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6 High-Upside Fantasy Football Draft Picks: Tight Ends (2023)

6 High-Upside Fantasy Football Draft Picks: Tight Ends (2023)

There are times and places in life when it makes sense to be conservative, but fantasy football doesn’t make the list. As legendary racecar driver Ricky Bobby would say, “If you’re not first, you’re last.” When it comes to fantasy football draft strategy, it often pays to be aggressive. That can mean a number of things, but it primarily means finding upside in players compared to where they’re being drafted. If you hit on enough high-upside players, you’ll find yourself in the fantasy playoffs with a shot at a coveted championship.

We asked our featured experts for their running backs, wide receivers and tight ends with the most upside at their current ADP along with players they’re passing on in that same range.

For more fantasy draft advice, our analysts previously looked at the Safest Draft Pick on Each NFL Team.

High-Upside Players for Fantasy Football Drafts

Which TE comes with the most upside at his current positional half-PPR ADP and which player(s) would you pass on with a higher ADP at his position?

Greg Dulcich (TE – DEN)

“He was a top-30 TE despite playing in just 10 games. Now Sean Payton gets to play with this athletic beast. He is a low-risk/high-upside play as TE15 right now, and I’d much prefer him over Cole Kmet, who should see TD regression in a run-heavy system.”
Kevin Roberts (Breaking Football)

Greg Ducich flew under the radar a bit as a rookie, missing the first five games of the season with a hamstring injury. By the time he got going, Denver’s season was already floundering. He did, however, finish as a TE1 in six of the ten games he played to end the season. Tight ends naturally progress in their second season, and with Sean Payton already tagging Dulcich as the “Joker” in his offense, Dulcich has all the upside you look for in a late-round tight end. I prefer him over Dalton Schultz and Cole Kment, who may be safer but lack the upside I’m shooting for at the position.”
Aaron Larson (FantasyPros)

Jake Ferguson (TE – DAL)

“Jake Ferguson has the most upside at his current positional half-PPR ADP. The Cowboys will be one of the most pass-happy teams in the NFL this year and Dak Prescott has always targeted a tight end in a prominent role. With Dalton Schultz’s targets vacated, Ferguson is in line to receive a major boost in workload-a lot like Schultz did when he broke out in 2020 after Jason Witten left. Players I’d pass on for Ferguson: Cole Kmet, Dalton Kincaid, Irv Smith Jr.
Jaime Eisner (The Draft Network)

Juwan Johnson (TE – NO)

“Juwan Johnson finished as the half-PPR TE11 in 2022 and gets an upgrade at quarterback this season with the arrival of Derek Carr, yet his ADP is languishing in the 13th or 14th round. With Alvin Kamara likely facing at least a four-game suspension and no significant additions to New Orleans’ receiving corp behind Chris Olave, Johnson is likely to be the #2 option in an improved Saints passing game. TJ Hockenson averaged 10.5 catches, 144 yards, and two touchdowns per game across two incredible contests in 2022. Over the rest of 15 regular-season games, he averaged 4.3 catches for 41.7 yards and scored a total of two touchdowns. The pass-friendly environment in Minnesota is appealing, but to me, Hockenson is closer to Evan Engram than Mark Andrews, and I’m not at all interested in him in at a fourth-round ADP.”
Jason Willan (Gridiron Experts)

Editor’s Note: Since this note was written, the Saints signed veteran TE Jimmy Graham to a one-year deal.

Darren Waller (TE – NYG)

“There are significant health concerns with Waller, no question about it. Waller hasn’t played a full season since 2020 and is only getting older now at 31 years of age. The Giants failed to bring in a true number-one receiver this off-season, instead opting to trade for Waller. Waller should see plenty of looks, especially in the red zone, for the Giants with their lack of talent and size at the WR position. Despite tight end being generally gross again this year, despite all of our hopes it won’t be, I would still draft Waller at his current price over the likes of Dallas Goedert and even George Kittle, two options that don’t really enthuse me all that much. ”
Ed Birdsall (Talking Points Sports)

“I’m passing on Dallas Goedert (ADP TE6) this season. Although fantasy production at the TE position seems hard to predict, the recipe is clear. You want TEs who are a top-two target on their team and are on a good offense. Although the Eagles are a great offense, they are not very pass-friendly. Last season Jalen Hurts only passed for 22 touchdowns and 18 of them went to A.J. Brown or Devonta Smith, so he isn’t a top target on the team either. I would rather take the chance on Darren Waller (ADP TE7) or even wait and hope Gerald Everett (ADP TE23) steps into the role Dalton Schultz played in Kellen Moore’s offense.”
Ellis Johnson (True North Fantasy Football)

David Njoku (TE – CLE)

” (current ADP Rank TE 10 Ringo’s rank TE 2) Njoku’s biggest strength is his athleticism- most notably his speed. He finally gets the chance to reach his potential by teaming up with an All-Pro QB in Deshaun Watson. Watson is the best QB he’s ever had. And remember, the Browns didn’t sign Watson for $230 million to hand the ball off. This combination has the potential for fantasy fireworks. TEs above him that I’m passing on: Darren Waller (current ADP TE 7) and Pat Freiermuth (current ADP TE 9).”
Mark Ringo (Sleepers and Busts)

Cole Kmet (TE – CHI)

“Kmet finished the year as TE7 in spite of producing just 20.8 half-PPR Fantasy Points through the first seven weeks of the season with two goose eggs. The Bears’ entire offense took a mid-season leap last year as Justin Fields became more comfortable running the show. Kmet was one of the biggest beneficiaries as he was the TE4 from Week 8 through the end of the season. Now, being drafted outside the Top 12 at the position, Kmet brings more upside than Chigoziem Okonkwo, David Njoku, or Pat Freiermuth.”
Michael Tomlin (Fantasy Six Pack)

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