Which surprise tight ends are must-starts in Week 2?
It’s a given that week in and week out that you are going to start your stud wide receivers in fantasy, even if they are in a tough matchup, like Odell Beckham Jr. was last week against Jacksonville. Especially when they still come through, like Beckham and his 22 PPR fantasy points.
But choosing that third WR to start can often be tricky. Last week if you rolled the dice on DeSean Jackson, Randall Cobb or Kenny Stills, you probably won your game. So who will be that under-the-radar or unsung WR that comes up big for you in Week 2?
Before I offer my start/sit suggestions for wide receivers and tight ends, let's take a look and see how I did in Week 1..
Good Calls for Week 1...
Sit Sammy Watkins (2.1 fantasy points) – If you drafted Watkins thinking that he would have a rebound season, think again. He might be the fourth option in the Chiefs' passing attack.
Sit Marquise Goodwin (0 FP) – Yes, he got hurt, but he was going to be a non-factor all day against the Vikings anyway.
Bad Calls for Week 1...
Sit Jared Cook (18 FP) – If you really thought that Cook would outscore Amari Cooper in Week 1, give yourself a pat on the back.
Start Trey Burton (1 FP) – Not a good start for everyone’s favorite “breakout” fantasy TE.
START THESE WRs...
Jarvis Landry, CLE (at NO)
Fantasy owners love Josh Gordon, but the respect needs to go to Landry. Tyrod Taylor targeted Landry 15 times against the Steelers, and even if Gordon is going to get more involved, don’t expect Landry’s target distribution to drop off. The Saints' defense will likely respond to their flat performance in Week 1, but the matchup is great and garbage-time potential is there for Landry (and Gordon).
Pierre Garcon, SF (vs. DET)
Garcon falls into WR3/flex territory with a solid matchup against the Lions at home. In a perfect world, he wouldn’t line up most often across from Darius Slay, but his size should help him do better than two catches on six targets, which is what was his stat line last week against Minnesota. Garcon should lead all San Francisco WRs in snaps throughout a game where the 49ers' implied Vegas total is nearing a healthy 27.
Corey Davis, TEN (vs. HOU)
Davis will be targeted a lot more by whoever is at QB with Delanie Walker down.
Nelson Agholor, PHI (at TB)
The Bucs didn’t have Brent Grimes against the Saints and now Vernon Hargreaves is out for the season. Boom.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Devin Funchess, CAR (at ATL)
The injuries to Atlanta's defense won't necessarily help Funchess, but Greg Olsen's absence opens the door for more targets. Funchess produced last year when Olsen was out, including an 86-yard game versus the Falcons. He then scored a touchdown in the divisional rematch with Olsen back on the field, giving him two games with at least eight fantasy points (12-plus in PPR).
SIT THESE WRs...
Sammy Watkins, KC (at PIT)
Watkins is another repeat customer here after a successful fade in Week 1, as he was only able to turn a 91 percent snap count and five targets into a paltry 3-21-0 line. Now, Tyreek Hill isn’t going to gobble up all of the yardage for himself every week, just most of them! Despite leading KC’s skill positions in snaps, Watkins is the fourth option behind Hill, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt.
Chris Hogan, NE (at JAC)
Hogan was one of the biggest Week 1 disappointments, corralling just one of five targets for 11 yards against the Texans. His five looks were fourth on the team behind Rob Gronkowski, Phillip Dorsett and James White. Fresh off that, Hogan now gets to do battle with All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Odell Beckham Jr. got “his” last week against Ramsey, but the Patriots don’t have to force-feed any one player unlike the Giants. The Jaguars were No. 1 in almost every pass defense metric last season. In the AFC Championship Game, Hogan caught just two balls for 20 yards. Hogan owners need to be prepared for another ugly box score Sunday.
Jordy Nelson, OAK (at DEN)
Nelson caught three of his four targets for 29 yards in his Raiders debut during the Monday night loss to the Rams. That and his still-developing chemistry with Derek Carr makes Nelson a risky play in Week 2 against a Broncos secondary that didn't allow a wide receiver to top 60 yards last Sunday.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Randall Cobb, GB (vs. MIN)
If you started Cobb last week, you were really happy as he produced nine catches for 142 yards and a touchdown. That performance alone could cause fantasy owners to start him against the Vikings. But don’t. Cobb has a terrible track record against Minnesota. He’s never had more than 62 yards in any of his 10 career contests against the NFC North rival.
START THESE TEs...
Jared Cook, OAK (at DEN)
Cook's 180-yard game in Week 1 was not only a personal best but just his seventh 100-yard game in his 10-year career. By comparison, he has 52 career games with fewer than 20 yards. Despite this, Cook has two things going for him: One, he appears to be a legit contributor to the Raiders offense. Two, he'll take on a Broncos defense that has struggled with tight ends, allowing 10 touchdowns to the position in its last 17 games. It sounds strange, but Cook should remain a focal point of the game plan, particularly in a matchup in which Oakland may find itself playing from behind.
Jonnu Smith, TEN (vs. HOU)
Smith was a third-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and boasts stellar athleticism — his 4.62 40-yard dash, 106.9 speed score, 130 burst score and 10.18 catch radius are all in the 80th percentile or higher for a tight end per PlayerProfiler. Delanie Walker is lost for the season after suffering a gruesome ankle injury in the opener and the Texans just got torched by Rob Gronkowski. Not that anyone compares to Gronk, but Houston also was one of six teams to yield nine or more TDs to TEs in 2017.
Geroge Kittle, SF (vs. DET)
He looked healthy and became the matchup nightmare the 49ers expected against a tough Vikings defense.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
David Njoku, CLE (at NO)
Despite seven targets (which was second on the teams), Njoku disappointed with 13 yards on three catches in Week 1. Not one target came in the red zone, but the Browns had just five plays inside the red zone all game. Considering how poorly the Saints cover tight ends, expect Njoku to see plenty of looks from Tyrod Taylor with some red-zone involvement along the way.
SIT THESE TEs...
Will Dissly, SEA (at CHI, Mon.)
We just saw Dissly’s best game in Week 1 and even after that Nick Vannett will remain the TE to own in Seattle. While both TEs could hold some appeal with Doug Baldwin out, keep in mind that the target discrepancy wasn't that big (Dissly with 5, Vannett with 2). Yes, Dissly had a huge game for a TE, but touting him as a must-start option after one game is just silly. It’s also worth noting that Vannett had more snaps (35 of 57) than Dissly (33) too.
Jack Doyle, IND (at WAS)
Eric Ebron, who doesn’t have it much easier here, is cutting into Doyle's target share, and the Redskins can do a decent job of containing both.
Trey Burton, CHI (vs. SEA, Mon.)
Burton managed one catch in his Bears debut after an offseason filled with talk of him being the focal point of the passing game. It's early, but it's probably safest to leave him on the bench against a Seattle defense that allowed only three catches to Bronco tight ends in Week 1.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Kyle Rudolph, MIN (at GB)
A notorious touchdown-or-bust tight end, Rudolph has gone three straight games against the Packers without a score and five in a row with no more than nine fantasy points. That includes three games where he had at least eight targets. Green Bay allowed just four touchdowns to tight ends last season and held Trey Burton to one catch in Week 1. Throw in the fact that Kirk Cousins only targeted Rudolph two times last week, and you should be hitting the waiver wire for another tight end this week.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.