Target Breakdown: 2022 Tight End Recap and 2023 Early Fantasy Rankings

Target Breakdown: 2022 Tight End Recap and 2023 Early Fantasy Rankings

This article is part of our Target Breakdown series.

Travis Kelce led tight ends in fantasy scoring for a sixth time in the past seven seasons in 2022, reclaiming his crown with authority after Mark Andrews' 2021 intrusion. Kelce outscored second-place T.J. Hockenson by 100.9 PPR points, averaging 18.6 per game in a year where George Kittle was the only other TE to average even 13 (Kittle finished as TE3 despite missing two games). 

It was Kelce's third time in the past five seasons scoring 18 per game, which puts him in the company of WRs Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill as well as RBs Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, Austin Ekeler and Alvin Kamara. No other tight end has hit that mark even once the past five years, though Andrews (2021) and Darren Waller (2020) came close.

Hopes for improved TE depth in 2023 partially depend on a bounce-back year from at least one of those two, along with incoming help from a rookie class that looks strong at the position. Notre Dame's Michael Mayer is a surefire first-round pick, likely in the Top 15, while Luke Musgrave (Oregon St.), Dalton Kincaid (Utah) and Darnell Washington (Georgia) could be drafted toward the end of Day 1 or early part of Day 2.

History suggests we're more likely to get big-time production out of an early pick from the 2021 draft (e.g. Pat Freiermuth, Kyle Pitts) or even the less-heralded 2022 class (e.g. Trey McBride, Chigoziem Okonkwo), but there is some recent precedent of rookies being fantasy-startable, including Freiermuth and Pitts two years ago and Isaiah Likely this past season when the Ravens didn't have Andrews available.

Before we get to tight ends, be sure to check out my similar recent articles on running backs and wide receivers. Both have everything you'll find below, including my early 2023 ranks for each position. Anyway, here's what you'll find below:

  1. 2022 Awards
  2. Injuries to Monitor this Offseason
  3. 2022 TE Stat Leaderboards (TPRR, aDOT, target share, etc)
  4. 2023 Free Agents & Potential Cap Casualties
  5. Early 2023 Fantasy Rankings (Top 32 TEs)

2022 Awards 🏆

Real-Life MVP: Travis Kelce

Fantasy MVP: Travis Kelce

Best Rookie: Chigoziem Okonkwo

Best ADP Return: Travis Kelce

Mid-Round Magic: T.J. Hockenson

Late-Round Hero: Evan Engram

Comeback Player: David Njoku

Most Improved: Cole Kmet

Brightest Future: Mark Andrews / Kyle Pitts


Least Valuable Player: Tyler Conklin / Logan Thomas 

Biggest Fantasy Bust: Kyle Pitts

Biggest Fantasy Bust (non-injury): Mike Gesicki / Hunter Henry

Biggest Real-Life Bust: Hunter Henry


Offseason Injury Rehab 🚑

Kyle Pitts (MCL surgery in late November)

Zach Ertz (ACL + MCL surgery in late November)

Greg Dulcich (hamstring - placed on IR on Dec. 30)

Will Dissly (knee - last played Dec. 24)


2022 Stat Leaderboards 📈📈📈

My favorite stats for TEs are shown below, plus we have more good stuff on RotoWire's Advanced Stats and Red Zone pages.

