One of the favorite breakout tight ends in the NFL and fantasy football, Denver Broncos TE Albert Okwuegbunam projects to be a late-round pick. With the NFL season and fantasy drafts closing in, what is Okwuegbunam’s fantasy outlook in 2022, and could he prove to be a value at his current ADP in fantasy drafts?
Albert Okwuegbunam’s fantasy outlook for 2022
In fantasy football, especially for the 2022 season, it feels like there are two options for drafting a tight end. Either reach early and secure one of the top three or wait and try to grab who you think could be the breakout option for the season. I say this because once you pass the top three, there are likely better value plays at other positions in those rounds.
If you’re choosing the breakout option, keep Denver Broncos tight end Albert Okwuegbunam on your shortlist. Entering the third year of his rookie contract, the 6’6″ tight end from Missouri is one of the most athletic players in the NFL at his position. You rarely see a player his size run a sub-4.5 40-yard dash.
The only reason his breakout hasn’t happened to this point was that Okwuegbunam was behind Noah Fant, another hyper-athletic tight end. Yet, with Fant now in Seattle following the trade which brought Russell Wilson to Denver, Okwuegbunam finally has his chance in the spotlight.
Although he saw minimal action last season, Albert O had some flashes, catching 33 of his 40 targets for 330 yards and two touchdowns. Although it doesn’t sound like a lot, he was actually tied for the third highest target rate per route run in the NFL last season at 23%.
Denver’s offense is full of playmakers. However, there is still room for Okwuegbunam to have a good season as the tight end is a prominent feature of Nathaniel Hackett’s offense. Also, we’ve seen Wilson facilitate productive tight ends like Jimmy Graham. Okwuegbunam has all the tools to be a breakout but is no sure thing. I feel he is still being underrated based on the current perception of his role, but it’s worth having a backup plan in mind just in case.
How the Denver Broncos’ depth chart impacts Albert Okwuegbunam’s fantasy projection for the season
Denver is loaded on both sides of the ball. They are a championship-caliber team and have a QB ready to take them to the next level. Wilson is out of Seattle under Pete Carroll and now has an offense tailored to his skill set. Wilson is coming off the worst year of his career. However, he missed three games due to a finger injury on his throwing hand and admitted he came back too soon.
It’s the skill players that truly shine on this roster. Not only does Denver have the best running back duo in the league with Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon, but they have multiple high-level wide receivers. Courtland Sutton is primed to break out and recapture his 2019 status. Jerry Jeudy is looking to finally get his career underway and show the route-running prowess which allowed him to be a first-round pick. Denver also has KJ Hamler returning from an ACL tear.
Okwuegbunam will also have competition in his own position. In the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Denver selected UCLA TE Greg Dulcich. Like Okwuegbunam, he is a very athletic tight end and projects more as the move style or the big slot rather than an inline version. Dulcich earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors at UCLA and left school having played in 24 games while logging 77 receptions for 1,353 yards with 11 touchdowns.
Early reports from camp were glowing for the incoming rookie, and there is a perception among beat reporters that he could push Okwuegbunam for some reps during the season. Yet, rookie tight ends rarely make a massive impact in Year 1. But as the season goes, if Okwuegbunam struggles or misses time, Dulcich could see a significant bump in value and upside for fantasy.
Okwuegbunam’s ADP for 2022
With an ADP of 127, Okwuegbunam is coming off the boards as the TE13 in half-PPR formats, placing him towards the end of the 10th round in 12-team fantasy leagues.
In PFN’s 2022 fantasy football redraft rankings, Okwuegbunam is also the TE13, matching his ADP as the 121st-ranked player.
In fantasy drafts, if I draft an early quarterback or tight end, I wait on the other position. When you need to start two to three RBs and WRs, not including Flex spots, I tend to lack depth when attacking both solo positions early in drafts.
If I am waiting on TE after passing on the Kelce, Andrews, Pitts, Schultz, and Waller, Albert O is 100% on my radar. He and Cole Kmet are my top “fallback” late-round targets for a tight end. While we do expect to see Dulcich on the field, don’t listen to the bogus reports of Albert O not being a “focus in this offense” or that he is losing his job due to playing in the preseason.
Those I trust who are with the team daily say he is a significant focal point in this offense, especially after losing Tim Patrick for the season (ACL). He is a prime late-round TE to target who has low-end TE1 upside for 2022.