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Tight End Yardage Regression Candidates for Fantasy Football

While touchdowns are the most coveted play outcome for tight ends in fantasy football, total receiving yards must be taken into serious consideration when deciding who to draft for the position. It is true that receivers have to work harder to rack up yards, and that they don't have an overly great value at only one point per 10 receiving yards, but the volume of yards per game TEs gain is much higher than the number of touchdowns they score and much more reliable.

That's why we're always on the look for highly-targeted tight ends awarded the most possible chances to catch passes and put up as many yards as possible.

Here, I'm taking a look at some of the best tight ends from the 2021 season due to regress in 2022 in terms of their receiving yards. Don't be fooled by the high numbers they put up last year because a few slumps could be coming!

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Tight Ends To Accumulate Less Yards?

 

Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys

Schultz is the only tight end to play in Dallas (since 2000) who has been even remotely close to reaching Jason Witten's levels of play. Witten. Of the 21 player-seasons of 300+ receiving yards since the start of this century, Witten is in possession of all but four of those. The other ones belong two Dalton Schultz (two) and Blake Jarwin (two). Schultz, though, is the only one to reach 615+ yards in those two seasons, and he's actually coming off a career year in which he put up 808 receiving yards on 104 targets (78 receptions, eight TDs).

Is Schultz about to enter the true TE1, top-five-at-the-position realm for good in 2022? Color me hesitant. Compared to a last-three-years average, Schultz improved all across the board by 39 targets, 31 receptions, 332 yards, and 0.3 YPR compared to his prior averages. That smells like outlier overproduction to me. Schultz's TE3 finish was massively boosted by his eight TDs, double his 2020 figure on just 15 more catches and 15 more targets. Schultz, sadly, isn't catching 75% of his targets for the second time in a row next season (he topped at 70.8 Catch% in his first three years). All of that will most probably translate to a loss of counting yards, dropping him back to a more reasonable 550-650 clip in a best-case scenario.

 

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

There is always a point in any type of athlete's career at which he hits his or her peak, and that's it. And if you ask me, everything points to Mark Andrews having hit his ceiling this past season. Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing Andrews or saying he's washed (he's just 26-years-old!) but it is going to be impossible for him to put another career year such as the one he just had last season. Andrews has been historically limited by a lack of opportunities. 2021 marked the first time he got more than 100 targets in a single season and that definitely helped him catch 65+ passes for the first time (he finished the year with 107 receptions for 1,361 yards). Those numbers, judging by his career stats, are just volume-fueled.

Andrews actually lowered his YPR average from 13.9 in the 2018-20 span to a 12.7 figure last season. He posted the highest Catch% of his career at 69.5%, the best mark among heavily targeted tight ends, but he got 20 more chances at catching a pass than Travis Kelce and more than 40 than Zach Ertz. It's hard to see Andrews losing many targets with the Marquise Brown trade and no real additions to the offense. That said, only seven players in the past 21 seasons were able to string two (or more) seasons of 1,000+ yards together while 24 failed at pulling the feat odd. Chances are he enters the latter club.

 

Tyler Conklin / C.J. Uzomah, New York Jets

It's not that any of Uzomah or Conklin gathered a lot of targets last year, sure, but there is no freaking way they improve their numbers on that front with very which probabilities of both of them actually getting lower marks in New York. The Jets added a legit WR1 prospect (Garrett Wilson) while also bringing another tight end in the first-year draft. The receiving corps is hella packed. And on top of everything, none of Conklin nor Uzomah even reached 600 receiving yards last season.

Conklin, playing for the Vikings, finished the year with an 87-61-593 receiving line; Uzomah put up a 63-49-494 line in Cincy. Those aren't bad numbers, and you'd think beating those yardage marks shouldn't be that hard. Think again, though. In the past 21 seasons, only two times has a Jets' TE broken the 600-yard barrier (Dustin Keller in 2010 and 2011) and there are just six player-seasons in which said player racked up 400+ yards at the position (Chris Herndon the most recent one in 2018). So, yeah, it's probably not going to happen because of 1) the middling quarterbacking of Zach Wilson, 2) the fierce competition in the receiving corps, and 3) because of J.E.T.S., Jets, Jets, Jets!



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