Fantasy Football Draft Rankings, Tiers & Player Notes: Tight Ends (2022)
Check out our top 12 tight end rankings along with player notes as you prepare for your fantasy football draft.
Tight End Fantasy Football Rankings & Player Notes
1) Travis Kelce (KC – TE)
After finishing as the fantasy TE1 for three straight seasons, Travis Kelce was finally de-throned by Mark Andrews in 2021. The Kansas City Chiefs tight end posted his worst points per game average (16.6) dating back to 2017 while also posting a career-low in yards per route run (1.84) and PFF grade (81.8). It seems logical that Kelce’s reign as the perennial consensus TE1 has come to a conclusion as he enters his age-33 season in 2022. However, it’s impossible to ignore the high-end target share that Kelce will command in the Chiefs’ offense after they traded Tyreek Hill. His 20% target share ranked second-best at the position in 2021. Although it was a slight fall-off from his 23% average target share from 2019 and 2020.
2) Mark Andrews (BAL – TE)
Last year, Mark Andrews was the early-round tight end who drove rosters to fantasy championships. The Baltimore Ravens’ fourth-year TE led the position with a 25% target share, 28% air yards share, and 17.5 fantasy points per game. He ran a route on 84% of offensive dropbacks, which also ranked first. With Marquise Brown traded to the Cardinals, Andrews has solidified himself as clear TE1 with a still unproven second-year wideout as his main competition for targets. However, be aware that even if Andrews does repeat his efforts as TE1 it may not be to the extent that it was in 2021. His 623 routes run were 209 more than he had in 2020 and fueled the career year. Andrews’ increase in route running was tied to the Ravens’ boosted pass-play rate (56%). From 2019-2020, Baltimore passed on fewer than 46% of their plays. Because Baltimore’s increase in passing was due out of necessity in 2021, I’d project it to regress closer to the 2019-2020 rate for this upcoming season.
3) Kyle Pitts (ATL – TE)
Kyle Pitts lived up to all of the hype last season. Pitts ranked third in receiving yards and eighth in receptions among all tight ends. In deeper metrics, he was elite, ranking fourth in targets per snap and yards per route run (minimum 50 targets, per PFF). Since 2018 the only rookie tight end to finish their inaugural season with a higher yards per route run has been Albert Okwuegbunam (minimum 15 targets, per PFF). Pitts finished as the TE11 in fantasy points per game as the eyesore of only one receiving touchdown drug down his fantasy value. Pitts has TE1 overall upside if the touchdowns bounce back in a big way in 2022.
4) George Kittle (SF – TE)
George Kittle is arguably the most talented tight end in the NFL. If his health or offensive scheme would ever comply and allow him to be fed religiously, he would be the TE1 by a decent margin. Over the last three seasons, he has been the king of efficiency, leading the position in yards per route run each year and never finishing lower than third in yards after the catch per reception (minimum 50 targets, per PFF). If Trey Lance can unlock another level to this offense, Kittle can recapture the TE1 crown that he last held in 2019.
5) Darren Waller (LV – TE)
There’s bound to be some hesitancy about drafting tight ends early after guys like George Kittle, Darren Waller, Kyle Pitts, T.J. Hockenson, and Logan Thomas failed to live up to their lofty projections (due to injury or not). But the process was still sound behind adding some of those players in the early rounds if you look at their per-game production. Speaking to Waller, the Raiders’ tight end came in third in expected fantasy points per game (14.6), which ranked top-20 among all tight ends and wide receivers. He also ranked sixth in points per game (12.1) and second in targets per game (8.5)The major concern with Waller in 2022 is how much Davante Adams will eat into his targets. However, I’d focus more on valuing Waller based on how good the Raiders offense as a whole can be with the addition of Adams. I’d be willing to forego one or fewer targets per game for Waller if it means more scoring opportunities. The big-bodied Black Hole tight end is primed for positive touchdown regression after converting just two of his 10 end-zone targets into touchdowns in 2021.
6) Dalton Schultz (DAL – TE)
Dalton Schultz crushed last season at the TE5 in weekly fantasy scoring. His upside this season is even higher as he could enter the top three discussion at his position. In his first season with a featured role, he ranked 11th in yards per route run and 14th in targets per snap. With Michael Gallup questionable to begin the season at full health and only James Washington and Jalen Tolbert behind CeeDee Lamb, Schultz should easily carve out his role as the number two option in the Dallas passing attack.
