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Dynasty Rookie Draft Primer: Tight Ends (2023 Fantasy Football)

Dynasty Rookie Draft Primer: Tight Ends (2023 Fantasy Football)

The NFL offseason is here (silently chuckles on the inside). Every dynasty GM knows there is no offseason. There’s the regular season, and then there is rookie fever season. If you’re like me and you’ve had a raging fever since February…the only prescription is my rookie primers.

Dynasty Rookie Draft Kit

Dynasty Rookie Draft Primer

I’ll run through each skill position (QB, RB, WR, TE), laying out draft strategy, tiers, statistical analysis, and scouting reports. Let’s dive into this exciting rookie class.

How to Approach Tight Ends in Dynasty Rookie Drafts

The tight-end position is one that I will enjoy the value pockets in start-up drafts or trades over drafting rookies aggressively in most cases. Tight ends often still need some NFL seasoning before they hit their full stride in the league. This lag time between hype and production can open up a few buy windows, so I’ll usually remain patient and look to pounce on athletic freaks that could break out.

In saying that, this year’s tight-end class is strong for fantasy. Players like Dalton Kincaid, Sam Laporta, and Michael Mayer should earn big snap shares early. The sexy skill sets Tucker Kraft and Luke Schoonmaker should allow them to earn targets of the high-value variety in Year 1.

Positional Tiers

Tier 1

Analysis: Kincaid was the only tight end selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. He could possibly emerge as the number two option in the Bills’ passing game in his rookie season. LaPorta didn’t go in the first round, but he enters a push-over depth chart in Detroit where he can be the full-time starter from Day 1. LaPorta could be the second option in the passing attack until Jameson Williams returns from suspension in his first year. LaPorta has the high-end pass-catching chops and athleticism to be one of the best tight ends in fantasy.

Tier 2

Analysis: Mayer slipped to round two of the NFL Draft, but that doesn’t hurt his dynasty outlook. His questionable athleticism is why he finds himself in Tier 2 behind Kincaid and LaPorta. Mayer could be a part-time player in his first year as a Raider, as the team also has snooze fest veteran Austin Hooper on the roster. Does it make sense for the Raiders to play Hooper ahead of Mayer? No, that’s exactly why I can see Josh McDaniels doing it.

Tier 3

Analysis:  Kraft and Schoonmaker are physical specimens. Each player will enter the NFL as an average run-blocking option, which could carve out full-time roles in Year 1. Kraft has a higher ceiling than Schoonmaker due to his athleticism, but they could see similar target shares in 2023. Strange was a surprise as a second-round pick in the NFL Draft, but it’s easy to see why Jacksonville is high on him. Strange is a strong run blocker that still has some growth to make at the next level as a receiver. While Strange doesn’t have an elite upside profile, he could evolve into a consistent low-end TE1 in fantasy if everything breaks right.

Tier 4

Analysis:  Washington will contribute more as a run blocker than a receiver in Pittsburgh, with Pat Freiermuth locked into the receiving game heavy lifting. Washington slipped in the NFL Draft due to injury worries. His star has dimmed considerably since his otherworldly combine performance. Musgrave is a run-blocking eye sore. He has the raw athleticism to become a low-end TE1 based on volume. Musgrave is a raw underwear Olympics champion who could be a bust if he never puts it all together. Musgrave doesn’t break tackles or create YAC commiserate with his workout numbers, but he can stretch the seam and create explosive plays downfield.

Dalton Kincaid (Utah)

Stats:

  • 2022 (minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 2nd
    • PFF receiving grade: 1st
  • 2021 (minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 13th
    • PFF receiving grade: 11th
  • Career
    • Utilized in the slot on 55.1% of his snaps in 2022
    • Kincaid was third in missed tackles forced among tight ends last year.

