There’s no better way to learn for next season than to look at what went right and wrong in the past. This week, we’ll be looking at the Top 5 Tight End Busts, but make sure you check out the other article across the Razzball website covering the other positions. If you’re participating in fantasy football challenges during the playoffs, make sure you check out my rankings at ffdfantasyfootball.com, and I answer all questions on Instagram @thefantasyfirstdown and Twitter @FantasyFirstDwn.

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Tight End Busts


#1 Bust

  • Player: Darren Waller
  • Team: New York Giants
  • Positional Finish (ADP): TE24 (TE5)

I know what you’re thinking: Waller was injured, but that doesn’t make him a bust! I agree, that doesn’t make him a bust, it was his play in-between and his high draft position that make him a bust. The pre-season showed what Waller can be, but poor quarterback play, random play-calling, and injury struggles led the Giants tight end to only four double-digit PPR weeks. He ultimately finished as the TE13 on a per-game basis and was awful in the fantasy playoffs.


#2 Bust

  • Player: Kyle Pitts
  • Team: Atlanta Falcons
  • Positional Finish (ADP): TE14 (TE6)

When will we learn? Arthur Smith once again showed he doesn’t know how to use his best weapons, and it cost him his job. Given how mediocre the majority of his roster was, I think that’s a little harsh, but there’s no denying he wasted two seasons of one of the best tight ends of this generation. Likewise, there’s a solid chance most Falcons cost you your fantasy season, as they were underwhelming across the board. For Pitts, it was his usage that was the primary issue, as the former 1st rounder surpassed the important 30-route marker only five times this season. It’s hard to be a functional fantasy option without being out there running routes. If the new head coach can work out how to use Pitts he has all the same upside he showed in his rookie season, but it’s going to be hard to spend the same amount of draft capital as in 2023 when he’s now busted twice, and there are many superior tight end options that emerged during the season.


#3 Bust

  • Player: Pat Freiermuth
  • Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Positional Finish (ADP): TE30 (TE10)

Yes, Freiermuth battled injuries that no doubt impacted his effectiveness, but there’s no getting around the fact that he was awful even when healthy, as he finished as the TE29 in points per game. To make matters worse, his two boom games came immediately after total duds, meaning it’s unlikely you started him. And to exacerbate things further, the games following these boom games were mediocre at best. That the Steelers made the playoffs using their run-heavy strategy makes it unlikely we will see a significant change in strategy for next season. While Freiermuth was busy in the Steelers’ Wildcard Round loss to Buffalo, it’s unlikely they’ll be down by 20+ points in the first half very often, meaning he’s an avoid in next year’s drafts for me.


#4 Bust

  • Player: Travis Kelce
  • Team: Kansas City Chiefs
  • Positional Finish (ADP): TE2 (TE1)

I don’t buy the idea that Kelce was a major bust last year, but there are also not any other viable busts outside our top three. Tyler Higbee and Chig Okonkwo were both very poor, but they were essentially free on draft day, whereas Kelce cost you a first-round pick. He finished as the TE1 in points-per-game, which is basically what you expect from him these days, but he scored 100 fewer points than last season, which will likely have disappointed owners expecting a repeat performance. With the Chiefs offense starting to struggle while their defense picked up, Kansas City struggled to use Kelce effectively over the latter half of the season, leading to a fantasy playoff performance that probably busted your team. He’ll likely fall below his TE1 ADP position for the first time in years.


#5 Bust

  • Player: Mark Andrews
  • Team: Baltimore Ravens
  • Positional Finish (ADP): TE15 (TE2)

To clarify in case you missed it earlier, I don’t consider injured players as busts. Injuries are out of the control of the player and can’t be effectively predicted by drafters; the majority of the time, they’re just bad luck. Andrews was still a disappointment even before his injury, though, as he finished as the TE4 in points-per-game while Evan Engram and David Njoku were arguably also better options thanks to their late-season booms. Andrews, even without his injury, was likely a significant disappointment for your fantasy team, and he should be drafted later next season, as the Ravens have found ways to use their receivers more effectively without removing their high run volume.

I’ll be back next week to talk about tight end steals, but make sure you hang around and check out the rest of the awesome post-season content on Razzball.