Start Hayden Hurst vs. Pat Freiermuth vs. David Njoku vs. Juwan Johnson | Fantasy Football Week 2 TE Start Decision
The tight end position has continued to puzzle fantasy owners, even heading into Monday’s pair of games. So as those games near, let’s dive into each team’s top player at the position, and try and figure out who is going to be the top performer.
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Why You Should Start Hayden Hurst
Let’s dive into Hurst first, as he was his team’s leader in targets (7) in week 1. Hurst caught five passes for 41 yards and a touchdown. He was targeted twice in the red zone, catching both.
Hurst played the fourth-most targets of pass catchers on the team, trailing Terrace Marshall, Adam Thielen and Jonathan Mingo. DJ Chark could also be in the mix this week after missing the opening game.
Hurst and the Panthers will be going up against a Saints’ defense that didn’t allow a single catch to a tight end in week 1. Tight ends were targeted just two times.
Hurst is projected to be targeted five times, catching 3.4 for 35 yards and 0.2 touchdowns.
Why You Should Start Pat Freiermuth
Freiermuth didn’t put together a great statline in week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers, but he did score the team’s only touchdown. He was targeted four times, catching one for a 3-yard score. Three of his targets came in the red zone, and that led the team.
Freiermuth played just 32 snaps, which trailed Allen Robinson and George Pickens (56 each) and Calvin Austin (35). Diontae Johnson will miss this week’s game, so Freiermuth could see a bit of an expanded role in the passing game.
The Steelers’ tight end takes on a Browns’ defense that also excelled against tight ends in week 1. Cleveland allowed three catches on five targets for only 17 yards.
Freiermuth was ranked among the top-10 tight ends this week, and is projected at five targets, 2.2 receptions, 21 yards and 0.5 touchdowns.
Why You Should Start David Njoku
Njoku didn’t accomplish a whole lot in week 1 despite the Browns upsetting the Cincinnati Bengals. Njoku was targeted three times, catching two for 24 yards.
The Browns’ tight end was not targeted in the red zone. He finished second on the team with 54 snaps played, behind only wideout Donovan Peoples-Jones. Njoku could be more involved in the passing game this week as receiver Amari Cooper is expected to miss the game.
Njoku comes into the game with projections of five targets, 3.4 catches, 38 yards and 0.3 touchdowns. The Steelers allowed three catches on six targets for 19 yards in week 1 against opposing tight ends.
Why You Should Start Juwan Johnson
While Johnson finished fourth among Saints’ receivers and tight ends in week 1 targets, he still put up a solid final line. He was targeted five times, catching three for 36 yards.
Johnson was on the team’s injury report early in the week, but practiced in full the last couple days and should be a full go. The team’s offense as a whole is healthy coming into the contest.
Johnson is projected at four targets, 2.6 catches, 31 yards and 0.2 touchdowns for week 2. The Panthers allowed two catches on three targets for 44 yards in the opening week to opposing tight ends.
Final Numbers and the Recommended Start
Our rankings have Freiermuth above the over three players. Njoku is next, followed by Johnson and then Hurst.
Freiermuth is not the preferred starter, however. Owners took Freiermuth over Johnson and Hurst by a wide margin, but almost twice as many owners are starting Njoku over Freiermuth. Njoku is also the preferred start over Johnson and Hurst. Hurst is being started a bit more than twice as much as Johnson in that matchup.
None of the matchups for the tight ends look all that appealing, so I’m strictly looking at last week’s performances and then what weapons the teams have available in the passing game tonight for my decision.
I would actually feel safest with Hurst as my starter, despite him being the lowest in the rankins and trailing only Johnson in most owners’ decisions. He looked like a big-time safety valve for rookie quarterback Bryce Young in week 1, and could be in store for another similar showing under the bright lights this week.
I’d go with Freiermuth as my next choice, although he and Njoku are just about interchangeable in my eyes. Both guys are missing a receiver around them, which could lead to more targets, but I like the Steelers to pass more than the Browns, so that’s where I lean Freiermuth. I’d take Johnson last, not because I don’t think he could be productive, but simply for the fact that there’s four or five players on his own roster that will likely top him in touches.#hayden-hurst #pat-freiermuth #david-njoku #juwan-johnson