Welcome to my bi-weekly tight end rankings. Each fortnight, I’ll take you through the major movers and shakers in fantasy tight end-land as we head towards the NFL off-season. This week, I’ll be talking about some of my favorite tight ends for 2024, while my full rankings are at the bottom of the article. If you’re participating in fantasy football challenges during the playoffs, make sure you check out my rankings at ffdfantasyfootball.com, and I answer all questions on Instagram @thefantasyfirstdown and Twitter @FantasyFirstDwn.
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Way Too Early Top 5 TEs for 2024
There’s a new king in town. I’ve had Travis Kelce as my TE1 for as long as I can remember, but I can’t overlook how good Sam LaPorta has been this year. Rookie tight ends ALWAYS struggle, with only two rookies finishing in the Top 10 since 2008 (check out my full rookie tight end analysis here). Those two rookies, Kyle Pitts and Evan Engram, finished TE5 and TE4, respectively. LaPorta’s finish is totally unprecedented and, along with Dalton Kincaid’s own outlier season, suggests a shift in the way teams are willing to trust first-year receiving tight ends. (On that note, expect Brock Bowers to be ranked rather high as a result, pending who drafts him.) I think it’s far from a guarantee LaPorta repeats the feat in his sophomore NFL season, but he’s the safest of the top options, with the other studs all having reasons for concern. Read below to find out what they are. LaPorta’s status is nevertheless one to review, though. If the Lions draft a wide receiver in the first round or two, that could shift his value. Until that happens, though, he’s my clear number one.
Until his mid-season injury, Mark Andrews was at his consistent best. The Ravens veteran finished as a top-12 tight end in 7 of his first 8 healthy games and looked set for another excellent season before his ankle intervened. That Andrews returned in the postseason is excellent news for his 2024 status, as he showed he’s still a massive part of this offense despite the influx of receiving talent in Baltimore. He’s another trustworthy option who, at only 27 years old, is very much in his prime. Overlook Andrews at your own risk.
The playoffs have shown just how explosive Travis Kelce can be. Through three games, he has 27 targets, 262 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Sadly, this production wasn’t evident through the latter half of the fantasy season, with the world’s top Swiftie failing to reach the endzone after Week 11. He’s very much at an age where Old Man Time’s hand is tugging him back. Does he still have a top fantasy season in him? Probably. But there’s far more risk with Kelce at 35 when no other fantasy-relevant tight end is older than 32 (and calling Tyler Higbee fantasy-relevant is generous). Your risk aversion is the primary question when drafting Kelce, but at some point in the draft, he’ll be very difficult to pass on.
Five weeks into the 2023 season, Trey McBride was on waivers in most leagues. With 16 total PPR fantasy points and little hope on the horizon, few people expected the explosion that was to come. Over the second half of the season, McBride was the overall TE2, with five Top 5 weeks making him fantasy gold for teams struggling for tight end production. Unfortunately, he struggled a little in the fantasy playoffs, but that’s not something you should consider when drafting for 2024. Instead, let’s look at what we should expect. The Cardinals will likely have a healthier Kyler Murray, which is a positive, but there’s a lot to worry about, too. Arizona barely used its wide receivers in the second half of the season, leading to a bucketload of targets for McBride. With Marvin Harrison Jr a viable first-round pick for the Cards at 1.04, there’s a real chance that bucket of targets will spring a major leak. Draft McBride with care, knowing the upside may very well be capped by personnel changes. There’s enough tight end depth this year that you needn’t reach for the top guys.
Who knew that all David Njoku needed to break out was a mediocre rookie, a journeyman from the XFL and an aging veteran? With Deshaun Watson, Njoku managed more than four receptions just once. Dorian Thompson-Robinson proved a minor upgrade as Njoku received at least six receptions in each DTR start. Even PJ Walker offered Njoku a pair of Top 12 finishes. But it was with 39-year-old Joe Flacco that Njoku shone. From Week 7 onwards (and that includes two Watson weeks) Njoku not only finished as the TE1, he also outscored all but 8 quarterbacks, 5 wide receivers and 1 running back in PPR scoring. This culminated in fantasy playoffs for the ages as Njoku finished in the top 3 tight ends in every one of the last four weeks. That’s extraordinary production. He continued into the playoffs with 11 targets for 93 yards against the Texans. Unfortunately, Watson is the likely quarterback heading into 2024, meaning Njoku could easily regress badly. He’s a risky prospect with more upside than any other tight end if his 2023 usage continues into next season.
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|Note: Filters and sorting in the table below apply to the output
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Drop your names in the comments below!
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