The 2023 Tight End Rankings: Fantasy Football Deep Dive

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Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Who’s Ranked #1?

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

  • When you take Kelce, you’re not taking a TE, you’re taking a WR1.
  • If you can pair his drafting well with smart receiver drafting, you are the team to beat in your league.
  • 1 of 4 tight ends to have over 100 targets
  • Only tight end with over 100 receptions
  • Only tight end with over 1,000 receiving yards
  • 1 of 2 tight ends to finish with double-digit touchdowns
  • Finished with 100 more fantasy points than the TE2 last season (316.3 to 215.4)
NFL: Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Tight End Fantasy Football Sleepers

Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos

  • He’s currently being drafted in the 12th round ADP
  • This tracks because when he was healthy, he was the 12th-best tight end in half-PPR leagues
  • He was on the field for 80% of their snaps when healthy so competition is not an issue
  • He was tied for first on the team in terms of targets
  • Six tight ends under Payton’s system have finished in the top ten in the last decade

Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints

  • Johnson enters his fourth season in the NFL and every season he’s gotten more involved in the offense
    • Targets increased from 10, 22, to 65 last season and he was 3rd on the team in targets as well
      • He led the team in receiving touchdowns, as well, with 7
  • Heading into 2023, he should have more stability at the quarterback position with Derek Carr under center
  • Another big thing is that there are not a ton of solid receiving options in this offense that can be depended on consistently, outside of Chris Olave
    • Michael Thomas has yet to return to form and the more significant thing returned to the field for more than a handful of games
    • Alvin Kamara has not been used in the passing game as much as in previous seasons
    • Bryan Edwards, Tre’Quan Smith, and Rashid Shaheed are good options but are not going to eat into a significant target share in the offense
      • The same goes for rookie A.T. Perry
  • Now the Saints did reunite with Jimmy Graham, but he won’t affect this offense the same way he used to in his prime
  • Overall, Johnson is one of those tight ends you can take a flier on later in the draft and could turn into a home run pick if he gets heavily involved in the passing game
    • Pair him up with a tight end like Dalton Schultz or Cole Kmet and you got good options to stream at the tight end position every week
NFL: San Francisco 49ers Training Camp
Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

Tight End Fantasy Football Busts

Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills

  • Dalton Kincaid’s presence is definitely going to eat into his production 
  • Add on to this that this offense just doesn’t like tight ends!
  • He’s never gone for over 600 yards or had over 50 receptions
  • This is what I call Noah Fast syndrome – a player who remains popular based solely on his hype and very few stats to back it up.

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

  • The last four weeks of the season really speak to why people are high on Kittle this coming season
    • He scored 7 of his 11 career-high touchdowns in those final four weeks and he averaged 21.6 fantasy points per game
  • The bigger thing as to why you should be wary is that through the other 11 games he played in, he scored 4 touchdowns and averaged 10.4 fantasy points per game
  • It’s looking like Brock Purdy will be the Week 1 starter, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll be the same guy we saw last season and when Kittle tore it up
  • The offense will feature the running game more and also have some other good weapons in Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk in the passing game to contend with
  • Based on where he’s going in fantasy drafts, it’s a little too overvalued
    • He’s being targeted as the 2nd tight end off the board in some rankings
Syndication: The Record
Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tight End Fantasy Hot Takes

Darren Waller will finish outside of the top 10

  • Waller’s physical ability that he brings to the game is unmatched, but the offense he’s in leaves much to be desired
    • Let’s not forget he’s missed 14 games combined across his last two seasons
  • Head coach Brian Daboll might decide to let Daniel Jones air it out more, but that will be spread among the players on the offense
    • If you look at the tight end position last year for the Giants, they had a grand total of 74 targets between four tight ends (little less than 19 targets per player for the entire season)
  • When Evan Engram was part of the offense the past few seasons, he did see a lot of targets, but it’s also because of the injuries to the wide receiver corps
  • Waller can bring an athletic element to the offense at tight end, but it’s hard for me to trust him unless there are injuries again to the wide receiver room

Cole Kmet will lead the Bears in TD receptions

  • While DJ Moore is a popular sleeper, Cole Kmet is the man to go in the red zone which could lead to more red zone targets.
  • If Justin Fields isn’t looking to run it within the 20, it’ll be Kmet as his go-to 
  • He had 7 touchdowns last year, leading the team by a mile
  • How many touchdowns did DJ Moore have last year? Answer: 7