In best ball fantasy football leagues, the tight end position is more important than in seasonal leagues. You can’t just take any old TE and stream the position if it doesn’t work out. You need multiple tight ends that have a chance to enter your lineup throughout the season. Let’s take a look at some TEs to target in early fantasy football best ball drafts.
If you want to grab an elite tight end like Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews early in your best ball draft, that’s a strategy decision. You are also free to build your roster that way. You don’t need me or anyone else to tell you that. But who are some tight ends going later in drafts that fantasy managers should target in their best ball leagues?
Kyle Pitts | Atlanta Falcons, TE3 (38 overall)
Enjoy it for as long as it lasts because Kyle Pitts’ ADP is not going to hold. Yes, the situation may not look great with Matt Ryan gone and Marcus Mariota replacing him. The offense is going to struggle to score points as a whole. With all that said, Pitts is poised to be a target monster.
The man posted a 20.5% target share as a rookie at the hardest position to learn at the NFL level. I have recorded over 1,000 receiving yards en route to the single greatest rookie season for a tight end since the merger. The only reason it wasn’t better from a fantasy perspective is because he only scored one touchdown.
Now, Pitts enters his sophomore season with his primary competition for targets being rookie Drake London and 31-year-old WR/RB hybrid Cordarrelle Patterson.
Pitts’ ADP suggests you’re paying for the breakout, but the price is worth it. The Falcons will be trailing and thus, throwing a lot. Pitts is their de facto WR1. Volume is king in fantasy football, and Pitts is going to see a whole lot of it.
Dalton Schultz | Dallas Cowboys, TE6 (73 overall)
In seasonal leagues, I’m usually not a fan of the mid-range tight end. I either want to take an elite one early or just stab at a couple late. In best ball formats, give me Dalton Schultz.
Schultz is coming off a season where he has commanded over 100 targets. Now, Blake Jarwin is gone, and the job is clearly his going forward from him. While the Cowboys do have a lot of weapons, Schultz has an advantage in one of the main carry-overs from last season.
Amari Cooper is gone, and Michael Gallup will likely open the season inactive as he is recovering from a late-season ACL tear. Schultz is poised to be Dak Prescott’s second main target in the passing game behind CeeDee Lamb.
There’s a very real chance Schultz could command over a 20% target share this season. He’s not the flashiest player, but he gets it done. Schultz had six games last season with 15 or more PPR fantasy points. His 12.3 fantasy points per game were good for an overall TE5 finish (minimum eight games played). Schultz is a great mid-round TE target in fantasy football best ball drafts.
Albert Okwuegbunam | Denver Broncos, TE15 (135 overall)
Following the combination of Russell Wilson’s arrival and Noah Fant’s departure, Albert Okwuegbunam’s stock rose considerably. Interestingly enough, it didn’t rise as much as I thought it would.
In the one game Fant missed last season, Okwuegbunam played 81% of the snaps. That’s enough for me to be willing to take a shot on him as a TE2 in 2022 fantasy football best ball drafts.
Okwuegbunam will now be catching passes from Wilson. While he’ll likely be no higher than fourth on the target hierarchy, Wilson is very much capable of supporting four fantasy-viable pass catchers, especially if the Broncos are the team to finally let him throw.
We’re also taking a shot on a quality offense. The Broncos with Wilson project to be one of the higher-scoring offenses in the league. Okwuegbunam should have several weeks where he finds the end zone, which is all it will take to enter your lineup in best ball.
Cole Kmet | Chicago Bears, TE18 (140 overall)
There’s nothing flashy about Cole Kmet. He’s not going to blow you away with athletic ability. Nor is he going to break off a huge play and post 25-point weeks in fantasy football. This is a play for volume.
Kmet already commanded nearly an 18% target share last season. Entering this year, the Bears are bereft of pass catchers. Allen Robinson is gone, and the team’s attempt at replacing him was to sign Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown, and draft 25-year-old special-teamer Velus Jones Jr.
Darnell Mooney will lead this team in target share, but there’s a good chance Kmet is second. While I certainly wouldn’t expect Kmet to light up the scoreboard, I’m willing to guarantee he does at least a little better than the zero touchdowns he scored last season.
Going as a mid-TE2, Kmet is a great option for fantasy managers who choose to wait before taking their first tight end. He’ll have enough weeks where he’s productive enough to enter your lineup, and ideally, if you’re waiting on tight end, your other positions should give your lineup an advantage elsewhere.
Hayden Hurst | Cincinnati Bengals, TE25 (182 overall)
If you draft Hayden Hurst, he will be one of the last players you take. That’s what makes him worth it. This is for managers who completely punctuate their second (or third) tight end.
With CJ Uzomah gone, Hurst is set to be the Bengals’ primary tight end. While it’s not a position that had consistent value last season, Uzomah did pop off for two weeks of 24 and 26 fantasy points. He had 2-3 more — depending on your definition of the word — “useful” games.
Hurst has been capable in the past. In 2020, I have averaged 9.3 ppg, finishing as a high-end TE2. Now playing with Joe Burrow and the explosive Bengals offense certainly doesn’t hurt.
Hurst is unlikely to be a consistent contributor, but he should be able to enter your best ball lineup enough to be worth selecting outside the top 24 tight ends in 2022 fantasy football best ball drafts.