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Travis Kelce, Kyle Pitts lead Week 1 fantasy football tight end rankings

UPI News
UPI News
 2021-09-09
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Atlanta Falcons rookie Kyle Pitts is my No. 2 fantasy football tight end for Week 1. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Travis Kelce, Kyle Pitts, George Kittle, Mark Andrews and Darren Waller lead my Week 1 fantasy football tight end rankings for 2021.

Tyler Higbee, T.J. Hockenson, Logan Thomas, Mike Gesicki and Jonnu Smith round out my Top 10 options for Week 1.

The top-tier tight ends should not leave your lineup if you are in a league that requires starting the position. The position gets a little more uncertain if you don't roster Kelce, Pitts, Kittle, Andrews or Waller.

Look for players with great matchups on a weekly basis if you didn't draft and elite option. I recommend starting a tight end who will be the first or second target in their respective offense.

Here are some of my favorite players in this week's Top 20 rankings:

TOP SHELF

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce leads my season rankings and is my top option for Week 1. The Chiefs host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in Kansas City, Mo. The Browns allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends last season.

Kelce was quarterback Patrick Mahomes' favorite target last season. He also led all tight ends with 9.7 targets per game in 2020.

Look for the Browns to focus on stopping Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill and big plays, which should give Kelce some room to operate in the middle of the field. Like most teams, the Browns should struggle to contain this All-Pro.

Expect at least 10 targets and one score from Kelce in this matchup.

Kyle Pitts might be a rookie, but he enters the league as one of the most-explosive athletes at the tight end position. He also appears to be quarterback Matt Ryan's second pass-catching option in the Atlanta Falcons offense.

Pitts is my No. 2 option for Week 1. The Falcons face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in Atlanta. The Eagles tied for allowing the 10th-most fantasy points to tight ends in 2020. This Week 1 matchup should be a shootout and Pitts will benefit from that in the red zone.

The Falcons tight end has a great chance to score a touchdown and gain at least 75 receiving yards.

SNEAKY PLAYS

Tyler Higbee of the Los Angeles Rams is my No. 6 tight end for Week 1. The Rams open the season against the Chicago Bears, who allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends in 2020.

Higbee didn't reach the 100-yard mark in any game last season, but remains a consistent threat to score. He should reach the end zone for the first time this weekend and finish as a Top 5 option.

Start Higbee if you are in a league that requires starting a tight end.

Logan Thomas of the Washington Football Team is another Top 10 tight end option for Week 1. Washington battles the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1. The Chargers allowed 10 touchdowns to tight ends in 2020.

This game should be low-scoring, but look for Thomas to find the end zone. He is my No. 8 tight end for Week 1.

LONGSHOTS

Blake Jarwin of the Dallas Cowboys is another player who should score in Week 1. The Cowboys face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who tied for allowing the 10th most fantasy points to tight ends in 2020.

The Cowboys could trail early in this game against the reigning Super Bowl champions. That should result in more passing from quarterback Dak Prescott.

Jarwin is my No. 17 tight end and a great streaming option if you are in a league that requires starting the position.

Eric Ebron of the Pittsburgh Steelers is my No. 18 tight end and another great streaming option. The Steelers open the season against the Buffalo Bills, who allowed the second-most receiving yards and eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends in 2020.

Look for Ebron to haul in a touchdown in what should be another shootout.

Week 1 fantasy football tight end rankings

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. CLE

2. Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons vs. PHI

3. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers at DET

4. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens at LV

5. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders vs. BAL

6. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams vs. CHI

7. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions vs. SF

8. Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team vs. LAC

9. Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins at NE

10. Jonnu Smith, New England Patriots vs. MIA

11. Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. DAL

12. Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks at IND

13. Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers at NO

14. Noah Fant, Denver Broncos at NYG

15. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles at ATL

16. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles at ATL

17. Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys at TB

18. Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers at BUF

19. Anthony Firkser, Tennessee Titans vs. ARI

20. Dan Arnold, Carolina Panthers vs. NYJ

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