Here is an in-depth look at my top-10 tight ends for the 2022 season.
# 1 Mark Andrews (BAL)
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.
# 2 Travis Kelce (KC)
After finishing as the fantasy TE1 for three straight seasons, Travis Kelce was finally de-throned by Mark Andrews in 2021. 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.
# 3 Kyle Pitts (ATL)
If Kyle Pitts' ADP is lower than it was in 2021, he will be a screaming value. At just 21 years old, Pitts finished third among tight ends in receiving yards (1,018) through 17 weeks of the season and third in route participation (80%) through 18 weeks. The rookie fell short of lofty preseason expectations, though, as he scored just one touchdown. Any other pass-catcher that compiled at least 1,000 receiving yards caught at least four touchdowns. With positive regression for Year 2 in his favor, draft the uber-talented Pitts aggressively everywhere in 2022.
# 4 Darren Waller (LV)
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.
# 5 George Kittle (SF)
Even though George Kittle didn't feel like a great investment as an early round selection in 2021 fantasy drafts, there's no denying his finish as the TE3 in both overall points and points per game (15.0) despite playing just 13 games. The 49ers tight end finished as PFF's highest-graded tight end (91.2) and repeated as the leader in yards per route run (2.35) among all tight ends for the fourth consecutive season.
# 6 Dalton Schults (DAL)
Dallas placed the franchise tag on Dalton Schultz off the career season and released veteran Blake 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 constrains of a high-powered offense ensures that Schultz will be in the back-end fantasy TE1 conversation for the third straight season.
# 7 TJ Hockenson (DET)
T.J. Hockenson's season cut short by injuries has left a bitter taste in fantasy football managers' mouths. But the hate is unwarranted, as Hockenson was well on his way to a career year with the Lions. Through 13 weeks, the Detriot Lions tight end ranked sixth in points per game, fifth in targets per game, first in route participation (85%), third in target share (19%) and third in air yard share. Averaging over one more fantasy point from the year prior, Hockenson fits the mold as a post-hype sleeper after he failed to truly break out in 2021.
# 8 Dallas Goedert (PHI)
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)
Ertz is the other big winner in the wake of Deandre Hopkins' suspension. The former Eagle broke out in the Arizona Cardinals offense during the last four weeks of the season with Hopkins sidelined. Ertz was TE4 over that stretch averaging seven receptions per game (24% target share).
# 10 Cole Kmet (CHI)
No tight end should make a bigger leap in 2022 than the third-year tight end, whose upside has been capped by a lack of touchdown equity with veteran Jimmy Graham rearing his ugly head the past few seasons. But Graham's currently a free agent, opening the door for Kmet to smash in 2022. Kmet checks off all the boxes for a tight end breakout, and that's exactly why I have him ranked three spots ahead of consensus at TE13.