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Fantasy Football Draft Sleepers: Tight Ends With Top-5 Potential (2024)

Fantasy Football Draft Sleepers: Tight Ends With Top-5 Potential (2024)

The 2023 NFL Draft was stacked with early-round tight ends, adding useful fantasy options to the position. Cracking the top five fantasy tight ends will be a tall order for a TE2 this season. Yet, a sophomore tight end and a veteran with a top-five TE finish in half point-per-reception (half PPR) formats on his ledger are intriguing selections who could drastically outkick their average draft position (ADP).

TE2s With Top-5 TE Potential

Luke Musgrave (GB – TE ): 142.0 ADP/TE16

Luke Musgrave was the first of two rookie tight ends the Packers picked last season. Musgrave and Tucker Kraft both had flashes. Still, the former was more productive and is attached to more significant draft capital than the latter. Musgrave also played well relative to other rookie tight ends in the previous decade. The following table has the 18 tight ends targeted at least 40 times in their rookie season who also earned at least a 65.0 Pro Football Focus (PFF) receiving grade. Eric Ebron, Noah Fant, T.J. Hockenson and Isaiah Likely are some of the notably absent tight ends from the table.

Chris Herndon, Clive Walford, Will Tye and Jace Amaro didn't blossom into fantasy assets, and others on the table didn't become top options at the position in their sophomore campaigns, either. Still, the table is loaded with quality tight ends. The most encouraging comparison is between Musgrave's rookie season and George Kittle's. They had similar marks in PFF receiving grade, targets per route rate, receptions per game, receiving yards per game and yards per route run as rookies.

In Kittle's second season, he surged to 5.5 receptions per game, 86.1 receiving yards per game and five receiving touchdowns. Musgrave shouldn't be projected to make a similar leap this year. Nevertheless, it's a positive example of a breakout second season from an athletically gifted tight end. Kittle and Musgrave had elite Relative Athletic Scores when entering the NFL.

Musgrave might also have a path to a prominent role in Green Bay's passing attack. The Packers don't have an established alpha wideout. Instead, they have a deep collection of young pass-catching weapons, and Musgrave is under that umbrella. He's an exciting selection with significant untapped upside.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

Darren Waller (NYG - TE ): 147.7 ADP/TE18

Gamers in managed fantasy football leagues will know by typical draft season if Darren Waller is suiting up this season. Waller hasn't decided if he'll play this season but should do so by June. If he announces he's playing this year, Waller's ADP will likely climb while still remaining in TE2 territory.

Even though Waller didn't have an ideal first season in New Jersey, he had something left in the tank. Among 36 tight ends targeted at least 40 times in 2023, Waller had PFF's 10th-highest receiving grade and was tied for 11th in yards per route run (1.55 Y/RR). Waller was also targeted on a rock-solid 20.3% of his routes.

After a dismal season, the Giants' offense has almost nowhere to go but up. Furthermore, even if Big Blue spends the sixth pick in the NFL Draft on a talented wide receiver, Waller can maintain a prominent role in the pass-catching corps, ideally in an improved offense, enhancing his touchdown potential.

Waller is a nifty pick for gamers who choose to double up on cheap tight ends instead of spending a premium selection in managed leagues. Meanwhile, Waller is an exciting bargain as the third tight end on best ball rosters that fire three late bullets at the position.

2024 NFL Draft Guide

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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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