Scouting report:

  • Kincaid has special movement skills. He looks fluid through his routes with a quick snap at the top of his stem. Kincaid has excellent body control with above-the-rim skills. He is exceptional at high-pointing the ball, which will serve him well in the red zone in the NFL.
  • Kincaid can win inline, in the slot, and on the perimeter. He has early and late separation skills that allow him to be flexed out to the boundary, even against man coverage. Last year, Kincaid was 13th in PFF receiving grade and Yards per route run against man coverage (minimum 10 man-coverage targets).
  • He is a tackle-breaking steamroller in the open field. I’m not prone to comping rookie tight ends to future Hall of Famers, but Kincaid reminds me of Travis Kelce on film. His combination of route running, speed, and RAC ability evokes Kelce’s highlight reels in my head. He’s also a field-stretching weapon that can win vertically on the perimeter and down the seam. Kincaid was fifth in PFF deep receiving grade and 13th in deep Yards per route run among tight ends last year (minimum five deep targets).
  • The biggest area of improvement for Kincaid is in the blocking department. He is religiously turned into a pretzel in pass protection. His after-the-catch nastiness displays the necessary play strength for Kincaid to grow as a blocker. His first punch is decent, but pass rushers have no issues standing him up and blowing him off his mark. Improvements on technique in the NFL can allow him to become a serviceable blocker, at least.

Player Comp: Travis Kelce

Dynasty Outlook: This sounds hyperbolic, but the Buffalo Bills gave Josh Allen his Travis Kelce. Kincaid has been a man crush of mine since I started diving through his metrics and film. Looking at the Bills’ tight-end depth chart could cause concern for dynasty GMs, with Dawson Knox having sizable guarantees until 2025. Knox and Kincaid can coexist in this offense as they will play different roles. Over the last two years, Knox has played 42-47.2% of his snaps in the slot, which will decrease dramatically with Kincaid in town. Knox was in line for 31.3-37.6% of his snaps during that stretch, which should bump higher. Knox has been a top-shelf run blocker and serviceable pass protector ranking eighth and 35th in PFF run and pass blocking grades last year (minimum 100 blocking snaps per PFF). Knox can be their new 12-personnel tight end, with Kincaid assuming primary passing down responsibilities in the slot. While Knox has been fantasy relevant since 2021, he’s never been a heavy target earner. He’s never sniffed a 14% target share or a target-per-route run rate above 17% as a full-time player. Kincaid should have no issues earning targets early, as the Bills didn’t have a player with more than a 25% target per route run rate that logged at least a 23% route run rate outside of Stefon Diggs. Kincaid should eat as the Bills’ big slot. Last year among all collegiate wide receivers and tight ends with at least 20 slot targets, he was second in PFF receiving grade from the slot. If we pin this down to tight ends, Kincaid ranked third in slot Yards per route run (per PFF). Kincaid should be viewed as a first-round wide receiver because that’s what Buffalo views him as. After the run on wide receivers in the first round of this year’s draft, Buffalo played chess instead of checkers by selecting the “tight end” Kincaid. Kincaid is a first-round rookie draft pick that should come off the board immediately after the top four wide receivers.

Michael Mayer (Notre Dame)

Stats:

  • 2022 (minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 1st
    • PFF receiving grade: 2nd
  • 2021 (minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 18th
    • PFF receiving grade: 14th
  • 2020 (minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 40th
    • PFF receiving grade: 38th
  • Career
    • 95th percentile college dominator
    • 76th percentile breakout age

Scouting report:

  • Mayer has the receiving chops to be the second option in a passing attack. Mayer has plus speed, fluid hips, and the route-running nuance of an NFL veteran. His routes vary in tempo, with head fakes at the top of his stem. On vertical routes, he displays good bend and changes of direction.
  • He’s an early separator against linebackers and flashes solid late separation on the perimeter against corners. Maher can be used on the perimeter, even against press or man coverage. He has the requisite speed, upper body strength, and footwork to defeat this coverage type.
  • Mayer is mean as a blocker. He’s tenacious and determined to bury his defender in the dirt. He’s better inline as a pass protector and run blocker than as a pulling blocker or lead. Maher has a good anchor, but he needs to work on leverage. He has the functional strength and technique to enter any NFL depth chart and be a league-average blocker with the upside to grow into an exceptional blocker.
  • As nasty as Maher is with blocking, you’d think he would be a monster after the catch, but that isn’t the case. Maher’s play strength doesn’t consistently bubble to the top in this area. He needs to channel his aggression into breaking tackles after the catch with stiff arms, etc. Last year, he was 88th in YAC per reception (minimum 20 targets).