7) T.J. Hockenson (DET – TE)
We have likely seen the ceiling already for T.J. Hockenson, but that shouldn’t be construed as shade. Hockenson has now logged back-to-back TE7 finishes in fantasy points per game which is still extremely good, but it’s doubtful he ever reaches the heights of top 3-5 status. He’s also ranked 11th in each of the last two seasons in yards per route run (minimum 50 targets per PFF). With added target competition with the additions of Jameson Williams and D.J. Chark, Hockenson remains a top ten option at the position. Still, his ceiling is likely capped, keeping him outside the top five.
8) Dallas Goedert (PHI – TE)
It took much longer than many fantasy gamers would have liked, but Dallas Goedert finally broke out in 2021 after being overshadowed by Zach Ertz since his rookie year. The Eagles’ tight end finished as PFF’s second-highest graded receiving tight end (91.1) and as the TE10 overall, with the majority of his fantasy production coming from Week 7 onward. In those 11 games played – including postseason – Goedert averaged 11.8 fantasy points per game, which would have ranked as the TE8 from a season-long perspective.
9) Zach Ertz (ARI – TE)
The stage is set for Zach Ertz to volume hog his way to another top 12 tight end season. With DeAndre Hopkins missing a chunk of the season, Ertz should get off to a fantastic start. Last season without Hopkins in the lineup (Weeks 9-11, 15-18), Ertz saw a 23.7% target share and finished as a top ten tight end in 71.4% of his games. Arizona adding Marquise Brown and Trey McBride will muddy the target waters some, but Ertz’s role in the offense and Hopkins’ missing time should allow him to get off to a fast start and propel him to another TE1 season.
10) Dawson Knox (BUF – TE)
Dawson Knox has major red flags on his profile from his impending touchdown regression to super-low target rate per route run (14%), so any role that O.J. Howard potentially earns coming in is a massive problem. Considering Knox is being drafted in the middle-range of TEs (TE9) that typically have poor ROIs compared to guys going later, the Bills’ tight end remains hands-off.
11) Pat Freiermuth (PIT – TE)
No rookie tight end flew up the dynasty rankings more than Pat Freiermuth, who made his case as a fringe fantasy TE1 in Year 1. The Pittsburgh Steelers rookie ramped things up in Week 6 after an injury to Eric Ebron and never looked back.
Baby Gronk was the TE7 from that time forward, averaging 11.3 fantasy points per game seventh). He would go on to finish the year as the TE13 overall despite running a route on just 56% of dropbacks.
When starting and healthy, Freiermuth ran a route on 67% of dropbacks – a rate that would have ranked 15th-highest at the position in 2021. That’s the bare minimum usage fantasy drafters should expect to see from the Penn State product with Ebron gone in free agency.
12) Mike Gesicki (MIA – TE)
Mike Gesicki may see his target numbers dip in 2022 in a run-heavy offense alongside target magnets Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill. That will make his 2021 production difficult to replicate.
The tight end/slot receiver hybrid finished sixth in receptions, ninth in receiving yards, fourth in route participation (78%), and fifth in target share (17%) through 18 weeks of action of the 2021 season. This receiving and route volume led to only moderate success in fantasy football, as Mike Gesicki finished as TE9.
His efficiency metrics left something to be desired, though – he was 13th in fantasy points per game (9.9) and 15th in yards per route run. Part of that does fall on the up-and-down quarterback play, but it just further cements Gesicki as a good, not great tight end in fantasy football.
My biggest concern is that Gesicki has almost always underwhelmed after the catch – which will likely be a large part of the Dolphins new-look offense. His 3.2 YAC/reception ranked 41st of out 42 qualifying tight ends.
Gesicki did deliver worthwhile fantasy production at times, as displayed by his TE6 standing from Weeks 3-15 (11.5 fantasy points per game). And 94% of his snaps came lined up in the slot or out wide in 2021, which is another advantage for creating mismatches.
But all in all, he tends to only rise to the occasion for fantasy purposes when targets become available in the offense because of injuries to other players.
The athletic tight end will end up meeting his mid-range 2022 ADP/ECR based on his consistent play the past two seasons, but won’t enter the top-tier fantasy tight end conversation.
FantasyPros Staff Consensus 2022 Redraft Fantasy Football Rankings
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