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7 Dynasty Tight End Sleepers (2024 Fantasy Football)

The words “dynasty” “veteran” and “sleepers” used consecutively feels a bit like an oxymoron. In dynasty fantasy football circles, sleepers are typically the young bucks who need nurturing before growing into their antlers, while veterans who’ve had their shot are afterthoughts. Well, I’m here to say that veterans can be fantasy football sleepers, too.

Ideally, a dynasty veteran sleeper can make an immediate impact for a contender and hold value for at least a few years. Keep in mind that some of these sleepers are on the younger side of the veteran spectrum, while some have a shorter NFL future but can still return plenty of value in the next few seasons.

With that in mind, let’s look at some tight ends who are set up to make an impact this season and return positive value down the line. Here are a few of our top dynasty tight end sleepers to consider in fantasy football drafts and trades.

Dynasty Tight End Sleepers

Younger Vets

Chigoziem Okonkwo (TE – TEN) | Dynasty ADP: 177 Overall, TE22

A post-hype sleeper who fell short of an anticipated breakout last season, Chigoziem Okonkwo enters his third season looking to leap forward in a revamped Titans offense. Okonkwo, a fourth-round selection in 2022, finished as the TE21 overall in PPR scoring and just 26th in points per game but quietly had a strong run to finish the season. In Weeks 12-18, he was the TE10, while averaging nearly five targets and 46 yards per game in those seven contests, which included his only touchdown of the season. While his 528 receiving yards on the season were 18th among tight ends, his lack of touchdowns put a major dent in his fantasy contributions. Even so, Okonkwo saw the third-most deep targets among tight ends and was first in average cushion, proving he’s capable of winning downfield.

It’s easy to forget the Okonkwo hype train was built on him being the most efficient tight end per route in the NFL in his rookie season. He finished that year with the most fantasy points per route run with (0.7), the most yards per reception (14.1) and the most yards per route run (3.26). There’s no doubt the train derailed the first half of last season, but the Titans’ offense spent much of the season off the rails. The club added Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd, giving Okonkwo more competition for targets in a suddenly crowded offense. That might be enough to keep fantasy managers away, but the hiring of Brian Callahan should result in an uptick in pass attempts. A more creative and advanced play-caller will benefit Okonkwo more than anybody in the Titans offense. At 24 years old, Okonkwo is a worthwhile dynasty investment who’s being drafted as the TE22.

Noah Fant (TE – SEA) | Dynasty ADP: 200 Overall, TE25

During his time in Seattle, Noah Fant has always been part of a tight end committee with Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson, but that’s about to change this season. Dissly and Parkinson have both departed Seattle, leaving the room in Fant’s hands after he inked a new two-year deal. Even though he shared the position, Fant still posted over 400 yards in each of the last two seasons after finishing with 560+ in each of his three seasons in Denver.

It’s easy to forget Fant was a first-round pick who was in the 97th percentile of prospects in the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and vertical jump. Fant is now in his best position to succeed. Even during his tenure with the Broncos, the team faced instability within the coaching staff and at quarterback. The pass-catching group is crowded in Seattle with three quality receivers, but Fant posted the third-highest yards per target (9.6) and yards per reception (12.9) among all tight ends last season. He had the second-highest contested catch rate at 75% but also posted the second-best target separation of 2.35. His three red zone targets held him back immensely, but that should skyrocket this season. With offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb bringing his high-flying offense to the NFL, there should be plenty to go around and Fant is expected to be on the field a lot more often. Historically, tight ends peak between ages 25-27. At age 26, Fant falls perfectly within that window.

Jelani Woods (TE – IND) | Dynasty ADP: 230 Overall, TE30

Entering his third NFL season, Jelani Woods missed the entirety of his second season with a hamstring injury. Before the injury, Woods tested out as perhaps the most athletic tight end prospect of all time at the combine, leading to a perfect 10.0 relative athletic score (RAS). He is a huge presence at 6-foot-7 and 253 pounds, but he can also run, evidenced by his 4.61 40-yard dash.

In his rookie season, Woods posted 312 yards and three touchdowns but notched the eighth-best yards per reception among tight ends with 12.5. With his size and athleticism, plus his three touchdowns as a rookie, the marks of a legitimate weapon in the red zone are present. Combine that with his 10-yard average depth of target (aDOT) as a rookie, fourth-best among tight ends, and Woods appears to be a player who can create many big plays. With Michael Pittman, Adonai Mitchell and Josh Downs in the fold, plus other tight ends like Kylen Granson and Mo Alie-Cox, Woods will need to prove himself and be efficient to make an impact. He’s got all the prerequisites to do so. He just needs to stay healthy and prove it.

Greg Dulcich (TE – DEN) | Dynasty ADP: 213 Overall, TE27

Another player who flashed as a rookie but was limited in his second season, Greg Dulcich appeared in just two games last season, catching three of of his four targets for 25 yards. This was a major disappointment following a rookie season with 411 yards and two touchdowns, but the Broncos failed to add any significant pieces at tight end through the offseason. They subtracted to the room by releasing Chris Manhertz, showing their confidence in Adam Trautman, Dulcich and Lucas Krull.

