As we inch nearer to the NFL regular season, we will start to see rosters take shape. Meanwhile, Fantasy Managers are finalizing their draft boards as well. Everyone has their own philosophies on how they like to draft. If there is one thing I will advise, it is to make sure your Tight End situation is settled. If you don’t plan to take a Tight End early, that’s ok. This list will help you identify potential game changers at the position without having to go before round 5.
Dalton Schultz, Cowboys: Schultz has shaped up to be quite the useful piece dating back to late 2020. At a reasonable 6th round choice as TE6, he could challenge the likes of Kelce and Andrews for TE1 in all of fantasy if things break his way. The loss of Amari Cooper to Cleveland and Michael Gallup to rehabbing his knee gives him an opening to make an immediate impact, especially if no other receiver steps up. If he received 104 targets, 804 yards, and 8 TDs as a 3rd/4th option, imagine being option #2? He is also playing for a big payday while on the franchise tag. May whomever drafts him find the great fortune he too is seeking.
Zach Ertz, Cardinals: Can you believe this man still puts up numbers? Believe it, because he has the benefit of Christian Kirk skipping town and his team’s best WR being out for 6 weeks due to suspension (Sorry D-Hop). To those worried about the presence of Hollywood Brown, don’t. Yes, he has existing chemistry with his college buddy in Kyler Murray, but he doesn’t have the sheer size and ability to get open in the middle of the field the way Ertz does. The man had over 100 targets last year and double digit targets in 3 of his final 4 weeks last year. You know he is going to get his share and you know he will be sought after in the red zone. At TE9 in the end of the 9th round, he could sneak into the top 5 depending on the health of the team and himself.
Cole Kmet, Bears: I am going to keep this one short and simple. Darnell Mooney…and? Chicago is barren in terms of viable pass catchers. Kmet has proven to be a good set of hands and Jimmy Graham is no longer in town to eat at his targets. All he needs is to get more looks in the red zone, and he will be in business. 100 targets shouldn’t be an issue for Cole this year. At TE 11 in the end of the 12th round, there is little in his way to getting into TE1 territory (except QB play).
Hunter Henry, Patriots: I feel like this man gets disrespected almost every year based on where he gets drafted. He has the fortune of his Head Coach preferring his TE in the red zone (if he doesn’t run it in) and a QB that is growing in the league. The Patriots pass catching corps is a muddled one, but count on Henry to get 6-8 targets and double digit TDs with a full year in Foxborough under his belt. He has demonstrated the ability to stay heathier than his TE counterpart (Jonnu Smith) and shows growing trust with the maturing Mac Jones to take his game a step further in 2022. At TE19 in the 16th round, there should be no reason why he cannot make a case for top 12 numbers as long as health and growth in the system continues.
Evan Engram, Jaguars: Before you take out your pitchfork, hear me out. The issue with Engram has never been speed or talent. Coming from the dysfunctional mess that is the New York Giants, we might have missed out on what could have been in part due to the lack of quality coaching and play calling. His only real knock is his inability to hold onto passes (a big issue, but fixable). He now resides in Jacksonville, where Head Coach Doug Pederson has a history of making talented TEs (Ertz) the focal point of his offense. There is no definitively superior player on the Jags, so the title of “security blanket” will be up for grabs. If Engram grabs the title or even 2nd fiddle, it should surely propel him well above the TE20 in the 17th round projection he has. The worst you can lose is a late round pick, so why not?