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Kelce, Waller, Andrews lead Top 25 fantasy football tight end rankings

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Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is my top player at the position for the 2022 fantasy football season. File Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/228055c3311919855deca8f683ff66c6/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is my top player at the position for the 2022 fantasy football season. File Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, July 27 (UPI) -- Travis Kelce, Darren Waller and Mark Andrews lead my Top 25 fantasy football tight end rankings for 2022.

Kyle Pitts, George Kittle, Dallas Goedert, T.J. Hockenson, Dalton Schultz, Zach Ertz and Pat Freiermuth are among my other Top 10 options at the position.

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Tight end is not a premium position in every league, as some formats don't even require a starter. Some players at the position are worth starting in WR/TE flex spots, but only if they are elite options.

In past years, only a few tight ends could be counted on every week. This year seems to be a little different, in my opinion, as at least seven or eight options will be vital to their respective team's offense.

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After those Top 8 playmakers are off the board, it might be best to adopt a week-to-week strategy to determine your starter if you are in a league that requires starting the position.

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I split my top tight end targets into five tiers: Hall of Fame, All-Pro, Pro Bowl, Just Napping (early to mid-round targets) and Deep Sleepers (mid- to late-round sleepers). The full rankings are below.

Hall of Fame

1. Travis Kelce, 2. Darren Waller, 3. Mark Andrews

Kelce led the Kansas City Chiefs in targets for five-consecutive seasons before Tyreek Hill took that title in 2021. Hill just departed through an off-season trade to the Miami Dolphins, which should make him Patrick Mahomes' top look once again.

Kelce totaled at least 92 catches and 1,100 yards in each of the past four seasons. He also averaged nearly nine touchdowns each year.

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I expect Kelce to post a career-high receptions total this season. He also should reach the end zone at least 10 times and eclipse 1,200 yards.

The Chiefs schedule features five matchups against teams that ranked inside the Top 10 for the fewest fantasy points allowed to tight ends last season, but it starts out very friendly to the position. Three of the Chiefs' first five games come against teams that ranked inside the Top 10 for the most points allowed to tight ends.

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Those statistics mean that Kelce should start out strong, as Mahomes leans on the veteran and the team's offense finds a new post-Hill identity. If Kelce gets off to a stellar start, he also could be a great trade candidate in your league as his schedule gets tougher.

I am very high on the Las Vegas Raiders offense this season and Waller is a big reason for that. Look for quarterback Derek Carr to post the best statistical season of his career, using Waller and new addition Davante Adams as his top weapons.

Waller totaled just two touchdowns and 55 catches in 11 games last season. He should rebound in 2022, especially as a red zone threat. Look for the 6-foot-6 target to haul in at least eight touchdowns as he sees more friendly coverage near the end zone due to Adams' presence. He also should again eclipse 800 receiving yards.

Andrews is another player who should benefit from an off-season departure. The Baltimore Ravens pass catcher totaled a career-high 107 catches for 1,361 yards and nine scores in 17 games last season. The Ravens then lost top wide receiver Marquise Brown through an off-season trade.

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Andrews, who led all tight ends with 153 targets last season, should battle Kelce for that title this season. He also enters the campaign as Lamar Jackson's top target as the quarterback heads into a contract year.

Look for Andrews to total at least 100 catches for 1,200 yards. He also should be a threat to reach the end zone 10 times.

All-Pro

4. Kyle Pitts, 5. George Kittle,

Pitts eclipsed 1,000 yards in his rookie campaign last year for the Atlanta Falcons. He also hauled in 68 catches on 110 targets in 17 games.

The Falcons lost veteran wide receiver Russell Gage this off-season, but selected Drake London in the 2022 NFL Draft and traded for former Raiders wide receiver Bryan Edwards. I expect those additions to take a little pressure off Pitts, but he remains the top target in Atlanta.

Look for the second-year tight end to snag at least 80 catches for 1,100 yards. He also should well exceed his one score from last season and reach the end zone at least five times.

Kittle remains a Top 5 option for me in 2022, despite an up-and-down 2021 for the San Francisco 49ers playmaker. The three-time Pro Bowl selection totaled 910 yards and six scores on 71 catches in 14 games last season.

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He remains one of the 49ers' top weapons this season as the team prepares to start second-year quarterback Trey Lance. I expect Lance to find a rhythm with Kittle early on as he develops as a passer.

Look for Kittle to log at least 80 catches for 1,000 yards and seven scores in 2022. He is my No. 4 option, but should be more of a priority in leagues that require starting the position.