As a rookie, Dulcich popped off the screen with efficiency and downfield playmaking. He saw the third-highest aDOT among tight ends with 10.6, the third-most deep targets with 12, and the seventh-highest air yards share at 18.6%. He was ninth in yards per reception at 12.5, 11th in yards per team pass attempt with 1.21 and he created target separation at the seventh-highest rate of 2.36. These are impressive metrics for a rookie tight end. Although the coaching staff has since turned over, Dulcich’s skill set is one Sean Payton can make the most of. With a below-average receiving core and a rookie quarterback in need of a security blanket, Dulcich will have an opportunity to make a huge impact if he can stay healthy.

Older Vets

Tyler Conklin (TE – NYJ) | Dynasty ADP: 318 Overall, TE43

You’ll need to scroll down for quite a while before coming across Tyler Conklin on the draft board, but I can’t quite figure out why. Conklin, who is being drafted between Noah Gray and Luke Schoonmaker, has eclipsed 500 yards in each of the last three seasons and has totaled the 11th-most receiving yards among tight ends in that stretch with 1,766. He’s never been a trendy name and is entering his age-29 season, but he finished as the TE18 overall and TE23 in PPR points per game last season without scoring a single touchdown. The next closest scoring tight end without a touchdown was Noah Fant, who finished as the TE32 and posted 50 fewer points.

Conklin tallied the 13th-most receiving yards among tight ends and did so in a putrid offense last season. Touchdowns are historically non-sticky and the return of Aaron Rodgers should allow Conklin to boost his production and find the end zone this season. With the sixth-highest catch rate among tight ends and the 12th-most unrealized air yards, improved quarterback play will be a perfect match for Conklin. His aDOT was 17th-best at 6.8 but he finished sixth in deep targets with seven of them, proving the Jets like to target him downfield.

I can understand the sentiment that Conklin may be more of a redraft sleeper, as he is in the final year of his contract and Aaron Rodgers may hang it up after the season. If he delivers this season, however, Conklin could find himself with one more solid contract on a team lacking a pass-catching tight end. If nothing else, he should return more value than TE43 at the trade deadline or next offseason. Many had Brock Bowers pegged to land in New York and the market has not adjusted to Conklin’s value, making it the perfect time to take advantage.

Hunter Henry (TE – NE) | Dynasty ADP: 206 Overall, TE26

Hunter Henry finished as the TE19 overall and TE16 in PPR points per game last season with 419 receiving yards and six touchdowns. It was the lowest yardage total of his career. Much of his value in New England has been tied to touchdowns, which, in large part, was due to the Patriots’ boring offense and the presence of Jonnu Smith and Mike Gesicki. Each of those things are changing this season, however, as Gesicki is gone, the team drafted Drake Maye and reports suggest the revamped coaching staff plans to run a real NFL offense.

With 2,796 receiving yards, Henry stands with the 10th-most over the past five seasons. Although touchdowns can’t be relied upon from season to season, he is a consistent red zone threat posting the fourth-most tight end receiving touchdowns over that time with 26. Henry was the Patriots’ second-leading receiver last season and led the team in third- and fourth-down conversions, per Pro Football Focus (PFF). He finished third among tight ends in aDOT, ninth in air yards share and second in dominator rating. With a new three-year contract in place and a lack of established weapons in the Patriots’ passing attack, Henry will have an opportunity to make noise with Maye this season and beyond. Even if we get Jacoby Brissett for a portion of the season, the veteran quarterback supported David Njoku as the TE8 in Weeks 1-11 in 2022 and has utilized his tight end consistently throughout his career. As far as veteran sleepers go for dynasty, you can’t do much better than Hunter Henry.

Jonnu Smith (TE – MIA) | Dynasty ADP: 285 Overall, TE41

After spending time in Tennessee, New England and Atlanta, Jonnu Smith is joining the Miami Dolphins on a two-year contract. Imagine spending most of your career with different companies that lack resources and display unstable leadership before joining one of the best companies to work for with unlimited resources. This is the opportunity Smith is presented with as he teams up with Mike McDaniel and company.

Playing alongside Kyle Pitts last season, Smith enjoyed the best statistical season of his career, notching 582 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He finished as the TE17 and was one of the most efficient tight ends in the league, finishing with the seventh-most yards per target and yards per reception with 8.4 and 11.6, respectively. The Dolphins offense revolves around its playmakers, deploying speed at wide receiver and running back. Smith will face plenty of competition for targets, but with the electric cast of characters around him, Smith will be extremely efficient and has a much higher touchdown ceiling than ever before. His upside is lower than other tight ends who are higher on their teams’ pecking order, but he can be a solid TE2 with weekly TE1 upside. Also, at 28 years old, he’s got a few good years left in him.

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