Deciding which top tight ends to invest in during your fantasy football draft can be a mystery after Travis Kelce is off the board. Is it better to invest in tight ends who project for low volume in high-scoring offenses… or do you select a TE who projects to see a ton of volume in a mediocre passing offense?
Well, I’ve crunched the numbers… watched the tape… and have decided on my four TEs that you shouldn’t leave your draft without for 2023.
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Top TEs To Draft in Fantasy Football in 2023
It feels like you can make a case for just about any TE to finish as a top-12 option every single season.
Mostly because it hasn’t taken a whole lot of production to finish as a TE1 in PPR formats the last five seasons. Here are the players and fantasy point totals for the TE12 in the last five years.
2022: Dallas Goedert (141.2)
2021: Noah Fant (159)
2020: Hunter Henry (145.3)
2019: Mike Gesicki (136)
2018: Jimmy Graham (130.6)
Basically, if a tight end can average eight points per game in PPR formats, they have a legitimate shot at finishing as a top-12 TE.
Without further delay, let’s take a closer look at some of the tight ends I’m targeting heavily heading into 2023.
Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams (ADP: TE16)
Tyler Higbee saw a career-high 108 targets in 2022, which he turned into a career-high 72 receptions and the best finish of his fantasy career as the TE6 in PPR formats.
Higbee was also one of just six TEs who averaged over six targets per game — Travis Kelce, T.J. Hockenson, Mark Andrews, Zach Ertz, Pat Freiermuth, and Zach Ertz. Only Ertz failed to finish the season as a top-seven TE in PPR formats.
This is the part where I point out the Rams didn’t add any significant competition for targets this offseason and Higbee should fit in as the second option in the passing game behind Cooper Kupp.
Luke Musgrave, Green Bay Packers (ADP: TE19)
I know it’s unpopular to project rookie tight ends as breakout candidates, but Luke Musgrave sure looks like he is penciled in as the starting TE in an offense where the target share is completely wide open.
Musgrave was on the field with the starters throughout the majority of the preseason and saw a healthy target share from QB Jordan Love in those contests. He’s a very fluid athlete and capable pass-catching option, which makes him an intriguing draft investment as the TE19 off the board.
Darren Waller, New York Giants (ADP: TE5)
Fantasy football enthusiasts can be a “what have you done for me lately” bunch sometimes. Two injury-plagued seasons have put many former Darren Waller shareholders in the mind space that he’s a depreciating asset.
Let me remind you that Waller’s not that far removed from back-to-back 90+ reception, 1,100+ yard campaigns. This Giants passing game was in desperate need of a leading man, and Waller should see a ton of volume in this offense.
And at tight end, when you combine a ton of volume with his elite pass-catching skill set…you have a bounce-back candidate that could give top-three TE production at a major discount.
Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos (ADP: TE14)
Greg Dulcich was plagued by a hamstring injury his rookie season, but he still managed to finish as a top-12 tight end in five of 10 games played last year (PPR).
His stat line of 33-411-2 with a TE29 finish doesn’t exactly have people screaming “future fantasy superstar” from the rooftops, but Dulcich’s five targets per game as a rookie is a sign the Broncos see him as a viable threat in the passing game.
If Payton uses Dulcich in his “joker” role, which is a TE or RB with exceptional ball skills that allows a coach to create mismatches against opposing defenses, then you can certainly make the case that Dulcich is going to have a significant role in Denver’s passing attack this year.
Need proof? Well, just look at Payton’s track record with tight ends in his system.
Since 2011, his offense has produced six top-10 TE seasons in PPR formats, which includes a four-year stretch where Jimmy Graham finished as the TE1 or TE2 overall.
Dulcich still has a ways to go before I project him for the type of fantasy impact that Graham produced for a lengthy period of time. But if Payton believes he’s worth mentioning in the same breath, then we should probably listen.