Welcome to the 2023 NFL fantasy football season. I'm taking our traditional fantasy rankings one step further and arranging them into tiers to help prepare you to dominate your drafts. Tiers give you a better idea of player values and will allow you to construct a more well-rounded roster.
That's it. Travis Kelce is the only tight end I would consider drafting in the first round. The four-time All-Pro has been the fantasy TE1 in six of the last seven seasons. The one year it didn't happen, in 2021, he finished second (to Mark Andrews). I got into my feelings about Dalton Schultz last year, but make no mistake, it's Kelce or nothing.
Mark Andrews was the TE4 last year, averaging 12.7 points per game. There is a new Ravens offensive coordinator in Todd Monken, along with new weapons like Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers, but I still favor Andrews from the group. ... T.J. Hockenson was traded from the Lions to the Vikings last November and he went from having a great season to an even better one. He averaged 13 points per game after he joined the team in Week 9. ... George Kittle set a career-high with 11 touchdown receptions in 2022. He's been a top-five fantasy tight end in four of the last five years. I expect more of the same from him, despite the uncertainty at the quarterback position.
I know a lot of people felt let down by Kyle Pitts, who averaged just 7.56 points per game before a knee injury ended his 2022 season after 10 contests. But it wasn't his fault things played out the way they did. He was still averaging 5.9 targets per game, which would mean roughly 100 over the course of a full season. I'll take that kind of production. ... The Houston Texans have cycled through their share of tight ends, selecting five in the past six drafts (only two of those players remain on the roster). So, having a well-established player at the position like Dalton Schultz is great. I'm intrigued. ... I was out in Pittsburgh this summer playing in Cam Heyward's celebrity softball game. There is a huge buzz in Pittsburgh about Pat Freiermuth. ... Evan Engram set career highs in receptions and receiving yards last season, his first with the Jaguars. But the troubling thing is he had just eight red zone targets, which was tied for 22nd most among tight ends.
Chigoziem Okonkwo ranked first at his position in yards per route run (2.9) last season and averaged the 11th-most points per game among tight ends (10.0) over the final six weeks of the campaign. ... I know it's hard to trust rookie tight ends, but Dalton Kincaid could be the exception. It was easy to see shades of Travis Kelce when watching Kincaid play at Utah last year.
Sam LaPorta could be in line for a lot of targets for the Lions this season. He's starting to make people take notice in Lions training camp. ... Hunter Henry has been a standout in Patriots camp. ... The Cowboys spent a second-round pick on Luke Schoonmaker, who is currently sidelined by a foot injury. So, I'm moving Jake Ferguson up my draft boards. Ferguson was targeted just 22 times last season, but he somehow managed to score two touchdowns. I wouldn't build my tight end position around him, but I like him as a stash.