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Every time you hear, "You need to have insert-player-here in this year," there are also players you must avoid. Some players are just not as good as everyone makes them out to be. Maybe they had a stellar end to the 2021 season and are being overrated by the consensus without considering that their circumstances have changed. But most players that you need to avoid in fantasy football are being drafted at an ADP (Average Draft Position) that is too high, typically due to a disparity between their NFL game value and their fantasy football value.
Let's bridge the gap and dive into some tight ends who are overvalued from an ADP standpoint.
George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers: TE5
Kittle might be the best tight end in the NFL. Kittle may not be as good for fantasy football as you would like him to be.
Both statements can be true. First, we should break down the meaning of the above statement. When Kittle steps onto the field, his role differs from the star tight ends for fantasy football. Whereas the other major stars like Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, and Kyle Pitts all line up in the slot or out wide much of the time, Kittle spends a good deal of time lining up in-line to block. Out of his 985 total snaps last season, Kittle lined up as an in-line tight end 596 times, per RotoWire. That's a near 61% number. This significantly impacts how Kittle spends his downs, leading to many plays where he is not involved with the football, even though he racked up a 92% snap share which ranked first in the league.
Even with that large amount of snaps playing in-line, Kittle still garnered a 24.9% target share and put up a solid stat line of 71 catches on 95 targets for 910 yards and 6 scores. Those are pretty good numbers! Well, they also were with a different quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo. Trey Lance will be the starter this year, though, which potentially presents a whole new issue for Kittle. The offense is set to change under Lance, with more plays marked for designed runs since Lance is a gifted athlete. In the one game that the two played in together last year, Kittle only had two catches on three targets for 21 yards.
The problem with this offense is that there aren't always many targets to go around. Brandon Aiyuk will continue to take a larger role. Deebo Samuel is always dangerous wherever he lines up, so mixing in Kittle to block even more, given the additional run plays, could lead to less of a target share for the star tight end. Kittle should still be a very solid option, but he has a floor that we have seen due to injury from his involved role, and that, along with everything listed above, is enough for me to be wary in season-long leagues.
Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers: TE11
This hurts a little bit to put Freiermuth on here. Freiermuth had a very solid rookie season, putting together 60 catches on 79 targets for 497 yards and 7 touchdowns. He began coming alive starting in Week 8 and had a strong finish to the season as he won the praise of many fantasy managers out there. He made a living in the red zone, as he corralled 15 of his 20 targets down there --a 75% catch rate-- for those seven touchdowns. All seems great until you come to a few unfortunate things. The first is the uncomfortable truth that Freiermuth sits a dismal fourth or fifth on the target list for Mitch Trubisky, depending on how you view things.
The simple fact is this: all of Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and Najee Harris figure to be ahead of Freiermuth in the pecking order, with George Pickens waiting in the wings. In the best scenarios, this offense is a low-volume passing attack with Trubisky at the helm. Freiermuth not getting the primary looks could be especially damaging to a potential yardage breakout.
The second issue is that Freiermuth does not provide a ton of upside. In our drafts, the top-end of the tight end position that gives you league-winning upside is extraordinarily small. After the top five or so players, it becomes a very upside-driven position, and you only want to draft the guys who could break a slate each week. With touchdowns being a fluky stat that tends to regress from year to year, Freiermuth would have to gain a bigger yardage share to be considered in this range.
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