Player Comp: Mark Andrews

Dynasty Outlook: The former Fighting Irish behemoth is headed to Sin City after the Raiders picked him up in the second round of the NFL Draft. Mayer has been air-dropped into a tight-end depth chart full of schlubs. Washed veterans Austin Hooper and O.J. Howard are Mayer’s strongest competition for snaps. Mayer could be rocking a 90% or higher snap rate as soon as Week 1. Last year Las Vegas had the third-lowest usage of 12 and 13 personnel in the NFL, but that could change with Mayer. During his time in New England, Josh McDaniels has utilized a two-tight-end heavy offensive system, so it wouldn’t be a shock if he gravitated back to such in Las Vegas. Mayer could be (at best) the fourth option in the Raiders’ passing attack this year behind Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, and Hunter Renfrow. That comes with some projection because Hooper could be the full-time tight end out the gate, and Las Vegas could decide to bump up their usage of 11 personnel this season (18th last year). Mayer could be a weekly part-time player if these possibilities come to fruition. His outlook is unscathed for 2024, as he should assume the every down role with Hooper hitting the free agent market. Mayer is a borderline first-round rookie draft pick, with his floor being as a top-15 player in this rookie class.

Darnell Washington (Georgia)

Stats:

  • 2022 (minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 20th
    • PFF receiving grade: 11th
  • Career
    • 66.2% inline during his career at Georgia

Scouting report:

  • Washington is a nasty customer in run blocking. With his size and physicality, he can manhandle incoming tacklers. He was lined up in the backfield and utilized as a lead blocker plenty of times. Washington’s towering build (6’7″) can allow him to be chopped down, but he displays surprising bend.
  • Washington might never be a high-volume target in the NFL. His height will make him an automatic weapon in the red zone. His catch radius is massive, and his body control (especially considering his size) is eye-opening when paired with his soft hands. He can adjust quite well to low passes and poorly-thrown balls.
  • Washington looks lumbering in the open field with build-up speed that can get stopped in its tracks if he’s contacted early after the reception. If you allow him to build up steam, he can swat incoming tacklers like pesky gnats.

Player Comp: Jelani Woods

Dynasty Outlook: Darnell Washington’s star has dimmed since the combine. It seems like years ago, he was getting hype about possibly being a first-round selection in the NFL Draft. Washington fell to the third round due to concerns over a previous foot issue that he’s dealt with multiple times. Pittsburgh ranked fourth in 11 personnel usage before Chase Claypool was traded. With Allen Robinson on the team, they are likely a top-five team again in the usage of three wide receiver sets this year. That means Washington will be vying for part-time snaps this season, as Pat Freiermuth will be the starter. Washington’s best hope is that the team deploys him as a red zone weapon. However, touchdown equity alone won’t help Washington gain fantasy viability unless he can earn significant snaps and routes. Washington tumbles down to my TE8 for this class. I’ll avoid him for wide receivers and running backs in most drafts.

Sam LaPorta (Iowa)

Stats:

  • 2022 (minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 7th
    • PFF receiving grade: 6th
  • 2021 (minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 19th
    • PFF receiving grade: 20th
  • Career
    • 78th percentile college dominator
    • 64th percentile breakout age

Scouting report:

  • LaPorta will make his mark as a receiver in the NFL. Blocking will be a skill he must continue honing in the NFL. If LaPorta hits his ceiling in the NFL, it will be because of his pass-game abilities and not his run-blocking chops.
  • LaPorta runs routes like a wide receiver. He’s smooth in and out of his breaks with surprising foot quickness. LaPorta played 20.2% of his snaps as a boundary receiver in 2022. He proved up to the task by leading all FBS tight ends in man-coverage targets. He was also second in PFF receiving grade and third in Yards per route run against man coverage (minimum 10 man-coverage targets). He’s also adept at finding the soft spots in zone coverage.
  • He puts some impressive work after the catch on film. His start/stop ability and change-of-direction skills are noticeable. He has good acceleration after the catch with jukes, spin moves, and stiff arms to make a defensive back’s job of getting him to the ground tough. He ranked second in missed tackles forced and third in YAC among tight ends last year.

Player Comp: Evan Engram

Dynasty Outlook: Sammy Ballgame, BABY! Laporta lands in Detroit and should be immediately installed as the Day 1 starter for the Lions. With only Brock Wright, Shane Zylstra, James Mitchell, and Derrick Deese behind him on the depth chart, he should have no trouble carving out a full-time role. Laporta will earn his NFL paychecks by catching passes and breaking tackles weekly. In each of the last two seasons, he has ranked inside the top 20 in PFF receiving grade and Yards per route run among FBS tight ends (minimum 20 targets per PFF). Last season Laporta played 20.2% of his snaps as a perimeter receiver. Laporta should be the number three option in the passing game this season, soaking up targets from Jared Goff. He has risen to the ranking of TE2 in this class in my ranks. LaPorta is a borderline first-round pick in Superflex. He’ll be gone inside the top 15 picks in any draft I’m in.

