As we draw closer to the kickoff of the 2023 football season, we need to start aligning our tiers/rankings to ensure we gather as much value as possible and do not waste any roster space on names that will not bring a solid return.
Now is the time to determine which tight ends are fades less than two weeks from the start of the season. Some of these names you probably have on your best ball rosters already, which means you are stuck with them. Fear not, since you undoubtedly have more drafts in the near future. Let’s use what we know regarding camp battles and injuries and move some players down our board or fade altogether. Consider this article a BOGO, as I will provide the fades and players to consider instead later in the draft.
In years past, I recall the experts, analysts, and common fantasy football players mentioning TE as the thinnest position. I am hearing those same rumblings again heading into 2023, and I am here to tell you this position is not as thin as you might think…keep reading.
Next to each name is the current average draft position (ADP) as of August 27, 2023, which you can find here: Consensus 2023 Fantasy Football ADP (razzball.com).
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Travis Kelce (6)
George Kittle (53)
Kyle Pitts (66)
Dalton Schultz (117)
Dalton Kincaid (119)
Before you start typing ‘But, but, but Travis Kelce is the best tight end ever and…” reply, hear me out. I love the player. I love the offense, especially the QB/TE connection. I love the swagger. I do not love passing on names like Cooper Kupp, Austin Ekeler, Tyreek Hill, Bijan Robinson, Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb to make a splash at my draft. Pass on Kelce in the top half of the first round and grab Mark Andrews 23 picks later if you absolutely must have a TE early.
George Kittle is a stud talent at this thin position. He is fun to watch, especially after the catch. He can take over a game and is in a wonderful offense. There are some issues that continue to jump out at me. (1) I honestly think Kittle loves to block more than he does catch. He is an incredible blocking TE and is used that way a lot. (2) San Fran feels like a run-first team. (3) Kyle Shanahan hates your fantasy team. I am all in on Darren Waller and will happily draft him three spots later and not look back. In fact, once Kelce, Andrews and Hockenson are gone, you need to watch for Kittle to pop and then immediately pounce on Waller. Of all TEs, I believe Waller is the only one who can usurp Kelce for TE1 for the season. (3) Kyle Shanahan hates your fantasy team.
I am copywriting a new fantasy term: Post Post-Hype Player. That is exactly what Kyle Pitts is in my book. Big rookie Hype followed by Post-Hype second year fail. All wrapped up with Pitts as a Post Post-Hype player coming into 2023. I have Pitts below the Waller/Kittle/Goedert tier (tier 3 for me) and would much rather take the draft discount on other TEs in the same tier. Right now, you can pass on Pitts (66) for Dallas Goedert (70), Evan Engram (84), Pat Freiermuth (88) and even David Njoku (99). If Pitts slips, sure, I will take a longer look. If he stays at his current ADP, I will pass on him and will probably stay away based on the uncertainty of Desmond Ridder at the QB position for Atlanta.
New team. New offense. Rookie QB. The three top reasons I will pass on Dalton Schultz at his current ADP (117). At best, Schultz is the third option in the Texans’ offense behind both Dameon Pierce and Nico Collins. He is a TE who is best when running seam routes, which is not ideal to support his rookie QB. If Schultz can build a rapport with C.J. Stroud, he could bring value, and if you punt TE, he will make for a good name. There are other TEs you can grab later that should see similar season-long stats (Sam LaPorta, Tyler Higbee, Chigoziem Okonkwo).
History shows it takes both WRs and TEs a season to become fully acclimated to the speed of the NFL and for those same positions to make a big impact. There are some anomalies, but we are looking for the highest level of certainty when building our roster. A rookie TE in an established offense with a lot of mouths to feed is not the certainty we like, especially when the incumbent TE is not going anywhere. These are the reasons I am fading rookie, darling TE Dalton Kincaid. Just like with Schultz, Kincaid is being selected too high (119), and you are better served passing on him for the names listed above.
Who are your fades at TE, and who are you drafting in their place? Follow me @stiles08 on Twitter/X and send questions and comments at the bottom of this article. Make sure you jump around the Razzball site for all your fantasy football needs.