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2022 Fantasy Football Tight End Shuffle Up: Touchdowns should arrive in bunches for Kyle Pitts

Yahoo Sports US 8/10/2022 Scott Pianowski

The Shuffle Up fantasy series continues. We’ve done the quarterbacks and the running backs; today is the tight ends. Wide receivers will come at the end of the week. The dollar values you'll see below are unscientific in nature but reflect how I see the clusters of talent at the tight end position.

My number is on the left; the number on the right is what the player commanded in the recent Vegas Flex salary cap league, which ran its draft a week ago.

Assume a half-point PPR format as you peruse this list. ("Add" means that player was added post-draft in the Vegas league; "FA" denotes a player who is currently unrostered in that pool.)

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Have some disagreements? Good, that’s why we have a game. I welcome your reasoned disagreement over at Twitter: @scott_pianowski.

The Big Tickets

$24 Travis Kelce ($24)

$22 Mark Andrews ($20)

$19 Kyle Pitts ($20)

$19 George Kittle ($13)

Kelce is still going strong and will surely lead Kansas City in targets, but I’m unlikely to draft him as I generally don’t like my RB or WR builds when I opt for a vanity tight end as early as he goes . . . My colleague Matt Harmon thinks Andrews and Rashod Bateman could command 50 percent of the Baltimore targets, and I don’t think that’s off-base . . . Pitts had a strong rookie year if you don’t obsess over the strange one-touchdown return. He’s a matchup nightmare and more of a jumbo wide receiver than a true tight end; he’s not there to take out the trash. This year, the touchdown column corrects . . . Kittle is in San Francisco to block his tail off, in addition to all the pass-catching. And no fault of his own, he still hasn’t been unlocked in the red zone. I love the real-life player, but likely won’t draft into the fantasy option.

Legitimate Building Blocks

$15 Dalton Schultz ($9)

$14 T.J. Hockenson ($4)

$14 Dallas Goedert ($4)

$12 Darren Waller ($8)

$11 Zach Ertz ($9)

$11 Dawson Knox ($5)

$10 Cole Kmet ($4)

Schultz is in the sweet spot in Dallas, important enough to be a priority but never the No. 1 defensive assignment so long as CeeDee Lamb is heathy. Schultz is a proactive pick for me . . . Be mindful that Goedert’s best 2021 game was a Gardner Minshew start. I’d move him up if the Eagles ever had a reason to use Minshew, likely their best pure passer . . . Waller is likely the No. 3 target in Vegas, because I don’t think the Hunter Renfrow breakout was a fluke. Waller will be slightly overdrafted in many leagues . . . Ertz is in the catch-and-fall part of his career, but Arizona’s odd wide receiver construction basically guarantees he’ll see a bunch of targets again.

Zach Ertz could still provide fantasy value as part of the Cardinals' weaponry. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) © Provided by Yahoo Sports US Zach Ertz could still provide fantasy value as part of the Cardinals' weaponry. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Talk them up, talk them down

$7 Irv Smith Jr. ($2)

$7 Pat Freiermuth ($1)

$5 Hunter Henry ($1)

$5 Mike Gesicki (FA)

$4 David Njoku ($1)

$4 Tyler Higbee (FA)

Smith can’t seem to catch a break, missing last year with a major injury and dealing with the thumb surgery this summer. The Vikings still offer a fun setup for him, with a plus quarterback and what looks like a more aggressive, modern offensive coaching staff . . . Henry got by on touchdown deodorant last year, and never had bankable volume. There are probably five different pass-catchers in the New England offense who could lead the team in receiving yards or touchdowns; that’s a bug, not a feature . . . Gesicki is another pseudo tight-end who’s not noted for his blocking. The new coaching staff will ask him to do a lot more dirty work than before, and obviously Tyreek Hill is around to disrupt the target distribution. I’ve been a Gesicki apologist at times in the past, but not for 2022.

Bargain Bin

$3 Brevin Jordan ($1)

$3 Albert Okwuegbunam ($1)

$3 Noah Fant (FA)

$3 Gerald Everett (FA)

$2 Austin Hooper ($1)

$2 Evan Engram (FA)

$2 Hayden Hurst (FA)

$1 Mo Alie-Cox (FA)

$1 C.J. Uzomah (FA)

$1 Trey McBride (FA)

$1 Jonnu Smith (FA)

$1 Kyle Rudolph (FA)

Hooper is my favorite low-cost option, thinking the Titans need him bad enough that he can recapture the form he showed at the end of his Atlanta days . . . I can also squint and see some Engram interest, as he escapes what was a bad situation in New York (hopefully the Daboll regime fixes some things) and now works for a head coach who likes to throw to the middle of the field, albeit the best coaches generally work talent to scheme, not the other way around.

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