The tight end in fantasy football is arguably the X-factor in a matchup. If you have an elite option in your lineup he can bring home the victory in the clutch, and fantasy managers have two undisputed options at the top of their lists with Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews. Both have the tangibles as elite receiving options for their respective quarterbacks while posing as matchup nightmares for opposing defenses.
Fantasy managers will always strive for a stud running back or wide receiver, but having a surefire option at the tight end slot can put your team over the top. We look ahead and break down what Kelce and Andrews each bring to the table, and which player you should roll with if given the choice.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
If you look up the word “consistency” in the dictionary you might as well throw in the Chiefs’ tight end as the embodiment of the word. How about this for a stat: Kelce currently has six straight seasons with 1,000 receiving yards or more. He has a career average of 12.8 yards per reception and has been named to the Pro Bowl for the past six seasons and counting. He’s arguably the best tight end in the NFL and it’s hard to imagine things could get better from here on out. But in 2022 that actually may come to fruition.
Last season Kelce finished behind only Tyreek Hill in team targets, receptions, and yards while tying with Hill in receiving touchdowns. Now that Hill has been traded to the Miami Dolphins it opens up the door for Kelce to take command as the number one receiving threat. Yes, the Chiefs are welcoming new faces Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling into the fold. But Patrick Mahomes will undoubtedly look first and foremost to his old reliable in Kelce.
Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
Andrews took the crown as the best tight end in fantasy season after finishing first in PPR and standard scoring. The Ravens’ receiving threat caught 107 receptions for 1,361 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He led all tight ends in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns all while facing a carousel under center. That’s right, Lamar Jackson missed five games last season due to injury and Andrews still finished as the best tight end statistically in football.
The belief is that Jackson will be healthy for the long haul in 2022, which should bode well for Andrews’ fantasy production. Even better is the reality that Andrews may be Jackson’s lone reliable threat in the passing game. Speed threat Hollywood Brown was traded in the offseason to the Arizona Cardinals, opening the door for Andrews to take command as Jackson’s primary target when in the pocket.
Fantasy football verdict
Andrews may have finished as the best tight end in fantasy last season but I’m not entirely sold on a back-to-back performance. While Andrews’ tangibles speak for themselves you need to have a reliable arm throwing to you from the pocket. Given Jackson’s recent injury history and the fact that his mobility makes him more susceptible to contact I may err on the side of caution in drafting Andrews as the top tight end.
Kelce’s six straight seasons of dominance speaks for itself and he already has multiple seasons’ worth of chemistry with Mahomes. Kansas City also ranked fourth last season in passing yards per game (281.8), while Baltimore finished 16th (233.0). In drafting Kelce I’m getting established chemistry with Mahomes and a surefire tendency to throw it deep.