Technically August doesn’t have any federal holidays in it. But to me, the entire month is a cause for celebration. Because it signifies the official start of football season. Training camp is underway, fantasy football mock drafts have begun, the birds are chirping, and so are the trolls on Twitter. Well, chirp away my sweet little Twitter eggs because nothing can bother me once fantasy football season rolls around.
As always, in preparation for the start of America’s real pastime, we’ve been rolling out our annual tight end series. And guess what? It’s time for the final and best article of the bunch! For those just catching up, here is where we are at in the four-part series.
- What Makes An Elite Tight End - Article with crucial tight end concepts
- 2022 Elite Tight Ends - The “standalone” options
- 2022 Tight End Fades - Guys to avoid at ADP
- Yin & Yang Tight End - Late round tight end draft strategy - which is this article!
I know what you are thinking - what in tarnation is Yin & Yang tight end? Well, since I already know what you are thinking, why don’t I just do a quick Question and Answer session where I force you to ask all the questions I feel like answering? That should speed things up.
What Is Yin & Yang Tight End?
Wow, great question! The concept is simple. If you pay up for one of the elite tight ends in the second article of the series, then you’ve already made your bet. You are invested. All you need to worry about is finding a fill-in for their bye week. Here are those players, as a quick reminder.
If you don’t draft one of those players, you should be drafting two tight ends. And you should be using our late-round tight-end pairing strategy, Yin & Yang Tight End, to do so.
Which is the Yin?
This is a safe player that you can be reasonably confident won’t fall flat on their face Week 1. They might not have the highest ceiling but they have a decent enough floor that they shouldn’t get you a zero in your early matchups. A lot of these players don’t have some of the crucial metrics we mentioned in our Tight End Bible, which caps their long term upside, but they at least have a set role in the offense and could even score a touchdown or two in any given week. This player is your Yin.
And the Yang?
These players are high risk. We might not be sure where they fall on the target pecking order and, for some of them, they might not really end up being involved at all. The floor is lava. On the flip side, they present some path to high reward upside. Some of them could even LEAD their team in targets. Given the uncertainty, you can’t really trust them to start for you right away but you want to stash them to see if you can catch lightning in a bottle. This is your Yang.
Why Do You Call It That? That Is Stupid.
Pretty rude question but I’ll answer it anyway. I could get all philosophical on you here, saying something about the definition of Yin and Yang in terms of opposites creating balance or whatever. But the reality is that it’s exhausting to spend an entire article categorizing guys as “safe but low ceiling, medium floor players” and “high risk, high reward upside stash tight ends”. So instead I just explain the definitions once and call them Yin and Yang. So that’s the reason. It’s because I’m lazy and selfish and those are arguably the two shortest words I could have used.
Why Not Just Only Draft The Safe Guy?
Safe guy? You mean “Yin”? We explained that in the very beginning of the first article under the section titled The Goal. But the short and sweet is that having a backend TE1 all season long gives you no advantage. It’s essentially a one-way express ticket to third place.
Why Not Just Draft The Risky Guy? Or Two Risky Guys?
You don’t just draft the one risky guy because you can’t afford to bleed losses while you scramble on the waiver wire looking for a tight end. Sometimes these high-risk, high-reward guys are Darren Waller and sometimes they are Juwan Johnson. So you want to have at least someone you can trust while we wait and see if our lotto ticket hits.
In terms of the second question, about taking two risky guys? Well, that’s actually a good question and I’m not necessarily opposed to that - if you’ve got the stones to join the #YangYangGang. Just know that you could not only be bleeding losses early but you might also be using two roster spots on bad tight ends - if we knew they were going to be good, they would be in the Elite article. There is a reason a lot of these guys are going late.
What If The Yang Doesn’t Break Out?
You drop him and add the next guy. We aren’t always just going to hit on Mark Andrews at TE15 or Darren Waller at TE18 with our first stab at a Yang TE. Sometimes you have to get down into the waiver wire to find a guy like Dalton Schultz, who virtually no one was drafting in his breakout season. If the Yang you draft doesn’t look like he’s going to hit, we swap him out for the next upside play. Rinse and repeat. In 2020, I thought Jimmy Graham was a good value at his ADP (and he was, as TE25 that finished as TE11). But, after the first week, there was a tight end who had better behind the scene metrics and usage. So that’s who we recommended to add instead - he finished as the TE3. At the end of the day, we have to put our biases aside and trust the process. And that process doesn't end with the draft.
