Rob Gronkowski “officially” announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday afternoon.

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I put “officially” in quotation marks, as he had already retired once, and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, suggested that Gronkowski could be lured back at the end of the season. Of course, we still need to approach 2022. fantasy football checkers as if Gronkowski will not play.

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Gronkowski’s retirement undoubtedly leaves Tampa Bay in one of the most precarious situations in the league. Eight-year veteran Cameron Braith is number one by default (remember, O.J. Howard is gone, too), and while Braith has flirted with fantasy relevance from time to time, he hasn’t had a fantasy top 10 campaign since 2017. Of course, Braith has very little competition in the snaps, with Day 3 rookies Cade Otton and Co Keeft next in the depth chart. It’s possible the Buccaneers will add a veteran like Jared Cooke or Eric Ebron, but for now, Breit (who finished fourth among TEs with nine end zone goals last season) should be considered a sleeper at the end of the round.

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Gronkowski’s retirement is also affecting the overall tight end, as he was third in fantasy points per game in 2021 and a good bet for his ninth career top-10 fantasy campaign in 2022.

Below is an updated look at the top 30 positions in tiered form. Don’t forget to also check out our full capsules and projections for each player.

1st level

1. Mark Andrews, Ravens
2. Travis Kelsey, Chiefs

Class of the field, Andrews has gone through tough stretches in fantastic points in 2021, and Kelsey has gone through the previous five seasons. If you want one of these superstars, plan on investing round two in 12-team leagues.

Level 2

3. Kyle Pitts, Falcons

Pitts’ hype season is in full swing, and we’re not even getting a discount on his bad TD work as a rookie. Even with a weak offense in Atlanta, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if he becomes a classy position in 2022. He will probably cost you a third or fourth round pick.

Level 3

4. Darren Waller, Raiders
5. George Kittle, 49ers

Waller has also been unlucky with TDs in 2021, and while he will drop to average this season, his target share will suffer due to Davante Adams. Kittle’s erratic play was a problem last season and it’s hard to know what to expect from new quarterback Trey Lance, but he’s been in the top five in points per game for the past four seasons. None of the tight end veterans are cheap (~fifth round) and can be a bit pricey given the wide range available in this range.

Level 4

6. Dalton Schultz, Cowboys
7. TJ Hockenson, Lyons

Schultz was the 3rd fantasy scorer last season and could see even more goals as Dallas dealt with relegations and Michael Gallup’s injury at wide receiver. Hawkenson has been in the top 7 in fantasy PPG for the past two seasons and remains a solid target for TE1. Both tight ends are available in the middle rounds and look the best in the early drafts.

Level 5

8. Dallas Gedert, Eagles
9. Zach Ertz, Cardinals
10. Mike Gesicki, Dolphins
11. Pat Freiermuth, Steelers

Gedert finished sixth in the fantasy PPG after Erz was traded last season and remains a solid TE1 player. Ertz flourished in Arizona last season and finished fifth in fantasy points. He’s ready for another big load on good offense, especially with a suspended DeAndre Hopkins. Expect fewer targets for Gesicki with the addition of Tyreke Hill, but his TD should recover. Freiermuth scored 13th among TE rookies in 2021 for fantastic points and he is a candidate for more goals in season two. This is another great level for targeting in the 8 to 11 round range.

Level 6

12. Hunter Henry, Patriots
13. Dawson Knox, Bills
14. Noah Fant, Seahawks

Henry and Knox are tied for a nine-touchdown lead in TE last season, but both hit their max target range of 70 to 80, just like last year. Fant is a good young talent, but it might be hard for him to get back to the TE1 mix in Seattle.

Level 7

15. David Njoku, Browns
16. Cole Kmet, Bears
17. Irv Smith Jr., Vikings
18. Logan Thomas, commanders

Any one of these tight ends allows you to fly well in double digit rounds. Njoku received a large purse and would play a major role in Cleveland’s passing game. This season, Kmet will return to the TD department (TD zero on 60 catches last season), but he leaves the board earlier than Gesicki, Henry, and Fant in many early drafts. Smith is a post-hype target after missing all of 2021 with an injury. Thomas would have been in the top 12 had it not been for an ACL tear that could have cost him several games.

Level 8

19. Robert Tonian, Packers
20. Tyler Higbee, Rams
21. Evan Engram, Jaguars
22. Albert Okwuegbunam, Broncos
23. Gerald Everett, Chargers
24. Austin Hooper, Titans
25. Hayden Hurst, Bengals
26. Brevin Jordan, Texans
27. Cameron Braith, Buccaneers
28. CJ Uzomach, Jets
29. Mo Ali-Cox, Colts
30. Adam Trautman, Saints

Most of these players won’t make it into leagues with 10-12 teams, but they need to be watched. Engram, Everett, Hooper, Hurst and Uzoma found new homes in the offseason and are positioned as starters. Okwuegbunam is a great candidate to replace Fant in Denver. Tonyan’s ACL recovery will need to be monitored, but when healthy, he will be Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target at the goal line (11 touchdowns in 2020). Higbee has proven himself to be a good TE2, but the limited ceiling makes him an uninteresting late round flier. Keep an eye out for sophomore Jordan and 3rd year Trautman for a potential production jump. Eli-Cox has a path to prominence thanks to Matt Ryan at center and Jack Doyle in retirement.