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A fantasy draft is all about obtaining the most value with each selection. There is value available throughout a draft, and grabbing it is one of the most important keys to a successful fantasy team. In an attempt to point out this value, we asked our staff to look through the Top 150 and identify players that should outperform their draft position.
Here are the players who received the most votes:
Editor's Note: Rob Gronkowski was a top vote-getter as well. After his surprise retirement on June 21, he has been removed from this article.
And here are all of the players mentioned and the reasons why.
Players Receiving 5 Votes
Zach Ertz, Arizona
Phil Alexander: After joining the Cardinals in Week 7 last season, Ertz ranked third at the position in targets, second in receptions, and fourth in PPR fantasy scoring. Arizona's offseason moves are a net positive for Ertz's target projection, and DeAndre Hopkins' six-game suspension puts gasoline on the fire early in the season. Ertz is set to hog Kyler Murray's middle-of-the-field targets and profiles as the team's most reliable option in the red zone. What he lacks in explosiveness after the catch, Ertz will make up for with volume. Don't be surprised when he finishes as a top-five tight end in PPR formats.
Sigmund Bloom: Ertz was barely in the fold last season after a mid-campaign trade to the Cardinals when DeAndre Hopkins went down. The third game without Hopkins produced an 8-88-2 line for Ertz, and he averaged over 13 PPR points per game with no fewer than 11 in the last four games that Hopkins missed. Hopkins will miss the first six games this season due to a suspension, so Ertz should be able to give you mid-TE1 numbers for at least the first half of the fantasy regular season at a low TE1 cost.
Drew Davenport: It's odd that Ertz is barely cracking TE1 territory in ADP yet he finished as the PPR TE6 last year. His points-per-game average was only good enough for TE12, so that could be part of the current public perception, but these numbers lack context. Ertz was traded to the Cardinals after Week 6 last year. From Week 7 on he was TE4 overall, and TE5 in points per game. He averaged a mere 5.2 targets and 3 receptions per game in Philadelphia, but after the trade, he finished with 7.4 targets and 5.1 receptions per contest down the stretch for his new team. There is no reason to think Ertz can't vastly outperform his draft slot and be given 120 targets to do it with. Ertz is a significant value right now.
Gary Davenport: If paying retail for a tight end gives you the queasies, then Ertz is a player who should absolutely be on your target list. It's not just that Ertz finished his first season in Arizona fifth in PPR fantasy points among tight ends. Or that he peeled off double-digit PPR scoring efforts every week during the fantasy playoffs. Or that he was targeted less than seven times just once after Week 12, with three outings with double-digit targets over that span. There's also the matter of the six-game suspension handed down to Cardinals wideout DeAndre Hopkins. The Cardinals traded for Marquise Brown in an effort to mitigate the effects of that suspension, but it's not hard to imagine Ertz being a big part of the passing attack earlier in the season—especially in the red zone. That role isn't just going to evaporate once Hopkins returns.
Dave Kluge: Last offseason was filled with articles and takes about the regression of Ertz. And during his early-season stint in Philadelphia, it appeared to be the case. But a midseason trade to Arizona rejuvenated Ertz. From the time he joined Arizona (Week 7) through the end of the season, he was the TE4 in PPR fantasy leagues. The 7.4 targets he pulled were eclipsed by only Mark Andrews, Darren Waler, and Travis Kelce. The Cardinals added some firepower in Marquise Brown, but DeAndre Hopkins will start the season with an eight-game suspension. Currently getting drafted as TE10, it seems as if he’s being drafted well before his floor.
Cole Kmet, Chicago
Phil Alexander: Breakout tight ends are typically athletic, positioned for a significant share of their team's targets, and have shown the ability to produce at the NFL level at a young age. Kmet is 23 years old, possesses elite burst for a 265-pound athlete, and finished inside the top-12 tight ends in both receptions and receiving yards in his second season as a pro. Allen Robinson's departure vacates 20% of Chicago's targets from a year ago, leaving Kmet with plenty of room to grow as the clear No. 2 option in the Bears' passing game behind Darnell Mooney. He has the opportunity to approximate George Kittle's year-end stat line but typically comes off draft boards about 100 picks later.
