Welcome to the best time of the year. With NFL training camp about to get going at the end of the month and fantasy drafts already starting up, there is no better time to start your research. Here at Stokastic we offer a wide range of advice and services from Daily Fantasy Sports to Best Ball quality content, including our state of the art Draft Guide and Best Ball Rankings for all the major sites.
When doing Best Ball drafts this summer my main focus has been either grabbing Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews early and then going with just once more TE later in the draft, or waiting and grabbing three TEs to fill out my team. A lot of the time my teams will have three TEs and the best part about Best Ball format is that you will get the top score each week without having to guess which one to play.
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TE scoring is heavily correlated to staying healthy and touchdowns. The more you go down in the rankings, the more the players are separated by single digit projections meaning that you can find TEs later in the draft with very similar upside. For example, the top two scoring TEs last year in 0.5 PP scoring were Mark Andrews who had 253.6 fantasy points with 1361 yards and 10 touchdowns. Many could argue he is the top TE pick in fantasy drafts this season, but I think he is still behind Travis Kelce. He missed one game last season and had a down year in regards of his production, but with the departure of Tyreek Hill this off-season, signs point to Kelce seeing an uptick in usage this year. Kelce scored 216.8 fantasy points with 1125 yards and 9 touchdowns last season. After those two, it was a massive drop down to Dalton Schultz who scored 169.8 points. The 12 best scoring fantasy TE in 2021 was Noah Fant scoring 125 points. If you grab either of these top two TEs I will be happy to just grab one more TE later in the draft and load up on other positions with the rest of my roster spots. If you are unable to grab a top tight end and are forced to reach for upside with some later picks, you have come to the right place!
Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears (Underdog ADP: 144)
There are many things working in Cole Kmet’s favor this year. For starters, old man TE Jimmy Graham is gone and so is their former top WR Allen Robinson. Graham may not seem like much, but he soaked up eight total red zone looks last season converting three of them into touchdowns. While it may not seem like a lot, Kmet received just 12 targets in the red zone while catching six of them for 0 touchdowns.
The former 43rd overall pick in the 2020 draft is looking to breakout this season after having a solid second half of the year with the Bears in 2021-2022. Kmet managed to put up 612 yards last season which was the 13th most of all TEs last season, but scored 0 touchdowns. The Bears signed James O’Shaughnessy in the off-season signaling that Kmet will be their top TE target monster.
This offence is expected to improve with Justin Fields in his sophomore season with new head coach Matt Eberflus. Kmet is a solid double digit round target who can offer you TE1 scoring for your best ball teams. See where Kmet ranks against the other TEs in Stokastics Best Ball Draft Guide.
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Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers (Underdog ADP – 160)
Robert Tonyan is a prime candidate to soak up extra targets after the Green Bay Packers traded star WR Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders this off-season. Tonyan had a rough start to the 2021-2022 season then tore his ACL in week 8. He is currently being drafted outside of the top 16 TEs in Underdog Best Balls, but has shown massive upside in the past with his red zone looks.
Tonyan saw almost one red zone look in each game he played in 2021 and should continue to get peppered in 2022 with no Adams. The team added young WRs but watch for Aaron Rodgers to look for his 6’4″ TE when they are close to the goal line.
While Tonyan’s 2020 NFL season may go down as an anomaly, scoring 11 touchdowns in one season just goes to show the kind of upside he has for your best ball teams.
Hayden Hurst, Cincinnati Bengals (Underdog ADP – 199)
A forgotten part of Hayden Hurst’s past is that he was originally drafted 25th overall by the Baltimore Ravens in 2018 as they expected him to be their future TE. Instead, the Ravens third round pick of Mark Andrews was the breakout star for the team. Hurst was traded to Atlanta in 2020 where he was able to have a fairly productive season producing 571 yards and six touchdowns on 56 receptions.
Unfortunately for Hurst, his time in Atlanta was quickly derailed after the Falcons drafted TE Kyle Pitts with the 4th overall pick in 2021. Hurst is on his third team in four years and is hoping to develop chemistry with young stud QB Joe Burrow. Hurst is taking over the C.J. Uzomah role that saw the TE soak up 49 receptions for 493 yards and five touchdowns in 2021.
Hurst is not someone I want to be counting on every week on season-long fantasy teams, but in best ball where you use the best score, he makes for a solid pick with upside.
Austin Hooper, Tennessee Titans (Underdog ADP – 208)
Austin Hooper is in a similar position as Hayden Hurst as he is on his third team in four years. After a successful start to his career in Atlanta, Hooper signed a massive 4 year – $42 million dollar contract with the Cleveland Browns. Hooper was not able to replicate the same production he has with Matt Ryan as he did with Browns QB Baker Mayfield, as the team decided to release him in March.
Hooper then signed a $6 million dollar contract with the Tennessee Titans. The Titans have had a carousel of TEs the past couple seasons and are left to fill a massive void in the passing game after the team traded star WR A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles on draft day. The team also lost their top TE in 2021 – Anthony Firkser – to the Atlanta Falcons in the off-season. Geoff Swaim is still a Ttian, but expect Hooper to bounce back after a rough couple seasons in Cleveland. Swaim and Firkser combined for 14 red zone targets last season converting them for four touchdowns.
Hooper is a steal in the late round with TE1 upside on a team that is searching for a big red zone target. He is currently surrounded in our best ball rankings by players going multiple rounds in front of him.
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Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts (Underdog ADP – 214)
The former 6’5″ VCU basketball player is exactly what you want if you’re looking for spike production late in your best ball drafts. With TE Jack Doyle retiring in the off-season, Alie-Cox seems primed to see a bigger role in the passing game in 2022. He converted three of his 10 red zone passes into touchdowns last season and could see even more production from new QB Matt Ryan. Doyle had seven red zone targets in 2021 and converted three of them into touchdowns while rookie TE Kylen Granson had four redzone targets.
Alie-Cox is the big body that Ryan will be looking at once the team gets down into the redzone, so slotting Cox in as your last TE gives you a strong candidate to get a touchdown each week.
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