Fantasy football: Freiermuth, Akins among 4 must-start tight ends in Week 16

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth (R) is a Top 5 play in Week 16. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
1 of 5 | Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth (R) is a Top 5 play in Week 16. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Pat Freiermuth and Jordan Akins are among my four must-start fantasy football tight ends for Week 16. Mark Andrews tops my weekly Top 20 rankings for the position.

Travis Kelce, Evan Engram and Darren Waller join Freiermuth and Andrews in the Top 5 of my weekly Top 20 rankings, which are listed below.


All of my must-start options are within the Top 14 of my rankings, which means they should be started in leagues with at least 14 teams that require starting tight ends.

The Jacksonville Jaguars will face the New York Jets in the first game of Week 16 at 8:15 p.m. EST Thursday in East Rutherford, N.J.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is my No. 2 fantasy football option for Week 16. File Photo by Jon Robichaud/UPI

Pat Freiermuth

Freiermuth is my No. 3 fantasy football tight end. The Pittsburgh Steelers pass catcher scored his second touchdown of the season in Week 14, but did not log a catch in Week 15.

Despite that quiet week, Freiermuth still ranked 11th among tight ends in fantasy points per game over the last four weeks. This week, the Steelers will face the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Raiders allowed the 9th-most fantasy points and tied for allowing the 9th-most touchdown catches (0.4) per game through 15 weeks. Look for Freiermuth to total at least 80 yards and a score in what I expect to be a high-scoring matchup.

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth continues to provide steady TE1 value for his fantasy football stock owners. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI

Darren Waller

Waller returned from a multi-month injury hiatus and scored his second touchdown of the season in Week 15. The Raiders veteran also totaled three catches and 48 yards in the Raiders' win over the New England Patriots.

This week, Waller and the Raiders will face a Steelers defense that has been decent against tight ends, but look for Waller to get enough targets to warrant a start. I expect at least 70 yards and a score from the Raiders playmaker.


He is my No. 5 tight end.

Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller scored his second touchdown of the season in Week 15. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Chigoziem Okonkwo

Okonkwo was among my top waiver wire targets for Week 16 due to his recent success and a good matchup with the Houston Texans.

The Tennessee Titans rookie pass catcher totaled at least five targets in each of his last four games. He also averaged 46 receiving yards per game over his last seven appearances.

Okonkwo is likely a touchdown-or-bust play, but I love his chances to find the end zone against the Texans.

The Texans allowed the 10th-most receiving yards and 11th-most fantasy points per game to tight ends through 16 weeks. Look for the Titans to target Okonkwo more than any other pass catcher while in the red zone. I expect at least 50 yards and a score from the rookie, who ranked 6th among tight ends in fantasy points per game over the last four weeks.

He is my No. 7 play.

Jordan Akins

Akins will be the tight end on the other side of the Texans-Titans matchup. The Texans pass catcher scored for the second time in four weeks in Week 15.


He is my No. 11 option in Week 16. Akins totaled at least 60 yards in three of his 12 appearances in 2022. I am expecting a similar performance this week. He could move into the Top 5 if he reaches the end zone.

The Titans also are among the most generous defenses to opposing tight ends. They allowed the second-most receiving yards and 6th-most fantasy points per game to the position so far this season.

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (89) is among my top options at the position. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI

Week 16 fantasy football tight end rankings

1. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens vs. ATL

2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. SEA

3. Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. LV

4. Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars at NYJ

5. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders at PIT

6. T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings vs. NYG

7. Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans vs. HOU

8. Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys vs. PHI

9. Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills at CHI

10. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers vs. WAS

11. Jordan Akins, Houston Texans at TEN

12. Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers at MIA

13. Cade Otton, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at ARI


14. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles at DAL

15. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams vs. DEN

16. Tyler Conklin, New York Jets vs. JAX

17. Austin Hooper, Tennessee Titans vs. HOU

18. Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos at LAR

19. Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers at IND

20. Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears vs. BUF

This week in the National Football League

Jacksonville Jaguars running back JaMycal Hasty (22) is tackled after running in the fourth quarter as the Jaguars take on the Cowboys at the TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville on December 18, 2022. The Jaguars defeated the Cowboys 40-34 in overtime. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

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