Okay Enough Already. Which Tight Ends Should We Draft??
I’m glad you asked - why didn’t you just ask that right from the start?
YIN Tight Ends (Medium Floor, Medium Ceiling)
There is going to be a hole in your ship. You only get so many early picks and there are only so many game-changing players. If you’re like us, you’ll be using a lot of those early picks on running backs and wide receivers. So you’ll be waiting on tight end and keeping the boat afloat with the Yin & Yang strategy.
Your Yin tight end is here to help you tread water early on. Best case scenario, they plug the hole in the ship while you locate this year’s SS Mark Andrews. Worst case, you don’t find a better guy so you start them all year and hope that the receivers and running back have enough firepower to sink your opponents. You are going to have bye weeks anyway so, even if your Yang hits, the Yin doesn't just immediately become cannon fodder. In an ideal world, you start them early and on the Yang's bye week then trade them.
You don’t necessarily NEED to draft a Yin before you draft your Yang, as long as you end up with someone safe to rely on while we search for upside. Sure, guys like rookie Darren Waller and Dalton Schultz etc. finished top five but you weren’t starting them Week 1. Everyone remembers that Logan Thomas finished as TE3 in 2020 but they forget that he was TE26 through five weeks. Some of these Yin players might seem like big clunky tugboats but they’ll keep your socks dry before the cavalry comes. Or Navy, whatever - nautical metaphors are over.
As always, we will give you The Good and The Bad on each player which will be as unbiased as possible so you can make your own decisions if you want. Then we will give you The Advice which is what we are doing in our leagues.
The number one thing we harp on is a tight end’s path to targets. The VAST majority of top five tight ends in fantasy football are top two on their team in targets. Ole Schultzy boy not only pulled that off last year but, with Amari Cooper gone and Michael Gallup looking to start on the PUP list, he’s in a prime position to potentially accomplish that feat once again. The Cowboys were 2nd in pass attempts in 2020 and 5th in pass attempts in 2021 and there’s no real reason to believe that onslaught of passing should slow down.
With that volume, Schultz last year was third in receptions, fourth in targets, and fifth in touchdowns among all tight ends. He played the second most pass snaps of any tight end and he lined up at wide receiver for the 9th most snaps of any tight end. In terms of surface level stats, you can't really ask for much more than that.
JJ Zachariason summed it up pretty well a week or so ago on Twitter with this comment on Dalton Schultz.
All those stats listed above? Those are virtually all counting stats that are based on the situation. When you pull back the curtain a bit, it’s not so good. Here is a quick list.
- He’s slow (4.75 40-yard dash)
- He is not great vs. man to man. According to Pro Football Focus, he literally have more receptions that were completely uncovered (15) than he did vs. man-to-man (14). The rest were against zone.
- Mediocre Yards Per Route Run (1.52)
- Mediocre aDot (7.1)
- Limited YAC/REC (4.4)
- Less than ideal pass blocking percentage (9.4%)
If this dude was allowed to hit free agency and go to another team, he would have been a shoo-in for the “Most Likely To Be Overpaid And Be This Year’s Austin Hooper” Award. In fact, his best comparable player on PlayerProfiler is… Austin Hooper.
Normally we would have a guy like this in The Fades article, to be completely honest. But the unique combination of a potentially high-end pass attack and Michael Gallup missing games early puts him in a good position - at least early in the season. I mean, the three starting wide receivers missing a combined 11 games last year is what helped Schultz get the volume he needed right? I really don’t love him at his current ADP of TE6 and pick 61 overall but, if you wanted to be as conservative as possible without taking a top tight end, you can draft Schultz to start for you early in the season while Gallup is out then use a late pick/bench spot chasing upside. Worst case scenario you still have boring old Dalton Schultz that you can continue to start and he could finish top five anyway if he gets a hot enough start. But beware that he may cool off when Gallup returns. Personally, I’m not reaching for this guy at his price but I’ll take him if he slides far enough to become a value. Gallup missing time early makes him a quintessential Yin.
