Thoughts on Top 12 TE's from 2021

Based on PPR formats:

  1. Mark Andrews: He has taken the next step, but will it last? Based on the fact Andrews performed well with all of the Baltimore QB’s, I think it’s safe to call him the real deal. If he’s not TE1 next year, it is only because somebody else took his place.

  2. Travis Kelce: The only surprise here is that Kelce is TE2, not TE1. Still a good year.

  3. Dalton Schultz: Somewhat of a surprise to see Schultz this high, but he did have a good year. Schultz ranking this high is more of a side effect of the great offense he was in, plus his solid performance. He isn’t really in the Andrews/Kelce class.

  4. George Kittle: He is still elite, when he’s healthy, which isn’t nearly enough. Caveat emptor. He’s not getting any younger.

  5. Zach Ertz: While he is a decent TE, he is mainly a product of the system.

  6. Kyle Pitts: TE1 next year? It depends on the rest of the Falcon offense.

  7. Rob Gronkowski: An all-timer on the downside. Plus we don’t really know what his situation next year will be.

  8. Mike Gesicki: Don’t be surprised if Mike is next year’s Mark Andrews.

  9. Dallas Goedert: I don’t trust anyone who relies on passes from Jalen Hurts. While Dallas is good, just don’t trust him going forward.

10 .Hunter Henry: He is very TD-dependent. I won’t say he can’t get them, especially with Mac Jones as his QB.

  1. Dawson Knox: I am not sure where the upside is for Knox. He doesn’t strike me as a top 5 guy.

  2. Noah Fant: If he can reach this level with Teddy Bridgewater, what if the Broncos had a good QB? We’ll see…

Honorable Mentions (TE’s who can break the top 12 next year): Pat Freiermuth, T.J. Hockenson (if he stays healthy), Darren Waller (also if he stays healthy), Cole Kmet (if Justin Fields elevates his game), Foster Moreau (the Raiders want to use 2-TE sets, which means more for Moreau).

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Ah, TE. No other position has such a steep drop-off in production beyond the top 5. I see a chance that that top tier becomes a little broader in 2022. Still, if you don’t have a top guy, you may as well stream the position. Having the #12 TE means you have a problem on TE.

The top tier guys for 2022 in my book are:

Mark Andrews - I think he’s the real deal.
George Kittle - if he stays healthy.
Darren Waller - dito.
Kyle Pitts - even if the Falcons remain a disappointment.

Candidates for the top tier include:
Kelce - who could be the TE1 once again. But he’ll be 33. He does have to start regressing at some point.
Gesicki - I see the upside.
Schultz - if he finds a good landing spot (Chargers?).
Hockenson - would have been top 10 in 2021, without the injury.
Freiermuth - could become a top tier guy, but maybe not yet in 2022.
Knox - he’s playing for one of the best passing offenses, so the potential is there.
Goedert - with a lot of questions marks, though, thanks to his terrible QB.

TEs I would not draft include:
Ertz - he was an injury replacement for Maxx Williams, who will be back.
Gronk - no goat, no Gronk. Even if he continues his career.
Fant - his biggest problem is not the QB, it’s Albert O.
Kmet - hasn’t shown much yet.
Engram - hasn’t shown anything in recent years.
Moreau - will become fantasy relevant only if Waller breaks both legs.

Watch list candidates are:
Blake Jarwin - in case Schultz signs elsewhere.
Irv Smith - if his surgically repaired knee holds.
Hunter Henry - he isn’t terrible, but he’s not beating a streaming approach, either.
Logan Thomas - he’s talented, but the rookie John Bates showed flashes as well in his absence.
C.J. Uzomah - way too unstable, but at least he’s playing for a great offense.
Tyler Higbee - dito.
Dan Arnold - could become a solid alternative to streaming TEs, if he stays healthy and the Jags keep utilizing him.
Maxx Williams - as mentioned above under “Ertz, Zach”.
Tommy Tremble - potential sleeper.
Tre’ McKitty - same, unless the Chargers add another TE (which I think they will).

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Actually, I could see Moreau having a season like Hunter Henry. Very TD-dependent.

I wonder if Ertz will “Wally Pipp” Maxx Williams, kind of like Dalton Schultz did to Blake Jarwin? We’ll see.

And if Gronk ends up in Cincinnati, like he wants? I won’t call him the TE1, but his career gets a booster shot in that offense. If he stays in Tampa, it depends on his QB (although it doesn’t look good).

Sorry, not seeing it. Waller is a fantastic TE when healthy. Plus the Raiders will almost certainly invest into a high-profile WR. And they still have Renfrow.

Henry competes for targets with Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne and Jonnu Smith.

Moreau competes with Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller and maybe Davante Adams.

Waller was injured between weeks 13 and 17 in 2021. In those 5 weeks, Moreau saw an average 5.5 targets per game. An uptick from his season average, that was below 3 targets per game. But still not even close to the volume he’d need to enter TE1 territory.

I don’t think so. Ertz will be 32 in 2022. But indeed, it’s worth monitoring the situation. Both Ertz and Williams are UFAs, so we have to wait and see if the Cardinals will bring either of them back. Or if maybe they will sign Dalton Schultz.

We’d still have to see if he can build the same connection with Burrow as he had with Brady. The Bengals didn’t involve their TEs a lot, and there is no guarantee that Gronk’s presence would change that. Plus, he’ll be 33 soon. Especially in dynasty, I’d be ready to pass on that opportunity.

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