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Fantasy Football: Tight End Targets Guide

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Welcome to the Tight End Targets Guide! We all know that the tight-end pool is shallow. The difference in fantasy points between TE1 and TE2 last season was 23.3 points. The difference between TE1 and TE5 was 77.9 fantasy points.  Whew, this makes a difference when drafting your tight end position.

So do you expend all your energy going for TE1 or TE2, or do you just wait because you know the difference in fantasy points and all?

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Fantasy Football: Tight End Targets Guide

NAME TARGETS TARGET SHARE RECEPTIONS RECEIVING YARD RED ZONE TARGETS DEEP TARGETS YARDS AFTER CATCH FANTASY POINTS
Mark Andrews 154 26.6% 107 1361 20 20 431 194.1
Travis Kelce 134 22.3% 92 1125 16 7 606 170.8
Dalton Schultz 104 16.4% 78 808 14 7 329 130.8
George Kittle 95 24.9% 71 910 8 9 441 127.0
Dawson Knox 71 13.2% 49 587 19 10 278 115.1
Hunter Henry 75 14.5% 50 603 17 7 156 114.3
Dallas Goedert 76 18.6% 56 830 6 8 343 109.0
Kyle Pitts 110 20.3% 68 1026 15 12 328 108.6
Zach Ertz 112 19.3% 74 763 18 4 285 106.7
Mike Gesicki 111 18.6% 73 780 12 9 222 92.0
Pat Freiermuth 79 13.0% 60 497 20 2 278 91.7
Noah Fant 90 18.3% 68 670 16 7 290 91.0
Tyler Higbee 85 15.7% 61 560 20 2 274 86.

Last season only four tight ends averaged over 15 fantasy points per game.

Unless you get the fabulous four early, maybe you should wait on drafting a tight end?

Making tiers for tight ends is iffy at best after the first tier.  So, let’s be patient and try to find that diamond in the rough.


TIER 1

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens: Even with quarterback Lamar Jackson missing five games, Andrews excelled. In 2021, Andrews was third among tight ends in PFF run blocking grade. He ranked sixth in drop rate (6) and ninth contested catch percentage, 48.3% while producing more 15-plus yard receptions than any other tight end (33).

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs: Kelce has been a TE1 or TE2 every year since 2016. This season there will be no Tyreek Hill which releases 159 targets and a 25.1% target share.

Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons: There is some concern with the change of quarterbacks, but Marcus Mariota supported Delanie Walker. There will be limited options in Atlanta. Last season Pitts led all tight ends with a 15.1 average yards per reception.  He also led all tight ends with nine drops.

TIER 1 WEEK 1 OPPONENT

Fantasy points per position courtesy profootballreference.com

Andrews v New York Jets: 2021 Jets defense surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to the tight end position. 9.4 fantasy points/ 15.4 DraftKings points/ 12.1 FanDuel points

Kelce v Arizona Cardinals: The 2021 Cardinals defense surrendered the least number of fantasy points to the tight end position. 4.3 fantasy points/ 8.0 DraftKings points/ 6.0 FanDuel points

Pitts v New Orleans Saints: 2021 Saints defense surrendered the seventh-fewest fantasy points to the tight end position. 5.3 fantasy points/ 9.7 DraftKings points/ 7.5 FanDuel points


TIER 2

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers: Kittle in Tier 2 is less about Kittle being great than about Kittle being available. That he is great, yes; since 2018, he has led all tight ends in yards after contact (1171), broken tackles after the catch (58), and yards after the catch per reception (7.7). Anticipating that Trey Lance will be under center this season, last season, in two games with Lance, Kittle’s stats: Week 4, he had 11 targets, four receptions, and 40 yards; in Week 17, he had one reception and 29 yards.  In the last three seasons, Kittle has played 14g, 8g, and 14g, respectively.

Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders: Waller missed five games last season with injuries. This season he will have a new coach, Josh McDaniels, and wide receiver Davante Adams will be a presence on the field. The bad news is target hog Adams on the field. The good news is that McDaniels utilizes his tight ends effectively in past offenses.

