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Fantasy Football Draft Busts: Travis Kelce, Dalton Kincaid, Cole Kmet, TJ Hockenson

Fantasy Football Draft Busts: Travis Kelce, Dalton Kincaid, Cole Kmet, TJ Hockenson

The tight end position is always the toughest to figure out and often fantasy football players would rather pay a premium to ensure the position isn’t a headache week to week. However, some players still look like traps at the top of average draft position (ADP) data, and there are the usual minefields later in the draft. Here are four fantasy football draft bust candidates to reconsider as you prepare for your league.

Fantasy Football Tight Ends to Avoid

Travis Kelce (TE – KC)

It could be easy to be swept up in Travis Kelce’s Super Bowl run where he washed away the misery of the second half of the season and assume that in 2024 he can resume his dominant ways of the last few years. Doing so would require us to ignore a decent chunk of evidence. Between Weeks 8-17, Kelce averaged 1.4 yards per route, a massive drop from the 2.3 he boasted in 2022 when the next nearest was Mark Andrews with 1.9. Kelce’s yards after catch (YAC) per game also dropped from a position-leading 39.8 in 2022 to 27.4 in 2023. His receiving expected points added (EPA) dropped from 65.6 to 11.2.

The Chiefs said they intended to hold back Kelce for the playoffs all along but that argument holds little weight when we can remember many instances of Kelce being visibly annoyed both on the field and on the sidelines during games. Even if that was the case, with Kelce set to turn 35 this year, what’s to say they won’t do the same again? Perhaps Kansas City’s defense continues to be excellent and the team again isn’t put in pass-heavy scripts. Or maybe Rashee Rice and Marquise Brown step up and help the offense be less reliant on Kelce for the first time in years. There are many negative ways to portray this draft pick. The only good way relies on Kelce rolling back the clock for a more prolonged period than he did in the playoffs. As the TE2 on Underdog Fantasy with an ADP of 38, it might be best to resist drafting him unless he falls past ADP.

Dalton Kincaid (TE – BUF)

The Bills moved on from Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis in the space of a few weeks without adding a top-tier wide receiver in their absence. While Curtis Samuel brings a different skill set to their receiver room it looks mighty thin. The whispers out of Buffalo are they envision their offense running through Dalton Kincaid more in 2024 but it’s hard to believe that when we saw him struggle to thrive when Dawson Knox was on the field. Kincaid averaged 5.47 half-PPR points per game in games with Knox on the field, compared to 11.12 in games Knox missed.

Kincaid also failed to turn into a particularly potent red zone threat with Knox out, seeing only three red zone targets in the five games Knox missed. Kincaid saw his playing time jump to 75% of the snaps during Knox’s injury but that number plummeted to 55% when Knox got back on the field. Any hope for Kincaid to make the leap requires a large amount of projection and drafters might want to consider ignoring Kincaid’s ADP of 60 and opt for George Kittle or Evan Engram 10-15 picks later instead.

Cole Kmet (TE – CHI)

Drafters have always struggled to find the right price for Cole Kmet with the Bears tight end frequently missing multiple games before popping up for one or two spike weeks, and then fading away again. In 2023, Kmet was slightly more consistent than in 2022 with a three-week run inside the top 12 tight ends and another of four weeks. Yet, Kmet still disappeared at times with fewer than six half-PPR points in 41% of his 2023 appearances.

Kmet has failed to dominate in talent-poor offenses over the last few years. He is now competing with DJ Moore, Keenan Allen, Gerald Everett and D’Andre Swift, as well as potentially another highly drafted wide receiver, all while hoping Caleb Williams makes an immediate impact. At pick 134, Kmet isn’t a costly option, but it’s fair to ask what he provides that you can’t get from Luke Musgrave at pick 149.

TJ Hockenson (TE – MIN)

Since drafts opened TJ Hockenson’s ADP has steadily dropped from around pick 100 to 125.9. That still doesn’t feel like enough of a drop for a player coming off a torn ACL and MCL knee injury suffered in Week 16. The most optimistic scenarios expect Hockenson to be back on the field around Week 6, at which point Hockenson will be expected to get up to speed with a new quarterback, most likely a rookie one at that.

By the time Hockenson is healthy he could be, at best, the third option behind Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison. Unless we hear positive news about Hockenson, he’s best left alone until his ADP gets to around 150, which it likely will as we get to the summer months.

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