Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 10 tight ends

Miami’s Julius Thomas made his debut on the leaderboard with a big game. Is it enough to start him against the Panthers on Monday night?


Week 10 sees three of the top seven tight ends on bye. Could we see the likes of Julius Thomas, Trey Burton, and Luke Stocker, among the highest scoring tight ends a second time? It could be,  but none are among my start ‘ems… or my sit ‘ems. So you can figure them out for yourselves if these guys aren’t enough for you: 

Start this guy: Cameron Brate, TB vs NYJ 

Cameron Brate might be a bit of a no-brainer as he ranks among the top five tight ends on the year. But this week, he could be the biggest target backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick sees all day, thanks to Mike Evans’ suspension. In Fitzpatrick’s only other start this season, he hit Brate for 70 yards and a touchdown. Expectations are that the Buccaneers will attack the Jets at their weakest link, the defensive secondary. This could be a very big game for Brate. 

Sit this guy: Jason Witten, DAL at ATL

Atlanta plays tight ends well, giving up the third-lowest amount of NFL fantasy points all season. If Dez Bryant is out of the game, Witten may become a favorite target of Dak Prescott, but the Falcons know that, too. They will frustrate the Cowboys’ star all game and force Prescott to go to the wide receivers. This feels like a typical Witten 8 catches on 12 targets for 50 yards. 

Start this guy: Evan Engram, NYG at SF

This selection goes against the trends. San Francisco gives up the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends in the league. If Evan Engram was a traditional tight end, I would steer away from him. But Rhett Ellison plays the traditional tight end role for the Giants. Engram lines up in the backfield and will split out wide or in the slot. He is a wide receiver for all intents and purposes and will single-handedly drop San Francisco’s ranking against tight ends down a few notches this week. 

Sit this guy: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, NYJ at TB

Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a few good weeks coming off suspension, but the Jets and Josh McCown are evolving as the weeks go on to a more traditional wide receiver passing game. Jets tight ends were the least-used position group in the NFL last season. While I don’t think the Jets are headed to something that drastic, Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, and the running backs are definitely the preferred targets of late. On top of that, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a top-ten fantasy defense against tight ends. 

Start this guy: George Kittle, SF vs NYG

Speaking of trends, George Kittle is obligated to catch a touchdown pass this week in order to extend the Giants’ NFL record streak of touchdowns allowed to tight ends in a game to ten. Last week, the Rams’ Tyler Higbee caught Jared Goff’s first pass of the game for a six-yard score and then apparently left the game, the task being done. Denver’s third-string tight end, Jeff Heuerman snuck behind the defense in the final minute to keep it going a few weeks ago. It will happen. Even though Higbee did not catch another pass, the Giants also gave up 40 other yards to Gerald Everett. They allow an average of over 12 fantasy points to tight ends. Start Kittle.

Sit this guy: Jack Doyle, IND vs PIT

This could be a tough week for the Indianapolis Colts all around. Pittsburgh enters the game with a top-five fantasy defense against tight ends, as well as the third-best fantasy defense against quarterbacks and the second-best against wide receivers. Doyle could hit his usual floor of 5 points, but don’t expect another big performance this week from the Colts’ tight end. 

Week 10 flash in the pan prediction

Houston’s Steven Anderson gets the start against the LA Rams and gives Tom Savage his biggest target on the field. The two connect for five catches, including a touchdown to prevent the shutout. 

About last week: 2 out of 3 ain’t bad!

In Week 9, two of my three starts and sits were accurate. I underestimated Tyler Kroft and missed on starting Buffalo’s, Nick O’Leary.

If you have any questions about NFL fantasy, send them to us at [email protected] so we can print the answers in Wednesday’s NFL Fantasy Mailbag.

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Pat Opperman

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Pat recently retired from real life to watch sports and write. Look for references to games and events from ancient times as memories of an earlier Age of Sport tend to pop into his head.

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