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NFL Fantasy 2022 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 1: Tight ends

You have lineup questions. We have answers. At least we hope. Start 'Em & Sit 'Em has helped fantasy managers for years make those pressing lineup decisions. And you know what is a good decision? Starting Patrick Mahomes. But that's too obvious, so you won't see that here. Instead here are some of the most-pressing questions. And, if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings right here.

Start 'Em

Cole Kmet
Chicago Bears CHI · TE

Kmet continued to earn more and more work as the season progressed last year. He was then the top target for Justin Fields in the preseason. He should be a top-two target this year alongside Darnell Mooney. Volume is what you are looking for when searching for a low-end TE1. Kmet, in his third year, has breakout upside. While the 49ers were in the bottom third of the league in terms of fantasy points allowed to tight ends last year, the volume that Kmet should see makes him worthy of trusting as a top-12 tight end. 

Pat Freiermuth
Pittsburgh Steelers PIT · TE

Freiermuth showed to be a very reliable red-zone target last season. His 20 red-zone targets ranked second at the position and his seven touchdowns were the sixth-most. He starts the year against a Bengals defense that allowed a league-high 14.3 fantasy PPG to tight ends, including eight touchdowns. Last year Freiermuth averaged 13.0 fantasy PPG against the Bengals and scored a TD against them both times. He is in play as a TE1 this week. 

Irv Smith
Minnesota Vikings MIN · TE

Smith averaged 13.0 fantasy PPG in games as the starting tight end (no Kyle Rudolph) in 2020 for the Vikings. Tyler Conklin, who was filling in for Smith last year, showed that he can be a viable fantasy tight end. Now, Smith is back in his starting spot but with a new head coach, Kevin O’Connell, who should run a more pass-happy offense. The influx in pass attempts should only mean more targets for Smith, who should operate as the No. 3 target, with a chance to climb even higher. He opens up against the Packers, who ranked middle of the pack against tight ends allowing 10.6 fantasy PPG last year but did give up eight scores. 

Albert Okwuegbunam
Denver Broncos DEN · TE

Okwuegbunam is certainly in play as a streaming option in Week 1. First, we know Russell Wilson likes to involve his tight ends, especially in the red zone. Okwuegbunam certainly brings upside as a big, athletic tight end, but whether he will be able to take advantage of this opportunity remains to be seen. He opens up with a favorable matchup against the Seahawks, who allowed 12.9 fantasy PPG to TEs last year, the third-most in the NFL. That included nine touchdowns, which was tied for the fourth-most in the league. If you need to dive a little deeper at tight end, Okwuegbunam is an option.  

Sit 'Em

Mike Gesicki
Miami Dolphins MIA · TE

Gesicki has done the bulk of his damage at the NFL level lining up in the slot like a wide receiver. He said he is learning how to play tight end this preseason, evident by the fact that he was playing late into games last month. Additionally, there is fear that he could lose snaps to better blocking tight ends on the roster, and there are volume concerns with two clear-cut players who will see a large target share on this offense. All of that makes Gesicki risky to roster, let alone start in Week 1 against the Patriots who allowed the third-fewest fantasy PPG to tight ends last season (7.8). The Patriots held Gesicki to just 2.6 fantasy PPG last season. Stay far away this week.

Hunter Henry
New England Patriots NE · TE

Henry finished last season as the TE10, but that was largely because he led the position with nine touchdowns. He averaged just 4.4 targets and 2.9 catches per game last season. Basically, he either scores you a touchdown or he busts, as he averaged less than six fantasy points when not finding the end zone. He opens up against the Dolphins who allowed only six TDs to the position last season. Plus, there are concerns over the state of the Patriots offense in its first season without Josh McDaniels. Henry is outside the top 15 tight ends this week. 

Tyler Higbee
Los Angeles Rams LA · TE

Higbee did not top 70 yards in any game last season, despite the fact that Robert Woods tore his ACL and the Rams spent much of the year trying to replace him. Now there is Allen Robinson, who is expected to see a heavy target share and only lowers Higbee’s floor and ceiling. He opens the season against the Bills, who allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy PPG to tight ends (8.8) and just four touchdowns to the position. There are better options than Higbee available in the opening week. 

Robert Tonyan
Green Bay Packers GB · TE

Tonyan is working his way back from a torn ACL that hindered his 2021 season. Tonyan was one of the biggest surprises of the 2020 campaign, but he was off to a slow start last year and averaged just 2.3 catches per game before injuries cut his season short. With the Packers' receiving corps void of any certainty, it might seem tempting to play Tonyan. But he must first show that he is fully back to his old form and prove any sort of a consistent role in this offense before you can start Tonyan again in fantasy football. 

Follow Michael Florio on Twitter @MichaelFFlorio.

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