Everyone was thrown a curveball on Friday when it was announced that Patriots and unanimous No. 1 fantasy tight end Rob Gronkowski won’t be playing this Sunday night against the Cardinals. An obvious pick up would be his backup Martellus Bennett. Greg Olsen played on Thursday against the Broncos so we are missing two of the top five TE’s on Sunday.
Let's run through some of the best and worst Week 1 tight end matchups for your lineup.
- Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys - A rookie quarterback’s best friend is his tight end so expect rookie Dak Prescott to look for the ever reliable Jason Witten early and often in his regular season debut. Witten has been extremely productive in his last eight games against the Giants, racking up 52 catches, 474 yard and seven touchdowns.
- Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts - We are really going to see how good Allen is this year with Coby Fleener out of the picture. The Colts must have a plan for him after giving Allen a four year, $29 million contract in the offseason. Playing with a healthy Andrew Luck in 2016 combined with increased snaps should make Allen a viable TE2 option.
- Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers - Cook was listed as the No. 2 tight end behind Richard Rodgers as of Sept. 6, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Rodgers may not be as talented as Cook but he certainly understands the system better and has more chemistry with Aaron Rodgers. Cook has never broken out in the past so he is going to have to make it to No. 1 on the depth chart before I put him in my lineup.
- Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles - Ertz has only scored nine touchdowns in the last three seasons and just doesn’t get in the end zone. Throw in a rookie quarterback that hasn’t been able to play in the preseason due to broken ribs — I’m just not sold on Ertz. I look for his value to increase as he develops a chemistry with Carson Wentz later in the season.
- Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers - Gates holds more value in PPR leagues but he has two things going against him: 1) He hasn’t played particularly well in Arrowhead. Gates has been held to no touchdowns in his last five games in Kansas City; 2) Led by Eric Berry and Marcus Peters, the Chiefs did not let a tight end score more than seven fantasy points in a standard league play in 2015. Gates could continue to struggle in Week 1.