The tight-end position matters greatly in fantasy football. They are not as flashy as their blazing-fast, route-running counterparts at wide receiver. They do not get the same volume of touches as fantasy-relevant running backs. That can sometimes lead to them being overlooked or treated as an afterthought. Do not make that mistake.
Tight end is the shallowest position of them all. Finding production there weekly can be incredibly challenging, especially for those that did not draft or since manage to land one of the top handful of options.
Success can be found at the position by carefully playing the waiver wire week-to-week. The goal here is to help fantasy managers do just that by finding low-rostered (under 75 percent) tight ends sitting in the best situations for the particular week.
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Tight End Waiver Wire Options (Week 17)
Cole Kmet (CHI) at Detroit Lions
Cole Kmet is the top pick for most fantasy football leagues’ final week. The Bears’ leader in receptions (44) on the year has come up with at least three catches in each of his last seven games, averaging 43 yards per contest in that stretch.
Despite zero touchdowns in any of his last five games, Kmet has scored five on the season. His two most recent scores came back in Week 10 during a 31-30 loss to the Lions. The third-year TE finished that game with four catches for 74 yards.
Kmet will get another shot at the Lions this week. The Lions’ defense has struggled to slow down opposing tight ends all season, as the unit is one of three in the league that has allowed 10 touchdowns to the position. Kmet is in a great spot to end his scoring drought.
Tyler Higbee (LAR) at Los Angeles Chargers
Tyler Higbee has come back to life over the last couple of weeks with Baker Mayfield at QB for the Rams. The veteran TE hauled in four of his five targets for 27 yards and his first score of the season at Green Bay during Week 15.
He followed that up with his biggest performance of the campaign on Christmas Day. In the Rams’ 51-point explosion against the Broncos this past Sunday, Higbee secured nine passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Mayfield targeted Higbee 11 times, while no other route runner received more than five looks. Mayfield has clearly found a preferred option in the passing game.
On New Year’s Day, Higbee will take on a Chargers’ defense that has allowed an average of better than six receptions for 56 yards per game to the tight-end position on the season. This matchup presents a nice opportunity for him to make some plays on his 30th birthday.
Jordan Akins (HOU) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
For those searching for an option in deeper formats, Jordan Akins has been quietly making some plays for the sluggish Texans’ offense over the season. He has come up with at least three catches in seven of his 13 games on the campaign, gaining better than 30 yards on six occasions and more than 60 three different times.
Akins finished with three receptions for 39 yards during a Christmas Eve victory in Tennessee. That was the fourth time he grabbed a minimum of three passes over the last five games. Akins has also found the end zone twice in that five-game span.
The suddenly hot Jaguars will oppose Akins and the Texans on Sunday. The Jaguars have been doing most things well of late, but they have been susceptible to opposing tight ends, surrendering five touchdowns to the position in their last six games. Akins could find a bit of space in the Jacksonville secondary.
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Nate Miller is a featured writer at FantasyPros and an 8-year veteran of the fantasy sports industry. For more from Nate, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @Miller_RotoDad.