Jeff Haseley: If Justin Fields doesn't improve at all in his second season, we're looking at an approximation of what Cole Kmet produced last year, which was a 60-600 season. Interestingly enough, Kmet did not score a single touchdown. It was the first time since 1985 that a tight end with 60+ receptions did not score a touchdown. That most likely will change in 2022. Chicago has few options in the receiving game led by Darnell Mooney and Kmet with little else as a threat. The volume will be there for Kmet to see decent production. If Fields can show improvement, Kmet's potential could skyrocket.
Dave Kluge: Kmet is poised for a breakout. Only one other tight end in NFL history has commanded over 130 targets and scored few than three touchdowns in his first two NFL seasons. Tony McGee did this in the early-90s and followed up with 14 touchdowns over the next three seasons. TE1s typically have a heavy touchdown total, but those are very tough to predict. Instead, draft players who get targets and hope the touchdowns follow. With Allen Robinson and Jimmy Graham out of Chicago, Kmet has a chance to be the secondary pass-catcher in Chicago. He saw 93 targets last year, eighth-most in the league. Last year, every tight end to draw 100-plus targets finished inside the top-eight in fantasy. Going back an entire decade, 125-plus targets has an 84-percent hit rate of producing a top-three fantasy tight end. There’s a desirable floor and an alluring ceiling with Kmet this year than shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Chad Parsons: Zero touchdowns. Kmet did not manage a trip to the end zone during the 2021 season as a regularly-targeted NFL starting tight end. That is tough to achieve and one of the glaring regression candidates for the position. Also, other than Darnell Mooney, where will the ball go in the Chicago passing game? Kmet will have the volume and touchdown regression fortune to hit the top-10 of the position and easily beat his positional ADP standing.
Sam Wagman: Someone has to be the red zone weapon for this Chicago Bears team. I say it’s Kmet, and by a healthy margin. Last year, Kmet failed to reach paydirt a single time, which definitely hurt his statistics, but they don’t tell the full story. He was the first tight end in NFL HISTORY to see 90+ targets and not score a touchdown. With new OC Luke Getsy coming to town and focusing on a version of the Shanahan offense, the TE position should be more of a central figure in this offense. The Bears are going to have to throw a ton to keep up in games and outside of Darnell Mooney, Kmet is the next beneficiary.
Player Receiving 4 Votes
Noah Fant, Seattle
Anthony Amico: Fant has been a TE1 in ADP the last two seasons, and has finished inside of the top 15 both years. Now he is inexplicably the TE18 in ADP. Sure, Seattle wants to run the ball, and the quarterback play isn't expected to be great -- but those same conditions have existed for Fant's entire career. Now we get his excellent prospect profile at a discount. This is a value to attack.
James Brimacombe: The trade to Seattle was a bummer for Fant but at the same time he will be having the same quarterback he had last year throwing him the ball if Drew Lock is the guy. Even with Lock and Bridgewater last year, Fant finished as a top-12 tight end with a solid 68/670/4 stat line. All Seahawks players are values at ADP right now because of the uncertainty at the quarterback position.
Kevin Coleman: If you are a fantasy manager who likes to wait to draft the tight-end position, there is no one better in terms of value right now than Noah Fant. The trade to the Seahawks pushed down his ADP and has made him one of the biggest bargains in fantasy football. The Seahawks will most likely be playing from behind a lot this season which will help Fant’s ceiling. He could also be the Seahawks' No. 1 red-zone option on the roster, so we could see an uptick in his touchdown totals.
Christian Williams: Many are off the Noah Fant hype train following his arrival in Seattle, but offseason reports have indicated that fantasy managers may want to hop back on. Fant finished as TE12 in 2021, but his 9.9 points per game ranked 14th among qualifying tight ends. His role and production remained virtually identical, but his 17% target share ranked inside the top ten. Seattle has traditionally, with the help of great defenses, been able to run the ball at an extremely high rate, but that streak could end after the departure of Russell Wilson. Head coach Pete Carroll has raved about Fant during offseason programs, and while Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf will still have major roles, Fant's range of outcomes still includes a top-five fantasy finish.
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