Don’t Get Stuck Without a Decent Tight End in Fantasy! Let me help you out
Did you miss out on the few elite tight ends last year? Were you going to the waiver wire on a weekly basis looking for a tight end to start? Don’t make that mistake again.
Tight end is a peculiar position. Unlike the other skill positions, your selections won’t win or lose your league. The issue comes from major gaps in production amongst the top tight ends and the middle of the pack guys.
Tight end tiers:
Travis Kelce (The King): Travis Kelce has finished the season as fantasy tight end #1 or #2 for over 5 years (P.S. He was #1 way more often than #2). Draft Him.
Mark Andrews (The Champ): Last year Andrews finished as tight end #1 in fantasy rankings. He put up elite receiver numbers, and looks to repeat with the departure of Hollywood Brown. Draft Him.
Kyle Pitts (The Generational Talent): Pitts had one of the best rookie tight end seasons ever. If Ja’Marr Chase didn’t have an even better year; we might have heard more about it. He’s going to be dealing with some QB issues and a bad team, so he can’t make it into that top tier. Draft him if the ADP makes sense (Do not reach for him)
George Kittle (The Biggest Question Mark): Kittle’s 2022 production is hard to forecast right now. He’s got a new, young quarterback coming in, and he’s in an offense that doesn’t prioritize getting him the football.
Darren Waller (The Semi-Elite Guy): Waller took a step back last year. His yards and touchdowns went way down. Add in the addition of Davante Adams, and Waller is looking like the weakest link out of the elite tight ends. Only draft him if he begins to fall, but that’s not likely due to his name value.
Dalton Shultz (The Outlier): One of these doesn’t quite belong. Shultz feels like just another guy (JAG) compared to the rest of this list. To that I say; check the stats! Shultz finished 3rd overall in tight end fantasy points last year, and he’s the sleeper pick out of the 3rd tier guys.
Advice for the elite tight ends:
Kelce and Andrews are worth the price of an early selection. Especially Kelce who is THE #1 option in Kansas City with Tyreek Hill gone. The next big sleeper pick is Dalton Shultz. I have Shultz outscoring Kittle and Waller this year (maybe Pitts too). He’s likely to fall after these players, so he’s definitely my value pick out of the group.
After the elite group, there’s a chasm before you get to the next group of tight ends. On top of that, production from year to year is fickle when it comes to the middle tier tight ends. So, I’ve found a few middle tier guys with high upside.
Breakout Tight Ends
Dawson Knox: Possibly the #3 option in a passing game that’s going to have a more mature Josh Allen. Knox took a nice step forward last year; look for him to build off of that.
Tyler Higbee: Higbee has been a steady presence on the Rams for 6 years. He’s never turned into a dominant player, but the talent has always been there. Combine that with the heavy workload he’s expected to get as the only trusted tight end by Matt Stafford, and you have a high value pick up in the tight end cluster.
Albert Okwuegbunam: Albert O is one of the fastest Tight Ends (4.49) in the league. The 6 foot 5 inch 250 pounder hasn’t quite turned that into production, but he hasn’t had an elite Quarterback either. Well here comes Russell Wilson. The Broncos tight end is going to have an early opportunity to take his career to the next level, and he’s going pretty cheap in drafts. Take him if he falls to you; even as a backup tight end.
Irv Smith, Jr.: Last but not least, Irv Smith was a breakout candidate last year before tearing his meniscus. The 6 foot 2 inch 240 pound tight end fits in perfectly with Vikings revamped passing game. Look for Smith to fly under the radar.
Cole Kmet: This is Justin’s Field’s guy (at least that’s what the Bears are hoping). The Bears lost Allen Robinson to the Rams this year. That leaves Fields with Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet as his only proven weapons. Kmet pulled in 600 yards of receiving last year which is good; the only problem is the lack of touchdowns. The Bears are on track to be pretty bad at scoring again, so I don’t see that changing. With that being the case; Kmet doesn’t make the breakout list.
Risky strategy to consider: Last year I picked dead last in my draft, and it left me in a weird position. To make a long story short, I ended up with 4 tight ends (Kelce, Kittle, and Fant). This gave me a bunch of trade leverage because I had a league of people desperate for consistent tight end production. I ended up grabbing Dawson Knox on a bye week, and trading away Fant and Kittle for some great hauls.