Pro Bowl

6. Dallas Goedert, 7. T.J. Hockenson

Goedert and Hockenson are in similar situations in 2022 due to uncertainty at the quarterback position, but I expect their talent to warrant weekly fantasy football starts.

Goedert totaled 830 yards and four scores on 56 catches last season, but started the campaign in a workload split with fellow tight end Zach Ertz.

Ertz is now with the Arizona Cardinals, which should result in a full season of great production from Goedert in Philadelphia. I expect Goedert to total at least 75 catches this season. He also should draw more favorable coverage due to the team's off-season trade for star wide receiver A.J. Brown.

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I don't expect his yardage total to eclipse the 830 from last season, but I do see his touchdown total pushing closer to eight in 2022. He is my No. 6 option.

Hockenson broke out for 723 yards and six scores on 67 catches in 2020. He went on to snag 61 catches for 583 yards and four scores in 12 games in 2021, as he missed the end of the campaign due to a hand injury.

Hockenson should again be a top look for Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff. He is a near-lock for at least 70 catches for 800 yards and six scores if he plays every game.

He is not an every week starter in leagues that feature at least fewer than 14 teams that don't require starting tight ends.

Just Napping

11. Dawson Knox, 14. Mike Gesicki

Gesicki is one of my favorite high-end sleepers. Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa enters the season with a lot to prove after his team was linked to multiple quarterbacks for potential acquisitions this off-season. The Dolphins used free agency and the trade market to surround Tagovailoa with weapons, while Gesicki stayed in town under a franchise tag agreement.

With Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle lining up outside as deep threats, Gesicki should find a ton of room to move in the middle of the field. He also remains a great red zone target.

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The Dolphins schedule features six games against teams that ranked inside the Top 10 for the most fantasy points allowed to tight ends last season.

Gesicki can warrant a large contract if he provides stellar statistics in 2022. I expect his yardage total to be near 750. His touchdowns should increase to near 10. He is a matchup-based fantasy starter.

Deep Sleepers

20. Robert Tonyan, 21. Noah Fant, 24. Hayden Hurst

Like the Chiefs, Titans and Ravens, the Green Bay Packers watched their top wide receiver leave town through an off-season trade. But the void left by Davante Adams' departure might be the toughest to fill.

Adams totaled 238 targets over the past two seasons. He totaled more than 2,900 yards and scored 29 times in 30 games over that stretch.

The Packers added playmakers through the 2022 NFL Draft and free agency, but I expect quarterback Aaron Rodgers to lean on Tonyan, if he is healthy.

Tonyan sustained an ACL tear midway through his 2021 campaign. His status for the start of this season is a bit uncertain, but he should be a breakout option if he is ready early on in 2022.

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Tonyan will miss the first four weeks of the campaign if he isn't activated from the physically unable to perform list. His status is very important to monitor, especially if you are in a league that requires starting the position.

Tonyan totaled a career-high 586 yards and 11 scores on 52 catches in 16 games in 2020. Two of his best games that season came with Adams out of the lineup. Tonyan totaled 148 yards and four touchdowns and caught each of his 11 targets in that two-game stretch.

Top 25 Fantasy Football Tight end Rankings for 2022

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs, Bye Week 8

2. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders, Bye Week 6

3. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens, Bye Week 10

4. Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons, Bye Week 14

5. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers, Bye Week 9

6. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles, Bye Week 7

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7. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions, Bye Week 6

8. Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys, Bye Week 9

9. Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals, Bye Week 13

10. Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers, Bye Week 9

11. Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills, Bye Week 7

12. Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears, Bye Week 14

13. Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars, Bye Week 11

14. Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins, Bye Week 11

15. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams, Bye Week 7

16. Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team, Bye Week 14

17. David Njoku, Cleveland Browns, Bye Week 9

18. Irv Smith, Minnesota Vikings, Bye Week 7

19. Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers, Bye Week 8

20. Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers, Bye Week 14

21. Noah Fant, Seattle Seahawks, Bye Week 11

22. Albert Okwuegbunam, Denver Broncos, Bye Week 9

23. Austin Hooper, Tennessee Titans, Bye Week 6

24. Hayden Hurst, Cincinnati Bengals, Bye Week 10

25. C.J. Uzomah, New York Jets, Bye Week 10

Pittsburgh Steelers defeat Detroit Lions

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky throws in the first quarter against the Detroit Lions during an NFL preseason game at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh on August 28, 2022. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

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