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Fantasy football: Tight ends target tiers and Week 1 rankings

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) catches a pass as Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Mike Hilton (21) defends in the second quarter during the AFC championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022, at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Cincinnati Bengals At Kansas City Chiefs Jan 30 Afc Championship 50

• Limited supply of TE1s: Only five tight ends seem to have a realistic path to leading their team in targets this season.

• Big production in Big D: Dallas Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz could mightily benefit from Dak Prescott posting extreme volume and Michael Gallup missing Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

• Week 1 DFS winners: The Los Angeles ChargersGerald Everett, Denver BroncosAlbert Okwuegbunam and Minnesota VikingsIrv Smith stand out as the week’s top streaming options

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

Today’s goal: Establish which tight ends have a chance to work as one of their offense’s top-two pass-catchers ahead of 2022. Obviously, it’s possible for a No. 3 or No. 4 passing-game option to provide some sporadic fantasy goodness, but pinpointing which tight ends have the best chance of racking up targets could help spot some early-season upside opportunities.

Tight ends are listed in alphabetical order by team within the tier. Click here for the Week 1 fantasy football rankings.


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Tight ends with a legit chance to lead their offense in targets (5)

Ertz is only here because of DeAndre Hopkins’ suspension, but that is the reality of the situation. Overall, only Mark Andrews (107) saw more targets than Ertz (79) after the Cardinals acquired him before Week 7 last season.

Pitts led the Falcons in targets in 2021 (110) and has only rookie WR Drake London as real competition ahead of 2022. In reality, Pitts is a wide receiver who we call a tight end — 80% of his routes came from the slot or out wide as a rookie. He should breeze past 100 targets again in 2022.

Kelce (144 targets) and Andrews (128) are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in projected targets at tight end after both the Chiefs and Ravens traded their incumbent No. 1 wide receiver during the offseason. They are the consensus top two tight ends in PFF’s fantasy football rankings.

Kittle has out-targeted Deebo Samuel on a per-game basis in two of the last three seasons:

  • 2019: Kittle (7.1 targets per game); Samuel (5.5)
  • 2020: Kittle (7.9); Samuel (7.3)
  • 2021: Kittle (6.4); Samuel (7.1)

Tight ends who could feasibly be their offense’s No. 2 pass-game option (8)

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