The position most divided into “haves” and “have nots” in fantasy football is tight end. Dynasty GMs who had Travis Kelce, T.J. Hockenson, George Kittle, or Mark Andrews last year had a significant weekly advantage over league mates who were constantly scrambling to find a warm body for their starting tight end spot from week to week. Those names remain the top projected fantasy scorers heading into the 2023 season, but here are a few dynasty tight end buys that won’t necessarily cost an arm and a leg.
2023 Dynasty Tight End Buys
Last year, Dalton Schultz was the TE11 in PPR points per game (PPG), and he was drafted as the dynasty TE11 per DLF ADP early this offseason. But since signing a one-year, $6 million contract with the Texans, Schultz’s dynasty ADP has dipped to TE13 in March and TE16 in April. It makes sense that many would view Schultz going from an efficient Dallas offense that ranked fourth in offensive PPG last year to a mediocre Houston offense that ranked just 31st in offensive PPG as a major downgrade for his fantasy value.
However, while Schultz’s 1.55 yards per route run (YPRR) ranked just 17th among tight ends in 2022, he was productive due to having seen the seventh-most targets among tight ends. And last season, the Texans gave the seventh-most targets to tight ends, so it’s possible that Schultz could actually see more targets per game in 2023 than the 5.9 targets per game he saw in 2022 with the Cowboys. It’s not like Robert Woods and Nico Collins are major target competition.
Even if Houston were to add an early-round rookie wide receiver, Schultz would likely still have more opportunity to earn targets against an incoming rookie than he did against CeeDee Lamb. He’s among the best dynasty tight end buys at the price of a mid second-round rookie pick or less, and it wouldn’t be crazy for a strong contender to even pay an early second for Schultz.
One of the younger dynasty tight end buys this offseason is Greg Dulcich, who’s currently being drafted as the dynasty TE9. As a rookie, Dulcich averaged 5.5 targets per game, 14th most among tight ends, and Denver gave the 11th most targets to tight ends in 2022. And even with that fairly low target volume, Dulcich had five weekly TE1 fantasy finishes. One of the factors that led to his production despite a lack of targets was usage as a downfield threat, as Dulcich ranked third among tight ends in average depth of target (aDOT).
The second-year tight end also has a chance to increase his target share and volume heading into 2023 while maintaining his role as a downfield threat. There have been whispers dating back to the NFL Combine in early March that Denver could be open to trading one of their top wide receivers. Although new head coach Sean Payton refuted these rumors, a trade is still possible in light of comments that Payton may remake this offense entirely, including a potential change at the quarterback position.
There have also been more recent reports from the NFL annual meeting in late March that while the Broncos may not be actively looking to trade Jerry Jeudy or Courtland Sutton, they’re at least open to the idea, which could lead to a trade during the upcoming NFL Draft. The incoming 2023 draft class might be the best tight end class in 10 years, but don’t forget about Dulcich, who only just turned 23 years old in March. Like Schultz, Dulcich is another great trade target at the cost of a mid second-round rookie pick or less.
Turning 29 years old in June, Gerald Everett is already being written off by much of the dynasty community even though tight ends have historically had a longer shelf life than running backs or wide receivers. Even though Everett was the TE14 in PPR PPG last year with six weekly TE1 fantasy finishes, he’s currently being drafted as the dynasty TE35 as of April. That’s absolutely insane.
In 2022, Everett’s 5.8 targets per game ranked 11th among tight ends, and the Chargers gave the ninth-most targets to tight ends last season. Keenan Allen will be 31 years old this season, and both he and Mike Williams have had trouble staying healthy in recent years. Allen missed seven games in 2022, and Williams missed four regular-season contests as well as the Chargers’ Wild Card collapse against the Jaguars. There’s plenty of reason to believe that Everett will continue to see heavy target share and volume heading into 2023.
Additionally, Everett wasn’t purely reliant on volume. While he ranked just 27th among tight ends in YPRR, Everett surprisingly ranked eighth among tight ends in yards after the catch (YAC) last year and saw the fifth-most red zone targets at the position even though he scored only four touchdowns. Although Everett probably won’t be a league-winner by any means, he’s one of the cheapest dynasty tight end buys for contending teams. For the price of a third-round rookie pick or less, Everett can be a decent fill-in at tight end with a few big TE1 weeks here or there.
Prior to tearing his ACL and MCL last season, Zach Ertz was seeing 6.9 targets per game, fourth-most among tight ends, and he was a weekly TE1 in eight of his nine healthy games. If you don’t have faith in the 32-year-old Ertz returning healthy, Trey McBride could be interesting in a similar role at just 23 years old.
The Seahawks tight ends are interesting as well, as Seattle gave the fifth-most targets to tight ends in 2022. Although those targets were split between Noah Fant and Will Dissly, which capped their production and weekly upside, both are cheap dynasty tight end buys. If either were to miss time, the other could have TE1 potential.
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