The fantasy football season is finally here. Preseason is over, most drafts are wrapped up, and rosters are just about finalized. Now we look ahead to the games that matter, and start playing the matchups. Welcome to Week 1.
For the most part, you’ll want to stick to your drafted lineup this early in the year. The season opener is not the time to get cute or try out weird experiments. With that said, you will want to keep a heavy eye on the waiver wire, which will come into play much earlier than you might expect.
Here are the best available options at tight end, owned in 50 percent or less of Yahoo! fantasy leagues.
Julius Thomas, Miami Dolphins (53 percent)
Thomas has had a rough go of it since leaving Peyton Manning in 2015. He lasted just two years with the Jacksonville Jaguars before getting traded to the Dolphins, getting exposed as a one-trick pony in the process. However, that one trick (scoring touchdowns) is pretty useful in fantasy football, and even with the injuries Thomas had nine touchdowns in the past two years. He has bounce-back potential with Jay Cutler now under center in Miami.
Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons (50 percent)
Hooper didn’t do a lot in his rookie year, catching just 19 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns. However, he’s potentially in line to play a bigger role in his second season and has intriguing fantasy appeal in Atlanta’s explosive offense. Hooper isn’t quite must-start material yet, but he could get there with a strong performance against the Chicago Bears this week.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, Houston Texans (42 percent)
After signing a three-year, $21 million extension, Fiedorowicz is back in Houston to do the one thing he’s best at — catching checkdown passes from mediocre quarterbacks. Tom Savage is the Week 1 starter and doesn’t have many healthy targets at the moment, with Will Fuller out a month, Braxton Miller recovering from a high ankle sprain, and even DeAndre Hopkins missing practice time with a hand injury. Fiedorowicz has a low ceiling but stable floor in this offense.
Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills (seven percent)
Sammy Watkins is gone, Jordan Matthews is injured, Zay Jones is a rookie, and Tyrod Taylor might not play. There’s a real chance the Bills are heading into Week 1 with Nathan Peterman as their starting QB. With almost nothing to work with here, the tight end could get as many dumpoff targets as he can handle in between LeSean McCoy runs. Clay was an afterthought in fantasy drafts, but he might be more relevant than expected early on.