Last week I covered the fantasy landing spots for intriguing rookie WRs like Jordan Addison, Zay Flowers and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but this week I’ll be turning my attention to the weaker tight end position. This certainly wasn’t a WOW class for tight ends, nor one with hype like the Kyle Pitts and TJ Hockenson draft years.
Still, we can probably squeeze out some fantasy value! Let’s dive in and see what we can find.
Dalton Kincaid, Landing Spot: Buffalo Bills
If you read GM Brandon Beane’s comments on Kincaid, you have to like what you are hearing from a fantasy perspective. He basically says Dawson Knox is a better, more seasoned all-around tight end, but Kincaid is a superb pass-catcher.
Isn’t that all we really care about in fantasy? Being in the Bills’ high-upside offense with Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, James Cook and others, we have to like Kincaid as the premier rookie TE for fantasy. He’s likely the best play for both redraft and dynasty, but the next kid is also gonna have something to say about that…
Sam LaPorta, Landing Spot: Detroit Lions
These aren’t the hapless Detroit Lions of old. Dan Campbell, Ben Johnson and the gang clearly have a well-thought-out plan.
When the Lions shockingly traded Hockenson to the division-rival Minnesota Vikings, they had to have subsequent maneuvers in mind. This certainly looks to be one of them, with the early second-round selection of LaPorta out of Iowa.
Though I feel more comfortable with Allen dishing out the rock than Jared Goff – though I am also a champion of Goff – the gambling issues with Jameson Williams and Quintez Cephus have opened things up for potential Lions’ pass-catchers. Of course, WR1 Amon-Ra St. Brown is going to be the alpha dog, with explosive rookie Jahmyr Gibbs catching passes out of the backfield, but after that? Things are pretty wide-open in Detroit.
Until Williams returns from his suspension, there is a potential universe where LaPorta is the third-most effective weapon in the Lions’ up-tempo offense. That’s why he makes a decent case against Kincaid for the top rookie TE spot. Still… the Bills have a hole – to me – behind Diggs. I don’t think Davis is consistent enough. I still prefer Kincaid’s opportunity to LaPorta’s by a very small margin.
Michael Mayer, Landing Spot: Las Vegas Raiders
Of course, veteran Darren Waller has been traded to the New York Giants, so things are wide open for Mayer in Vegas.
The issues here? So much usage is gonna go to Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers and Hunter Renfrow within Josh McDaniels’ much-discussed offense. Mayer lands in a good spot in terms of his position but not necessarily in terms of fantasy looks and opportunities.
Luke Musgrave, Landing Spot: Green Bay Packers
Robert Tonyan has jumped ship to the division-rival Chicago Bears, so once again, the tight end door is open to another rookie. Musgrave comes in with some interesting things to consider: Sophomores Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs are expected to lead the way in Jordan Love’s passing attack, with rookie Jayden Reed right there, waiting in the wings. It’s a youth movement across the board.
But what if Doubs doesn’t take the next step up? What if Reed can’t find his opportunities in a mix with Watson and Doubs? Meaning there are scenarios where Musgrave gets major opportunities. It’s hard to rank him above Mayer, but it’s definitely close enough to consider.
Luke Schoonmaker, Landing Spot: Dallas Cowboys
Yes, Dalton Schultz has moved across Texas to the Houston Texans, but Schoonmaker won’t be ‘the guy’ in terms of Cowboys’ tight ends – at least not immediately out the gate. Jake Ferguson is still the one to watch for me; regardless, everything gets lost in the shuffle in Dallas behind Tony Pollard, CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks and Michael Gallup. A lot of mouths to feed, indeed!
I’ll see ya right back here next week!
John Frascella is a published sports author who has been covering the NFL for 19 years. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things fantasy football, basketball and baseball throughout the year.