, but against the tight end position the Bucs ranked sixth-best. When it came to touchdowns, the Bucs were again among the best, finishing only behind the Steelers. Watson didn't face Tampa Bay last season, but in four games against other teams in the top five of tight end fantasy scoring, he was mostly ineffective, averaging three receptions, 29 yards, and zero touchdowns. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 7.75/10

16

George Kittle may be everyone's sleeper tight end this year, but his sleeper status will almost certainly need to hibernate until next week. The Vikings defensive personnel got even better in the offseason, and they were already insanely good against tight ends. The Vikings finished No. 1 in fantasy points allowed, No. 3 in yards, and No. 2 in touchdowns allowed to tight ends. See ya in a week, George. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 7.00/10

17
PIT @CLE
18

Antonio Gates is back for one more run and starts his 2018 with one of the tougher teams he'll face. The Chiefs impressively finished third in receptions and second in touchdowns allowed to tight ends. They were vulnerable in the yardage department, ranking 20th, but that wasn't a strength of Gates' game in 2017, as he had 40 yards in only two outings, and averaged a measly 20 yards throughout the season. Starting Gates this week (and most weeks) means that you're shooting for a touchdown. Gates has only been with the team for a few days, and it's unclear if how much playing time he'll get in the opener. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 7.25/10

Ricky Seals-Jones has an opportunity to do some real damage against a defense that finished in the bottom ten of receptions, touchdowns, and yards allowed to tight ends. Against Washington a year ago, eight different tight ends got to 50 yards, six caught five or more passes, and in half of their games, a tight end was able to find the end zone. Seals-Jones was riding a hot streak, with three touchdowns in four games coming into their one meeting last season. Washington was able to stifle Seals-Jones, holding him to 11 yards and zero touchdowns over two receptions. But, that was with a different coach, coordinator, scheme, and quarterback than this year's offense. He's a sneaky deeeeep play at tight end. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 7.25/10

20
TEN @MIA
21
22
BUF @BAL

Baltimore was surprisingly lousy at stopping the tight end position in 2017. Twice the Ravens allowed a tight end to catch multiple touchdowns, and six times they let a tight end get to 50 yards. Baltimore gave up the eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends, and placed in the bottom twelve of receptions, yards, and touchdowns allowed. The loss of Jimmy Smith certainly won’t help an already mediocre secondary. That’s where the positivity ends for Clay. He last played the Ravens in 2016, in a game where he did not find the end zone and was held to just two receptions. And with Tyrod Taylor gone, and Nathan Peterman as the starter, Clay is now working with a major downgrade at the quarterback position.
Charch's Rating: 7.00/10

23
24
LAR @OAK

Los Angeles kept tight ends from getting a lot of touches, ranking eighth in receptions, but struggled to hold them out of the end zone. The Rams were 21st in touchdowns surrendered to the tight end position, and because of that, ranked 19th in fantasy scoring allowed. Jared Cook isn't exactly the perfect candidate to exploit LA's problems in the red zone. Cook caught two touchdowns a year ago and has only five in the last three seasons combined. Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib, and Marcus Peters were terrific offseason additions for the Rams, and figure to help their pass defense immensely. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 6.75/10

25
ATL @PHI

A few big games by way of Travis Kelce and Jordan Reed makes Philadelphia look like an easier matchup than it really is. The Eagles ended up ranking barely above league-average in tight end yardage, touchdowns, and fantasy points allowed. But when we look to the game logs, we see how dominant they really were. Opposing tight ends only got to 50 yards four times last season, and scored a touchdown in only four games as well. In the second half of the season, Philadelphia was absolutely magnificent. From week nine on, a mere two tight ends reached 30 yards, and only one found the end zone. Austin Hooper saw these Eagles one time a year ago, in the divisional round of the playoffs, and could only muster three yards and zero touchdowns on one reception. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 6.50/10

26
CIN @IND
27
28
BUF @BAL
29
HOU @NE
30
31

With Jesse James on the shelf with a back injury, Vance McDonald inherits a very encouraging matchup facing off against the Browns. Cleveland put on a heck of a defensive show this preseason, posting a shutout against the defending champs, and holding offenses to an average of 11.5 points. Encouraging as it was, last year's numbers are much more encouraging. The Browns ranked 31st in receptions allowed and only the Giants allowed more tight end touchdowns. In yardage, they didn't fare well either, finishing 24th. In their only matchup of 2017 with Ben Roethlisberger playing, Pittsburgh's starter at the time, Jesse James, found a lot of holes in the Browns back end, netting 6 receptions, 41 yards, and a pair of scores. -Bradley Ylitalo (@BradleyYlitalo)
Charch's Rating: 7.75/10

32
WAS @ARI
33
SEA @DEN
34
SEA @DEN
35
KC @LAC
36
NYJ @DET
38
NYJ @DET
40
41
CHI @GB
43
DAL @CAR
45
PIT @CLE
46
BUF @BAL
47
LAR @OAK
48
49
TEN @MIA
50
BUF @BAL
51
CIN @IND
52
SEA @DEN
53
57
SEA @DEN
59
JAC @NYG
63
65
ATL @PHI
70
PIT @CLE
73
CHI @GB
74
PIT @CLE
77
KC @LAC
80
JAC @NYG