What did 2021 season teach us?

Tight end is one of the four major positions in fantasy football, but it’s probably the position we think about the least.

Running backs are always prominent in our thoughts — even if you’re one of the managers who doesn’t want to draft them early — and a quarterback’s play has fingerprints over his entire offense. Wide receivers are often the dynamic playmakers within an offense, and you’ll find plenty of divas there, too.

As we get the Exit Interview series started — my fantasy post-mortem for the 2021 season — let’s give Tight Ends some love. You’re slotted for the leadoff position.

After watching Travis Kelce outscore every tight end for three years running, Mark Andrews grabbed the No. 1 spot in 2021. The Andrews breakout season was primarily about opportunity, as most of his efficiency metrics were similar to his prior seasons. After landing on 50, 98, and 88 targets through three years, he exploded for 154 looks in 2021. Andrews was 20 targets clear of Kelce, and only six tight ends broke the 100 mark.

To be fair, it’s possible the Ravens could view Andrews as a genie out of the bottle — although some target regression is likely for 2022, Andrews has proven to be worthy of a heavy market share going forward. The Ravens also threw more than they wanted to in 2021, but perhaps the most impressive thing about Andrews was that he shined no matter who Baltimore used at quarterback. Lamar Jackson, Tyler Huntley, Josh Johnson, it simply didn’t matter.

The four faces on League Winner Mount Rushmore this year were Cooper Kupp, Jonathan Taylor, Deebo Samuel, and Andrews. Heck of a year, No. 89.

Age is just a number at tight end

Career arcs are radically different with the four main fantasy positions. It’s not uncommon for old quarterbacks to play well — Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers will take home an MVP in about a month. Running back production seems to skew younger and younger every season. Wide receiver is another spot where we have to be…

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