While fantasy football managers are understandably preoccupied with drafting top-tier running backs or wide receivers, having a reliable option at the tight end position can prove to be an x-factor in the race to the fantasy playoffs. There are far and few elite options at the position, but those that consistently rank atop the draft boards are there for a reason. Their high ADP value speaks to their ability to be a mismatch against opposing defenses.
ADP, or “average draft position,” is a number that represents where a specific NFL player is likely to be selected in fantasy football drafts. The value is based on drafts that have already taken place and is a helpful indicator of when to target specific positional players based on your draft positioning. Below we preview the tight ends with the top ADP values for the 2022 fantasy season.
Top 5 overall ADP values
Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
Kelce ranks as the top tight end based on ADP and his resume is more than enough justification for this ranking. He’s been a Pro Bowler for the last seven seasons and counting and has posted six-straight seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards. He ranked second in team targets and receiving yards behind only Tyreek Hill, and he has an excellent shot at vaulting into the Chiefs’ primary receiving threat with Hill’s departure to the Miami Dolphins. Simply put he’s a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses and if you draft Kelce as you’re arguably getting a premier receiver at the tight end spot.
Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens
Andrews finished as the top-scoring tight end in PPR leagues and standard leagues for 2021, showing just how much of a favorite target he is for Lamar Jackson. Also, don’t forget that Andrews posted these numbers in spite of Jackson missing five games last season due to injury. The Ravens’ tight end took a monumental leap last season and posted a career-best 1,361 receiving yards with an incredible 80.1 receiving yards per game to go along with nine touchdowns. If Jackson stays healthy then Andrews should be in for another productive season as his favorite target. But even if Jackson is on the sidelines Andrews has proven to be a reliable fixture in fantasy lineups, a key takeaway as managers target him in drafts.
Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons
Pitts ranked top-10 in fantasy scoring among tight ends in his rookie season and has the makings of inching towards a top five-finish in 2022. Pitts totaled 68 receptions for 1,026 and just one touchdown but should find the end zone much more this coming season. The Falcons saw the departure of Russell Gage and will be without Calvin Ridley due to suspension. New starting quarterback Marcus Mariota should quickly find synergy with their best option on offense in his rising tight end. Atlanta may grapple to get wins but Pitts should easily produce for your fantasy squad each week.
Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders
Waller had a down season in 2021 after missing six games due to various injuries and a brief stint on the COVID list. But he’s a prime candidate to bounce back to form this season as opposing defenses will be preoccupied with paying attention to newcomer Davante Adams and slot threat Hunter Renfrow. Prior to his shortened 2021 season, Waller posted a combined 2,341 receiving yards with 12 touchdowns across the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He’s a certified matchup nightmare when healthy and should benefit from more spacing and open looks with Adams and Renfrow alongside him.
George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers made a miraculous turnaround last season that saw them head to the NFC Championship, much to the brilliance of Kyle Shanahan’s playcalling and the versatility of Deebo Samuel. But don’t overlook Kittle’s 910 receiving yards and six touchdowns, which were his highest totals since his back-to-back 1,000+ yard seasons in 2018 and 2019. Now with second-year Trey Lance under center, the stakes are raised for this San Francisco offense. Lance can extend plays with his legs and most notably can look downfield more often in comparison to Jimmy Garropolo. Kittle can be the beneficiary of an offense that looks to stretch the field, solidifying his top-five ranking in tight end ADP.