Zack Kuntz (Old Dominion)

Stats:

  • 2022 (minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 62nd
    • PFF receiving grade: 51st
  • 2021 (minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 9th
    • PFF receiving grade: 25th
  • Career
    • 44.7% and 66.5% of his snaps were from the slot over the last two years
    • 74th percentile college dominator

Scouting report:

  • Zack Kuntz’s elite athleticism pops up immediately on film. He looks like a thoroughbred stallion galloping down the seam with explosive lateral quickness to snap off the top of his routes fluidly. He can create early separation against linebackers in coverage. He subtly changes directions seamlessly on posts and corners. 
  • He moves through contact well in his routes, but play strength isn’t one of his strong suits. Kuntz creates plays after the reception thanks to his straight-line speed and not his ability to weave through traffic or break tackles. Among 24 FBS tight ends in his 2021 breakout season with at least 59 targets, Kuntz had the 11th-lowest missed tackles forced and third-lowest YAC per reception. He’s a “high cut” player who plays like it, as he has difficulty busting through tacklers once they get their hands on him. 
  • Kuntz has a solid set of hands to pluck the ball out of the air. He routinely catches the ball away from his body. His strength at the catch point is inconsistent, reflected in his 41.7% contested catch rate in college. 
  • He was utilized as a lead or pulling blocker at Old Dominion, much to the detriment of their rushing attack. A huge part of blocking is tenacity and effort, which aren’t present in his film. Kuntz is passive as a blocker with a weak punch and a flimsy anchor. He looks like someone who is just going through the motions. 

Player Comp: Mike Gesicki

Dynasty Outlook: Kuntz’s elite athleticism didn’t do him any favors in the NFL Draft as he plummeted like a stone into the seventh round before he was snatched up by the New York Jets. Kuntz likely doesn’t see the field this season as he’s the TE4 on the depth chart behind C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Conklin, and Jeremy Ruckert. Kuntz isn’t a bad taxi squad stash. Next year the Jets can cut C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin saving roughly 10.1 million against the cap. If this were to happen Ruckert and Kuntz could form a well matched 12 personnel tandem in New York.

Tucker Kraft (South Dakota State)

Stats:

  • 2022 (minimum 20 targets among 220 FBS/FCS Tight Ends)
    • Yards per route run: 8th
    • PFF receiving grade: 28th
    • YAC per reception: 26th
  • 2021 (minimum 20 targets among 210 FBS/FCS Tight Ends)
    • Yards per route run: 12th
    • PFF receiving grade: 11th
    • YAC per reception: 63rd
  • Career
    • 69th percentile college dominator

Scouting report:

  • Kraft is built like a Marvel superhero. With a strong set of tree trunk legs married to a powerful upper body, Kraft imposes his will in multiple phases of the game. In the run game, he’s been a solid to above-average blocker during his entire collegiate career. Kraft has the anchor and leg drive to set the edge, wall off runs, or clear a path for his back. In 2022, Kraft was 28th in gap run-blocking grade among 504 FBS and FCS tight ends with at least 100 run-blocking snaps. 
  • Kraft is a bulldozer in the open field. He has the raw speed to threaten down the seam with the ability to house a deep pass due to his tackle-breaking. Kraft, with momentum built up, is a scary situation. He blows through arm tackles and pushes around corners attempting to wrap him up. Kraft also has a little shimmy to his game, as he can juke linebackers after the catch and leave them in the dust. 
  • Kraft has the quick hips and explosion off the line to get both early and late separation on routes. He also has exceptional body control in the air adding to his 73rd-percentile catch radius. His arrogant hands on film are reflected in his 58.8% contested target catch rate in college. Kraft flashes impressive back-shoulder catches regularly on film.

Player Comp: Dallas Goedert

Dynasty Outlook: The Packers doubled up on tight ends in the NFL Draft by selecting Luke Musgrave in the second round before sending in the card for Kraft in the third round. Kraft might hail from a small school, but he has big-time talent. Outside of him and Musgrave, the Packers only have Josiah Deguara, Tyler Davis, Nick Guggemos, Austin Allen, and Cameron McDonald in the tight end room. Kraft arguably has this bunch’s most complete skill set with scintillating receiving ability. It wouldn’t shock me to see Kraft dominating snaps from the outset. He’s a top 24 player in this class in my rankings. I’ll draft him near the end of the second round, even in non-tight-end premium formats.

