3 Tight Ends to Avoid (2022 Fantasy Football)
Welcome fantasy friends and foes to the “3 Do Not Draft Tight Ends” for the 2022 Fantasy Football season.
Plenty of data and articles explain why a specific player is someone you should target and why he is a breakout player. However, it is just as essential to focus on the players to avoid in your fantasy drafts.
Here are three tight ends fantasy managers should not draft at their current draft capital.
Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki is coming off a 2021 season in which he caught 73 of his 112 targets for 780 yards and two scores. Gesicki will play the 2022 season on the franchise tag and head into free agency in 2023. That’s relevant with the new regime in Miami led by head coach Mike McDaniel. McDaniel is expected to implement an offensive scheme that uses in-line tight ends persistently. Gesicki is a big, athletic target whose blocking ability has improved, but he is primarily one-dimensional as a pass-catching tight end. His inability to block effectively limited Gesicki to only starting nine of his 17 games in 2021.
McDaniel will add creativity and a run-first mentality to the Dolphins’ offense, which will be essential with the additions of Tyreek Hill and a group of running backs including Sony Michel and Raheem Mostert. In addition, the added firepower and the growth of wide receiver Jaylen Waddle should be instrumental in upgrading an offense that can match their elite defense and make the Dolphins an AFC playoff contender.
Gesicki suddenly finds himself a minimal option in an offense led by unproven quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. With his limited touchdown production and sharing of targets, it is challenging to imagine drafting Gesicki as a TE1 for your fantasy roster.
Hunter Henry was a major free agent signing last season for the New England Patriots, and fellow tight end Jonnu Smith never materialized as a viable weapon in the Patriots’ offense. On the other hand, Henry became a vital component of the Patriots’ offense and developed chemistry with rookie quarterback Mac Jones. The former Charger finished with 50 receptions on 75 targets for 603 yards and nine receiving touchdowns. However, his involvement in the offense was somewhat puzzling. Henry finished with five catches in only nine of his 17 games. In addition, Henry was only on the field for 66.5 percent of New England’s snaps last season.
Fantasy managers should also not look to draft Henry because of his limited upside. The Patriots are not even sure who their offensive coordinator will be in 2022 after Josh McDaniels left to become the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. Bill Belichick might run the offense, or it could be Matt Patricia or even Joe Judge. I think I even got a text asking me to run the offense. There is plenty of uncertainty in the Patriots’ offense, even with the addition of wide receiver DeVante Parker and rookie wideout Tyquan Thornton. The pass targets will be spread across multiple weapons in a more conservative offense. A run-first offensive philosophy should limit the pass-catching options leading to a more significant likelihood that Henry is a touchdown-or-bust tight end. Therefore, fantasy managers should look to invest their draft capital in tight ends with more upside than Henry as the TE11.
Dawson Knox is this year’s Robert Tonyan – a tight end who was not much of a fantasy factor but became a league-winning tight end for fantasy managers. Knox posted career-highs across the board with 49 catches on 71 targets for 587 yards and nine touchdowns last season, which tied for the league lead among tight ends with Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, and Hunter Henry. His catch percentage increased from 56 percent and 54 percent of his passes in his first two seasons to a healthy 69 percent last season. Knox capitalized on 12 of his 19 targets in the red zone but suffered a 16.7 percent overall target rate, allowing him to finish 28th among tight ends. This type of super-efficiency will not hit the fantasy lottery, and Knox’s touchdown regression will push him down the tight end ladder.
The Bills added offensive weapons this offseason, including tight end OJ Howard, who has never lived up to first-round hype but has the potential to flourish with the number of weapons in this offense. First-time offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey will have the luxury of utilizing two-tight end sets, allowing versatility and commanding attention from opposing defensive coordinators. Another emerging weapon is probably the most hyped player on the Bills, wide receiver Gabriel Davis. His fantasy stock could not be any higher after his record-setting performance against the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs last season. Additionally, the Bills drafted running back James Cook, whose pass-catching skills should provide a legit threat out of the backfield for quarterback Josh Allen.
Last season, Knox finished as the TE9 solely based on his touchdown performance. Fantasy analysts still believe that Knox will perform to those expectations again in 2022 with his TE9 ranking, but touchdown regression is real. Look for Knox to score half of those nine touchdowns this season in the improved Buffalo offense, which decreases his value and places him barely as a TE1 for fantasy managers.
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