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Andrew Erickson’s Tight Ends to Target (2022 Fantasy Football)

Aug 16, 2022
Kyle Pitts

Kyle Pitts will likely be the top target in Atlanta, giving him great upside in a position with limited talent.

The 2022 NFL season is approaching, and that means it’s time to prepare for your fantasy football draft. What better way to do that than to practice drafting with our free mock draft simulator! Beyond our tools, we’re also going to have you covered throughout the draft prep season with our content.

One of the most important aspects of completing a successful fantasy football draft is knowing who to target. Sure, there could be ‘value’ that presents itself through the draft, but it’s important to know which players you should not only target as values but also those you need to circle on your cheat sheets and prepare to reach for if needed. Here are a few of Andrew Erickson’s fantasy football draft targets. You can find all of his top players to target in 2022 fantasy football drafts here.

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Andrew Erickson’s Tight Ends to Target

Kyle Pitts (TE – ATL)

My lone exception for targeting expensive players on good offenses is Falcons’ tight end, Kyle Pitts. He’s a unicorn, after all, so who better to break my rule of thumb?

At just 21 years old, Pitts finished third among tight ends in receiving yards (1,018, 60 per game) through 17 weeks of the season and third in route participation (80%) through 18 weeks.

He’s got so much talent that nobody will be surprised to see him take a massive step forward in Year 2. In fact, the last two 21-year-old rookie years (Justin JeffersonJuJu Smith-Schuster) to average at least 60 receiving yards per game as rookies – which Pitts also did – reached 1,400 yards in their second seasons.

And there’s a case to be made that tight end target projections are more essential than for wide receivers. In fact, entering last season, there was a very strong correlation between TEs leading their team in targets and also finishing top-three at their position.

Last season, the top four tight ends in points scored ranked inside the top eight in total targets (121 target average). Andrews (TE1) and Pitts (TE7) were the only tight ends last season to lead their team in total targets. Ertz was TE4 when he led Arizona in targets after being traded from the Eagles.

Simply put: Targets remain the life and bloodline for fantasy tight ends, even on questionable offenses.

Recall that Andrews was the TE1 last season despite playing with backup QBs for a large portion of the season. Hell, George Kittle posted an 88-1377-5 stat line in 2018 while playing with C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens

So clearly, there is a case to be made for a tight end of all-worldly talent rising to the occasion amid bad circumstances – especially when they are so clearly the alpha in their offense.

He’s got a chance to be an absolute cheat code in your TE slot as a locked-and-loaded WR1.

If he falls to the end of Round 3 or into Round 4, you have to pull the trigger.

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Dalton Schultz (TE – DAL)

Did Dalton Schultz’s 2021 TE4 finish really come out of nowhere? The Cowboys tight end actually finished 2020 as the TE12 but was left for dead in preseason rankings due to the return of Blake Jarwin.

Jarwin getting hurt again solidified Schultz as the primary tight end in the Dallas offense, although he was already emerging as Dak Prescott‘s preferred inline option before Jarwin was lost for the season.

Coming off a stellar season as PFF’s sixth-highest-graded tight end (78.2), Dallas placed the franchise tag on Schultz off the career season and released Jarwin.

Big D’s No. 1 tight end wrapped up the 2021 season sixth in route participation (77%) and third in overall routes run (586). The highly-coveted role within the constraints of a high-powered offense ensures that Schultz will be in the back-end fantasy TE1 conversation for the third straight season.

Only Darren Waller, Travis Kelce, and Mark Andrews have scored more fantasy points at the tight end position since the start of 2020. Schultz’s ADP has him linked closer to the second tier of tight ends rather than the aforementioned elite group.

With Dak Prescott’s trust firmly in hand and Amari Cooper out the door, it’s possible that Schultz builds off his ninth-ranked 16% target share entering Year 5.

Gerald Everett (TE – LAC)

Gerald Everett is easily one of my favorite late-round tight ends, so I am glad the consensus is finally starting to catch on. He was solid during stretches of the 2021 season, particularly after Russell Wilson returned from injury. The ex-Rams tight end ranked as the TE9 in fantasy points per game (PPR) from Weeks 10-16 while running a route on 74% of dropbacks.

Everett proved he can be the featured No. 1 tight end for the Chargers coming off a career year. He achieved career-highs in receptions (48) and receiving yards (478) and wreaked havoc with the ball in his hands, forcing 11 missed tackles after the catch — sixth-most among tight ends.

His peripheral metrics in Seattle’s offense — 12% target share, 63% route participation, and 17% target rate per route run — were nearly identical to Jared Cook in the Chargers’ offense last season.

Cook finished as TE16 overall, which seems like Everett’s fantasy floor heading into 2022. The tackle-breaking tight end finished the 2021 season just .4 points per game short of Cook’s average (8.3 versus 7.9) despite playing in an offense that ranked dead last in pass attempts per game (29.1).

L.A. ranked third in that category last season (39.6). They also ranked ninth in TE targets overall.

Breakout tight ends are generally athletic players who earn above-average route participation in high-powered offenses. Everett fits the profile of next season’s star at the position. And he’s still super cheap at TE23.

Andrew Erickson’s 2022 Redraft Fantasy Football Rankings

 

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