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles: Goedert led all tight ends in yards per route run (2.33) last season. In his last four games in 2021 with Jalen Hurts, Goedert averaged 10.25 targets, 5.25 catches, and 12% red zone target share.

Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys: Schultz finished last season with eight touchdowns on a 16.4% target share. This season the Cowboys will be without Amari Cooper (18.8% target share) with 103 targets and uncertainty about when Michael Gallup will return from his September injury.

TIER 2 WEEK 1 OPPONENT

Kittle v Chicago Bears: The Bears defense surrendered the sixth-fewest fantasy points to the tight end position 2021. 5.2 fantasy points/ 8.7 DraftKings points/ 7.0 FanDuel points

Waller v Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers defense surrendered the most fantasy points to the tight end position in 2021. 11.5 fantasy points/ 17.5 DraftKings points/ 14.3 FanDuel points

Goedert v Detroit Lions: The Lions’ defense gave up 10th-most fantasy points to the tight end position last season. 8.6 fantasy points/ 14.5 DraftKings fantasy points/ 11.4 FanDuel fantasy points

Schultz v Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers gave up 7.2 fantasy points, 12.6 DraftKings points, and 9.9 FanDuel points to the tight end position last season.


TIER 3

Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills: Knox went from a 54% catch percentage to a 69% catch percentage last season.  He saw 19 red zone targets catching 12 but only had a 16.7% overall target rate (28th among tight ends).  The question is can Knox sustain his nine touchdowns?

Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals: DeAndre Hopkins will miss the first six games due to suspension. Last season with Hopkins on the field, Ertz averaged 3.3 receptions, 4.3 targets, and 31 yards. Ertz averaged 5.6 receptions, 8.1 targets, and 57 yards without Hopkins. The upside for Ertz (and, let’s face it, the Cardinals as a whole if the last two seasons are any indication) will be the first half of the season. Monitoring preseason to see if Kyler Murray and Marquise Brown resurrect their college connection.

Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers: Who will be under center for the Steelers? Last season Freiermuth saw 20 red zone targets and seven end-zone targets. Freiermuth’s ceiling is limited by who will be his quarterback.

TJ Hockenson, Detroit Lions: Hockenson was limited by injuries, including a broken thumb that kept him out for the last five weeks. This season he will compete not only with Amon-Ra St. Brown and DJ Chark, but when/if Jameson Williams gets on the field, it will limit Hockenson’s 21.0% target share and possibly his 83.8% snap share.

TIER 3 WEEK 1 OPPONENT

Knox v Los Angeles Rams (Thursday Night): Rams gave up an average of 6.8 fantasy points, 12.1 DraftKings points, and 9.5 FanDuel points to the tight end position last season.

Ertz v Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs gave up an average of 7.4 fantasy points, 12.5 DraftKings points, and 9.9 FanDuel points to the tight end position last season.

Freiermuth v Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals gave up 9.2 fantasy points per game, 15.4 DraftKings points, and 12.0 FanDuel points to the tight end position last season.

Hockenson v Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles gave up the second-most fantasy points to the tight end position last season, 11.1 fantasy points, 17.4 DraftKings points, and 14.3 FanDuel points.


AND THEN THERE IS…

Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers: The Packers gave up 8.0 fantasy points, 13.4 DraftKings points, and 10.6 FanDuel points to the tight end position last season.

Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears v San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers gave up the eighth-fewest fantasy points to the tight end position last season, 5.4 fantasy points, 9.4 DraftKings points, and 7.3 FanDuel points.

Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams v Buffalo Bills: The Bills have given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to the tight end position last season, 4.7 fantasy points, 7.9 DraftKings points, and 6.2 FanDuel points.

Hunter Henry, New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins gave up 7.9 fantasy points, 12.9 DraftKings points, and 10.3 FanDuel points to the tight end position last season.

TIGHT ENDS, ANYONE?

Unless you are in a tight-end premium league and are one are drafting in the first half of your draft, it is better to grab your quality wide receiver or running back and come back to the tight end later.

Your “and then there is” tight ends, Hockenson, Kmet, and a hopefully healthy Smith will serve you well.

Let’s see how training camp and preseason iron themselves out.

 

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