Luke Schoonmaker (Michigan)

Stats:

  • 2022 (minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 8th
    • PFF receiving grade: 10th
  • Career
    • In 2022 among 62 tight ends with at least nine man and zone coverage targets, Schoonmaker was 35th in Yards per route run against man, 17th in PFF receiving grade and seventh in Yards per route run against zone coverage. 

Scouting report:

  • Schoonmaker will be a functional asset in the run game immediately. He displays a strong anchor when run-blocking. He seals the edge and walls off runs well, but he isn’t a bulldozing type. Schoonmaker won’t clear the road for backs, but he can lock down his patch of grass quite well. 
  • Schoonmaker doesn’t possess the pass-catching chops to ascend to a primary receiving option that can become a 1B pillar of a passing game. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a trusted option garnering target volume against zone coverage. Schoonmaker has nimble feet for his size, reflected by his 72nd percentile 20-yard shuttle. He has a good feel against zone coverage with plenty of snap on short area routes at the top of his stem. He uncovers quickly as a sure-handed target for his quarterback with only three career collegiate drops. 
  • Schoonmaker is a station-to-station tight ends who will move the chains but offer little after the catch. He only forced two missed tackles during his five years at Michigan. He ranked 68th in YAC per reception in 2022 (minimum 20 targets). 

Player Comp: Souped-up Dalton Schultz

Dynasty Outlook: I have to admit I chuckled when the Dallas Cowboys selection Schoonmaker in the second round, considering my player comp for him. Apparently, Jerry Jones saw something similar on film as Schoonmaker is headed to Dallas as Dalton Schultz’s replacement. As badly as the dynasty community wanted to make Jake Ferguson a thing, he won’t be. I never bought into the buzz around him in dynasty circles. Ferguson checks the giant stay-away boxy for me in fantasy which is subpar athleticism. Ferguson only managed a 4.81 forty-yard dash while also sitting below the 60th percentile in speed score, burst score, and agility score (per Playerprofiler.com). Schoonmaker isn’t the flashiest player. He could take some time to surpass Ferguson and possibly Peyton Hendershot on the depth chart, but he easily has the most upside of the group in the receiving game. If the Cowboys’ offense doesn’t take a massive dip with Kellen Moore out the door, Schoonmaker could start churning out low-end TE1 production, if not in 2023, then during his sophomore season.

Brenton Strange (Penn State)

Stats:

  • 2022 (minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 40th
    • PFF receiving grade: 25th
  • 2021 (minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run:  113th
    • PFF receiving grade: 121st
  • 2020 (minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 52nd
    • PFF receiving grade: 52nd
  • Career
    • 62nd percentile collegiate yards per reception 

Scouting report:

  • Immediately on film, Strange pops as a nasty blocker with a mean streak. He utilizes a strong lower half well with the leg drive to push defenders around. He anchors well and has solid hand technique engaging defenders. Despite having 34th percentile hand size, his mitts never lose a defensive player once he’s locked onto them. 
  • Strange is an athletic linear player. His athleticism shows up during blocking and when he’s moving in a straight line. His explosive metrics (broad and vertical jumps) are off the charts, but his 3-cone and 20-yard shuttle are 32nd percentile (per Mockdraftable.com) or lower. This struggle with short-area footwork shows up in his routes. He rounds off routes and doesn’t have an explosive transition once moving from receiver to rusher after the catch. 
  • Strange’s route running is still evolving. He was utilized on screens and chip plays heavily. If he doesn’t continue to hone his footwork and overall route running game, he will be a weapon against zone and poor tackling teams, but you will be pressed to see him win against man coverage. His lack of route nuance and footwork could severely limit his upside. With his plus run blocking already in tow, he could be typecast early as an inline 12 personnel type who is never a featured weapon in an NFL offense. 
  • Strange isn’t a high-end target earner. He never commanded more than a 9.7% target share in any collegiate season. He profiles as a tertiary option in an NFL passing attack who might have to live off his red zone usage to be fantasy relevant. 

