2022 Fantasy Football Seasonal Position Takeaways: Tight End

2022-2023 Top 12 Tight Ends in Points Per Game (Half PPR, Weeks 1-17, minimum 10 games)

Travis Kelce: 15.9 ppg in 16 games George Kittle: 11.0 ppg in 14 games TJ Hockenson: 10.6 ppg in 16 games Mark Andrews: 10.3 ppg in 15 games Dallas Goedert: 9.7 ppg in 11 games Taysom Hill: 9.2 ppg in 15 games Zach Ertz : 9.2 ppg in 10 games Evan Engram: 8.5 ppg in 16 games Pat Freiermuth: 8.3 ppg in 14 games Dalton Schultz: 7.8 ppg in 14 games David Njoku: 7.8 ppg in 13 games Juwan Johnson: 7.4 ppg in 15 games


Kelce is worth any price

Back in July I wrote about why Travis Kelce was being undervalued in redraft leagues. Kelce proceeded to have one of the best fantasy seasons from a tight end ever. He averaged 19.2 PPR points per game, almost six points more than the next closest tight end (TJ Hockenson), on his way to his fifth TE-1 finish since 2016.

Now 33 years old, Kelce seems immune to regression as he continues to be the most dominant force in fantasy. There is not a draft spot for Kelce that would not have been worth it. He would have been the wide receiver five by points per game. His level of positional advantage is monumental. It is no surprise that he had a 71.7% roster rate for ESPN fantasy playoff teams, the fourth highest of the past six seasons.

Rookie tight ends can be somewhat relevant, but still not a priority

Avoiding rookie tight ends has been a fantasy football staple for years. Generational prospect Kyle Pitts is the only rookie to finish in the top ten of the position over the past five seasons. That pattern continued in 2022, but several rookies emerged as reliable options for portions of the season. Denver’s Greg Dulcich’s debut season was limited by injuries, but was the tenth best tight end from week six to 16. Tennessee fifth-rounder Chigoziem Okonkwo was a top-ten option from week 12 through the end of the season. Tampa Bay’s Cade Otton had multiple top-five weekly finishes.

All of those players were drafted at pick 80 or later. Were they worthy of being drafted in fantasy leagues? Probably not, but a rookie tight end without a significant draft capital investment shouldn’t rule them out from mid-season consideration. Tight ends take time to develop, but rookies can still be valuable streamers.

Draft your sleeper off of surrounding playmakers rather than talent

One of the most popular strategies for drafting tight ends is waiting until the end of the draft and taking a low-risk, high-reward player. This has paid off in the past for breakouts such as George Kittle, Mark Andrews, and Darren Waller. A few popular names this year were Cole Kmet, Irv Smith Jr., and Albert Okwuegbunam. Kmet took a while to get going, but finished the year as a top-12 tight end in total points. Smith Jr. and Okwuegbunam both flopped and lost their starting roles to other tight ends.

Others like Mike Gesicki and Dawson Knox were drafted as mid-tier tight ends due to their perceived talent, but underwhelmed. Meanwhile, Evan Engram and Juwan Johnson carved out roles on offenses with uncertainty with their playmakers and finished as tight end ones. Dalton Schultz had a similar breakout last season, emerging as a top option for Dallas in Michael Gallup’s absence. It can be appealing to take a bigger name, especially late in drafts, but surrounding talent can really cap upside. Tight ends that have the opportunity to be their team’s second, or even third option in a high-octane offense are the ones with league-winning potential.

Evan Engram

The Jaguars signed Evan Engram to a one-year prove-it deal and he shattered all expectations with Trevor Lawrence. Engram averaged double-digit PPR points over the season and was the tight end two after his week 11 bye week. The ultimate post-hype sleeper, Engram finally demonstrated the receiving ability that made him a first round pick for New York back in 2017.

If he is back in Jacksonville next season, which is in the best interest of both parties, he will be an enticing option in fantasy drafts. Calvin Ridley’s presence will cut a large chunk out of Engram’s 98 targets. Still, he proved himself as a weapon in the league and established chemistry with an ascending young quarterback.

Chigoziem Okonkwo

From week 12 to 17, only seven tight ends scored more fantasy points than Titans rookie H-back Chigoziem Okonkwo. The Maryland product was seen as a tweener coming out of the draft, but earned playing time as a versatile piece for Tennessee. The rookie finished the season with a respectable 450 yards and three touchdowns.

With another offseason to get up to speed on the NFL and build muscle, Okonkwo could be even more dangerous next year. Whether he is just a gadget player or becomes a legitimate top tight end, he is worth monitoring entering 2023 fantasy drafts.

Way-Too-Early 2023-24 Top 12 Tight End Rankings

Travis Kelce Mark Andrews TJ Hockenson George Kittle Kyle Pitts Dallas Goedert Pat Freiermuth Darren Waller Evan Engram Greg Dulcich Dalton Schultz Tyler Higbee


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