There is so much to like here.
- A first-round pick out of Iowa, AKA, Tight End University where George Kittle and Noah Fant also went.
- According to Player Profiler, the best comparable player for George Kittle is TJ Hockenson. The best comparable player for TJ Hockenson is Travis Kelce. The best comparable player for Travis Kelce is Rob Gronkowski. It's like a “who's who?” of who's awesome.
- Despite tight ends generally starting slow and him only being 25, he already has a 100+ target, top five TE season under his belt
- He played ~24 pass snaps per game at WR last year which was 7th best of any tight end
- Through week 12 when he injured his thumb, he led the Lions in targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns.
The number one most important criteria for us is leading your team in targets or at least being second and Hockenson seems to be primed for that once again. So what’s the rub?
If you were to take TJ Hockenson and swap him with Travis Kelce, where there is an elite quarterback and a high-powered offense that is designed to run through him, then we’d have Hockenson ranked up near where we have Travis Kelce ranked. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. And there are some concerns about how the offense is going to operate this year.
The Lions were clearly doing a bridge year. I wrote an entire article spelling it out but the short and sweet is they let a bunch of guys leave and didn’t sign anyone so they could collect compensatory picks. That included their split end Kenny Golladay and their flanker Marvin Jones. This year they went out and got a split end in DJ Chark and traded up in the first round of the draft for a flanker in Jameson Williams. There is undoubtedly more target competition than before when you factor in running backs D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams as well as slot man Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Even more concerning is that the offensive shift in targeting Amon-Ra St. Brown heavily might not be entirely related to the injuries to Hockenson and Swift (though that was undoubtedly part of it). The shift also coincided with Anthony Lynn being relieved of playcalling duties with Ben Johnson and Dan Campbell becoming more involved. Hockenson was the target leader early on under Lynn but there is no guarantee he comes back to lead the team in targets again with the new play callers.
Of the Yin tight ends, Hockenson clearly has the highest upside. With his path to potentially leading his team in targets, he could honestly be in the Yang section. If he is clearly the top target on the team early, we’ll move him up to the Standalone TE section of the rankings and symbolically dust off our hands at a job well done. But here’s how I view the situation for now. Hock should be fairly “safe” regardless of whether he is the top target on the team or if he ends up third/fourth. Like Schultz, you should have a few weeks before Jameson Williams is healthy and up to speed where you can feel pretty good about starting him. But the new weapons, change in play caller, and mediocre quarterback play leave a lot to be desired so we simply don’t trust him as a standalone tight end from the jump.
On top of that, the Lions actually have the earliest by week of any team at Week 6. So you really are going to need another tight end fairly early in the season anyway - whether you draft one or drop someone for one. So for me, I’m taking Hockenson if I can get him for a good price (currently TE7 at ADP of 73 overall). And I’m starting him Week 1 if I draft him. But I’m also taking a stab on another high-risk, high-reward player later - even if it ends up just being for Week 6 before I trade one of them.
Zach Ertz has been the very definition of “steady”. We are talking about a guy who has finished as a top-six tight end in fantasy football in five of the last six years, including last year. The Eagles may have wanted to move on because they had Dallas Goedert waiting in the wings but, between a few games with the birds before being traded to the other birds, he put together these tight end stats:
- Second most red zone targets
- Third most end zone targets
- Third most overall targets
- Fifth most receptions
- Seventh most routes run from a WR spot
All good things. And they showed their confidence in him by not only bringing him back but giving him a three-year deal that should keep him with the team for a minimum of the next two years before it’s affordable to release him. If the team was concerned about his age or a potential decline, that would have likely been a one-year deal or something with an option to cut bait in 2023.
A big plus for Ertz is the scheme. In its purest form, the “Air Raid” offense is supposed to a high-flying passing offense heavily utilizing four wide receiver sets with the offensive linemen having bit splits to spread things out. Due to the nature of that, Ertz actually played more snaps at wide receiver (391) than he did in-line (254) with the Cardinals. In fact, the only game where he played more in-line snaps than WR snaps was the very first game he got there in Week 7. In Week 15 for instance, he played 50 snaps at WR, 16 in-line, and one in the backfield. This usage is highly conducive to pass catching and, with Christian Kirk gone and DeAndre Hopkins slated to miss the first six weeks, he should once again have an opportunity to play a ton of slot.
