3 Tight Ends to Remember in 2022 (Fantasy Football)
There is no escaping the fact that there is a significant tier break among the list of viable tight ends that can be fantasy relevant for your squad. If you are a fan of punting the position to the later rounds or if you find yourself in that situation on draft day, here are three options that are available in the 9th Round and later.
There was a lot of talk in the offseason about the impact of DeAndre Hopkins’ six-game suspension this season. The Cardinals wasted little time in securing Marquise Brown from the Ravens during the 2022 draft to help alleviate his absence. Brown joins Rondale Moore and A.J. Green in the receiving corps who will take a chunk of Hopkins’ targets during those first six weeks.
It is incredibly difficult to avoid the desire of wanting a piece of this offense on your team, especially with a quarterback like Kyler Murray. Managers are wondering what to do with Hopkins and Brown: Should they draft them? Should they roster both or just one?
The best option may be to avoid both wide receivers altogether and target TE Zach Ertz instead. Ertz finished the 2021 season as the TE6 with 131.8 points in half-PPR and averaged 8.2 points a game. Let’s not forget: Ertz spent part of his season largely underutilized in Philadelphia while playing second fiddle to Dallas Goedert. During that time (Weeks 1 – 6), he averaged 5.2 targets, three receptions, and 31.5 yards.
In his first week with the Cardinals in Week 7, Ertz proved why he shouldn’t be forgotten in fantasy, finishing as the TE5. He then improved his overall averages to 7.4 targets, 5.1 receptions, and 52.2 yards per game. His 17-game pace would have landed him with 160.4 points, putting him squarely in the TE3 conversation ahead of George Kittle who finished with 159 points.
That production was with Hopkins on the field and a brand new team. Yet, he still managed to produce. Ertz now has an offseason and training camp under his belt in addition to his steep learning curve during the season. He will undoubtedly be more comfortable with the playbook, have better chemistry, and be able to capitalize on Hopkins’ absence and beyond.
His ADP is the early-middle 9th Round, which is a screaming value for the potential TE3.
There is no getting around the issues surrounding the quarterback controversy, but aside from Diontae Johnson, Freiermuth has the safest floor in the passing game within their offense.
Freiermuth finished the 2021 season as a fringe-TE1 as the TE14 over 15 games with 113.4 points. What makes him so exciting for this year is what he was able to do with his opportunity as a rookie tight end. He had to compete with fellow TE Eric Ebron for the first six weeks of the season
However, Ebron went down with an injury in Week 8 and Freiermuth left the veteran in his rearview mirror. He finished as the TE2 in Week 8 and then the TE1 in Week 9. Freiermuth added three more top12 finishes and never saw worse than a TE2 tier for the remainder of the season.
Ebron is gone to free agency, so Freiermuth has the position to himself in 2022. Regardless of who is at quarterback, whether it be Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett, having a big-bodied receiver in the short/intermediate game as well as in the red zone is key to developing a quarterback in a new system. Freiermuth saw nine 10-zone targets and turned five of those into touchdowns. In fact, all seven of his total touchdowns came inside the 20-yard line despite being the 12th-highest in receptions among tight ends with 60.
Robert Tonyan is one of those late options in fantasy drafts that could turn out to be a huge steal or a bust. This is mostly due to his injury designation and starting training camp on the PUP. His 2021 was cut short after suffering a season-ending injury that took him out in Week 8.
Hypothetically, let’s say there is increased optimism about his availability for Week 1. If Tonyan’s ADP stays around the 14th Round, I am smashing the draft button if he is still up for grabs.
Before his injury, Tonyan’s season was largely disappointing with only two TE1 finishes and one TE2 finish (TE5, TE6, and TE15 respectively). In addition to his injury, it makes sense he is being largely forgotten for the 2022 season. Let’s not dismiss his 2020 season where he finished as the TE3 with 150.6 points, 59 targets, 52 receptions, 586 yards, and 11 touchdowns.
Now, let’s look at the Packers and what they are facing this upcoming season. Or rather, whose faces they are not going to see. The biggest loss is Davante Adams, but they also lost Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown. That leaves 241 vacated targets that will need to be distributed among the pass-catchers.
QB Aaron Rodgers will see quite a few new faces this season, but it’s the familiar ones I am most interested in targeting. In addition to Randall Cobb, Allen Lazard, and Aaron Jones, Rodgers may need to rely on his tight end to make up for losing Adams to the Raiders.