Fantasy Football TE Rankings Week 17: Who to start, best sleepers at tight end

Tight end is traditionally one of fantasy football’s thinnest and most frustrating positions, but as we approach championship week, it’s about as deep as we could hope for. Our Week 17 fantasy TE rankings for standard leagues can help you find the best stud, sleeper, or streamer, depending on your needs.

If you don’t have one of the top six or seven TEs, you’re likely debating whether you should trust a more talented player in a so-so matchup or opt for a more boom-or-bust player in a highly favorable spot. Either can work, but it really depends on the rest of your team and your matchup. Determining whether you’re more likely to need a high floor or a high ceiling from your TE is key before you lock in your start-sit decisions.

With all that in mind, let’s break down our Week 17 TE rankings.

Who are the best fantasy TEs in Week 17?

Travis Kelce (vs. Bengals in Week 17) is back atop our rankings after a brief hiatus. He’s followed by David Njoku (vs. Jets), Trey McBride (@ Bears), Sam LaPorta (@ Cowboys), and Cole Kmet (vs. Falcons). LaPorta is the only one with a below-average matchup, but he’s proven to be relatively matchup-proof this year, so we’d trust him in what could be a shootout. Kmet is dealing with a knee injury that will need to be monitored throughout the week. We left him in our rankings but removed T.J. Hockenson (knee), as his initial prognosis was much more negative.

WEEK 17 STANDARD RANKINGS:
QBs | RBs | WRs | D/STs | Kickers

Jake Ferguson (vs. Lions), George Kittle (@ Commanders), and Darren Waller (vs. Rams) are probably the last three “must-starts.” Ferguson and Waller both have top-eight matchups, and even though the Commanders are statistically strong against TEs, we think Kittle can still get loose for some big plays against the league’s second-worst pass defense.

WEEK 17 PPR RANKINGS:
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Who are the best fantasy TE sleepers, pickups, & streamers in Week 17?

Kyle Pitts (@ Bears) is fairly highly owned, but he’s not normally considered a “must-start.” His outlook is pretty good this week, though, as he faces a defense that entered last week in the top five in fantasy points allowed to TEs. It’s tough to trust him with a championship on the line — especially after Chicago bottled up Trey McBride (6-31 last week) — but he at least has the matchup to get the job done this week after coming through in Week 16.

As far as streamers, Cade Otton (vs. Saints) is a solid option against a defense that entered last week allowing the 11th-most fantasy points to TEs. Otton tends to be up and down, too, but he has a pretty good track record in favorable matchups. Gerald Everett (@ Broncos) has the best possible TE matchup, but his QB situation makes him a little tougher to trust. That said, it was nice to see him get peppered with eight targets last week.

Going deeper, Juwan Johnson (@ Buccaneers), Jonnu Smith (@ Bears), and Chig Okonkwo (@ Texans) all have top-12 matchups, but Johnson is the only one you can really count on getting decent targets. Okonkwo finally scored last week, so perhaps he can carry over that momentum. Josh Oliver (vs. Packers), who will fill in for Hockenson, also has a slightly above-average matchup and could be a nice pivot for Hockenson owners.

WEEK 17 FANTASY ADVICE:
Start ’em, sit ’em | Sleepers | Busts | Projections

Who are the biggest potential fantasy TE busts in Week 17?

Isaiah Likely (@ Dolphins), Evan Engram (vs. Panthers), and Dallas Goedert (vs. Cardinals) all have statistically tough matchups, but it would be tough to sit any given their reliable target shares. We’d like to say the same for Dalton Kincaid (vs. Patriots), but his numbers since Dawson Knox returned have been non-existent (six catches, 28 yards in three games). He always has the potential break out, but we have him outside the starting tier.

Pat Freiermuth (@ Seahawks), Taysom Hill (@ Buccaneers), and Hunter Henry (@ Bills), if he returns from his knee injury, are also extremely risky this week. Hill always has a high ceiling, but his lack of involvement over the past two weeks (three carries, one catch) takes him off the table during championship week.

WEEK 17 DFS:
Main slate DK/FD lineups | DET-DAL lineup | Best values

What are the biggest TE injuries in Week 17?

Luke Musgrave (kidney) and Greg Dulcich (hamstring, foot) have both had their practice windows opened and are eligible to come off the IR at any time. Dulcich (vs. Chargers) would immediately return to a favorable matchup, but he did absolutely nothing this year while healthy, so he’s not worth considering. Similarly, if Musgrave returns, he’ll likely split snaps with breakout Tucker Kraft (@ Vikings), killing the value of both. Michael Mayer (toe) also missed last week and would be a risky play if he returns.

T.J. Hockenson (knee) and Cole Kmet (knee) both exited Week 16 early, and the initial report on Hockenson is that his injury is “not good.” With the Bears and Vikings both still hanging by a thread in the playoff race, we expect both players to gut it out if they can, but it’s unclear if either will be able to go. 

Check back for the latest updates to our standard TE rankings throughout the week.

Fantasy TE Rankings Week 17: Who to start, sit at tight end

Rankings based on standard, non-PPR scoring

Rank    Player
1    Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. Bengals
2    David Njoku, Browns vs. Jets
3    Trey McBride, Cardinals @ Eagles
4    Sam LaPorta, Lions @ Cowboys
5    Cole Kmet, Bears vs. Falcons
6    Jake Ferguson, Cowboys vs. Lions
7    George Kittle, 49ers @ Commanders
8    Darren Waller, Giants vs. Rams
9    Isaiah Likely, Ravens vs. Dolphins
10    Evan Engram, Jaguars vs. Panthers
11    Kyle Pitts, Falcons @ Bears
12    Gerald Everett, Chargers @ Broncos
13    Dallas Goedert, Eagles vs. Cardinals
14    Cade Otton, Buccaneers vs. Saints
15    Dalton Schultz, Texans vs. Titans
16    Dalton Kincaid, Bills vs. Patriots
17    Juwan Johnson, Saints @ Buccaneers
18    Jonnu Smith, Falcons @ Bears
19    Josh Oliver, Vikings vs. Packers
20    Taysom Hill, Saints @ Buccaneers
21    Chigoziem Okonkwo, Titans @ Texans
22    Austin Hooper, Raiders @ Colts
23    Hunter Henry, Patriots @ Bills
24    Tucker Kraft, Packers @ Vikings
25    Pat Freiermuth, Steelers @ Seahawks
26    Logan Thomas, Commanders vs. 49ers
27    Lucas Krull, Broncos vs. Chargers
28    Tyler Higbee, Rams @ Giants
29    Tyler Conklin, Jets @ Browns
30    Tommy Tremble, Panthers @ Jaguars
31    Tanner Hudson, Bengals @ Chiefs
32    Dawson Knox, Bills vs. Patriots
33    Noah Fant, Seahawks vs. Steelers
34    Mike Gesicki, Patriots @ Bills

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