In this piece, I highlight quarterbacks who 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.
As news breaks throughout the week and we adjust our projections (powered by Sean Koerner), player ratings in our Player Models will change as the projections change. For updates, visit the models directly.
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You can also combine them to create your own aggregate projections:
Top NFL DFS Tight End Picks in the FantasyLabs Models
On DraftKings, there are two tight ends near the top of the individual Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Cash Game, and Tournament Player Models.
- George Kittle
- Tyler Higbee
We’ll discuss why these two are popping in our models, as well as take a look at some other tight ends.
Top Model NFL DFS Tight End Picks
George Kittle ($5,100 DraftKings, $6,300 FanDuel): San Francisco 49ers (-14) at Arizona Cardinals (44.5 total)
I was bullish on George Kittle on last Thursday’s showdown slate. He had nine targets through the first two games, catching six balls for 49 yards. He followed that up seeing nine targets on Thursday night, catching six balls for 90 yards.
Brandon Aiyuk’s presence directly impacts Kittle, as he has a 16.8% target rate per route run with Aiyuk on the field and a 37.5% target rate with him on the field since Brock Purdy became the quarterback. Even with Aiyuk back, Kittle still has big play ability that thrusts him into viability. We also love to target tight ends against Arizona, as they repeatedly get gashed by the position.
On a slate without Travis Kelce, there isn’t much ceiling at the tight end position.
George Kittle boasts one of the highest ceilings at the position and is the top tight end in our Tournament Model.
Tyler Higbee ($4,200 DraftKings, $5,100 FanDuel): Los Angeles Rams (+1) at Indianapolis Colts (46 total)
Tyler Higbee was limited in Friday’s practice with an Achilles injury and is currently listed as questionable for Sunday’s matchup. He hasn’t gotten too much going this year, but caught five of five targets for 71 yards last Monday night.
Indianapolis has allowed a bottom 10 catch rate and yards per target to opposing tight ends to start the year. His target share isn’t anything to be too excited about. He has just a 12.4% target share and appears to clearly be fourth in the pecking order behind Nacua, Atwell, and Kyren Williams.
However, you’re not playing Higbee for his ceiling, and he’s likely a shoo-in for 5-7 targets, and hopefully he can fall into the end zone. He has the fourth-highest floor projection despite being the TE7 in pricing on DraftKings.
He’s the top tight end in our Cash Game Model, as well as Sean Koerner and Chris Raybon’s Pro Models.
Other Notable NFL DFS Tight End Picks
Pat Freiermuth ($3,400 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel): Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Houston Texans (42 total)
Pat Freiermuth finally came to life last week, catching three of four targets for 41 yards and a touchdown. When looking at pricing, his salary on DraftKings stood out, and the models agreed. He’s tied for second at the position in Points/Salary while ranking fourth in Projected Plus/Minus.
His cheap price tag is coupled with a plus matchup, as the Texans have allowed the third-highest catch rate and seventh-highest yards per target to opposing tight ends on the season. Freiermuth will see a lot of ownership this week, but it makes sense given how weak the position is overall.
Zach Ertz ($3,200 DraftKings, $5,000 FanDuel): Arizona Cardinals (+14) at San Francisco 49ers (43.5 total)
Somehow Zach Ertz is still fantasy viable in the year 2023, but here we are. He had poor usage last week, catching just two balls for six yards on two targets. His route participation has also dropped in back-to-back weeks. He ran a route on 91% of the dropbacks in Week 1, followed by 75% in Week 2, and 66.7% in Week 3. The matchup isn’t ideal, with San Francisco ranking in the top 10 in yards per target and touchdown rate to tight ends.
However, there really isn’t much going on at the position as a whole. Arizona is expected to be in a negative game script, so Ertz could rack up some catches at a cheap price tag.
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My Favorite NFL DFS Tight End Leverage Pick(s)
Jake Ferguson ($3,500 DraftKings, $5,100 FanDuel): Dallas Cowboys (-6.5) vs. New England Patriots (43.5 total)
Jake Ferguson is quietly seeing some elite usage in Dallas. He has a 30% target rate per route run on the year, which is second in the league at the position behind Travis Kelce. He also has a 34.8% target share in the red zone, showing the touchdown equity is very real. Some more route participation would be ideal, as he ran a route on 62% of the dropbacks last week, which was a season-high.
The matchup isn’t ideal, with New England allowing 5.8 yards per target to tight ends on the year. However, most of the tight ends this week don’t look amazing, and Ferguson has a strong red zone role on one of the top offenses in the league. He’s a great pivot off of similarly priced options in Freiermuth and Ertz. He’s one of my favorite targets in tournaments on the weekend.