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Top rookie tight ends to target for 2022 fantasy football

We take a look at the best tight ends heading into fantasy draft week after preseason.

Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride warms up before playing against the Baltimore Ravens in a preseason game at State Farm Stadium. Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2022 NFL preseason slate in the books and if your league is holding its draft this week, there will be an opportunity to fortify your rosters with rookie tight ends.

It can be tough to figure out which rookie tight ends will make an impact right out of the gate as prospects like Kyle Pitts are anomalies. These guys are usually used as blocking tight ends to start and are eased into the passing game as time moves forward. If you’re thinking about taking a flyer on one this season, we’ll point you in the right direction below.

Jelani Woods, Indianapolis Colts

With Jack Doyle retiring, Mo Alie-Cox will be the starting tight end with the Colts. After him, there’s an opportunity for Jelani Woods to start producing right out the gate. The third-round pick out of Virginia has looked good in training camp and in limited time during the preseason, has three catches for 34 yards and a touchdown. Woods is currently TE31 in average draft position in PPR formats, so some fantasy managers are already buying into his stock. With Matt Ryan throwing passes to him, he’d be a worthy investment.

Trey McBride, Arizona Cardinals

McBride was the first tight end taken off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft and has a lot of upside even as a rookie. The 2021 John Mackey Award winner is currently listed as the backup tight end behind Zach Ertz on the depth chart and that’s a good sign for him moving forward. With a dominant figure like Ertz ahead of him, the results may not immediately come for McBride. If you have the room on the roster, he’s someone you can easily stash away.

Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens

The training camp hype is through the roof for Likely and because of that, he has the highest ADP for any rookie tight end as TE30. The Coastal Carolina product showed out in the preseason, catching eight targets for 100 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals. He’s clearly behind Ravens starter Mark Andrews on the depth chart but if Baltimore utilizes more 12 and 22 personnel formations, Likely could be a problem.