We obviously have to mention age here. He’s 31 and will turn 32 during the season. As we mentioned in the Travis Kelce section, there have only been two tight ends to record 1,000+ yard seasons at the age of 32 or older. One of them happened in 1965 and the other was Tony Gonzalez who might actually be a vampire.
But it’s not just the age that’s a barrier to 1,000 yards. We’ve talked extensively about what makes an elite tight end and how speed can not only help you in terms of YAC but also aDOT? Well, Ertz doesn’t have it. Never did. Here is his profile via Player Profiler.
That’s part of why Ertz only has one 1,000-yard season in his career. Based on his low(ish) aDot and lack of high-end speed, he needs a heavy volume of targets to be fantasy relevant. And he should be able to get a decent amount, especially while DeAndre Hopkins is out but it could be crowded down the stretch with the addition of Marquise Brown this offseason.
You put The Good and The Bad together here and my conclusion should be pretty obvious. Zach Ertz is a rock solid player that should make for the perfect Yin - especially for the first six weeks while Hopkins is suspended. The concern is down the stretch but that gives you at least six weeks to try to find this year’s breakout at tight end. His current ADP is TE9 off the board around pick ~100 or so and that makes him one of my most popular picks since I can wait, take Ertz, and then take another high upside guy off the Yang list. Alexa play, “This Is How We Do It”.
Other Yin Options
Dallas Goedert - Talked about him in The Fades article but he also fits our criteria as a Yin. I don’t find myself taking him much since he goes over a round before Ertz on average and I prefer Ertz. But he should be fairly “safe”. ADP: TE8.
Dawson Knox - Knox is an interesting one because he could be in the mix to be a top two target but it also could be thin with Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, Jameson Crowder, and Isaiah McKenzie over there. I like him best in Best Ball leagues where touchdown dependency doesn’t matter as much but pairing Knox with an upside play later is certainly viable - especially in standard or half PPR formats. ADP: TE10
Gerald Everett - High volume pass attack but he might not even be the third option on the team, let alone second. Everyone thinks of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams while forgetting that Austin Ekeler is a 90-100 target guy as well. ADP: TE18
Tyler Higbee - Same as it ever was. Not a top target on the team. Not super athletic. Either scores a TD or doesn’t. Has to be a real deep league for me to go there. ADP: TE20
Hayden Hurst - Same deal. With Chase, Higgins, and Boyd, he might actually be two injuries away from any sort of upside. Yawn. ADP: TE24
Greg Dulcich - Early rumors indicate that he’s in the discussion for starting tight end in Denver. Even then, he likely wouldn’t be a top two target on the team. ADP: TE34
Yang Tight Ends (Low Floor, High Ceiling)
We’re going to the moon folks. We’ve got our Yin tight end, which is essentially the rocket boosters to get us going early on. And then our Yang will be the capsule that helps use coast to victory over those filthy Russian commies. I mean, our fantasy football league mates. Perhaps you are bold enough to draft one of these guys and start them week one (or two of them and go #YangYangGang) but each of these next guys has some serious upside as well as some pretty scary cause for concern. But, in the later rounds, all we care about is upside. And, as you can see, there is usually some upside out there lurking, even deep in drafts.
- Top 2 target on his team? Check (2nd behind Mooney)
- Block on less than 15% of pass plays? Check (11.7%)
- Line up at WR often? Check (8th most WR snaps of any TE)
- Run real high aDot routes? Check (8.1-yard aDot is in line with guys like Travis Kelce and TJ Hockenson)
These are arguably the most important aspects for a tight end - especially being a top two target on the team given how rare it is for a third target tight end to have top-five upside. We know that the barriers to entry for top five TEs in PPR are 90+ targets or double-digit touchdowns and Kmet already had 93 targets last year. This offseason the wide receiver group actually got WORSE with Allen Robinson leaving and them only bringing in guys like Byron Pringle and rookie Velus Jones Jr. And I know that Jimmy Graham was merely a shadow of his former self at this stage of the game but Graham was quietly a nuisance for Kmet last year. No more.
