Top TEs To Draft in Fantasy Football: Kyle Soppe’s 3 Must-Have Players

The tight end position can be a tough one to evaluate. With that in mind, here are three options to consider in your fantasy football drafts.

Ugh. Remember your younger days? When you were force-fed vegetables before your mac-n-cheese? Same thing here. The tight end position is required to be filled in most fantasy football leagues, and you have to satisfy that before being allowed to compete. Don’t get mad at me, I’m just the messenger.

Understanding that we are all in this struggle together, let’s take a look at the position and see how we can survive it. Think of my numbers as melted cheese on your broccoli. You still have to eat it, but it’s a little more enjoyable this way, ya know?

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Top TEs To Draft in Fantasy Football in 2023

Drafting Travis Kelce in the first round is, of course, an option. But you don’t need me to tell you that.

But let’s assume you’re like the rest of us out here trying to not lose ground on the field at the position. I have one mid-round option and two late-round fliers that are circled on my cheat sheets as I enter the draft room.

Darren Waller, New York Giants

Two things are important when it comes to the Darren Waller process, and neither is rocket science. I’m a big believer of a showed skill is a proven skill, and we know Waller can handle as large a role as the Giants are willing to give him.

2019-20: TE Comparison

  • Kelce: 202 catches, 25.2% target per route, 3.2% drop rate
  • Waller: 197 catches, 26.3% target per route, 2.8% drop rate

The second part is the direction of this offense. Daniel Jones continues to progress as a passer, but … well, he has no one to throw the football to.

OK, so maybe that’s not exactly true, but there’s no denying that Waller is the favorite to lead this team in targets — a rarity for the tight end position. We have the opportunity to combine rare athletic ability with volume.

Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints

As we move through the draft process, I’m realizing that there are some offenses I just like more than others, and the Saints are on that list (other teams include the Jaguars and Steelers). Maybe I’m missing something, but I view this passing game as a potent one and Juwan Johnson as the type of athlete that can win at all three levels.

Derek Carr aDOT progression

  • 2018-19: 6.38 yards
  • 2020-21: 7.78 yards
  • 2022: 8.73 yards

Due to the size of tight ends and where they line up on the field, they naturally come with a lower average depth of target than receivers, but New Orleans did explore with running Johnson downfield last season. In fact, among the 29 tight ends with at least 50 targets in 2022, Johnson ranked fifth in aDOT, a sign that he could capitalize on Carr’s development.

A role like that will fuel weekly upside, which, at his current ADP, is enough to justify rostering Johnson. Yet, there is safety built in as well as a result of the WR corps in New Orleans. Chris Olave (3+ deep targets in the majority of games) and Rashid Shaheed (17.4 yards per catch) are a pair of developing deep threats that should create plenty of room for Johnson to operate underneath.

Johnson just checks way too many boxes not to be my favorite of the punt tight ends. If you want to wait even later …

Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

So you’re telling me a player at the toughest position to fill in fantasy football, who ranks in the top 10 in routes, targets, and catches over the past two seasons, is essentially free? One that, outside of the WR1 in his offense, lacks target competition and saw his target-per-route run rate last season jump by over 18%?

Tyler Higbee’s aDOT over the past two seasons has tanked, but I’m perfectly fine with that. If you’re in true punt mode at tight end a handful of catches will more than satisfy you, and that’s what I expect the average stat line from T-Higgy to look like.

Is six receptions for 48 yards an exciting stat line? No. Does it keep you competitive for no cost? Yes.

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