  • Rts = Routes Run
  • Rt/DB = Routes Run / # of Team QB Dropbacks
  • TS = Target Share (adjusted to only include games the TE played in)
  • AY = Air Yards
  • AYS = Air Yard Share (adjusted to only include games the TE played in)
  • TPRR = Targets per Route Run
  • YPRR = Yards per Route Run (receiving yards only)
  • aDOT = Average Depth of Target
  • PB% = Pass-blocking percentage (i.e., percentage of pass snaps kept in as a blocker)
Travis Kelce86379.0%54881.1%15224.8%110133812108124.5%7.129.0%2.5512.2%
Mark Andrews75582.8%39275.0%11328.1%738475108033.4%9.629.4%2.213.2%
Tyler Higbee86887.0%41070.7%10821.7%7262033129.3%2.935.2%2.0215.2%
Evan Engram82977.3%48778.7%9817.0%73766458514.2%621.0%1.647.8%
Pat Freiermuth70867.6%41367.8%9819.6%63732280519.0%8.226.6%1.987.6%
Dalton Schultz78278.9%37965.2%8918.7%57577561716.2%6.924.3%1.579.8%
Tyler Conklin82276.8%44767.0%8715.0%58552368614.2%7.921.2%1.3513.7%
Gerald Everett64859.5%42156.4%8713.7%58555447012.1%5.425.4%1.6210.1%
George Kittle81589.6%42377.9%8619.0%607651156919.0%6.627.5%2.4410.5%
T.J. Hockenson56783.9%35048.8%8621.8%60519364719.6%7.528.6%1.7212.4%
David Njoku77683.8%36963.6%8018.8%58628457216.0%7.220.6%1.628.0%
Cole Kmet93494.1%36283.4%6919.4%50544750415.7%7.320.6%1.6217.5%
Dallas Goedert70289.5%33758.3%6919.4%55702340914.9%5.920.2%2.059.3%
Zach Ertz54379.0%34653.6%6918.1%47406450020.4%7.220.4%1.215.7%
Hayden Hurst51660.6%35455.1%6814.2%5241423219.5%4.719.7%1.24.8%
Robert Tonyan56854.2%33156.4%6712.5%5347023779.0%5.623.3%1.6319.7%
Dawson Knox78880.2%42070.0%6512.7%48517647110.6%7.214.6%1.1610.2%
Cade Otton76569.6%43459.4%6510.6%4239123659.1%5.618.8%1.1311.6%
Juwan Johnson62765.4%34363.1%6514.2%42508760414.6%9.320.6%1.619.0%
Noah Fant62560.0%33153.6%6311.4%5048644009.5%6.320.1%1.5510.4%
Logan Thomas65668.6%34657.8%6115.0%39323141612.2%6.821.9%1.1612.1%
Austin Hooper50350.7%30260.0%6013.8%41444247114.0%7.921.0%1.556.0%
Isaiah Likely38939.5%24446.7%6015.5%36373342213.0%730.5%1.895.4%
Hunter Henry76275.8%39167.5%5912.1%41509246113.1%7.818.2%1.5713.3%
Kyle Pitts41571.9%19243.1%5927.8%28356276434.0%12.928.5%1.7211.3%
Greg Dulcich47475.0%29446.4%5518.2%33411261724.5%11.221.4%1.610.1%
Foster Moreau71577.9%32152.9%5411.6%3342024089.7%7.618.3%1.4210.9%
Jordan Akins38743.6%28646.9%5411.2%37495540711.7%7.520.9%1.928.3%
Mike Gesicki45144.7%33758.9%529.1%3236254659.1%8.915.9%1.119.3%
Chigoziem Okonkwo36136.4%15430.6%4611.9%32450334811.8%7.634.1%3.337.5%
Darren Waller32557.9%23138.1%4315.7%28388355622.1%12.918.1%1.631.5%
Harrison Bryant53848.0%23240.0%429.8%3123912286.4%5.420.9%1.195.7%
Kylen Granson39045.1%21632.6%408.7%3130202418.3%619.2%1.459.5%
Jelani Woods31832.4%20330.6%409.3%25312340015.1%1031.0%2.426.1%
Trey McBride56952.7%28644.3%3912.3%29265123410.2%622.5%1.5317.3%
Will Dissly54460.4%22736.7%387.7%3434931885.1%4.917.7%1.6213.6%
Jonnu Smith41049.5%15526.8%3810.2%2724501254.5%3.329.5%1.913.0%
Cameron Brate34247.0%22731.1%3810.7%2017402629.6%6.919.6%0.99.9%
Irv Smith27052.3%16022.3%3613.0%25182217410.0%4.822.9%1.1613.8%
Daniel Bellinger55372.6%23441.5%3511.2%3026821276.9%3.617.9%1.3710.4%
Noah Gray57652.7%24035.5%345.7%2829911643.7%4.815.1%1.3321.7%
Colby Parkinson42841.1%19431.4%347.6%2532222777.9%8.121.3%2.0110.0%
Tommy Tremble48750.0%21944.5%329.2%1917432518.8%7.817.2%0.9412.9%
Ian Thomas53354.7%14329.1%308.5%211970592.3%228.3%1.8622.7%
Mo Alie-Cox56451.1%25338.2%286.4%1918931565.0%5.616.1%1.0917.9%
Brevin Jordan25938.3%12921.1%289.1%1412802049.0%7.323.9%1.0913.1%
C.J. Uzomah51053.6%20831.2%276.6%2123221865.4%6.920.0%1.7216.9%
Josh Oliver49847.3%13726.2%257.4%1414922067.8%8.224.5%1.469.1%
Brock Wright56451.8%15426.4%245.8%182164692.6%2.920.5%1.8520.2%
Eric Saubert37234.5%17026.8%246.5%1514811826.6%7.617.5%1.0812.1%
Zach Gentry55049.6%16326.8%235.0%191320591.6%2.617.8%1.0216.3%
O.J. Howard29638.5%11518.9%236.4%1014522248.8%9.721.9%1.3815.9%
Adam Trautman50357.1%13725.2%226.6%1820711164.0%5.325.3%2.3814.1%
John Bates48945.0%11819.7%227.3%1410811084.6%4.925.6%1.2619.4%
Jake Ferguson41139.4%9416.2%226.4%191742652.3%342.3%3.3516.1%
MyCole Pruitt30839.7%7216.2%218.9%1615041004.5%4.832.3%2.3120.5%
Johnny Mundt43338.6%14019.5%214.3%191401200.6%120.0%1.3315.9%
Durham Smythe53557.2%14525.3%205.7%151291752.4%3.824.4%1.5721.9%
Lawrence Cager19550.5%10117.9%1811.6%131181948.9%5.217.3%1.136.8%
Mitchell Wilcox47545.1%17727.6%185.5%171391763.2%4.217.1%1.3212.0%
Tre' McKitty51844.9%19726.4%185.9%10720814.1%4.521.2%0.8519.6%
Albert Okwuegbunam17834.6%12820.2%189.1%109511046.5%5.814.4%0.7612.9%
Geoff Swaim55656.1%10120.1%165.2%12581321.3%223.2%0.8414.7%
Peyton Hendershot28725.7%10718.4%166.1%1110321035.2%6.423.9%1.548.0%
Tanner Hudson24434.5%13523.9%159.8%10132010810.9%7.216.7%1.4710.0%
Jack Stoll54648.4%18331.7%145.3%111230883.5%6.313.3%1.1713.4%
Teagan Quitoriano15228.2%10817.7%146.3%711321428.5%10.119.4%1.5720.8%
Eric Tomlinson39036.2%8313.1%134.8%9792572.5%4.431.7%1.9320.5%
Taysom Hill31433.0%10419.1%134.8%9772683.3%5.222.4%1.331.8%
Donald Parham13732.7%628.3%125.2%1013011137.5%9.430.0%3.2514.4%