Now let’s look at the rest of our criteria for breakout tight ends and see how he does there.
- Run real fast? Not check (4.70 40-yard dash is fine but nothing special)
- Create for himself vs man? Not check (only 9 receptions vs man)
- A knack for scoring? Definitely not check (0 TDs)
- High volume offense? No.
Now, these aren’t necessarily the end of the world as the targets are the most important thing. But they certainly make life difficult. We said Zach Ertz is not an elite speedster and Cole Kmet is in a similar range for speed. He’s not likely to rack up the YAC anytime soon. We talked about how the ability to beat man coverage is CRUCIAL for red zone success - Cole Kmet struggled in both facets. When you draft Cole Kmet you are betting that he will improve
You are also betting that this new offense will be favorable for him. Say what you will about Matt Nagy, I’m sure none of it is good, but the offense itself was designed to be good for Cole Kmet. He was playing in that Travis Kelce role running a ton of routes at wide receiver. The last time Luke Getsy was calling plays was 2018 Mississippi State and the quarterback ran the ball 221 times in 12 games. The combo of Getsy and Justin Fields doesn't exactly give you a warm and fuzzy feeling about the pass volume.
Cole Kmet is absolutely worth the price of admission. When we are looking for a Yang tight end, we stop caring about floor - all we care about is upside. Kmet is one of the few tight ends in this entire league where we can feel comfortable about him being a top two target on the team. We want exposure to those players. Waiting on tight end then double tapping two of them with Cole Kmet at TE12 off the board based on current ADP is what this strategy is all about.
We just talked about how Cole Kmet hasn’t been great against man-to-man. Well, Henry is the opposite of that. Henry was great at it during his time with the Chargers and, even with a rookie quarterback in a lower volume pass attack, he earned the 8th most targets of any tight end vs. man-to-man and had the 8th most receptions.
On top of that, he lined up at wide receiver for 73.2% of his pass plays which was a higher rate than Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz even. You take a guy that can line up out wide and beat corners in one on one situations and it’s no surprise that he tied for the league lead in touchdown receptions for tight ends with nine. Touchdowns can be a fluky stat but the ability to just flat out beat the guy covering you (or at least be bigger than him) is a skill that translates both from team to team and from year to year. Most goal line situations are “zero coverage” meaning one on one with no safety help. That's why it's such an important skill.
There have also been rumors about the Patriots running a new offense. Some of them have been confirmed by guys like Kendrick Bourne and Jakob Johnson. In fact, Johnson told us that he won’t be on the Patriots because they are cutting out the fullback position entirely. This team was in the bottom ten in pass attempts last year so it can’t really get much worse.
Or maybe it can get worse. Offensive mastermind Josh McDaniels is gone. The Patriots just announced their coaching titles and they literally don’t have an offensive coordinator. Instead, they plan to replace him with a combination of Joe Judge, Matt Patricia, and Bill Belichick himself - three defensive-minded coaches scrambling to figure out which end of the foosball is the top. What could go wrong?
On top of that, Hunter Henry isn’t quite a clear top target on the team. They traded for a legitimate split end in DeVante Parker, last year’s target leader Jakobi Meyers is back, and Kendrick Bourne had a bit of a break-out season playing only about 50% of the snaps. Oh, and they literally have another capable pass-catching tight end in Jonnu Smith. Much like Zach Ertz, Hunter Henry isn’t the most swift of creatures so he’s going to need targets if he’s going to rack up big numbers. And when I say “much like Zach Ertz”, I mean almost exactly like Zach Ertz as that’s his most comparable player on PlayerProfiler.
We are looking for high-risk, high-reward here, right? Of course, it’s risky to go after a tight end with a young quarterback in an uncertain offense. But, after the first few tight ends come off the board, uncertainty is your friend. Hunter Henry was able to lead all tight ends in touchdowns in 2021 in his first year on the team playing with a rookie quarterback. If Mac Jones takes a step forward and Hunter Henry keeps his spot as a top two target on the team, why can’t Hunter Henry hit one of the two thresholds we are looking for: 90+ targets or 10+ TDs? At TE 15 based on our composite ADP, he’s the exact kind of guy you can take as your second tight end to stash just to see how the offense looks over the first couple of weeks. Things could shake out in our favor.
