+ Updated: Saturday, November 28th
The decision on which player to start, or sit, largely comes down to the options on your roster (and/or possibly the players available on your league's waiver wire).
As an example, Evan Engram is listed below as a "start" for Week 12. And I'd certainly be comfortable going into Week 12 with him as my starting tight end.
Then again, Engram may be a "sit" for your team.
In other words, if you own both Darren Waller and Engram, you should start Waller and, in turn, bench Engram.
For a more direct answer on whether we would start Player X over Player Y, check our Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings. Instead of making those direct comparisons, the goal here is to highlight players that we like, or dislike, for the week.
Evan Engram, New York Giants (at CIN)
Engram turned in a disappointing three-target performance with only two catches for 15 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles before his Week 11 bye. Before that game, however, Engram had double-digit targets in back-to-back games and at least nine targets in three consecutive games. While he's averaging career lows in yards per game (34.7) and per reception (9.1), few at the position have as much 10-target upside as Engram.
If the volume is there in Week 12, Engram has a matchup to exploit. The Cincinnati Bengals have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season.
Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns (at JAX)
Speaking of favorable matchups, the Jacksonville Jaguars are tied with the Bengals for the fourth-most fantasy points allowed to tight ends this season. Not only have they allowed a league-high 19.51% TD rate on TE receptions, but only the Seattle Seahawks (14.74) have allowed more Y/R to opposing tight ends than the Jaguars (13.59) this season.
Since returning from injury, Hooper has finished as fantasy's TE39 and TE22 with 1.6 and 4.8 fantasy points, respectively, over the past two weeks. Another concern is that the Browns will run away with this one -- both literally and figuratively -- as we should see another heavy dose of their 1-2 punch of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. That said, the fantasy-friendly matchup makes Hooper at least a back-end TE1.
Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. SEA)
Goedert converted his six targets last week into five receptions for 77 yards, both of which were team highs, and a touchdown on Sunday against the Browns. Goedert now has back-to-back games with six targets.
It appears unlikely that Zach Ertz will return this week, but even if he does, Goedert remains a viable start in a game where the Eagles could be throwing often to keep up with high-flying Russell Wilson-led offense. And as we've seen in recent weeks, Richard Rodgers has also been plenty involved (6/108/1 over past two weeks).
With Drew Brees on IR and Taysom Hill under center, Cook converted his lone target into a six-yard reception in Week 11 against the Falcons. But Cook wasn't much better in the couple of games before that either. Scoring a total (yes, total) of 3.1 fantasy points over his past three games, Cook has a total of six targets, three catches and 36 yards over that span.
Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.
Jimmy Graham, Chicago Bears (at GB)
Due to the nature of the position, it can be a crap shoot outside of the positional studs like Travis Kelce. In other words, tight ends in the back half of the TE1 range aren't significantly different from the tight ends in the late-teen range of our rankings.
While Graham has a couple of big weeks (TE1 in Week 3 and TE2 in Week 9), he has finished as the TE20 in six of his past nine games. Given that the Green Bay Packers have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to the position and Mitchell Trubisky will start for Nick Foles, this could be one of those TE20 type of weeks.
Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams (vs. SF)
Coming off a breakout final month in 2019, Higbee has struggled to carry over last year's end-of-season momentum. Recently he has posted inconsistent stat lines with 2/12, 3/56, 2/14, 3/60 and 4/19 over his past five games, respectively. Like Cook and Graham, Higbee has a difficult matchup as well. Only the Pittsburgh Steelers have allowed fewer fantasy points to tight ends this season the San Francisco 49ers.
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