Player Comp: Foster Moreau with heavy feet

Dynasty Outlook: Strange’s dynasty stock will be impacted by not only his talent and ability but also what the team decides to do with Evan Engram. If Engram gets locked up with a long-term deal, Strange will undoubtedly be the second fiddle to Engram. Strange won’t be drafted high, so he’s worth the dice roll. The risk is baked into his ADP, but the upside as possibly the starter in 2024 on a Trevor Lawrence-led team isn’t. Doug Pederson can scheme up Strange to best utilize his straight-line explosiveness on crossers. Strange likely will never be a top 5-7 dynasty tight end drawing a 20% or higher target share, but he could become a low-end TE1 in dynasty at some point if Evan Engram moves on.

Luke Musgrave (Oregon State)

Stats:

  • 2022 (146 FBS TEs, minimum 20 targets)**
    • Yards per route run: 2nd
    • PFF receiving grade: 23rd
  • 2021 (133 FBS TEs, minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 66th
    • PFF receiving grade: 61st
  • 2020 (146 FBS TEs, minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 57th
    • PFF receiving grade: 63rd

**Only 15 targets**

  • Career
    • Only 38.9% of his contested collegiate targets secured
    • 58.1% inline rate in college

Scouting report:

  • Luke Musgrave’s intriguing raw athleticism needs to translate to the field more. People will fawn over his testing metrics, but the sad thing is he is only a gym shorts hype machine. Musgrave managed only two missed tackles forced and 3.8 yards after the catch per reception in his collegiate career. These numbers are dreadful. Musgrave is a catch-and-fall down tight end. 
  • Musgrave can get knocked off his routes by physical linebackers easily. His lack of play strength also shows up at the catch point and in the blocking department. Musgrave secured only 38.9% of his contested targets in college. He is a matador in blocking. At this point, he lacks the tenacity required to become even an average blocker. He looks like a player just going through the motions when blocking as he engages passively with oncoming defenders. He rarely anchors well and never drives a defender back. 
  • Musgrave does flash an impressive burst off the line with the speed to stretch the seam. His route running is raw at this juncture, but he does have fluid hips that allow him to turn on a dime. His catch radius is solid, especially when asked to adjust to shoestring targets. 

Player Comp: Zach Miller

Dynasty Outlook: We’ve seen Green Bay utilize a hyper-athletic tight end to some fantasy success (Robert Tonyan) in the past. I’m notably lower on Musgrave than consensus. His theoretical upside is tied to his impressive athletic profile. If you take that away, he has little on-field production to back up the hope and hype. If you’re looking for a mid or late-round tight-end dart for your dynasty squad, I get tossing it in his direction. Musgrave is my TE7 for this class (Tier 5). If you’re following my ranks closely for your rookie drafts, you’re unlikely to draft Musgrave much, and I’m ok with that. I’d rather dynasty GMs attempt to move around in drafts to snag his teammate Tucker Kraft over Musgrave.

Josh Whyle (Cincinnati)

Stats:

  • 2022 (146 FBS TEs, minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 83rd
    • PFF receiving grade: 43rd
  • 2021 (133 FBS TEs, minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 37th
    • PFF receiving grade: 50th
  • Career
    • Whyle’s Yards per route run has declined in each of the last three seasons from 2.94 to 1.11.

Scouting report:

  • Fluid receiver after the catch. He’s able to shed arm tackles with his plus leg strength. Whyle has the speed to pull away from linebackers in space.
  • Good short-area start/stop ability considering his size. Utilized on drag routes and screens heavily to let him do work in space.
  • A willing blocker in all facets. He ranked 30th in PFF run-blocking grade and 15th in pass blocking last season (minimum 100 blocking snaps) among tight ends.

Player Comp: Harrison Bryant

Dynasty Outlook: The skyscraper-sized Whyle joins the Tennessee Titans via the fifth round of the NFL Draft. Whyle’s collegiate production doesn’t jump off the page, but he tested well with a 4.69 40-yard dash with a 65th-percentile catch radius. Whyle could challenge for the number two tight end spot behind Chigoziem Okonkwo this season. That would lead to a healthy snap share on an offense with the fourth-highest utilization of 12 and 13 personnel last year. With a barren receiving depth chart behind Treylon Burks and Okonkwo, Whyle could be worth a stash on your taxi squad.