Yeah, I know. You don’t have to tell me. We’ve been doing this for years now. And for years, he’s broken our hearts. But guess what my little fantasy football cherubs? I still believe. So much so, that I’ve already written an entire article on just this one player. Here is a quick synopsis of that but I encourage you to read the full write-up if you want in on Engram.
Evan Engram was a top 5 tight end in fantasy as a rookie with Eli Manning. Since then, he has struggled with injuries and with bad QB play (last two seasons Daniel Jones had more turnovers than touchdowns and the Giants have been dead last in offensive touchdowns). Despite that, Engram in 2020 was fourth in targets, fifth in receptions, and eighth in yards among tight ends. For that effort, he was voted to the Pro Bowl by his peers (the fans voted for TJ Hockenson and Robert Tonyan).
Now, let’s take a moment to think about what we look for in breakout tight end seasons. Engram does not block on pass plays and he’s built more like a split end than a tight end. As the full article points out with examples from Player Profiler, some of his best comparable players in terms of size and speed are guys like Andre Johnson and Chase Claypool.
Engram is arguably the fastest tight end in the league. So he’s not going to spend a lot of time with his hand in the dirt. He now goes to a new team with a lot of moving parts so he has a real chance to be a top two target on the team, competing with guys like Marvin Jones and Christian Kirk. The coach, Doug Pederson, also has a history of success with pass-catching tight ends like Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Engram has finally been given a clean slate and, if Trevor Lawrence takes a step forward, perhaps there will be some red zone/end zone targets in his future as well.
Or Engram might suck. It’s within the range of outcomes. He has a well-documented history of drops in this league, even if he only dropped the ball four times last year per Pro Football Focus. The Jaguars weren’t the organization that used a first-round pick on him and they only have him on a one-year deal so they might not feel the same obligation to him that the Giants did. If he shows up in Jacksonville and he’s making the same mistakes in terms of drops, tipped passes for interceptions, coming up short on third down etc. then he might not even be on the field - they have Dan Arnold waiting in the wings.
Since we don’t know how the targets will shake out, there’s also a very real chance that Engram is not only not first or second in the target pecking order but he might not be third or fourth. They already had Marvin Jones Jr. and Laviska Shenault then they went out and paid Christian Kirk and Zay Jones a boat load of money. On top of that, Travis Etienne is a very capable pass-catching back that happens to be playing alongside his college quarterback. It could be fairly thin over there in target distribution.
And if THAT wasn’t enough, this Jaguars team isn’t exactly some great oasis to save Engram from his touchdown drought. Remember we talked about how the Giants have scored the least touchdowns over the last two years? Well, the Jaguars are third (Jets are second). The Giants were last in touchdowns last year with 24 and the Jaguars were second to last with 28. The change in scenery might not even be an upgrade.
At this ADP, I do not care one bit about the downside. We are talking about TE22 here at pick 165. Most fantasy gamers aren’t even playing the game we are - they are still playing like it’s 2005 where you read in some magazine that you can NEVER draft more than one quarterback or tight end or the boogeyman will come to get you.
In the early parts of fantasy football drafts, we want certainty. We want to know if our draft capital is being put to good use. In the later parts, uncertainty is our friend. Who cares if you are wrong with your last pick or two - you are going to be making waiver moves aren’t you? With his athleticism and even the possibility he could be a top two target on his team, he’s absolutely worth a shot. And I’m drafting him in essentially every single league. And if he sucks, guess what? We drop him and use the bench spot on the next hot tight end pickup. That’s how Yin & Yang Tight End works.
Other Yang Option
David Njoku - If Deshaun Watson somehow gets cleared to play then Njoku would likely shoot up this list. He has the athleticism and he could be the second target after Amari Cooper. But Jacoby Brissett isn’t super inspiring as quarterback. Eric Ebron was a Pro Bowler with Andrew Luck then the following year with Brissett he was useless. ADP: TE21
EDIT: Deshaun Watson's suspension has been recommended to only be six games. If this stands, Njoku because a very appealing option.
