In this piece, I highlight tight ends that stand out in our large suite of analytical fantasy tools, most specifically, our FantasyLabs Player Models. While the models are built for DFS contests, this is an all-purpose fantasy article with actionable information for all formats.
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Top NFL DFS Tight End Picks in the FantasyLabs Models
On DraftKings, there are three tight ends near the top of the individual Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Cash Game, and Tournament Player Models.
- Sam LaPorta
- T.J. Hockenson
- Trey McBride
We’ll discuss why these three are popping in our models, as well as take a look at some other tight ends.
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Top Model NFL DFS Tight End Picks
Sam LaPorta ($5,700 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel): Detroit Lions (-3) at Los Angeles Chargers (48.5 total)
Sam LaPorta’s usage has been pretty elite as of late, with 28 targets over his last three games. Rookie tight ends usually struggle out of the gate, but not LaPorta. In a position where capable players consistently post awful scores, LaPorta has scored double-digit DraftKings points in five of eight games on the year, with 9.6 and 8.9 in two others.
He’s also posted a solid ceiling that is rare at the tight end position, with three games above 19 DraftKings points. He gets a solid matchup here against Los Angeles, who has allowed the fourth-highest yards per target and catch rate to tight ends. They haven’t given up many touchdowns but still have allowed the fourth-most DraftKings points to opposing tight ends.
LaPorta has the highest ceiling projection at the position and is the top tight end in our Tournament Model.
T.J. Hockenson ($5,000 DraftKings, $6,600 FanDuel): Minnesota Vikings (+3) vs. New Orleans Saints (41 total)
T.J. Hockenson has quietly been a model of consistency, with double-digit DraftKings points in all but one game on the year. The loss of Kirk Cousins didn’t prove too costly, as he caught seven of 12 targets for 69 yards. We know Josh Dobbs loved targeting tight ends in Arizona, so his first full game under center should benefit Hockenson.
New Orleans is allowing just the fifth-fewest yards per target to opposing tight ends on the season. However, they allowed two touchdowns to Cole Kmet, who isn’t the same level of player as Hockenson.
Hockenson boasts the second-highest ceiling projection and is fourth in Projected Plus/Minus. He’s the top option in Chris Raybon’s Pro Model.
Trey McBride ($3,500 DraftKings, $5,100 FanDuel): Arizona Cardinals (+1.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons (43 total)
Trey McBride saw 25% of the team targets last week and now gets a quarterback and matchup upgrade. He’s priced as if Clayton Tune was still under center, but Kyler Murray makes his return this weekend.
Atlanta has allowed the seventh-fewest yards per target to tight ends but the sixth-most catches per game. They’ve allowed the 13th-most DraftKings points to tight ends, making this middling matchup even more average.
His usage has been solid, with at least five targets since usurping Zach Ertz as the starter, including a 25.3-DraftKings point performance two weeks ago against Baltimore. McBride leads the position in Projected Plus/Minus and Points/Salary and is the top tight end in Sean Koerner’s Pro Model and our Cash Game Model.
Other Notable NFL DFS Tight End Picks
Dalton Schultz ($4,900 DraftKings, $6,100 FanDuel): Houston Texans (+6.5) at Cincinnati Bengals (46.5 total)
I was all over Dalton Schultz two weeks ago when he air-balled, and he rubbed it in my face with an explosion last week. He caught 10 of 11 targets for 130 yards and a touchdown en route to 31 DraftKings points. He now gets a matchup with Cincinnati, who has allowed the most DraftKings points to opposing tight ends on the year.
Touchdowns have buoyed his performance, but he has legitimate touchdown equity. He leads all tight ends with a 34.5% target share in the red zone and has a position-high eight end zone targets. Schultz is a solid option this week in an exciting game environment.
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My Favorite NFL DFS Tight End Leverage Pick(s)
Evan Engram ($4,500 DraftKings, $5,600 FanDuel): Jacksonville Jaguars (+3) vs. San Francisco 49ers (45 total)
Evan Engram has been able to put up solid performances at the tight end position despite not finding the end zone yet this season. He’s averaging 11.7 DraftKings points per game, which is very impressive, with zero trips to paydirt.
He’s coming off some heavy usage before the bye, where he caught 10 of 10 targets for 88 yards. He’s seen at least seven targets in every game besides Week 1, as he’s consistently relied on in the offense.
He’ll need to make the most of his volume this week, with San Francisco allowing the fewest yards per target to opposing tight ends. Despite this path having resistance, I love the game environment, and I love the stack. If Engram had any touchdown luck, he’d likely be priced in the $5,000s. I feel he’s underpriced for his role, and I am looking to take advantage.