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2022 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings & Tiers — McFarland

• The San Francisco 49ersGeorge Kittle continues to be selected too low in fantasy football drafts and offers top-three upside.

• The Minnesota VikingsIrv Smith Jr. underwent thumb surgery, but the team is optimistic he will be ready for the start of the season.

•With the loss of WR Tim Patrick (ACL), the Denver BroncosAlbert Okwuegbunam will need to pick up the slack.

Click here for the rest of PFF's fantasy rankings.


Ranking players by position is integral to fantasy football preparation, but grouping them into tiers is crucial to identifying the value you might be leaving on the draft board.

For example, if you're on the clock and looking at several wide receivers in the same tier, it could make sense to wait until the next round — someone equally as worthy will probably be available with your next pick.

Tiers can also help group players with similar expectations based on upside and floor. Most importantly, we don't want to pay more than the next drafter for a similar player.

There are seven primary criteria used to create tight-end tiers:

  • Target pedigree: Recent adjusted target shares and targets per route run
  • Performance peripherals: Yards per route run, deep targets (20-plus yards), yards after the catch and explosive target rate (15-plus-yard receptions)
  • Offense quality: Projected team wins (winning teams typically score more and passing YPA correlates strongly to wins)
  • Passing volume: Projected team pass attempts per game (excludes overtime)
  • Quarterback quality: Team QB1 ADP (combined with passing volume to offset quarterbacks with a higher ADP due to rushing ability)
  • Target competition: Number of teammates with a significant ADP (wide receivers with a top-36 ADP plus tight ends with a top-12 ADP)
  • Player average draft position (ADP): Positional rank based on FFPC best ball slim data from Fantasy Mojo

The first two criteria focus on the player’s ability to generate and create production from targets, while the following four data points analyze the team environment. ADP is a final check against the current market sentiment that helps us extract maximum value from our selections.

The ultimate options are receivers who demand targets at all levels of the field and make plays after the catch on winning pass-heavy teams. After that, every tier is some variation of strengths vs. weaknesses in the profile.

For example, a talented tight end on a run-balanced offense with a high projected win total and low target competition is better than the same situation with multiple teammates challenging for opportunities. On the other hand, two talented pass-catching options can co-exist in a quality pass-happy attack.

The first table is a quick view of the complete tiers and rankings, and a more detailed heat map is included below as we break down each tier.

Last Updated: August 5, 2022
Tier Rank Pos ADP Overall ADP Player Team
1A 1 1 14 Travis Kelce Chiefs
1A 2 2 23 Mark Andrews Ravens
1B 3 3 34 Kyle Pitts Falcons
1B 4 5 47 Darren Waller Raiders
1B 5 4 46 George Kittle 49ers
1C 6 6 58 Dalton Schultz Cowboys
1C 7 7 68 T.J. Hockenson Lions
1C 8 8 84 Dallas Goedert Eagles
1C 9 9 94 Zach Ertz Cardinals
2A 10 10 100 Dawson Knox Bills
2A 11 18 160 Albert Okwuegbunam Broncos
2A 12 14 131 Irv Smith Jr. Vikings
2B 13 17 153 David Njoku Browns
2B 14 12 115 Pat Freiermuth Steelers
2B 15 13 119 Cole Kmet Bears
2B 14 16 149 Hunter Henry Patriots
2B 17 11 114 Mike Gesicki Dolphins
2C 18 19 177 Gerald Everett Chargers
2C 19 21 181 Robert Tonyan Packers
2C 20 22 185 Tyler Higbee Rams
2D 21 15 148 Noah Fant Seahawks
2D 22 20 178 Evan Engram Jaguars
2D 23 27 268 Brevin Jordan Texans
2E 24 25 216 Cameron Brate Buccaneers
2E 25 23 205 Hayden Hurst Bengals
3A 26 26 225 Logan Thomas Commanders
3A 27 30 284 Trey McBride Cardinals
3A 28 0 0 Taysom Hill Saints
3A 29 0 0 Rob Gronkowski Free Agent
3A 30 37 326 Cade Otton Buccaneers
3A 31 24 208 Austin Hooper Titans
3A 32 31 293 Mo Alie-Cox Colts
3A 33 29 283 C.J. Uzomah Jets
3A 34 0 0 Chigoziem Okonkwo Titans
3A 35 39 330 O.J. Howard Bills

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Tier 1 Tight Ends

TIER 1A – TALENT AND OPPORTUNITY AND A QUARTERBACK, OH MY!

Travis Kelce posted his sixth consecutive 1,000-plus yard season with 1,125 yards in addition to nine touchdowns and finished as the TE2 in 2021. Historically, he has been a cheat code, scoring like a WR1 rather than a TE1. He should remain the focal point of the Kansas City Chiefs‘ offense with Tyreek Hill now in Miami.

The 33-year-old saw his lowest target share (19%), TPRR (21%) and YPRR (1.84) figures since 2015. However, we have seen great tight ends continue to post strong fantasy finishes at later ages than running backs and receivers. Kelce should post another 130-plus target season and has the upside for more.

He comes off the board in the middle of Round 2 on Underdog and as a mid-Round 1 pick over at the FFPC, where tight ends get 1.5 points per reception.

Mark Andrews has always demanded targets when on the field, but he ran a route on just 45%, 58% and 71% of pass plays in his first three NFL seasons. In 2021, that number surged to 84% (elite), and his No. 1 fantasy finish followed. His 33% target share in the end zone is legendary, and his explosive target rate is a problem for defenses and opposing fantasy managers. Andrews is one of the few tight ends who can score from anywhere.

The Baltimore Ravens‘ dropback rate climbed from 50% in 2020 to 63% in 2021. However, the team battled multiple running back injuries, and its defensive secondary was also compromised. We can expect a figure between 2020 and 2021 next season — especially after moving Marquise Brown in a draft-day trade — but the Ravens' offensive efficiency could improve.

He is an excellent option in Round 2 of drafts, and Lamar Jackson is available in Round 5 if you want the stack.

TIER 1B – MOST LIKELY TO CATAPULT INTO TIER 1A

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