Kittle and Kelce will be elite options all season and are considered matchup-proof starters in any fantasy football format. Ertz and Andrews also should be started most weeks in most leagues. The position's outlook gets a little more murky after those four fantasy football stars.
This week, I recommend starting a tight end who will be the first or second target in their respective offense and has a great chance to exploit a bad defense.
Here are some of my favorite players in this week's Top 20 rankings:
San Francisco 49ers All-Pro George Kittle is my No. 1 tight end this week. The 49ers don't have much depth at wide receiver and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo should target Kittle heavily in Week 1 when the 49ers host the surging Arizona Cardinals. I expect the 49ers to control this game on the ground, but Kittle could break free for some big plays.
The Cardinals allowed more fantasy points to tight ends last season than any other NFL team. Arizona also allowed a league-high 16 scores and 1,148 receiving yards to the position in 2019. Kittle should explode in this matchup.
Andrews scored three touchdowns in two games against the Browns in 2019. I expect at least one more score in Week 1.
New Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst is my No. 6 option at the position this week due to a matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends last season and this game should be a shootout.
Look for Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to hit Hurst early and often in this clash between two high-powered offenses.
Jared Cook is another tight end who should benefit from playing in a Week 1 shootout. The New Orleans Saints veteran comes in at No. 9 in my Week 1 tight end rankings.
The Saints are set to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a unit that tied for allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to tight ends last season. The Buccaneers likely will sell out to cover Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas and running back Alvin Kamara, which should open up the field for Cook to post TE1 numbers.
The Panthers face the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1, a team that tied for allowing the third-most touchdowns to tight ends last season. Thomas is likely the third or fourth receiving option in Carolina, but I think he has a good shot to score a touchdown. He is my No. 14 tight end for Week 1.
I see the Buccaneers using Gronkowski as more of a red zone option and Howard seeing more time in the open field. The Saints weren't bad against tight ends last year, but I see the New Orleans defense keying in on the Buccaneers' talented wide receivers, which should make Howard a great underneath target for Tom Brady. Howard is my No. 15 tight end this week.
Week 1 fantasy football tight end rankings
1. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers vs. ARI
2. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens vs. CLE
3. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. HOU
4. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles at WAS
5. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams vs. DAL
6. Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons vs. SEA
7. Evan Engram, New York Giants vs. PIT
8. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers at CIN
9. Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints vs. TB
10. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders at CAR
11. Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys at LAR
12. Noah Fant, Denver Broncos vs. TEN
13. Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans at DEN
14. Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers vs. LV
15. O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NO
16. Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns at BAL
17. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions vs. CHI
18. Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins at NE