You have lineup questions, we have lineup answers -- at least we hope so. Start 'Em, Sit 'Em is here to help fantasy managers make difficult roster decisions. And you know what is a good move? Starting Christian McCaffrey. But that's too obvious, so you won't see such simple analysis here. Instead, we're exploring more debatable situations. And if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out the latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings.
McBride blossoming off the waiver wire has been a blessing to exactly one team in every fantasy league. He is a must-start option. Since he’s taken over the starting gig in Week 8, he has topped nine fantasy points in all but one game (which came with Clayton Tune against the Browns and really shouldn't count). Nine fantasy points is a super-safe floor for a tight end -- and he’s twice topped 21 fantasy points in that same span! McBride is a legitimate top-tier tight end in any given week, but a matchup against the Steelers, who are in the top 10 in yards allowed to TEs since Week 8, only helps.
Not only is Hill a QB/RB/TE all-in-one hybrid, but he’s now out here Mossing dudes. Hill ran 12 routes in Week 12, catching both of his targets for 55 yards, while rushing seven times for 26 yards. In total, he scored eight fantasy points. We haven’t seen the formerly massive fantasy outputs in his last two games, but establishing a decent eight-point floor would make Hill one of the top tight ends in fantasy, given his upside. With six teams on bye at an already-weak position, and with much of the New Orleans receiving corps banged up, keep starting Hill.
Consistent volume is a luxury at the tight end position -- a luxury Engram brings weekly, as he has five-plus targets and four-plus catches in every single game this season (with seven-plus targets in nine of those 11 games). As a result, he brings a safe fantasy floor, scoring nine or more fantasy points in all but three games this season. Week 13 could bring some upside to go with that safe floor, as the Bengals have allowed the second-most fantasy PPG to TEs, including the second-most yards. And, I mean, eventually he will score another touchdown, right? Start him.
One big dud is rough, but it’s not enough to scare us away from Schultz -- especially not with six teams on bye. Last week, he had just one catch for 2 yards. And I don’t love that he has just five targets in his last two games combined. But he’s still topped 11 fantasy points in every game but two since Week 4. It’s a great matchup in Week 13, as the Broncos have allowed the most yards and touchdowns to tight ends. They are also stingy to receivers, so we could see more volume go Schultz’s way after watching Tank Dell and Nico Collins dominate recently. Even with the low floor, Schultz should be started.
(EDITOR'S UPDATE: Schultz has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.)
IF YOU NEED A STREAMER ...
In the Steelers' first game without Matt Canada, Freiermuth put up a career-high 120 yards. While the floor had been super low previously, Freiermuth’s breakout last week simply cannot be ignored. He saw a team-high 11 targets, which is amazing for any pass catcher, let alone a tight end on many waiver wires. He’s a great streaming option and could quickly work his way back into must-start tight end status if he’s featured in this new-look offense.
Need a few more streaming options in a tough week? Buccaneers TE Cade Otton has proven to be a safe-floor play, scoring more than eight fantasy points in each of his last two games. Juwan Johnson ran a team-high 33 routes last week for New Orleans and caught four of seven targets for 45 yards. As noted with Taysom Hill above, the Saints' wide receivers are extremely banged up, which could mean added volume going the way of the tight ends. Jets TE Tyler Conklin is an option for those in deeper leagues. He saw five targets last week, catching four of them for 33 yards. Now he gets the Falcons, who have allowed the fifth-most yards to tight ends this season.
Sitting a tight end coming off his best game of the season? It sounds crazy, but looking at Higbee’s game logs, last week’s two-touchdown performance was clearly a fluke. It was his first time topping double figures since Cooper Kupp returned -- and he had just 29 yards. He still has yet to reach 50 yards in a game with Kupp back. It was also Higbee’s first game with a touchdown all year. Now he gets the Browns, who have allowed just 227 yards to tight ends on the entire season, by far the fewest in the NFL. Don’t chase last week’s points.
Another tight end who hit the end zone last week. The issue is that Everett is entirely touchdown dependent. He has only reached double digits this season in games when he’s scored. And you can’t count on a TD this week against the Patriots, who have allowed just one to a tight end all season. They’ve also given up the second-fewest yards and fourth-fewest fantasy PPG. I would stream elsewhere this week.
Thomas brought a safe floor most weeks early in the year. Unfortunately, last week was not "most weeks," as Thomas was limited to just two catches for 15 yards. His volume has decreased of late, as he has five targets or fewer in three of his last four games. If you want 7-9 fantasy points, Thomas can come through for you, but there’s not much more upside beyond that.
If you watched the Packers on Thanksgiving, you got to see Kraft feast early. He caught a touchdown in the first quarter ... and finished with just two catches for 15 yards on two targets. He has received hype on fantasy Twitter, but I wouldn’t chase last week’s touchdown. The Chiefs have allowed the third-fewest yards to tight ends and just two touchdowns all season long. It’s fine to add Kraft to your bench and take a wait-and-see approach, but keep him out of your starting lineup this week.