We are now arriving at Week 7 of the 2020 NFL season. With that, we have officially established new fantasy football studs and duds.
There are certainly players that will always be great. Right now we are talking about tight ends. So for example, you probably don’t need to be told to start Travis Kelce. He’s a superstar and someone you want to start any week he’s healthy and the Kansas City Chiefs are playing.
Meanwhile, go ahead and don’t start Bob Schnelker this week. The New York Giants are on a bye and he retired in 1961. That’s an obvious one.
What about the players that are not so obvious, though? Let’s talk about those players that you might not be so sure about.
What tight ends should be starting, and what tight ends should see the bench for your fantasy football team in Week 7? Let’s dive on in and take a look.
TEs to Start in Week 7
Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Welp, Rob Gronkowski really made me look terrible last week. I had him in the “sit” category.
In my defense, my main reasoning was that he had not proven much yet this year. Sure, O.J. Howard was out—but nothing seemed certain.
My big thing with Gronkowski was patience. Wait and see if he could actually produce in 2020 before actually inserting the legend into your lineup.
Well if you took my advice you missed out on the biggest game of the 2020 season for the tight end.
Gronkowski racked up five receptions for a season-high 78 yards and his first touchdown on the year.
Now it’s safe to assume he’s going to start producing at a pretty regular clip. With the Buccaneers squaring off with the Las Vegas Raiders this week, we could be getting a bit of a high-scoring affair.
That would likely mean that quarterback Tom Brady is going to be slinging the ball around. Let’s take a shot in the not-so dark here and say that Gronk is back.
Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns
That’s right, we are now 2-for-2 in the “tight ends I had as sits last week that I now am telling you to start” category.
Hooper and the Cleveland Browns are facing off with the 1-4-1 Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals imploded last week against the Indianapolis Colts and gave up quite a few grabs to opposing tight ends.
That creates a perfect storm for Hooper. It appears quarterback Baker Mayfield is starting to build a solid rapport with the tight end.
Hooper has racked up five receptions in each of his last three games. In two of those games he had at least 50 yards receiving. The other game saw him record just 34, but he also added in a touchdown that time around.
So, it is pretty clear that the tight end is getting comfortable in the new offense and is starting to get things going with his quarterback.
Now the Browns and Hooper are going against a bad Bengals team. That could help Hooper to another solid game. Maybe we’ll even see a breakout performance that harps back to some his great fantasy football weeks with the Atlanta Falcons.
Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills
This is a weird one so bare with me here.
Dawson Knox is probably not who you expected to see on this list. He has six catches this year with the Buffalo Bills. With those six catches he has racked up just 93 yards and zero touchdowns.
So it’s not even like he’s scoring a bunch of touchdowns with those limited catches to make you think he’s worth the risk.
This is for those deep leagues though. Maybe you have an injury or a bye week situation, and you need to pick someone up to start this week.
I’m telling you to take a chance on Knox.
Why? The Bills are going up against the New York Jets. You know, the team that appears to be actively tanking (what other possible reason could there be for head coach Adam Gase to still have his job)? Buffalo’s offense has been phenomenal for the most part this year. Quarterback Josh Allen has been great, but all that has not led to tight end success.
This could be the week that Knox breaks out, though.
I’m not saying he’s going to reel in eight catches for 100 yards and two scores. Three or four catches for 50 yards and a touchdown though? That’s definitely in the realm of possibilities. If you’re in desperate need of a tight end, look towards Knox and maybe give him the spot start.
TEs to Sit in Week 7
Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
It has not been a great year for Tyler Higbee. The Los Angeles Rams tight end was expecting to enjoy a massive year following his breakout campaign in 2019.
It looked that way at the beginning of the year, too. After a pedestrian three catches for 40 yards in Week 1, Higbee reeled in five receptions for 54 yards and three touchdowns in Week 2.
Since then, though, Higbee has just 10 receptions for 128 yards and no touchdowns over the next four weeks. That’s not really going to be doing it for anyone expecting production in fantasy football
Even worse for the tight end, Los Angeles is facing off with the Chicago Bears this week. The Bears have one of the more terrifying defenses in the NFL.
Due to that, they might cause serious problems for quarterback Jared Goff. Goff has been great for the most part this year. However, you could argue that an incredibly soft schedule to start the year made things too easy on Goff and the Rams. Los Angeles got the entire NFC East as four of their first five opponents. They won all four of those games and the offense looked great against a terrible division.
Then came Week 6 though and the San Francisco 49ers. Goff struggled mightily and the offense did not move.
If Goff and the offense struggle, Higbee gets downgraded from a “probably still start” to a “steer clear of” at the moment.
There is still a chance the Rams put it together or that at least Higbee has a good game, but his bad recent performances coupled with the team struggling when faced with real competition makes this a current “bench” situation.
Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans
I won’t lie to you, I felt dirty doing this. Jonnu Smith is awesome and there is every reason to love him. However, the Tennessee Titans have to deal with that devastating Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense in Week 7. Why put yourself through that?
There is every chance Smith still reels in a few grabs, picks up some yards and even scores a touchdown. That’s just how good he is.
Do you really want to risk it though? Pittsburgh has been a brick wall. They have shut down their opponents nearly every week.
It does not seem smart to start Smith if you have any other legitimate option. Obviously you should still start him if your alternative is to go diving into free agency, but if you have a solid second option, this should be a no-brainer.
Smith is coming off his worst game of 2020 (one catch for 13 yards against the Houston Texans). Off that, you could make two arguments. First, he is going to bounce back and have a good revenge game. Second, he’s going to continue to struggle.
That second option just looks too tantalizing considering the ridiculous defense he has to face.
Smith will still get you some big games in 2020. Maybe keep him on your bench in Week 7 though.
Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers
Yes, that’s right—we’re going with the same game right here.
Eric Ebron is on the opposite side of Smith in this contest, playing tight end for the Steelers.
Ebron’s had a decent enough year, reeling in 16 receptions for 165 yards and one touchdown. Nothing crazy, but everyone knows that his big fantasy appeal comes in the touchdown department.
After his breakout year a few seasons back with the Indianapolis Colts, Ebron has become someone that people like to take a chance on in fantasy football. It feels like any week he could find that magic again and give you a multiple touchdown performance.
So far this year, he only has one, but most weeks he gives you a few receptions and decent yardage so even without a touchdown he is not a bust.
Stay away from Ebron in Week 7 though. He is coming off a game that saw him record just two receptions for nine yards. More importantly, he’s going into a game against the Titans.
That is a defense that you likely don’t want to start middle-of-the-road fantasy football tight ends. Ebron is exactly that right now. Find someone else.