5 Best Ball Tight End Sleepers (2022 Fantasy Football)
We’ve reached the dead zone of the fantasy football year. Rookie drafts have wrapped up, and redraft leagues don’t start for several more weeks. While dynasty startup drafts are always a blast, it leads to a larger workload during the season. Instead, best ball drafts are a great way to pass the time and scratch the fantasy itch.
Best ball is different in many ways compared to traditional fantasy football. However, the one thing that remains the same is finding sleepers in the later rounds. Finding values in the later rounds can be the difference between winning the league and just missing out on making money.
Today, I have five sleeper tight ends you should target outside the top 20 in your best ball drafts.
The average draft position (ADP) used for this article comes from Underdog Fantasy.
David Njoku (CLE): ADP 173.6 | TE21
David Njoku has been a popular breakout candidate all offseason long. After a limited role the past few years, he will be the starter in 2022 after the Browns released Austin Hooper in the offseason. Furthermore, the Browns recently signed Njoku to a four-year extension worth $54.8 million. More importantly, the Browns lack proven pass-catchers other than Amari Cooper. Njoku led the team with four receiving touchdowns last season despite finishing third on the team in receptions. Whether Deshaun Watson or Jacoby Brissett is under center, Njoku should have a consistent target share this season. Drafting Njoku at his current ADP is borderline theft.
Hayden Hurst (CIN): ADP 181.8 | TE24
The Bengals lost long-time starter C.J. Uzomah in free agency this offseason. They replaced him with Hayden Hurst, who has been a fantasy disappointment since the Baltimore Ravens used a 2018 first-round pick on him. However, Hurst has been the No. 2 tight end on his team every year of his career except in 2020. As the starter in 2020, Hurst averaged a career-high 7.6 fantasy points per game and scored six touchdowns on 88 targets. By comparison, Uzomah averaged 6.8 fantasy points per game and scored six touchdowns on 74 targets in 18 career games with Joe Burrow. If you are targeting late-round tight ends in your draft, Hurst needs to be on your watch list.
Austin Hooper (TEN): ADP 186.4 | TE25
Shortly after the Browns released Hooper, he signed with the Titans. After the Titans traded A.J. Brown to Philadelphia, Hooper could have a fantasy impact this year. Two of the top three wide receivers on the Tennessee depth chart are rookies. While the team has high hopes for Treylon Burks and Kyle Philips, Ryan Tannehill could lean on Hooper early in the season. Furthermore, Robert Woods is coming off a torn ACL and might not be 100% ready to start the year. Hooper has scored at least three touchdowns every year of his career. The last time he played over 80% of the snaps in a season, Hooper averaged 7.5 targets and 11.9 fantasy points per game. Take a shot on Hooper with one of your final draft picks.
Brevin Jordan (HOU): ADP 208.5 | TE28
My favorite late-round tight end to target is Brevin Jordan. He was the TE29 on a points-per-game basis last year, averaging 5.1 fantasy points per game. However, Jordan produced for fantasy teams when targeted. He averaged 1.64 fantasy points per target last year. Furthermore, Jordan averaged 7.9 fantasy points per game in the four games with four or more targets. More importantly, the Texans leaned on Jordan in the red zone. Despite seeing only 28 targets last year, 14.3% of them came in the red zone, resulting in three touchdowns. The Houston offense lacks proven weapons other than Brandin Cooks, so Jordan has a path to a second-year breakout.
Rob Gronkowski (FA): ADP 213.1 | TE30
Did Rob Gronkowski really retire, or will he return at some point this season? While he announced his retirement a month ago, Gronk’s agent said he wouldn’t be surprised if Gronkowski returned this season if Tom Brady calls. Last year, Gronkowski was the TE4, averaging 12 fantasy points per game despite missing five games. Furthermore, he had a 17.2% target share despite a route participation rate of only 69.8%. If he returns, Gronk becomes a steal at his current ADP. It’s about upside when playing best ball, so take a chance with your last pick and grab Gronkowski. If he returns before Week 1, you probably won the league.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.