It’s that time of year once again! Football Absurdity will bring you a breakdown of every notable fantasy football-relevant player throughout June, July, and August. We continue with the tight ends. Today, we take a look at the annual stud of studs, the undisputed #1 tight end, Travis Kelce. He took a step back last season, but is it enough to move him out of his top slot at the position?
Travis Kelce ADP and AAV:
Average Draft Position: TE1, 13 overall
Average Auction Value: $45
Travis Kelce Statistics:
|Year||Std Pts||HPPR Pts||PPR Pts||Pts/G||HPPR Pts/G||PPR Pts/G||Pts/Tgt||HPPR Pts/Tgt||PPR Pts/Tgt|
|Year||Air Yards||aDOT||YAC||YAC/Tgt||YAC/Rec||AYMS||Tgt MS|
2022 Travis Kelce Overview:
Travis Kelce will be 33 when the season starts and was a victim of the general contraction of the Chiefs’ offense last season. Still, despite this, he ranked first or second in tight end targets, receptions, yards, yards after the catch, touchdowns, and fantasy points per game. He was still undoubtedly great at the position, but Mark Andrews closed the gap and even surpassed Kelce in PPR points per game last year.
But, that was last year, and this year is… well, it’s this year. Travis Kelce has an opportunity to not only regain the top spot but also to remind people why he stayed there in all of our rankings. Kelce took a step back in 2021 because his targets took a step back, going from a 24-26% target share every year from 2017 to 2020 down to just 22.3% target share. His average depth of target also dropped about 1.5 yards, but other than target share and depth of target, not much changed for Kelce in 2021 compared to 2020.
This isn’t concerning to me for two reasons. First, average depth of target is insanely non-sticky as a stat when you consider fantasy points. What’s the opposite of sticky? Slick? It’s a slick stat. While Kelce’s decreased each of the last three seasons, his 7.4 drop is likely more of an aberration than anything else, considering that his average depth of target also dropped in 2020, and he was still TE1. Even if his average depth of target drops, his targets are about to go through the roof. If he stays healthy, Kelce’s career-high 150 targets in 2018 look as though they should be the floor. That’s more than you can say for the contenders to the TE1 throne.
Mark Andrews’ role in the Ravens’ offense seems relatively secure, but their passing game explosion might be due to losing all of their running backs last offseason. George Kittle faces uncertainty over a new and unproven quarterback, and Darren Waller is facing uncertainty due to the Raiders adding Darren Waller. Kyle Pitts is the only contender likely to get 150 targets, like Kelce. But, his targets will come from Marcus Mariota and/or Desmond Ridder in the moribund and directionless Falcons offense, not the powerful Chiefs’ offense.
Second, Travis Kelce definitely shook off the rust at the end of the season, finishing with at least 95 yards in four of his last six games, including a 10-catch, 191-yard, two-touchdown effort against Kansas City. He was lights out in the playoffs, notching an average of 7 catches, 100 yards, and a touchdown. An average! There are very few tight ends who have that kind of upside, and the list starts with Travis Kelce.
2022 Travis Kelce Fantasy Football Draft Strategy:
But, is all this something that makes Travis Kelce worthy of his draft day price? As of right now, he’s a second-round pick in technicality only (pick 2.01, meaning that the 1.12 pick is taking him in the second round but could easily do it in the first). So, is he worthy of a first-round selection? You want a couple of things out of your first round selection: dependability and the knowledge that he should have a great chance of finishing at or near the top of the position. You’re not looking to take wild swings, you’re looking to not miss.
I can best explain this with a kicker allegory. Wait, don’t go! Just know I deleted a Mike Trout allegory, so be happy you’re at least getting a football one, here! Justin Tucker. Justin Tucker is annually the ADP K1. But, he hasn’t finished at the top of the kicker ranks once in his career (Yahoo! scoring). But, what you find is the remarkable consistency of finishing as a good pick, even if he doesn’t blow away the competition. Granted, he’s usually a double-digit round pick and not your first, but you take Tucker with the knowledge that worst case scenario, he’s an above-average starter at a position that requires one player.
It’s how I feel about Travis Kelce. Travis Kelce took a slight step back last season in some under-the-hood metrics that saw him fall as far as TE2, after a half-decade as the top tight end in the land. I don’t want to poo-poo his age concerns, but there isn’t a hot young upstart there to take anything from him. It’s a traditionally potent offense that will need to find its footing with the supporting wide receiver cast, which should leave Kelce with enough targets to repeat as TE1.
There’s something to be said for tight end security. After Kelce, things start to get pretty rocky, depending on how worried you want to get. Go ahead and lean into the guy who has the upside to notch a 10/191/2 game, and the floor to not blow up your team. I like Kelce in the second round, so if he’s there in the second, snag him.
In salary cap drafts, never pay for the top guy. Ever. You can find greater values because people don’t value the second guy or the third guy as much as the top guy. So, don’t get him at his price ($45) when you can get Kyle Pitts ($16.6), George Kittle ($12.1), and Darren Waller ($12) for just under $41, with enough left over for Zach Ertz ($2.2).
Best Case Scenario:
You take Travis Kelce in the first round and last year really was just a blip, and he finishes as TE1 by a good margin.
Worst Case Scenario:
You take Travis Kelce in the first round and last year really was the beginning of the end, and he finishes as TE10.
Check out all our 2022 player profiles, here.
If you would like our $7 Draft Kit, then follow this link!
Want more 2022 fantasy football draft discussion? Check out these links!
[Statistics are sourced from pro-football-reference.com, airyards.com, and ftnfantasy.com]
[Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cole_Holcomb_chasing_Travis_Kelce_OCT2021_%28cropped%29.jpg, cropped under CC BY SA 2.0]