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Dynasty Fantasy Football: 2023 NFL Tight End Tier Rankings

Having an elite tight end can create one of the most meaningful edges in fantasy football. The typical top-12 season for a tight end is just 12.0 PPG using tight end premium scoring, a scoring setting that adds 0.5 points per reception to tight ends and is becoming quite common.

Compare that to wide receivers, and that’s a top-36 season. That means there are about 36 wide receivers putting up the production that a top 12 tight end does. But when you narrow it to 17.0 PPG, which is about a top-3 season for tight ends, that’s a top-5 season for wide receivers. You could say that the difference between a top 3 and top 12 tight end is roughly 30 wide receivers. Talk about a massive edge. 

If you’re trying to find the next meaningful edge in your fantasy leagues, look no further than our tiered tight end rankings below. 

>> Other Rankings: QB | RB | WR

Tiered Tight End Rankings

Tier 1 

Value Estimation: Two First-Round Picks 

1  22.7 Years Old  Kyle Pitts  Atlanta Falcons 

Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

Kyle Pitts had the best all-time tight end prospect profile and followed that up with the best first two years we’ve ever seen from a tight end. His fantasy production didn’t show it, even though his 12.4 rookie PPG was the third-highest ever, but his peripherals were generational.

He joined Mark Andrews as the only second-year tight end to put up a 28.0 percent target rate and did it on the highest average depth of target (aDOT) ever recorded for a second-year player. At 22 years old, trust generational talent. 

Baltimore Ravens Mark Andrews

Tier 2 

Value Estimation: Premium First-Round Pick 

2  27.7 Years Old  Mark Andrews  Baltimore Ravens 

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

Andrews has put up the highest target share ever for a third, fourth and fifth-year tight end. Andrews’ production will explode in an offense that’s likely to increase its passing volume this coming season. 

 Tier 3 

Value Estimation: First-Round Pick 

3  33.7 Years Old  Travis Kelce  Kansas City Chiefs 

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

If we compared Kelce’s fantasy production the last three years to wide receivers, he would’ve finished as WR3, WR5 and WR2. High-end tight end production is scarce, making Travis Kelce a cheat code, even if he’s almost 34. 

T.J. Hockenson Deadline

Tier 4 

Value Estimation: Late First-Round Pick 

4  25.9 Years Old  T.J. Hockenson  Minnesota Vikings 
5  24.6 Years Old  Pat Freiermuth  Pittsburgh Steelers 
6  28.4 Years Old  Dallas Goedert  Philadelphia Eagles 
7  29.7 Years Old  George Kittle  San Francisco 49ers 

Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

After starting his career with multiple 20+ percent target rates, including a sophomore season where he commanded 18.2 percent of Pittsburgh’s targets on an average of 8.4 yards down the field, Pat Freiermuth has a good range of outcomes. That range of outcomes consists of Zach Ertz, Aaron Hernandez and Owen Daniels, all of whom have put up a 17+ PPG season. 

T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

There are certain things to like about T.J. Hockenson’s profile, and he’ll likely have an adequate fantasy finish. But expecting a high-end breakout from a fifth-year tight end who has never reached 1.50+ yards per team pass attempt, despite having route participation of more than 70 percent each of the last three years is hard to see. 

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

We’ve had the luxury of watching one of the best tight ends to ever lace them up in George Kittle. But as he nears 30 years old and is coming off his lowest-scoring season since his rookie year, there is clear risk involved. Kittle’s target share, yards per team pass attempt and other peripherals were the lowest since his rookie year. That’s despite his 90.1 percent route participation in 2022 being the highest of his career. 

Tier 5 

Value Estimation: Early Second-Round Pick

8  23.2 Years Old  Greg Dulcich  Denver Broncos 
9  23.6 Years Old  Dalton Kincaid  Buffalo Bills 
10  21.9 Years Old  Michael Mayer  Las Vegas Raiders 
11  22.4 Years Old  Sam LaPorta  Detroit Lions 

Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos

I’m much higher than the consensus on Greg Dulcich. Still, it almost feels too low. We’re talking about just the fourth rookie tight end to ever post 10+ PPG on a 9.0+ aDOT, joining Rob Gronkowski, Pitts and Evan Engram. He’s now locked into a Sean Payton offense. 

Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills

There is stability with a first-round tight end. Of the more recent 15 first-round tight ends drafted before Dalton Kincaid, 14 of them have a 12+ PPG season. But the projected lower-level athleticism and late college career production don’t have the strongest hit rate. If the main reason for liking Kincaid has to do with the Buffalo Bills’ offense, you probably shouldn’t be as high on him. 

Michael Mayer, Las Vegas Raiders

An upside prospect drafted in the second round will always be exciting. For Michael Mayer specifically, when you consider he put up a 32.4 percent target share and 2.44 yards per route run in his final season at Notre Dame before declaring early, we get even more excited. 

