Reminder, I put the player’s 2021 ranking in parentheses after their name. The ranking is in a half-PPR league with pretty standard scoring.
The top 3 – QB Proof
- Mark Andrews (1) – Mark Andrews finished as TE1, and I see no reason to move him from that spot. The man was unbelievable, posting 107 catches for over 1,300 yards and 9 touchdowns. After week 2, he never saw less than 6 targets, and he typically had more than that. He is 26 years old, so he has plenty of time to be a stud in fantasy. He didn’t lose a step when Lamar went down, and I think he is the most valuable asset in dynasty for tight ends.
- Kyle Pitts (7) – Pitts managed to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving in an Atlanta offense that sputtered quite frequently. He may have had some duds this past season, but at 21 years old he is the top receiving target in that offense. Additionally, he only had 1 receiving touchdown this year. I have to think that number increases next year, regardless of who is under center.
- Travis Kelce (2) – It’s weird to put Kelce in the “QB Proof” category, I realize. But I have to keep him in my top 3. And in a way, the durability of Mahomes means that Kelce should have one of the best QBs throwing to him on a weekly basis. We’ll call it “reverse-QB proof.” Kelce is in his thirties now, but he does not seem to be slowing down. He had 92 receptions last season, and is still great after the catch. I think he still has a three-year window to be top tier.
Numbers 4, 5, & 6 – Floors on the rise
- George Kittle (4) – Kittle finished with 910 yards and 6 touchdowns, but honestly he had a down year. He had a few monster games that really beefed up his numbers. That being said, I can’t rank him much lower because we know the ability is there. He just needs the targets. He does have to share with Samuel, Aiyuk, and the general offense that prefers to run, but I don’t see him finishing much lower. In fact, I like him more with someone other than Garoppolo under center, so I still think he is an elite tight end in dynasty leagues.
- Darren Waller (18) – Waller underwhelmed this past season. He was plagued with injury, and he only found the endzone twice. The good news? He is still targeted a ton in this offense. At 29 he should have plenty left in the tank, and a full season should see him raise his floor with more touchdowns next season. I’m still content with him as my TE1 for now.
- Dallas Goedert (10) – Goedert finished as TE10 in an offense that ran the ball way too much. I know it got Philly to the playoffs, but they have to realize they need more through the air to compete against the best. Goedert exploded when Minshew was playing QB, and I think even with Hurts next year, they’ll look for the big tight end more. He remains a solid TE1 option for dynasty rosters.
Numbers 7, 8, & 9 – Youthful optimism
- T.J. Hockenson (15) – Hockenson is only 24 years old, and I think he should be considered a highly coveted tight end in dynasty leagues. He missed five games last year, so even at the status quo he is a top 10 TE with a full season next year. I also think the emergence of Amon-Ra St. Brown makes this passing offense at least something to be considered by opposing defenses. I think we see more targets for T.J. next season.
- Noah Fant (12) – Fant barely finished as a TE1 this past season, but the Broncos did not exactly have a high-powered offense. I think they will upgrade their QB this off-season, and Javonte Williams will have a break out year. With defenses having to commit to the run, I am optimistic about Denver’s top receivers, and their 24 year old tight end. He is still valuable in dynasty.
- Pat Freiermuth (13) – With Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement, we have the unfortunate task of speculating who will be throwing Freiermuth the ball. This shouldn’t matter. He proved to be a reliable red zone target, and a sure-handed receiver in general. Whomever is playing QB in Pittsburgh would be wise to target Pat Freiermuth frequently.
Numbers 10, 11, & 12 – Slightly scary situations
- Dalton Schultz (3) – Scary is probably an overreaction to the third-best TE from this past season. Nonetheless, Schultz is a free agent, and where he lands will matter. Additionally, his 8 touchdowns this past year is not a guarantee of his floor. I’m still keeping Schultz, but maybe selling high if someone likes him more than me. Either way, his team in 2022 will be a factor in him moving up or down as a tight end asset in dynasty.
- Mike Gesicki (11) – I wanted to rank my guy Gesicki higher on this list. I feel his floor should be on the rise due to the fact he only had 2 touchdowns last year. He also had a weird, 7 target-0 catch game against Baltimore. But I consider his situation slightly scary because I feel he should have broken out last year. I think the Tua Tagovailoa needs to play more consistently for Gesicki to be successful. The talent is definitely there, and age-wise he’s solid, but as a Mike Gesicki owner myself, I’m more uneasy than I want to be.
- Zach Ertz (6) – Ertz is a free agent this off-season, but has expressed interest in returning to the Cardinals. He is also 31 years old, so he isn’t exactly enticing as a tight end asset in dynasty. And even if he does return, he is likely to have to deal with DHop returning for more targets, and maybe even Maxx Williams back from injury. Why is he in my top 12 then? Well, TE is not a deep position. He has clearly developed a rapport with Kyler Murray, and I think both would benefit from him returning. I think he proved he has plenty left in the tank.
Hunter Henry – Henry had 9 touchdowns last year, and I’m not positive he’ll equal that next year. You also have to consider that Jonnu Smith is still there, so who knows when Belichick will use him to vulture Henry’s production. I think he’ll be productive next year, but I’m not giving up any dynasty value to get him on my team. I suppose I’m content if I have him though.
Dawson Knox – This may be my biggest omission, and I fully expect to feel like an idiot for leaving him off of my top 12 at the moment. That said, he finished TE8 due to his 9 touchdowns, and I need him to sustain something close to that next year before I’m completely sold. There are weapons-galore in Buffalo, and I’m nervous he won’t always be consistent.
Rob Gronkowski – He finished as TE5 in my league, but it looks like his pal Tom Brady is retiring. At 32 years old, he looks like he’s good-to-go physically, but I need to know his situation first before I keep him or spend on him.
Tight ends are a weird position, especially in non-TE premium leagues. There is typically quite a drop-off after the top 3-6 studs, which makes it quite difficult to gauge their value in a dynasty league.
So, did I miss anyone? Who should be higher? Lower? Feel free to let me know, @Jlime8 on Twitter.
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