The 2022 NFL Season is charging ahead, with free agency launching on March 14. Since that time, we have seen a bevy of moves, including trades and signings, that have shifted the balance of power in the NFL. That makes this an excellent time to stop and take stock. And that’s just what the stock watch is all about.
With the first wave of free agency behind us and the draft rapidly approaching, it’s time to see whose stock improved and whose stock dropped. I’ll be looking at three who have improved and three who’ve slipped at each position—QB, RB, WR, and TE. It’s time to see where we stand as the NFL Draft Approaches. Today I conclude with tight ends.
David Njoku, Cleveland Browns
About: Njoku rolled into the off-season as a free agent. It was a mild surprise when the Browns placed the Franchise Tag on Njoku, a move that made more sense when Austin Hooper was released. While Harrison Bryant is still on the roster, tagging Njoku and releasing Hooper suggests a bump up the pecking order for the former First Round pick. Especially when considering Cleveland’s thin receiving corps and quarterback Deshaun Watson’s addition. This coming off a year when he logged 36 receptions for 475 yards and four touchdowns, including a career-best 13.2 yards per reception. That could make Njoku a sneaky value in fantasy drafts this season.
Albert Okwuegbunam, Denver Broncos
About: In his second season, Albert O. saw 40 targets, catching 33 for 330 yards and two touchdowns. And that was in a mediocre pass offense splitting time with Noah Fant. Albert O. has Russell Wilson at quarterback, and Fant was traded to the Seahawks. While the Broncos have Eric Tomlinson and Andrew Beck at TE, Albert O. figures to be the pass-catching specialist. That gives him a chance to increase targets and production heading into year three. Those that stashed him in rookie drafts two seasons ago now have a starting tight end, one with the potential to make an impact, on their roster. I liked Albert O.’s potential to be a TE2 even with Fant, and now it’s wheels up heading into 2022.
Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys
About: Heading into 2021, it was fair to wonder if Schultz and Blake Jarwin would split targets, and if either would get enough volume to be fantasy relevant. Schultz answered those questions by seeing 104 targets, catching 78 passes for 808 yards and eight touchdowns. Schultz received the Franchise Tag from Dallas, while Jarwin was released and top receiver Amari Cooper was traded. That gives Schultz a great chance to remain a key cog in a high-volume passing offense. Given his production the past two seasons and the off-season moves in Dallas, Schultz is a Top 12 option for me. Those who scooped him up last season got great production in 2021 and should be in for more of the same in 2022.
Dan Arnold, Jacksonville Jaguars
About: Arnold came over in a trade from Carolina mid-season and made an immediate impact. The 2021 Jaguars’ offense wasn’t great, but Arnold made his presence felt. In eight games, he saw 41 targets, catching 28 passes for 324 yards. With Doug Pederson now coach, TE will be an even bigger focus. All good news for Arnold, right? It was, until former First Round pick Evan Engram was signed by the Jaguars, along with a host of new receivers. All that leaves Arnold’s path to targets murky at best, eliminating his potential to be a weekly start at tight end.
Noah Fant, Seattle Seahawks
About: Fant was a First-Round pick in the 2019 draft and has been a productive tight end in his three seasons. Now, he’s been included in a trade to acquire Russell Wilson. While it’s a boost for Albert O., who is now the primary tight end in Denver, it leaves Fant’s value in question. The Seahawks have been a run-first team, and the roster already includes standout wide receivers DK. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. The tight end room also includes recently re-signed Will Dissly. Fant’s volume is very much a question heading into 2022, especially as the Seahawks’ quarterback situation is in flux. That’s enough for me to drop him out of the Top 12. It might be a great window to sell while his name value is still strong.
Donald Parham, Los Angeles Chargers
About: Parham has shown flashes at the position ever since coming to the Chargers after making a splash in the XFL. But he’s always been behind someone at tight end. In 2020, he was playing behind Hunter Henry. In 2021, the Chargers brought in veteran Jared Cook, who took the lead position. Parham has six touchdowns on just 30 receptions in two seasons. That’s been enough to consistently give players hope he’d thrive when given a chance. This off-season looked like it might be that chance, finally. Instead, veteran Gerald Everett has been signed. This likely blocks Parham’s chance at regular targets again. It seems clear now, heading into his third season, that Parham will continue to offer upside and flashes without being a regular focus of the offense. It’s likely time to give up the dream.
Matthew Fox is a member of the FSWA. He’s a die-hard NFL Fan and Broncos’ Homer. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.