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.
Tiered Tight End Rankings
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.