This is the final installment of the dynasty sell series, where I will be examining some Tight Ends to move on from at their current price. Tight End is a complicated position in fantasy football. Having a great one can be a key piece on a championship team. However, the problem is that there are so few Tight Ends capable of making a difference in fantasy football. Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and a handful of others in recent memory have given fantasy managers a big advantage. They score elite WR1 production from a shallow position. After the elite tier, a handful of talented players are always dubbed the next great Tight End prospects. More often than not though, these players provide minimal value over later round streaming options. Only three Tight Ends in 2021 managed to score over 14 points per game and only six over 12 points (Fantasy Pros). This leaves many Tight Ends barely hanging on to double-digit scoring and not making a difference in your lineup.
Furthermore, most players at the position only are viable starters when they score a touchdown. Touchdown production can be volatile, though, with most players having a hard time finding the end zone consistently. These up and down scoring outputs will lead to a lower average throughout the season. This describes most tight ends, I believe. After the top tier of players, I think it is unwise to spend premium value or draft capital on a Tight End. The best course of action is to gamble on streamers or later-round fliers. This article will highlight some higher-ranked Tight Ends that are being overvalued this off-season. These players will provide minimal value over replacement level players in 2022, and I would be looking to move on from their ADP. You can find the first three installments of this series below.
Darren Waller leads this article because I don’t believe his 2020 season represents who he is as a player. Waller has been an elite Tight End since his first full year back in the NFL in 2019, with 3006 receiving yards in those three seasons (2nd among Tight Ends to Travis Kelce) (StatMuse). He has also been one of the few difference makers at Tight End, a very shallow position. In addition, the acquisition of Davante Adams will strain his target share. This will lead to him slightly disappointing fantasy managers this season. Although Waller is an outstanding player with an even better life story, it’s best to move on in fantasy at his current price.
First, let’s take a look at Darren Waller’s spectacular 2020 season. He finished as the TE2 in PPR leagues with 107 receptions for 1196 yards and nine touchdowns. It was a fantastic year, but the final stat line is slightly misleading. Over 46% percent of his production that year came in four games, and the bulk in the latter half of the season (Profootball Network). In 2021 Waller came back down to earth, averaging just 12.1 points per game, and missed five games due to injury. The most significant difference is that he caught nine touchdowns in 2020 to only two in 2021. Like most Tight Ends, Waller has relied heavily on touchdown volume and will likely do so again this season.
The Raiders will boast a prolific offense in 2022. Another reason to be concerned about Darren Waller this season is the arrival of Devante Adams. Adams is one of the best Wide Receivers in the league and has commanded one of the highest target shares in the NFL since 2018. Josh Jacobs and Hunter Renfrow also set career-high targets in 2021. These two will figure to be heavily involved in the passing game, further straining Waller’s potential volume.
Nonetheless, it is a crowded receiving room, and we could see some inconsistency among these players. Waller will also turn 30 years old shortly, which usually causes a sharp decrease in dynasty value. Waller is a player I don’t see making a substantial difference like Travis Kelce in the near future. Furthermore, he will see a decline in dynasty value no matter how he performs this season. He likely won’t command as high a value in dynasty leagues as he did last season. However, I would explore selling for a 2023 first-round pick or a younger top 20 Running Back/Wide Receiver.
Goedert is another victim of an elite pass-catcher coming into the offense. AJ Brown was traded from the Tennessee Titans to the Philadelphia Eagles. This is very exciting for Jalen Hurts, who gets another top-flight pass catcher. However, it is not good news for the fantasy prospects of the receivers in this offense. Jalen Hurts led an Eagles offense 29th in pass attempts per game (29.8 attempts) (Team Rankings). Hurts ran the ball 9.27 times per outing, second only to Lamar Jackson (StatMuse). This doesn’t bode well for AJ Brown, Devonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert, who all profile as high-end fantasy players. Jackson for the Ravens is a dual-threat Quarterback comparison who has struggled to keep all his receiving weapons viable in fantasy lineups. Like Baltimore’s skill players over the last several years, the Eagles’ receivers could be a bit inconsistent in 2022 as well. AJ Brown figures to be the top target, too, leaving Goedert as potential touchdown-dependent on many weeks like most Tight Ends.
Another area of concern is Dallas Goedert’s production profile in his career. Due to limited playing time, injuries, and a lack of touchdowns, Goedert hasn’t managed better than a TE10 finish since entering the league. He also has never been asked to take on a heavy target volume. Even after Zach Ertz was traded last season, Goedert averaged 5.7 targets a game. Furthermore, he’s only managed to score 16 total touchdowns since 2018. With 31 red-zone targets in his four-year career, he hasn’t been a factor down in that area (Fantasy Pros). Although he played as the second Tight End to Ertz his first three years in the league, he still was on the field for a large percentage of plays. Tight Ends typically need to score touchdowns to maintain fantasy relevance without high target volume. Goedert is currently being priced as a potential elite fantasy Tight End despite being more likely to finish as a low TE1.
This one pains me to say for all my TJ Hockenson shares, but I believe it is time to move on from the talented Tight End at his current price. Hockenson came into the league as one of the highest-drafted Tight Ends. He’s been outstanding at times for the Lions. In 2020, Hockenson finished as the TE5 in fantasy in his one fully healthy season. Having only played in 12 games each of his other two years, due to injuries. Although this is part of the reason he hasn’t met expectations, he hasn’t been a true difference-maker when he’s been on the field either. In 2020 he averaged 11 points per game. Last year it was much of the same as he only averaged 12.1. his is barely above what many weekly streaming options gave fantasy managers. Hunter Henry, Zach Ertz, and Logan Thomas scored within two points per game of Hockenson in 2021, but at a much lower price point.
Another area I anticipate Hockenson struggling with consistently is volume. Adding an extra receiver can sometimes open the field more for players and even increase their fantasy value. However, with Jared Goff as the Quarterback, I don’t anticipate the addition of Jameson Williams helping Hockenson in fantasy. With Williams, Amon-Ra St. Brown, DJ Chark, and D’Andre Swift vying for touches, he could be in line for inconsistent usage. Hockenson will have some great games, but Goff isn’t a good enough passer to keep all these players relevant every week. Jared Goff finished 24th in total QBR and 27th in yards per attempt in 2022 (ESPN). Similar to the other Tight Ends on this list, Hockenson could have a low TE1 upside once again. I don’t see high-end TE1 upside, which means he’s unlikely to provide a meaningful impact for your fantasy team. Fade Hockenson and the other Tight Ends that are on this list for more consistent point producers at different positions.
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