Fantasy Football Crossroads: Mike Gesicki vs. Cole Kmet


Our Fantasy Crossroads series continues with a look at a pair of tight ends in different situations entering the 2022 campaign. Cole Kmet hasn’t shown a ceiling so far in his career but is in line for plenty of opportunities in Chicago, while Mike Gesicki has shown the upside but could see his opportunities decline a bit in Miami.


Let’s take a look at which tight end you should target in drafts in 2022.

Cole Kmet, TE, Chicago Bears

The Case for Kmet

Cole Kmet was a popular breakout candidate heading into last season — in the end, the production wasn’t awful, but he certainly left plenty to be desired. He hauled in 60 passes for 612 yards but failed to score a single touchdown. That is very unlikely to happen again, but more on that later. In terms of volume, Kmet was fantastic, as his 17% target share ranked sixth at the position. His 61 first-read targets were ninth among tight ends, while he logged just under 84% of the Bears offensive snaps and finished eighth in routes run with 499. Kmet was also fifth at the position in snaps played on passing plays (599), so the playing time and opportunity was truly borderline elite for the third-year tight end. Of course, the (lack of) touchdowns really limited his ceiling, but there is obviously some massive touchdown regression heading his way. For starters, fellow tight end Jimmy Graham is no longer with the team, and while he only logged 23% of the snaps with the Bears last season, his impact was felt when he was on the field. Chicago used Graham as a red zone target, as his six end zone targets from a season ago were good for 13th among tight ends, while over 27% of his targets came in the end zone, the highest rate at the position. With Graham no longer in Chicago, there is a great chance Kmet builds on his six end zone targets from a season ago, which was outside the top-11 tight ends in football. 

Cole Kmet 2022 Tight Ends Fantasy Crossroads

Entering the 2022 season, Kmet projects to be the No. 2 target for the Bears. When looking for a starting fantasy tight end that isn’t among the elite, I am looking for two things — routes and a chance to finish second on their team in targets. Kmet absolutely checks both boxes, especially with the Bears sporting the worst groups of pass-catchers in the entire NFL. 90-100 targets aren’t out of range for Kmet this season, especially if the Bears are chasing points more often than not. 

The Case Against Kmet

Again, the case last year was obviously touchdowns and while he certainly won’t fail to find the end zone this season, it is also unlikely that his ceiling is massive in a mediocre offense. The hope is that Kmet just seems an insane amount of volume since he isn’t the most efficient tight end in the league. In 2021, Kmet sported the 14th-lowest yards after catch per reception among tight ends with at least 30 targets (4.5), while his 6.58 yards per target mark was also 14th-worst at the position. I expect the volume to be pretty substantial for Kmet this season but if for whatever reason it underwhelms, so will Kmet.


Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins

The Case for Gesicki

Very quietly, Mike Gesicki has now finished as the TE8 and TE7 over the last two seasons. He is coming off career-highs in targets (111), receptions (73) and yards (780), though only two touchdowns were a disappointment. Like Kmet, the touchdowns were disappointing for Gesicki, though at least he found the end zone. And while the Dolphins didn’t always air it out with Tua Tagovailoa, Gesicki still saw a healthy 22% of Miami’s air yards last season, which was the third-highest rate at his position behind only Kyle Pitts and Mark Andrews. He was also top-seven among tight ends in deep targets, while his 8.7-yard aDOT was the eighth-best mark among qualified tight ends. So unlike Kmet, Gesicki made plenty of plays down the field, while seeing similar volume as Chicago’s tight end. Miami has seemingly used Gesicki as a slot receiver since entering the league. Since the 2019 season, Gesicki has ranked first (71%), second (67.4%) and fourth (62.5%) among tight ends in slot rate, which has led to plenty of routes. 

Mike Gesicki  2022 Tight Ends Fantasy Crossroads

Gesicki only scored twice last year, but Miami’s offense is on the rise in 2022, which should lead to more scoring opportunities. The Dolphins only scored points on 30.1% of drives last season, the sixth-lowest rate in the NFL, while their 27.9 yards per drive ranked seventh worst in the league. 

The Case Against Gesicki

While I think Gesicki will do more with his targets than Kmet, I do worry about how many targets he loses this season. Miami traded for Tyreek Hill, who will lead this team in targets alongside Jaylen Waddle. Gesicki is very unlikely to repeat the volume he saw a season ago. His 82 first-read targets were fifth at tight end last season, while his 111 overall targets were fourth-most. I’d be stunned if he saw that volume this season, while it’ll be interesting to see if Miami operates out of three-wide sets more after adding Hill and Cedrick Wilson this offseason. If they do, Gesicki’s snaps could take a hit considering he primarily plays in the slot and only lined up inline 7.4% of the time a season ago, easily the lowest rate among qualified tight ends. I also don’t love how often both Adam Shaheen and Durham Smythe play in the red zone, who combined four four end zone targets last year.

The Verdict: Cole Kmet

While I firmly believe Gesicki is the more talented player, that doesn’t always matter in fantasy. Gesicki’s volume is on the decline, while Kmet’s is possibly on the way up. With the changes in Miami, Gesicki has a slim chance of finishing second on his team in targets, while it is almost a certainty that Kmet ranks second on the Bears in targets this year. Add some positive touchdown regression to the volume he should see and a top-10 finish at the position is extremely possible for Kmet in year three. 

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