The fantasy football season approaches as the regular season kicks off on Thursday, September 8. The 2022 NFL Draft saw plenty of tight ends selected, but none of them are waltzing into obvious fantasy football upside. Tight ends are already one of the more streamed positions in fantasy football, requiring rookie tight ends to break out early to make it on a roster. Even so, here are the top five rookie tight ends to keep an eye on this season.
Top 5 fantasy football rookie tight ends
*ADP based on half-PPR scoring formats
1. Trey McBride, Arizona Cardinals, TE36
McBride was the first tight end selected in the 2022 NFL Draft out of Colorado State. He joins the Cardinals but will slot in behind veteran Zach Ertz on the depth chart. McBride will see the field in two tight end sets but won’t be the starter unless Ertz suffers an injury.
2. Daniel Bellinger, New York Giants, TE37
Bellinger is one of the few rookie tight ends that is projected to be the starter if he is healthy. He was the tight end at San Diego State but will be the replacement for Evan Engram, who is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars. In the preseason, he caught six passes for 52 yards. Even though he is the lone rookie tight end projected to be the TE1 for their team, Daniel Jones lowers his value and still has him irrelevant to start the year.
3. Cade Otton, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, TE38
Otton is arguably in the best short-term situation of all the rookie tight ends. Tom Brady is still sticking around for at least this season, and Rob Gronkowski is saying he will remain retired. Otton is battling Cameron Brate for the starting spot. It looked like he was going to be able to be the second tight end in two tight end sets, but Tampa Bay signed Kyle Rudolph in free agency. Otton is listed as the third tight end on the depth chart, limiting the upside of his rookie season.
4. Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens, TE28
Likely was drafted out of Coastal Carolina and was a reliable pass catcher for the Chanticleers. Teammate Mark Andrews has said that Likely has that “it” factor, which is high praise from one of the best in the league. Still, Likely is listed as the third tight end in an offense not exactly known for passing.
5. Jelani Woods, Indianapolis Colts, TE33
Woods was the second tight end taken in the draft with the ninth pick in the third round by the Colts. Indy signed Mo Alie-Cox to an extension this offseason which capped Woods’ upside to that of TE2 if he keeps playing well. He is listed third on the depth chart behind Alie-Cox and Kylen Granson, who was drafted in the fourth round of last year’s draft.