It’s fantasy football week one! Welcome, we’ve made it through the long, dark offseason and we are ready to set our lineups for week one. Not every team is perfect in every roster spot, so maybe you need a little help. Or maybe you just want to overthink things? Either way, we are here with our sleeper tight ends for week one of the NFL season. If this is your first time here, welcome! Each week we take a look at each position to find sleepers available in more than 50% of leagues. For those of you in deeper leagues, we also get you some sleeper tight ends available in at least 90% of leagues. These roster figures come from Yahoo!’s standard fantasy football game.
Sleeper Tight End #1:
Cole Kmet at L.A. Rams (35%)
No, the Chicago Bears didn’t put Jimmy Graham out to pasture like we all hoped would happen this offseason. Yes, Kmet still has to split time with him. But, given the information we have on hand, the Bears passed the torch from Graham to Kmet late in 2020, we just have to recognize this happened.
In the last six games of 2020, Kmet played in at least 78% of snaps, and in those games, he had six or more targets five times. He struggled with the targets, like all rookie tight ends, but it gives us hope for his 2021 prospects.
This week he gets a Rams squad that was solid against tight ends all year last year… Except they gave up three TE touchdowns in three games at the end of 2020. Since the TE streaming game is all about chasing touchdowns, I’ll chase them over to Sunday Night Football to see if Andy Dalton can make something happen with his tight end against the Rams.
Sleeper Tight End #2:
Zach Ertz at Atlanta (33%)
We all just sort of… left Zach Ertz for dead. After all, he had a dreadful 2020 campaign, and he wasn’t supposed to be an Eagle (I did all my projections with him as a Colt, full disclosure). But, he’s still a Philadelphia Eagle, and he’s still the one there who is likely to get the most targets out of all the position players. And we love targets, don’t we, folks. He has a chance to return to top-seven form after a terrible 2020 campaign and he gets off to a great start in week one bird fight.
The Falcons likely won’t put up much of a fight. The league’s fourth-worst team last year also ranked fourth-worst against tight ends, meaning there will be tons of available points for Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert to soak up in week one.
Deep Dive Sleeper Tight End:
Dan Arnold versus N.Y. Jets (1%)
The New York Jets were just absolutely abysmal against tight ends last year. They allowed 12.2 fantasy points per game in half-PPR, or roughly the equivalent of George Kittle (12.6 fantasy points per game last year). The difference between the average TE week against the Jets and the Bears (the second-worst team against TE) was 1.8 points per game. Those 1.8 fantasy points are the same difference between the Bears and the #11 team against TEs, the Buccaneers.
The Panthers don’t focus a lot on the tight end, so this might be blowing a hole in the whole plan with this. But, I feel good about him falling bass ackwards into a touchdown this week. And when you’re down to 1% ownership, you’re banking on touchdowns. In 16 games last year, tight ends scored 14 touchdowns. I’d say that’s a good bet for Dan Arnold to punch one in this week. And if he doesn’t? Draft better so you aren’t streaming Dan Arnold this week. And if he does, say “Darnold to D.Arnold!” Try it, it’s fun!