Should you select Albert Okwuegbunam in fantasy drafts?

Is Albert Okwuegbunam a value in fantasy football drafts at his current ADP? Or should fantasy managers leave Albert O on the board?

Albert Okwuegbunam’s ADP for fantasy football in 2022 was on the rise following an offseason trade, but training camp has changed the picture slightly. With a rookie TE pushing for playing time, is Albert O’s current ADP a value, or is a he player you should be avoiding in your fantasy drafts?

Albert Okwuegbunam ADP | Is he worth his current price in fantasy drafts?

Albert O’s current ADP for redraft is a little all over the place. In non-PPR leagues, he is being taken just before 150th off the board as the TE15, but in PPR, that drops to just after 160th as the TE18. However, in half-PPR, he is just inside the top 130 overall as the 14th tight end off the board — nope, doesn’t make sense to me either.

So to put all of that in context, Okwuegbunam is being selected in the 11-15th round region of the draft, depending on the format. Additionally, he is not currently being taken as a starting TE in any format.

The reason for the huge discrepancies in ADP is due to site-to-site variation. On ESPN and NFL.com (both PPR as standard), Albert O is essentially going undrafted as the 19th or 20th tight end off the board. Meanwhile, on Yahoo (half-PPR), he is being selected highest of anywhere at 122nd off the board as the 13th player selected at the position.

With his ADP all over the place in 2022, what should we expect from Okwuegbunam in 2022?

Okwuegbunam’s projected fantasy value in 2022

The departure of Noah Fant, combined with the arrival of Russell Wilson, elicited excitement from fantasy managers ahead of the 2022 season. Albert O was set to have a massive upgrade at QB while simultaneously getting a clear ride to the top of the Broncos’ depth chart at the TE position.

However, things are never that simple. During training camp, there have been a number of reports around the strong play of rookie TE Greg Dulcich. That, combined with Okwuegbunam seeing snaps late into the second half of preseason games, has left raised eyebrows as to his role when Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season rolls around.

When you look at Albert O’s performances through his first two seasons, there is not much more that could have been asked from a receiving standpoint. He caught 44 of his 55 targets (80% catch rate) for 451 yards (10.3 yards per reception) and three touchdowns.

Where his game has come under scrutiny is his blocking. He has not particularly helped that during the 2022 preseason with some mistakes that stood out on film. So, where does all of this leave Okwuegbunam in terms of the Broncos’ plans heading into 2022?

The Broncos’ offense has a lot of options

Even after the injury to Tim Patrick in training camp, the Broncos’ offense is oozing with potential options. There are Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and K.J. Hamler at wide receiver, with Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon at RB. Then there is Albert O and Dulcich as the leading tight ends. That is a lot of potential competition for opportunities and lineups the Broncos could utilize this season.

If the Broncos trust Hamler in three-WR sets, we could see a lot of 11 personnel. In which case, if Dulich is seen as the better blocker, he could get the nod. Or we could see 21 personnel as they look to get both Gordon and Williams more touches. Again this could benefit Dulcich if he is viewed as the better blocker.

The final alternative is we see a lot of 12 personnel, with Okwuegbunam often lining up out wide and providing flexibility. That would be the ideal in many ways for both fantasy and the Broncos, but will they trust Albert O and Dulcich enough to do it?

Then there is a lack of coherent pattern of TE usage from offenses that head coach Nathaniel Hackett has been the offensive coordinator for. While he was in Green Bay, no TE saw four targets per game on average, but there was at least solid red-zone usage to hang onto. However, Hackett was not the play-caller in Green Bay, so that usage is hard to trust.

Instead, we look back to when he was calling the plays in Jacksonville for three years. There we find a mixed pattern. In his first season, he utilized Julius Thomas at TE extremely heavily, with 51 targets in nine games. However, for the next two years, James O’Shaughnessy and Marcedes Lewis were sparingly used in the passing game. When he was in Buffalo, Scott Chandler saw 160 targets across the two years Hackett and head coach Doug Marrone were together.

That pattern of usage would suggest that when Hackett has a tight end he trusts, he gives them targets. However, when he is less certain about the position, he can pivot to a different style, where his passing game focuses elsewhere and tight end blocking becomes the key. The question is, can he trust Albert O enough to give him at least four to five targets per game?

Should you draft Albert O in 2022?

Training camp can be a blessing and a curse for fantasy managers. Good reports can cause an under-the-radar prospect’s value to swell to a point he is no longer worth his cost. However, perceived negative reports can push that value down to a point where it becomes worth the price. Okwuegbunam’s ADP is creeping closer to the second of those categories.

In PFN’s consensus 2022 TE fantasy rankings, we are slightly higher on Albert O than his ADP-based value. We have him as the TE12 in non- and half-PPR and the TE13 in full-PPR. Our overall ranking sees him very close to the 120th overall that he is being selected at on Yahoo. Now, we do not include defenses in our ADP, so that somewhat alters things in terms of the overall ranking, but based on positional ADP, we view him as a value right now.

Okwuegunam sits in a tier at TE that is loaded with both upside and risk. There is a large group of tight ends ninth and 16th in our rankings that have huge potential but also could be dropped by Week 3 of the season. Therefore, if your strategy is to target a late-round tight end, you should circle a couple of those and work out where you likely need to invest in order to get them.

If Albert O is one of those, then make sure you know his ADP on the site you are drafting. He is a huge boom-or-bust candidate, but the potential rewards in what should be a very good Broncos offense are worth the price it will take to acquire him on most sites.

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