Brevin Jordan - The top target on the Texans is Brandin Cooks. Rookie John Metchie unfortunately just announced that he’s been diagnosed with leukemia and is expected to miss the season. That leaves Nico Collins and Brevin Jordan as the most likely candidate to be next in targets. Certainly worth taking a stab on with deep benches or in best ball. ADP: TE29
Austin Hooper - We talked about Dalton Schultz being compared to Austin Hooper athletically as a negative earlier in this article - well, Austin Hooper is very comparable to Austin Hooper athletically which isn't ideal. That said, Robert Woods is recovering from a torn ACL and there have been some reports that Treylon Burks might need some development. That leaves the door open for Austin Hooper who Ryan Tannehill himself had some encouraging things to say about. ADP: TE24
Daniel Bellinger - Not only has Bellinger earned the starting tight end role but they put the only other truly viable pass catching tight end, Ricky Seals-Jones, on season ending IR. He still has a lot of target competition but that's one hurdle cleared.
Robert Tonyan - Yes, Robert Tonyan. Despite the amount of bashing I’ve done of Tonyan the last couple years, the departure of Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling left a lot of target up for grabs. He’s coming off the ACL and he’s not that great at creating for himself so he’s more of a “watch list” guy for me. But he now has upside he's never had before and his ADP isn't as stupidly high as it was last year so he's no longer a pure fade. ADP: TE19
Logan Thomas - When healthy, Logan Thomas essentially plays 100% of the snaps and lines up at wide receiver for most of them. In the first three games before he got hurt last year, he literally played 100% of the snaps. That’s how he managed to finish as a top five tight end the year before. Unfortunately, he suffered an ACL tear late in the season and might not be ready to go to start the year. He’s an interesting stash, especially where you have IR spots. ADP: TE22
Edit: Logan Thomas has been removed from the PUP list - if they left him on, he would have needed to miss a minimum of four weeks meaning they expect him back early. Still draft another tight end to start week 1 but he becomes more intriguing now.
CJ Uzomah - Probably not a focal point of the team and probably not even top three with Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Garrett Wilson there. But there is a lot of uncertainty when you are building a new offense and they did pay him a lot of money so who knows. ADP: TE27
Isaiah Likely - After an impressive camp, Likely has emerged as a name to keep an eye on. He doesn't “likely” have elite upside right away since he'll be behind Mark Andrews on the depth chart and at least Rashod Bateman in the target pecking order. But they run a lot of two tight end sets. He's mostly a dyno stash but might be one of the few true tight end handcuffs. The other tight end handcuffs that could be viable with an injury are Jody Fortson and Greg Dulcich.
Colts Tight Ends - Hopefully training camp will give us some more clarity on this situation because it's a tough read. You have Mo Allie-Cox as the presumed starter but he blocked more than any tight end on the team last year - even more than Jack Doyle. The team has stressed how important it is to replace the blocking of Jack Doyle but we don't necessarily want the guy blocking. Then you have Kylen Granson who was supposed to take on a Trey Burton-type role but didn’t get much playing time. Then of course there is intriguing rookie Jelani Woods. After Michael Pittman, we don’t know what the target distribution will be like so this is a situation to monitor (I’ll update this as new information comes to light). As of now, they are all more watch-list guys than guys to draft but I’m leaning towards Granson.
Are There Rankings Available?
I thought the Question and Answers session was done but I will answer this one last question. Due to the nonlinear nature of this strategy, it’s difficult for some to conceptualize the way to go about drafting. Well, the good news for those folks is, we’ve found a way to perfectly visualize the strategy in our Dynamic Tier Rankings! And, the even better news, is that those rankings are available and routinely updated FOR FREE in our 2022 Fantasy Football Draft Guide! Doesn’t get much better than that, am I right?
For now, here is a quick look at the initial rankings for this strategy that you can print and use for drafts. Moving forward, the rankings will be updated regularly within the draft guide so make sure to check that link above for the latest updates. And follow Coop on Twitter at @CoopAFiasco!
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