Davis Allen (Clemson)

Stats:

  • 2022 (146 FBS TEs, minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 32nd
    • PFF receiving grade: 31st
  • Career
    • 43.0% slot rate in college
    • Only three drops at Clemson (115 targets)

Scouting report:

  • One-speed runner in the open field. If you’re looking for him to pull away from linebackers in coverage, you’ll be waiting a while watching film. Only 4.6 YAC per reception in his collegiate career, with five missed tackles (88 receptions).
  • While he won’t be a big-play threat in the NFL, that doesn’t mean he can’t be a dependable target underneath and against zone coverage for a quarterback. He ranked 26th in catch rate last year and first in contested catch rate (minimum six contested targets). Allen is strong at the catch point high-pointing balls and securing everything thrown in his direction. With these traits alone, he could develop into a consistent red-zone threat.

Player Comp: Blake Bell

Dynasty Outlook: With his 4.84 40-yard dash and 26th-percentile agility score, Davis Allen is off my dynasty draft board. Add in that he sunk to the fifth round of the NFL Draft, and the chances of him becoming a fantasy-relevant tight end are nearly non-existent.

Will Mallory (Miami)

Stats:

  • 2022 (146 FBS TEs, minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 25th
    • PFF receiving grade: 12th
    • YAC: 7th
  • 2021 (133 FBS TEs, minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 94th
    • PFF receiving grade: 111th
  • Career
    • Shift from 46.6-53.9% slot (2020-2021) to 58.0% inline in 2022
    • Putrid PFF run-blocking grades (never surpassed 52.0 in any season)

Scouting report:

  • Mallory has a tough time separating. He rounds off many of his routes at the top of the stem. Linebackers have little trouble hanging with him. Many of his routes are run from stacked formations, or he is utilized on designed screens.
  • Functional as an inline blocker. His physical limitations show up here, as he’ll anchor his spot on many reps, but you won’t see Mallory tossing rushers around like ragdolls or pushing them back off their mark.

Player Comp: Coby Fleener

Dynasty Outlook: Mallory’s modest on-field production at Miami never matched his athleticism. We’ll see if he can learn to put his 4.54 speed and 79th percentile SPARQ-X score to better use in the NFL, but I’m not confident it will happen. Mallory enters a murky Colts’ depth chart that could continue to utilize a tight end rotation. He’s worth taking some late-round rookie draft shots on, especially in tight-end premium formats, but if I walk away from rookie dynasty draft season without him on any of my squads, I won’t lose any sleep.

Payne Durham (Purdue)

Stats:

  • 2022 (146 FBS TEs, minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 68th
    • PFF receiving grade: 34th
  • 2021 (133 FBS TEs, minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 33rd
    • PFF receiving grade: 34th
  • Career
    • Durham decreased his drop rate in each of his final three seasons at Purdue (2022, 3.4%).

Scouting report:

  • Energetic blocker. Utilized inline and in space. Durham has no issues clearing a path. Good hand placement and will blow defenders back in the run game.
  • Utilized on screens and as an underneath target against zone. He’s not a big-play threat after the catch. He looks lumbering in the open field and after the catch.
  • Durham should develop into a reliable TE2 at the NFL level that can work inline and as an H-back.

Player Comp: Nick Vannett

Dynasty Outlook: Payne Durham was picked up in the fifth round of the draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He should compete for the number two tight-end role behind Cade Otton in camp. Durham will be a better NFL asset than a fantasy one. Nothing in his profile screams that a fantasy beast is waiting to emerge here. He’s not worth selecting in your dynasty rookie drafts.

Cameron Latu (Alabama)

Stats:

  • 2022 (146 FBS TEs, minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 92nd
    • PFF receiving grade: 83rd
  • 2021 (133 FBS TEs, minimum 20 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 58th
    • PFF receiving grade: 51st
  • Career
    • Started his Alabama career as a defensive end. Switched to tight end and became the starter for the last two seasons.

Scouting report:

  • An old defensive mean streak shows up in his blocking. Good punch and anchor noted. Should be able to contribute in 12 and 13 personnel from Day 1.
  • He has a decent snap at the top of his routes to gain separation, but his limited straight-line speed prevents him from running away from defenders or holding a cushion in his routes. Latu can be utilized as an underneath chain mover in the passing game, but not much more than that.

Player Comp: Kaden Smith

Dynasty Outlook: Latu travels to San Francisco after being selected in the third round of the NFL Draft. Latu’s skillset resembles a player that could carve out a lengthy NFL career as a TE2 or TE3 for franchises who could start in a pinch. Latu is a jack of all trades but master of none.

Beyond our fantasy football content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – that optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football draft season.

2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Advice

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*All data utilized in this article is courtesy of PFF, Football Outsiders, and Playerprofiler.com unless otherwise specified.*

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