Tight End busts are almost harder to pick than the sleepers, but it’s much more critical. It can really drag your team down if you draft a player and he turns out to be nowhere close to what he was projected to be. Just ask someone that drafted Russell Wilson last year.
A bust to me is simply a player that is not worth the draft capital it took to get him. Here is an example of what I am talking about.
We can all agree that Travis Kelce will be the No. 1 TE taken. He is usually going in the first round. Last year he ended up with 1,338 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. If he only gets 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns that will be a disappointment maybe but since he will still be the TE1 I don’t consider that a bust. It just means he is not Superman. If however, his production drops to 800/6 then he is most definitely a bust because that is Mark Andrew’s projected numbers and you could have gotten him at least two rounds later.
Just to be clear, I am not saying stay away from these players. If you get any of these at a lower ADP they are all worth a spot on your roster.
Here are three tight ends that I don’t think will meet expectations.
Tight End Busts for 2023 Fantasy Football
Mark Andrews – Baltimore
My first tight-end bust will probably surprise most of you reading this. He has been a top-five TE in each of the last four years. We here at Fantrax have Andrews ranked as TE2 and overall he is ranked 37. You can see our ranking here.
Here is why I think he will be a tight-end bust this year.
Last year even though he was TE5 he had 514 receiving yards less than the year before. His TDs went from 9 to 5.
Before his Week 10 bye, Andrews averaged 9.9 Fantasy points per week. After the bye, in games he played, his average was 5.4 points per game. I’m not sure, but this could be the start of a trend.
The Ravens drafted Isaiah Likely in the fourth round last year and even though he was a bit inconsistent he still had a nice rookie year. For game 17, time was split between the two TEs and Andrews got you 10 Fantasy points. Likely ended the day with 7 points. In game 18 the Ravens rested Andrews and Likely got 100 yards receiving and totaled 10.3 points.
With an entire season to learn from, I expect Likely to get even more of the targets. To make matters even worse for Andrews the Ravens signed OBJ and drafted Zay Flowers with their first-round pick which will cut into his target opportunities even more.
To finish last year as TE5 and have more competition for catches, I can easily see him finishing a couple of spots below last year’s finish. That would mean you drafted a TE2 but may only get TE7 production. That is a bust to me.
Darren Waller – New York Giants
Waller is ranked this year as a TE5 – TE7. Last year he missed half the season and ended up at TE25. The year before he only played 11 games and was a TE18. You have to go all the way back to 2020 to see him play an entire season and be ranked inside the top five for TEs. He was only good for 2 touchdowns last year.
There are five or six games on this year’s Giants’ schedule against top-five team defenses against tight ends which won’t help. Their overall strength of schedule is 32nd. Ouch.
Based on the last two years, even if he stays healthy I can’t see how he breaks into the top ten. If you draft him as a TE5 and he performs like the last couple of years this will be my second tight end bust.
Pat Freiermuth – Pittsburgh Steelers
Freiermuth had 19 more targets than he had the year before but only had three more catches. His touchdowns went down from seven to two. He ended the season as TE12.
This offseason quite a few things happened for Pittsburgh. My complete Steelers review highlights the entire team. First, they rebuilt and upgraded their offensive line. This should be a sign that they will be a big-time running machine with less passing. Since the line will be better though, I believe they will also have more time for deeper passes which won’t be going to Freiermuth.
The line got a huge addition when they drafted Darnell Washington in the third round. He will be there to block for sure but I can see that once they figure out what to do with him he will be catching passes too. He is a giant target and once he catches the ball, he is very fast for a big guy; once he gets moving, he is extremely hard to tackle.
His target share should also be diminished by the addition of Allen Robinson. The former pro bowler will steal some of the catches over the middle and should also be another target in the end zone limiting his chances for additional touchdowns.
This is another tight end that I think will have a less productive season than he had last year. If last year he was a TE12 then I am expecting TE14 would be reasonable. He is ranked as a TE8. The gap between his ranking and where he will finish is just too great.
For more great rankings and analysis, make sure to check out our 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Kit!
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— Lisa Ann (@thereallisaann) May 6, 2023