2023 Free Agents & Possible Cap Casualties 💰💰💰

Scheduled Free Agents

Evan Engram

Dalton Schultz

Hayden Hurst

Mike Gesicki

  Austin Hooper

Foster Moreau

Irv Smith

Josh Oliver

Robert Tonyan

Jordan Akins


Potential Cap Casualties

Hunter Henry (up to $10.5 million in 2023 cap savings)

Jonnu Smith (up to $4.6 million)

Logan Thomas (up to $6.9 million)

Will Dissly (up to $6.1 million, knee injury)

Cameron Brate (up to $4 million)

Ian Thomas (up to $3.1 million)


2023 Predictions & Top-32 Rankings 🔢🔢🔢

2023 Fantasy MVP: Mark Andrews

2023 Real-Life MVP: George Kittle

2023 Best Rookie: Michael Mayer


Too-Early 2023 TE Rankings (Full PPR)

  1. Travis Kelce
  2. Mark Andrews
  3. Kyle Pitts
  4. George Kittle
  5. T.J. Hockenson
  6. Darren Waller
  7. Dallas Goedert 
  8. Pat Freiermuth 
  9. David Njoku
  10. Evan Engram 
  11. Dalton Schultz
  12. Cole Kmet
  13. Dawson Knox 
  14. Michael Mayer
  15. Chigoziem Okonkwo 
  16. Hayden Hurst  
  17. Trey McBride 
  18. Mike Gesicki 
  19. Tyler Higbee
  20. Cade Otton 
  21. Isaiah Likely 
  22. Noah Fant   
  23. Gerald Everett
  24. Luke Musgrave
  25. Dalton Kincaid
  26. Juwan Johnson 
  27. Taysom Hill
  28. Daniel Bellinger
  29. Greg Dulcich
  30. Hunter Henry
  31. Tyler Conklin
  32. Austin Hooper

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Jerry Donabedian
Jerry was a 2018 finalist for the FSWA's Player Notes Writer of the Year and DFS Writer of the Year awards. A Baltimore native, Jerry roots for the Ravens and watches "The Wire" in his spare time.
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