It seems like NFL season is never going to get here, but we can promise you that it will. That’s just the summer heat dragging you down. For a little pick me up, we suggest diving right into fantasy football prep. After all, your draft is going to be here before you know it.
If you’re not familiar with the best ball fantasy format, it’s definitely one that’s worth your time. The main thing is that it’s one roster all season. There’s no waiver wire, no lineup changes from week to week. You get the points for the best player at each position on your roster, i.e. no need to worry that the backup running back on your bench went off in Week 13 spot duty. The strategy in best ball leagues is mostly about making good draft picks, since your roster is locked for the year.
One area where best ball leagues are just like your typical redraft league is that it’s still a frustrating experience to find a good tight end. There just aren’t that many big time fantasy producers at the position. But here are a few names to keep on your draft. Some of these guys are going to be the obvious picks, while others the ones you settle for if you miss out on the top five or so.
Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
The first tight end in five years not named Travis Kelce to lead the position in fantasy scoring is well positioned to do it again this year. He caught 107 passes on 153 targets—only four players in the entire NFL had more receptions—totaling 1,361 yards (6th best) and scoring nine touchdowns. Only eight players had more receiving scores. With Marquise Brown gone, Andrews will once again be the main man in Baltimore’s passing game. The Ravens will also have an upgraded, healthier offensive line to make passing a little easier for Lamar Jackson too.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
There’s no reason Kelce shouldn’t be the first tight end off the board in your draft. He’s still got that kind of potential. But he is getting a little older, turning 33 this year, and there’s more competition for targets in KC after the Chiefs went on a big shopping spree for wideouts during the spring.
Still, as long as Mahomes is under center, he’s going to throw to Kelce a ton. Whether he reclaims his spot as the top tight end in fantasy, he’s going to be among the top five at the position, capable of putting up the kind of big weeks that’ll put you over the top.
Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
If the Falcons were, you know, not the Falcons, I’d be really tempted to pick Pitts as the most likely to be the top fantasy performer among tight ends. But with a shaky quarterback situation and not much else for defenses to focus on, it’s going to drag down his numbers a bit. But Pitts’ slack numbers are still going to be enough to make him. He topped the 1,000-yard mark last year, despite a slow start to the season. Pitts was prone to some really bad weeks last season. That’s probably not going to change in 2022 given the nature of the Falcons roster, but he’s also going to go off in other games.
George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
Kittle missed three games last season with a calf injury, and he still managed to finish the season with 912 yards on 71 receptions (94 targets) and six touchdowns, a career high. Injuries have cropped up already in the offseason for Kittle too, with a lower body issue forcing him to miss OTAs. I still wouldn’t worry about that too much. In fact, his injury history might cause him to be undervalued in drafts. One thing that makes Kittle such a valuable player in best ball leagues is that he has some monster weeks, including two games last season with more than 150 yards.
There’s a little bit of an unknown as the Niners make the switch to Trey Lance at quarterback. The two only made one start together last year, in Week 17, and Kittle only caught one pass for 29 yards in that one. Still, with more time practicing together, it’s going to be hard for a young quarterback not to look toward a reliable weapon over the middle.
Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys
There was hype around Schultz heading into the season last year, and he certainly lived up to it with 78 receptions for 808 yards and eight touchdowns. He was especially strong late in the season, scoring four times with 224 yards on 25 receptions.
Schultz is in a good spot with Dallas going into the season too. The Cowboys lost Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson, and Michael Gallup is coming off a late season ACL tear. That makes Schultz a top target in a high volume offense.