The best tight ends in the National Football League showed up in Week 1, from a 10-catch, 100-yard performance by Darren Waller to a two-touchdown game by Travis Kelce and even a vintage performance by Rob Gronkowski, who hauled in 90 yards and two touchdowns.
Upstarts like T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant and Juwan Johnson also showed promise, so who's legit moving forward and who was just a flash in the pan? Let's sort through the best tight end options for Week 2 matchups.
2021 FANTASY FOOTBALL TE RANKINGS: Week 1 (PPR)
1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (at Baltimore Ravens)
- 2021 stats: 6 receptions, 76 yards, 2 touchdowns
- 2021 points: 25.6 (4th)
Kelce owners got a good look at what a top-tier tight end can do against this Ravens defense in Week 1, as Darren Waller caught 10 of 19 targets for 105 yards and a touchdown, outscoring all but one TE in the NFL's opening week. With more offensive weapons to choose from, it's likely Patrick Mahomes spreads it out a little more than Derek Carr, but his top option is still Kelce, as evidenced by the tight end's 76 yards and two touchdowns in their win over the Browns.
2. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions (at Green Bay Packers)
- 2021 stats: 8 receptions, 97 yards, 1 touchdown
- 2021 points: 25.7 (3rd)
Hockenson is a real threat in this Lions offense, no matter how inconsistent Jared Goff might be. The two apparently already have good chemistry and he showed his value against what is expected to be a top-tier 49ers defense in Week 1, bringing in eight of 10 targets for 97 yards and a touchdown. He gets a prime-time matchup against a Packers defense that gave up two touchdowns to Juwan Johnson, a player at the tight end position not known by many people prior to Week 1.
3. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders (at Pittsburgh Steelers)
- 2021 stats: 10 receptions, 105 yards, 1 touchdown
- 2021 points: 26.5 (2nd)
Waller proved in Week 1 that defensive matchups won't effect his impact this season, so start him with confidence against the Steelers in Week 2. The only thing holding him from the No. 2 spot is how much the Steelers' pressure may effect Derek Carr. Their defense didn't allow Josh Allen to do much of anything in Week 1, holding his yards per attempt down to 5.3. If they pressure a less mobile Carr, it should make for plenty quick passes to Waller but less downfield opportunities.
4. Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Atlanta Falcons)
- 2021 stats: 8 receptions, 90 yards, 2 touchdowns
- 2021 points: 29.0 (1st)
The Buccaneers have a bevy of targets for Tom Brady to choose from on the offensive side, but as it turns out, Gronkowski remains his favorite. At least that was the case in Week 1, with Gronk posting the best fantasy week among all tight ends with 90 yards and two touchdowns against the Cowboys. He gets another favorable matchup Sunday against a lifeless Falcons team that got shredded by young quarterback Jalen Hurts in the opener.
5. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)
- 2021 stats: 3 receptions, 20 yards, 0 touchdowns
- 2021 points: 5.0 (33rd)
Andrews' Week 1 performance was just as disappointing as his team's overtime loss to the Raiders on Monday night. He was only able to haul in three of five targets for 20 yards, but his low production was mostly a function of the running game working early for the Ravens. One of Lamar Jackson's few missed passes was a downfield ball to Andrews, which showed his continued value once they start connecting on such passes. A Sunday night matchup with the Chiefs should provide plenty of those opportunities in what could be a high-scoring affair and bounce-back game for Andrews.
6. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers (at Philadelphia Eagles)
- 2021 stats: 4 receptions, 78 yards, 0 touchdowns
- 2021 points: 11.8 (10th)
The Eagles defense kept the Falcons out of the end zone in Week 1, not allowing Matt Ryan and company to do much of anything, but they did leave room for him to get the ball to his tight ends. Kyle Pitts and Hayden Hurst combined for eight receptions on 12 targets, so I expect a more accomplished Kittle in a better offense to thrive even more than he did in Week 1 when he caught four balls for 78 yards.
7. Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team (vs. New York Giants)
- 2021 stats: 3 receptions, 30 yards, 1 touchdown
- 2021 points: 12.0 (8th)
If the way Washington's offense looked in the short time before Ryan Fitzpatrick's injury is any indication, then a change at quarterback may actually help Thomas' fantasy outlook. It was the backup, and new starter, Taylor Heinicke who gave Thomas his only three targets in a Week 1 loss to the Chargers, including their connection on an 11-yard touchdown. A matchup against a Giants defense that didn't show much resistance against Teddy Bridgewater and Noah Fant in Week 1 should allow the WFT duo to get into even more of a groove.
8. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams (at Indianapolis Colts)
- 2021 stats: 5 receptions, 68 yards, 0 touchdowns
- 2021 points: 11.8 (T-9th)
Higbee received a healthy share of the targets from Matthew Stafford in the Rams' opener against the Bears, getting six looks which came second only to Cooper Kupp. He hauled in five of them for 68 yards and should see a similar workload against the Colts in Week 2. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks were able to pick apart the Indy secondary to the tune of 11 yards per attempt and four touchdowns through the air.
9. Noah Fant, Denver Broncos (at Jacksonville Jaguars)
- 2021 stats: 6 receptions, 62 yards, 0 touchdowns
- 2021 points: 12.2 (7th)
Fant was always going to be a threat for the Broncos but he's in for an even larger target share after Jerry Jeudy's injury. He turned in a solid Week 1 effort against the Giants and gets a favorable matchup against a Jaguars defense that gave up 37 points to the Houston Texans.
10. Jared Cook, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Dallas Cowboys)
- 2021 stats: 5 receptions, 56 yards, 0 touchdowns
- 2021 points: 10.6 (T-13th)
The Chargers offense looks to be legit after Justin Herbert led the unit into Washington for a Week 1 win. Cook should continue to play a big role in what they want to do after bringing in five of eight targets in the win. Against a much weaker NFC East defense in Dallas, which gave up the most fantasy points to tight ends in Week 1, Cook is a must-play this week.
11. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. San Francisco 49ers)
- 2021 stats: 4 receptions, 42 yards, 1 touchdown
- 2021 points: 14.2 (6th)
12. David Njoku, Cleveland Browns (at Kansas City)
- 2021 stats: 3 receptions, 76 yards, 0 touchdowns
- 2021 points: 10.6 (T-13th)
13. Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers (vs. Detroit Lions)
- 2021 stats: 2 receptions, 8 yards, 0 touchdowns
- 2021 points: 2.8 (T-40th)
14. Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints (at Carolina Panthers)
- 2021 stats: 3 receptions, 21 yards, 2 touchdowns
- 2021 points: 17.1 (5th)
15. Dallas Schultz, Dallas Cowboys (at Los Angeles Chargers)
- 2021 stats: 6 receptions, 45 yards, 0 touchdowns
- 2021 points: 10.5 (15th)