Today I’ll be taking you through my redraft tight end rankings. These are set up for a half-PPR league, so minor adjustments should be made if you’re in a PPR league. I finished last season as the third most accurate expert on FantasyPros, so I hope that you can use these rankings with confidence. You can find my full rankings, including dynasty, at ffdfantasyfootball.com. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, but you can also hit me up on Instagram @thefantasyfirstdown, where I answer all questions.
To make things a little easier, I’ve broken things up into tiers, grouping players who are, in my opinion, close in value. Where you actually draft these players in drafts really depends on your specific league settings, so I won’t be covering that here
Tier 1: The GOAT Tier
Travis Kelce sits alone, not only as the best tight end in fantasy this year but as the greatest fantasy tight end of all time. Rob Gronkowski, Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Shannon Sharpe have 11 1000-yard seasons between them. Travis Kelce has surpassed 1,000 yards in each of the last seven seasons. Plus, his 1,338 yards from 2022 was a bigger season than any of those other four greats ever put together. That consistency and ability to stay injury-free are like gold dust in fantasy football. Kelce is the king of tight ends in fantasy football and deserves to go early in the 1st round.
Tier 2: The High-Volume Receivers
2021 looks like it could be a bit of an outlier for Mark Andrews, but with Todd Monken pushing a pass-heavy offense, I’d expect a bounce-back this season. He’s well behind Kelce but still a solid early-round option. TJ Hockenson took a solid step forward last year but still has plenty of room for touchdown regression with Adam Thielen out of town. George Kittle has some boom games in him, but with so many weapons around him, he’s getting harder to rely on, especially with his inability to stay healthy.
Tier 3: High-Risk/High-Reward
Speaking of guys who struggle to stay healthy… Dallas Goedert has plenty of target competition, but in the high-powered Eagles offense, if their tight end can finally put together a healthy season, he’s got serious upside. Kyle Pitts is also returning from injury, but the greater concern is his usage.
The Falcons have leaned heavily on their run game, with the drafting of Bijan Robinson and the emergence of Drake London late in his rookie season both major reasons for concern. That Pitts has only three touchdowns in his first two seasons is even worse news, as this should be the key basis for a top tight end’s scoring. Nevertheless, the upside is huge if he can return to his rookie season usage.
Tier 4: Studs with Target Competition
I don’t love the move from Vegas to East Rutherford for Darren Waller. The Giants have a lot of target competition in the middle of the field with their slew of slot receivers and Saquon Barkley, plus Daniel Jones has a tendency to favor scrambling over checking down. Having said that, the Giants have made a lot of noise about featuring Waller, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he led the team in targets. Though, given the man who led them last year was Richie James, that’s hardly a high bar.
Evan Engram finally returned to TE1-land for the first time since his rookie season, but it won’t be easy to go back-to-back in the Top 6 with Calvin Ridley in town. His ranking here is more of an indictment on the other available options. Pat Freiermuth has some positive touchdown regression coming after a drop from seven to two scores last year. Having said that, his upside is otherwise rather limited, and I prefer Engram for his explosiveness. But Freiermuth is the safer of the pair.
Tier 5: The Best of the Rest
My love of Chig Okonkwo has been well-established on the Razzball Podcast. In a team where the WR2 is Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and the running back doesn’t catch many balls, Okonkwo must be extremely busy. When you add in his athletic profile and the release of Austin Hooper, the sky is the limit for the second-year man. David Njoku has been getting a lot of buzz, but there’s so much competition in Cleveland! Nick Chubb, Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cedric Tillman and Deshaun Watson’s legs.
It’s hard to imagine Njoku getting enough volume to be more than a low-end TE1, so don’t pay for more. Dalton Schultz heads to Houston with a rookie quarterback who could easily lean on underneath targets as he acclimatizes to the NFL. With few true pass-catching weapons around him, Schultz is the kind of security blanket Stroud could love. Tyler Higbee is in a similar spot as Okonkwo, with massive target hog Cooper Kupp his only real competition for receptions.
While Kupp will suck up a lot of attention, Higbee will get plenty of opportunities too. Greg Dulcich is a guy who could be primed for a second-year breakout as an early favorite of Sean Payton. Though with a lot of target competition and a quarterback that looked mediocre at best in 2022, it’s hard to see a fantasy league-winning season coming for the young Bronco.
Tier 6: Other Starters
- Dalton Kincaid (BUF)
- Cole Kmet (CHI)
- Gerald Everett (LAC)
- Irv Smith Jr (CIN)
- Juwan Johnson (NO)
- Sam LaPorta (DET)
- Michael Mayer (LV)
- Logan Thomas (WAS)
It’s rare for tight ends to have successful rookie seasons, but these aren’t your average rookies, and the competition at this stage in the rankings isn’t very high. Dalton Kincaid could very easily bust, but if he plays the big slot role many have hypothesized, he could easily be the second pass catcher behind Stefon Diggs. Sam LaPorta and Michael Mayer have more secure roles than Kincaid as the likely TE1 on their teams, but their upside is capped by the typical usage of rookie tight ends. Cole Kmet didn’t make the most of his team’s lack of pass catchers last season, so with DJ Moore now on board, it’s hard to see him getting even close to another TE1 finish. After all, the last one was just a product of staying healthy.
Gerald Everett similarly struggled to take advantage of the injuries to Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, so the addition of Quentin Johnston and the rookie’s red zone presence can only hurt him. Irv Smith Jr is in a comparable predicament, but the high-powered Bengals offense might just give him a little more upside, though his lack of recent success gives him a far lower floor.
Juwan Johnson will likely also be hurt by the emergence of Chris Olave and the return of a (hopefully) healthy Michael Thomas. He lacks a consistent role and is very hard to trust. Lastly, Logan Thomas is the ultimate late-round gamble. Eric Bieniemy has a long history of effectively using his tight ends, and Thomas did finish as the TE6 last time he was healthy. If he gets used properly, and that’s a big if, it’s possible he can recapture the form that made him a league winner in 2020.
Next week I’ll be back with a new series of articles. Remember to check out my full rankings for all positions at ffdfantasyfootball.com. IDP Rankings will be coming soon.