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2023 Undervalued / Overvalued: Tight Ends

By Michael O'Hara | 7/26/23 |

While not the only deciding factor for fantasy success, the draft is arguably the most critical part of your fantasy season. But how do you find success while drafting a fantasy team? To put it simply, draft players with the best value. Pinpointing players that other managers have undervalued and adding them to your team can help you dominate your league. On the flip side, avoiding players that are overvalued will keep disappointments off of your roster.

But how do we decide if a player is overvalued or undervalued? There is no “secret formula” or one specific way to determine the value against ADP but there are several factors to consider including changes in the offensive environment (players or coaches), recent performance, and public perception to name a few. With that being said, here are some tight ends to consider investing in and some to draft with caution.

Note: ADP based on PPR scoring


Kyle Pitts

Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
ADP: 6.06, TE5

The case for Pitts being undervalued: Pitts is undoubtedly a phenomenal talent who is due for positive regression and his price has finally fallen.

The case against Pitts being undervalued: Pitts’ lack of success has primarily been due to quarterback play but Desmond Ridder does not appear to be a step up from Marcus Mariota.

Verdict: After burning fantasy managers for two straight seasons, the price is finally right to draft Kyle Pitts. After being drafted in the first four rounds in each of the last two seasons, Atlanta's tantalizing tight end has finally slid to a mid-round price.

Everything about Pitts screams that he can be a superstar and a true difference-maker. First, it’s clear that Pitts passes the eye test. He makes plays that few tight ends in the NFL can make. However, when diving deeper into the statistics, Pitts’ outlook gets even more exciting. Pitts ranked second in target share (27.3%) and was first in target rate (34.3%), showing the Falcons want him heavily involved in the passing attack. Pitts also ranked 5th in yards per route run among tight ends. There are several more encouraging statistics surrounding Pitts including his air yards share and number of deep targets, among others.

If Pitts is among the elite tight ends in these critical advanced metrics, why does he fail to live up to expectations? It may sound a bit too simple, but it truly comes down to quarterback play. In 2022, Pitts ranked dead last among all pass catchers (WR and TE with 50 targets min.) in catchable target rate. Just 64.9 percent of his targets were deemed catchable. This resulted in 541 unrealized air yards, the most of any TE even though Pitts played just 10 games last season. While Pitts will ideally see better quarterback play this season, Falcons starting quarterback Desmond Ridder ranked 30th in catchable pass rate. However, it must be noted that Ridder played just four games in 2022 so there is an opportunity for improvement.

The majority of the fantasy community would agree that Pitts should be an elite fantasy tight end. This just hasn’t happened yet. However, recent disappointments have dropped his price a full 2-3 rounds from last season. Given Pitts’ talent and upside, this seems to be the perfect time to buy low on a potential breakout.

Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers
ADP: 14.06, TE19

The case for Everett being undervalued: Everett is an athletic tight end and the Chargers will likely be one of the league’s most pass-heavy and high-scoring offenses.

The case against Everett being undervalued: Everett does not have a history of being a productive tight end and has primarily been a boom or bust option in fantasy.

Verdict: Everett quietly had the best season of his career in 2022. He set career bests in nearly every statistic, including targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns (tied career high). Everett’s 2022 performance placed him as the TE11 in fantasy points per game. You may be wondering why Everett’s price has plummeted to TE19 if he finished as a TE1 last season. It’s actually fairly simple. Chargers’ top receiver Keenan Allen returns after missing seven games in 2023 and Los Angeles added TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnson in the first round of this year’s draft.

Despite there being more mouths to feed in this offense, Everett still provides value. The first reason is price. Going in the 14th round or even later, Everett is essentially free. This small investment means it is not a problem if Everett doesn’t live up to expectations.

This offseason, former Dallas offensive coordinator Kellen Moore joined the Los Angeles coaching staff. While in Dallas, Moore’s offense threw the ball at a high rate and was incredibly high scoring. In fact, Dallas was top-five in scoring in each of the last two seasons. With the OC’s move to Los Angeles, all signs point to Moore making the most out of Justin Herbert’s arm talent and the weapons around. Nobody would be shocked if Moore’s arrival leads to Herbert leading the league in passing yards and the Chargers leading the league in scoring. Given his cheap price and the high-powered offensive environment, Everett proves to be a great value in 2023 drafts.


George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
ADP: 5.07, TE4

The case for Kittle being overvalued: Kittle finds himself in a crowded offense and is a prime candidate for touchdown regression.

The case against Kittle being overvalued: Kittle will be on the field for nearly every snap on a highly productive offense and is one of the league’s most efficient tight ends.

Verdict: In terms of all-around skillset, George Kittle is arguably the best tight end in the NFL. However, this does not always translate to fantasy success. While Kittle certainly has the talent to be a great draft pick, several factors are working against him. The first factor is price. In the middle of the 5th round, there are still several potential league winners still available, and Kittle is certainly not a league winner. These players include Calvin Ridley, Cam Akers, and Trevor Lawrence, to name a few.

A key reason that Kittle may disappoint fantasy managers is the weapons within the San Francisco offense. Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk are all high-end talents and will command touches on a weekly basis. On top of this, reports indicate that the 49ers want to get Aiyuk more involved and many in the fantasy community have Aiyuk pegged as a breakout candidate. With several mouths to feed and the potential for an Aiyuk breakout, it would not be shocking if Kittle saw fewer touches and a reduction from his 19.8% target share in 2022.

Many who are drafting Kittle point to his strong finish to 2022. From Week 11 to Week 18, Kittle was the TE2 (PPR), scoring 15.9 points per game. This finish is carried by high touchdown numbers. In these eight games, Kittle had nine touchdowns, a rate that is simply not sustainable. Prior to last season, Kittle had never scored more than six touchdowns in a full season. In my opinion, this finish to 2022 is propping up his 5th round cost. The fantasy community often falls victim to recency bias and this is the case with Kittle.

Darren Waller, New York Giants
ADP: 7.03, TE6

The case for Waller being overvalued: Waller has not been productive for a full season since 2020 and joins an offense that hardly utilizes tight ends.

The case against Waller being overvalued: With multiple seasons of over 1100 receiving yards, Waller is one of the only tight ends with the talent and upside to compete with the elites at the position.

Verdict: Following a move to New York, Waller seems to be the sweetheart of the fantasy community. However, it seems that some fantasy managers are living in the past. Waller has not been on the field for a full season since 2020. Over the last two seasons, he has played just 20 games, finishing as the TE6 or better in just six of them. Waller has more weekly finishes as a TE2 or worse (nine) than he does as an elite TE in the top six performers on the week. He has the talent to be a game-changing player and make a significant impact on fantasy rosters. However, these performances were over two years ago. Since then, Waller has been unable to stay on the field and has not been reliable while healthy. His recent performances make his 7th round price fairly risky.

Waller’s move to New York also places him in a less than ideal offensive environment. With an effective rushing quarterback in Daniel Jones and one of the league’s best running backs in Saquon Barkley, the Giants heavily relied on the run last year and ranked just 22nd in passing rate last season.

The Giants are likely to be below average in pass rate once again and they rarely targeted their tight ends last season, throwing to the position just 65 times - the second-lowest rate of any team in the league. While these numbers will certainly increase with the addition of Waller, it is concerning that this offense rarely utilizes the position.

1100-yard performances in 2019 and 2020 solidified Waller as a top-tier receiving tight end. Now entering his age 31 season, Waller has struggled to stay on the field as of late. His lack of recent production (although this is due to injury) combined with a less than ideal offensive environment should lead to a cautious approach when considering Waller.

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