Tier 6 

Value Estimation: Second-Round Pick 

12  30.7 Years Old  Darren Waller  New York Giants 
13  26.9 Years Old  David Njoku  Cleveland Browns 
14  28.8 Years Old  Evan Engram  Jacksonville Jaguars 

Darren Waller, New York Giants

The peripherals took a turn for the worst last season. But we’re still just a year removed from Darren Waller putting up three consecutive 20+ percent target shares, including a 26.3 percent target share. He now finds himself as the possible No. 1 receiving option with the New York Giants, and the upside is certainly there. 

Tier 7 

Value Estimation: Early Third-Round Pick 

15  24.7 Years Old  Jelani Woods  Indianapolis Colts 
16  22.6 Years Old  Luke Musgrave  Green Bay Packers 
17  24.7 Years Old  Luke Schoonmaker  Dallas Cowboys 
18  23.7 Years Old  Chigoziem Okonkwo  Tennessee Titans 
19  23.1 Years Old  Isaiah Likely  Baltimore Ravens 

Jelani Woods, Indianapolis Colts

Once we start getting toward the later rounds, the disregard for a player’s floor and the appeal of their upside becomes apparent. For Jelani Woods, we’re looking at an athletic freak with third-round draft capital who had a solid rookie season. In fact, he’s left with a range of outcomes where the names of Jimmy Graham and Andrews appear. 

Luke Schoonmaker, Dallas Cowboys

When it comes to prospects, the predictiveness of college production is least abundant with tight ends. So, we should be intrigued when we see the Dallas Cowboys spend a second-round pick to acquire a tight end like Luke Schoonmaker 

Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans

 Chigoziem Okonkwo is the latest craze in the tight end market because of what he did as a rookie. Don’t get me wrong, 2.62 yards per route run is quite strong. But who were the last low-athleticism rookie tight ends to put up 2.00+ yards per route run on less than a 40 percent route participation? Trevon Wesco, Chris Gragg and Seth DeValve. There are more probable upside tight ends available for cheaper. 

Tier 9 

Value Estimation: Third-Round Pick 

20  23.5 Years Old  Trey McBride  Arizona Cardinals 
21  24.2 Years Old  Cole Kmet  Chicago Bears 
22  26.9 Years Old  Dalton Schultz  Houston Texans 
23  26.7 Years Old  Juwan Johnson  New Orleans Saints 
24  21.8 Years Old  Darnell Washington  Pittsburgh Steelers 

Trey McBride, Arizona Cardinals

 Trey McBride‘s value comes from being a good draft prospect that only didn’t produce because of a 32-year-old Ertz in front of him. Unfortunately, even when we account for games after Ertz was injured, we still get a range of outcomes that features five tight ends with only one 12+ PPG season combined among them. 

Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears

At this point, we have a good idea of who Cole Kmet is. He’s never eclipsed 1.30 yards per route run, which isn’t good. But at least he earns some targets, putting up a 17+ percent target share in back-to-back seasons. 

Dalton Schultz, Houston Texans

Dalton Schultz put up fantasy points during his time in Dallas. The issue is he outplayed his peripherals. He had a 14.5 PPG season on just a 16.1 percent target share. He was deployed heavily, never having below 75 percent route participation in his last three seasons, but he also never put up even a 20 percent target share. He now finds himself with a rookie quarterback in what will probably be a less effective offense.

Tier 10 

Value Estimation: Late Third-Round Pick 

25  24.8 Years Old  Irv Smith Jr.  Cincinnati Bengals 
26  28.9 Years Old  Gerald Everett  Los Angeles Chargers 
27  25.5 Years Old  Noah Fant  Seattle Seahawks 
28  28.5 Years Old  Hunter Henry  New England Patriots 
29  27.7 Years Old  Mike Gesicki  New England Patriots 

Irv Smith Jr., Cincinnati Bengals 

We can admit Irv Smith Jr. is not good. We’re talking about someone who has never eclipsed a 12 percent target share in his first four seasons. But just being a starting tight end on one of the league’s best offenses will have its intrigue. Just ask C.J. Uzomah from a couple of years ago. 

Tier 11 

Value Estimation: Fourth-Round Pick 

30  24.1 Years Old  Cade Otton  Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
31  22.4 Years Old  Brenton Strange  Jacksonville Jaguars 
32  22.6 Years Old  Tucker Kraft  Green Bay Packers 
33  24.1 Years Old  Noah Gray  Kansas City Chiefs 
34  24.4 Years Old  Jake Ferguson  Dallas Cowboys 
35  22.7 Years Old  Daniel Bellinger  New York Giants 

Brenton Strange, Jacksonville Jaguars

I will be the first to admit Brenton Strange was hardly on my radar prior to the draft due to a bad prospect profile. But once he put up a 9.00+ Relative Athletic Score (RAS) and received second-round draft capital from the Jacksonville Jaguars, I needed to adjust some priors.

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