Tight end is a dumpster fire. And if it were up to me, there would be no designated spot for tight ends in our starting lineups. There, I said it. Why am I so down on tight end? Because the position has become stale and the positional value continues to decrease. Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, George Kittle, and Darren Waller have been the only consistent tight ends for the past few years. But to get them, you likely have to overpay in drafts. Look at where these four were taken and how they finished in half-PPR leagues last season.
- Travis Kelce: ADP 8.7, 56th overall in scoring
- Darren Waller: ADP 21.5, 222nd overall in scoring
- George Kittle: ADP 28.7, 114th overall in scoring
- Mark Andrews: ADP 53, 37th overall in scoring
These players were taken in the first five rounds of fantasy drafts, yet only Andrews delivered on his draft price. The problem is that the middle and lower classes at tight end are dismal. Waiting on a tight end often becomes a dart throw on someone who could luck into some touchdowns. The best-case scenario is falling into 2020 Robert Tonyan, Dalton Schultz or Dawson Knox from last season. The worst-case scenario is a weekly trip to the waiver wire seeking the random name who has the most favorable matchup.
I’d avoid all tight ends if I could, but here are some particular names I’ll be staying away from.
This has sort of become a piling onto Kelce, the league’s best tight end for what feels like a decade. He’s usually drafted too high to be worth consideration in my leagues. However, I suspect I’ll be avoiding him this year even if he comes at a discount.
I need to see what Kansas City’s offense looks like without Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs clearly didn’t want to pay him, and maybe Mecole Hardman can assume the downfield stretcher role. But without Hill forcing opponents to keep both safeties deep, I expect opponents to clog up the short and intermediate areas of the field where Kelce usually feasts.
Kelce will still get his fair share of targets and will be the top target in the red zone. But Kelce will probably still be a Round 2 pick, which is way too rich for me.
Many have pegged Pitts to be the next tight end to enter the “elite” tier. And while I don’t disagree, I expect that hypothesis to be baked into his draft price. Heck, Pitts could be the third tight end off the board behind Kelce and Andrews.
But just like those two, I have no interest in overdrafting Pitts. Sure, Atlanta’s offense features him, rookie Drake London, maybe Calvin Ridley and nobody else. But I can’t say I’m buying Marcus Mariota as a viable starting quarterback either. Pitts will get fed, and he’ll probably produce. But I can’t pass on more valuable players at more valuable positions to get him. I’d rather wait and hope I can get 75% of Pitts’ production for a third of the cost.
Goedert is the epitome of the tight end middle class. The potential is there for him to emerge as an elite option. But it just hasn’t materialized. I’ve been on the Goedert train for several years, but this is where I jump off.
Goedert hauled in 56 receptions for 830 yards and four touchdowns in 2021, good to finish as the TE8. But with A.J. Brown joining DeVonta Smith in Philadelphia, it feels like TE8 might be Goedert’s ceiling. I also don’t trust Jalen Hurts enough to sustain three fantasy viable pass catchers. Goedert feels more like a boom or bust option in 2022.
I have a weird hunch Uzomah is going to generate some buzz this summer as a “value,” tight end to target late in drafts. People will point to his career-high 493 yards and five touchdowns and remember his strong showings in Cincinnati’s first two playoff wins. They’ll view Uzomah as the veteran safety valve for Zach Wilson in an emerging Jets offense and project him as a TE1 in 2022.
Perhaps I’m assuming too much here. Either way, Uzomah will be someone I’m staying away from even in the late stages of drafts. His situation is a definite downgrade, and he comes off as a more valuable real-life football player than a fantasy football player.
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