With Underdog fantasy football season approaching, it becomes crucial to finalize your rankings before heading into the draft room. Curating the rankings using Underdog ADP, expert tier rankings, personal tier rankings, and boom/bust potential, the top 25 Tight Ends display some familiar faces alongside newcomers inside the top 10.
While there’s significant talent towards the backend of the rankings, it is smart to have an early-round target while drafting.
2023 Season Long Fantasy Rankings
Top Rated TEs
1. Travis Kelce
Kansas City Chiefs | Underdog ADP: 6.3 (TE1)
Since 2016, Travis Kelce has dominated the fantasy football tight-end landscape, finishing TE1 in every season outside of the 2nd place finish in 2021. Playing nearly every game in his career, he is a lock as a top 10 selection in Underdog drafts and is a great pickup anywhere from the bold choice at 3rd overall to the end of the first round.
The certainty of Kelce’s multiple 30-point weeks throughout the season is enough to swing on him early, compared to Saquon, CMC, and Jonathan Taylor, who all have injury concerns coming into any season.
With an impressive track record of over 250 slot snaps in the past five seasons and a complete absence of injury concerns thus far, the choice for TE1 is crystal clear once again.
2. Mark Andrews
Baltimore Ravens | Underdog ADP: 29.8 (TE2)
If Kelce has been the consensus TE1 for the larger portion of his career, Mark Andrews can say the same about the TE2 spot. With a run-heavy offense, Andrews has still been able to produce elite numbers out of the tight-end position.
Although only scoring 5 TDs in 2022, Baltimore’s offense still ran through him when Lamar or Huntley dropped back to pass. If Lamar Jackson stays healthy this season, a top 5 tight end finish for Andrews is virtually a certainty, as that connection has proven to be elite for fantasy production.
While Andrews won’t slip from that TE2 spot, don’t expect him to average more than 13 to 14 fantasy PPG, making it a significant drop-off from Kelce’s production levels.
3. T.J. Hockenson
Minnesota Vikings | Underdog ADP: 51.5 (TE3)
In his first season with the Vikings, Hockenson was targeted 129 times, scored 6 TDs, and needed one more contest to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. While the addition of Jordan Addison might hinder these numbers, Hockenson has hit his prime and shouldn’t drop past that TE5 ranking in one of the more high-powered offenses in football.
With the absence of Adam Thielen, who mirrored Hocksenson’s route tree more than what Addison will bring, this could free T.J. up even more, especially in the red zone.
Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen’s red zone targets could be going to T.J. early on this season, making him a great pickup in the first few rounds of an Underdog draft.
Top Rated Rookie TEs
1. Dalton Kincaid
Buffalo Bills | Underdog ADP: 127.5 (TE11)
Although Kincaid sits atop my rookie TE board, the TE11 on Underdog is too generous for my taste. In a Bills offense that has to support Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, Khalil Shakir, and Dawson Knox, among others, guys like Chigoziem Okonkwo, Dalton Schultz, and Tyler Higbee might be safer bets at this position, especially early in the year.
Ken Dorsey, the Bills’ offensive coordinator, loves Kincaid and his ideal stature for a modern-day NFL tight end. However, reports from OTAs revealed that Buffalo is still trying to figure out how they will use Kincaid.
With so many options on the perimeter, I would wait until after his current ADP to take a swing, although Dalton has the best boom potential out of this rookie TE class.
2. Sam LaPorta
Detroit Lions | Underdog ADP: 165.0 (TE19)
Just behind Kincaid on my rankings sits Sam LaPorta, the next difference-making tight end out of Iowa. With Jameson Williams out to start the season for the Lions, LaPorta doesn’t have the same amount of competition that Kincaid does for targets.
With early reports saying Sam was the best player at rookie minicamp by a large margin, LaPorta filling the void that fellow Hawkeye T.J. Hockenson left will be enticing for fantasy owners to take a gamble on.
If opting for an early selection of a tight end, LaPorta offers the kind of potential in the later stages of the draft that presents a high-risk, high-reward opportunity.
3. Michael Mayer
Las Vegas Raiders | Underdog ADP: 208.7 (TE30)
The second-round draft pick out of Notre Dame was once considered the best tight end in his class. While he may have slipped past the first round on draft night, heading to Las Vegas actually helped his fantasy stock more than some think.
After losing Derek Carr and Darren Waller to the NFC, Jimmy Garoppolo will have to find some favorite targets on his new squad in Vegas. When he was singing it in San Francisco, George Kittle was always his safety net.
While I wouldn’t expect Mayer to instantly become George Kittle, competing for targets with fellow tight ends Austin Hooper and O.J. Howard shouldn’t be too much of a concern, as it feels like Las Vegas is in the retooling process.
Normally we see rookie tight ends find their rhythm later in the season due to injuries to the wide receiver group and confidence from the quarterback. Expect Micahel Mayer to benefit from this.
TE Draft Strategy
Once again, the fantasy football tight end class is extremely top-heavy. If you want to take your 1st round shot on Travis Kelce, I support you.
However, if Kelce doesn’t fall into your lap, I suggest waiting until the middle of the draft to take a swing on one or two of three AFC tight ends that should have no problem finishing inside the top 10 this season.
Due to opportunity, boom potential, and an extremely high floor this season, these TEs all have ADPs outside of 100 and are poised for significantly improved campaigns compared to their performances in 2022.
Pittsburgh Steelers | Underdog ADP: 107.1 (TE10)
The TE8 on my personal board, Pat Freiermuth, enters his third season with the Steelers and first full season with Kenny Pickett. While finishing with nearly 100 targets last season, the main draw for concern from the fantasy community was the amount of TDs. Just two.
After securing 7 in his rookie season, I expect this number to get back there, especially after receiving just 10 red zone targets in 2022.
While finishing 12th in fantasy PPG, he ranked 32nd in total TDs at the position. A regression is nowhere in the cards for the big tight end out of Penn State as he enters his prime.
Tennessee Titans | Underdog ADP: 130.4 (TE12)
Get your draft board and popcorn ready for Chiggy Okonkwo this season. As a top 3 option in the Titans receiving game, expect the ultra-athletic TE to finish inside the top 10 this season due to the amount of opportunity he should see week in and week out.
Among tight ends with 30+ receptions, the Titans playmaker ranked 2nd in YPT (yards per target), only behind Dallas Goedert of the Eagles last season. This guy is getting the ball in a plethora of ways from Tannehill, and no matter which quarterback steps onto the field this season for Tennessee, I’m buying Chigoziem as the #1 receiving option for his team.
While I’m confident in Okonkwo to finish inside the top 10, it might be smart to target a guy with high-upside later in the draft, such as LaPorta or Taysom Hill.
Houston Texans | Underdog ADP: 138.2 (TE14)
My TE12, Schultz, virtually hovered around 10th place in all tight-end statistical categories, really displaying the label of safe floor, low ceiling. As he packs his bags up from Dallas to Houston, Schultz instantly becomes a top threat on a rebuilding team instead of the 3rd or 4th option who had to compete for targets with Lamb, Pollard, and Gallup.
While Robert Woods, Nico Collins, and John Metchie aren’t a convincing receiving core for a rookie QB to get comfortable with, Schultz’s 6’5, 244 lb. frame is enough to convince me that the red zone targets will come in chunks throughout the season.
While his 2022 fantasy season was less-than-ideal due to Prescott’s injury, it is worth noting that rookie QBs normally look for veteran TEs as a safety blanket throughout their first season.
Expect the Stroud, Schultz connection to be used early and often. If opting to wait until the mid-rounds to select a tight end, Dalton presents a reliable option with a high floor but a relatively lower ceiling.