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NFL Rankings

Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings: TE, K, DEF

by Patrick Daugherty
Updated On: September 12, 2021, 10:35 am ET

Darren Waller readies to keep the Raiders’ offense afloat while Robert Tonyan hopes to increase his targets to offset touchdown regression. 

Other positions: Quarterback | Running Back | Receiver   

Week 1 Tight Ends

RK

Player

Opp

1

Travis Kelce

CLE

2

Darren Waller

BAL

3

George Kittle

@DET

4

Mark Andrews

@LV

5

Kyle Pitts

PHI

6

T.J. Hockenson

SF

7

Logan Thomas

LAC

8

Robert Tonyan

@NO

9

Noah Fant

@NYG

10

Tyler Higbee

CHI

11

Dallas Goedert

@ATL

12

Mike Gesicki

@NE

13

Gerald Everett

@IND

14

Hunter Henry

MIA

15

Austin Hooper

@KC

16

Cole Kmet

@LA

17

Zach Ertz

@ATL

18

Jonnu Smith

MIA

19

Jared Cook

@WAS

20

Rob Gronkowski

DAL

21

Anthony Firkser

ARI

22

Kyle Rudolph

DEN

23

Eric Ebron

@BUF

24

Dawson Knox

PIT

25

Juwan Johnson

GB

26

O.J. Howard

DAL

27

Adam Trautman

GB

28

Dan Arnold

NYJ

29

Tyler Conklin

@CIN

30

Blake Jarwin

@TB

31

Christopher Herndon

@CIN

 

TE Notes: Travis Kelce has the second most receiving yards in the league since Patrick Mahomes became quarterback. He caught eight balls for 109 yards and a touchdown against the Browns in the Divisional Round. … Kelce isn’t the only tight end who can compile. Darren Waller is seventh in yards over the past two seasons and finished sixth in looks last year. The Raiders’ targets need is as acute as any team’s in the league. … It’s going to be a season of variables for George Kittle, from his health to his quarterbacks. There’s no question about his Week 1 matchup, though: It rocks. The Lions lack anything even close to resembling a Kittle killer up the seam. … De facto Ravens No. 1 receiver Mark Andrews opens the season against the talent-less second and third levels of the Raiders’ defense. … I believe T.J. Hockenson is ready for the top-five plunge, but there is nothing to like about his Week 1 matchup vs. a healthy 49ers defense that permitted the fewest tight end fantasy points last season. 

I’ve been late enough arriving to the Kyle Pitts train that I’m still not sure I’m even on it. All I know is, the Eagles’ bottom-five defense sure feels like a good place to get on. The Falcons kept Pitts under wraps this summer. I can’t wait to see what he can do, even if I was never adventurous enough to pay the draft price. … Logan Thomas is primed to remain an every-snap player for a quarterback who loves to take chances but lacks a big arm. The targets should continue to roll right in.Big Bob Tonyan isn’t going to score on 21.1 percent of his targets again. He also isn’t going to see fewer than 60 looks again. Don’t overthink regression. Hitch another ride on the Rodgers Wagon. … We can’t seem to make up our minds on Tyler Higbee. I see a player with by far the clearest path to No. 3 target duties on the Rams. … Noah Fant’s 26 targets over the final four games last season were fifth most amongst tight ends. Now he has a quarterback upgrade. Courtland Sutton’s return isn’t competing for the same looks as Fant.  

          

Similar to Fant, Mike Gesicki was vacuuming up looks down the stretch last season. Also similar to Fant, Gesicki is playing in an offense with increased target competition. The Pats are a rough opening-week spot. … Dallas Goedert faces threats on every front, from shaky quarterback play to improved health from Zach Ertz. You just gotta let this one play out. … Evan Engram (calf) is on the wrong side of questionable. If you are somehow already tight end desperate, Kyle Rudolph offers TE2 touchdown potential. … I’ll take a flier on Gerald Everett ending up Russell Wilson’s No. 3 weapon. … Hunter Henry (shoulder) is ready for Week 1 and the immediate favorite to lead the Patriots in red zone targets. …  Jared Cook should fill a similar red zone need for the Chargers. … Cole Kmet’s usage skyrocketed down the stretch in 2020. Jimmy Graham remains, but the same is true of the rest of Chicago’s underwhelming supporting cast. … The summer could have been a mirage, but Adam Trautman’s TE2 candidacy is on the ropes. Be prepared to cut him after the opener. … Keep O.J. Howard on speed dial. … If Chris Herndon earns any Week 1 targets behind Tyler Conklin, it would be a very good sign following his recent arrival. 

 

Week 1 Kickers

RK

Player

Opp

1

Justin Tucker

@LV

2

Harrison Butker

CLE

3

Greg Zuerlein

@TB

4

Younghoe Koo

PHI

5

Ryan Succop

DAL

6

Tyler Bass

PIT

7

Mason Crosby

@NO

8

Robbie Gould

@DET

9

Matt Prater

@TEN

10

Chris Boswell

@BUF

11

Matt Gay

CHI

12

Brandon McManus

@NYG

13

Daniel Carlson

BAL

14

Jason Myers

@IND

15

Chase McLaughlin

@KC

16

Rodrigo Blankenship

SEA

17

Dustin Hopkins

LAC

18

Jason Sanders

@NE

19

Josh Lambo

@HOU

20

Jake Elliott

@ATL

21

Graham Gano

DEN

22

Aldrick Rosas

GB

23

Evan McPherson

MIN

24

Greg Joseph

@CIN

25

Cairo Santos

@LA

26

Michael Badgley

ARI

27

Tristan Vizcaino

@WAS

28

Ryan Santoso

NYJ

29

Quinn Nordin

MIA

30

Matt Ammendola

@CAR

31

Austin Seibert

SF

32

Joey Slye

JAC

 

Week 1 Defense/Special Teams

RK

Player

Opp

1

Los Angeles Rams

CHI

2

Baltimore Ravens

@LV

3

Washington Football Team

LAC

4

San Francisco 49ers

@DET

5

Denver Broncos

@NYG

6

Los Angeles Chargers

@WAS

7

New England Patriots

MIA

8

New York Giants

DEN

9

Buffalo Bills

PIT

10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

DAL

11

Miami Dolphins

@NE

12

Pittsburgh Steelers

@BUF

13

Green Bay Packers

@NO

14

Jacksonville Jaguars

@HOU

15

Seattle Seahawks

@IND

16

Carolina Panthers

NYJ

17

Kansas City Chiefs

CLE

18

Indianapolis Colts

SEA

19

Chicago Bears

@LA

20

Arizona Cardinals

@TEN

21

Minnesota Vikings

@CIN

22

Atlanta Falcons

PHI

23

New York Jets

@CAR

24

Philadelphia Eagles

@ATL

25

Tennessee Titans

ARI

26

Cleveland Browns

@KC

27

Detroit Lions

SF

28

New Orleans Saints

GB

29

Cincinnati Bengals

MIN

30

Houston Texans

JAC

31

Dallas Cowboys

@TB

32

Las Vegas Raiders

BAL

Patrick Daugherty

Patrick Daugherty is the Senior Fantasy Football content creator for NBC Sports EDGE. You can find him on Twitter @RotoPat.