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5 NFL Position Battles To Monitor: Tight Ends (2024 Fantasy Football)

5 NFL Position Battles To Monitor: Tight Ends (2024 Fantasy Football)

In fantasy football, finding a key contributor at the tight end position if you miss out on Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews and a few select others could be a key contributing factor to your success in the long run.

As offseason programs begin across the league and rookies begin reporting, there are several tight end battles of varying levels of “seriousness” regarding how these players could impact your fantasy football team. Below, we’ll do our best to navigate those five fantasy football position battles to monitor at the tight end position.

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Fantasy Football Position Battles to Monitor: Tight End

(Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference and Pro Football Focus)

Pittsburgh Steelers: Pat Freiermuth vs. Darnell Washington

In 2023, it wasn’t a close battle between Pat Freiermuth and former third-round pick Darnell Washington. 2024 could be a different story.

The Steelers have Russell Wilson and Justin Fields in the building now, and Kenny Pickett is long gone, but still, Washington was essentially a non-factor last season, while Freiermuth, through 13 games, had 37 catches for 384 yards and two scores. This is far from a competitive stat line, but, again, the quarterback situation wasn’t great.

As for Washington, he caught just seven passes. Fellow Steelers tight end Connor Heyward had 23.

However, Washington possesses measurables unlike other tight ends at 6-foot-6 and 264 pounds. It’s his second year in the NFL and while he may have a new offensive coordinator, he has plenty of raw talent that could’ve been molded enough last season to now have much more of an impact in 2024.

Freiermuth has the lead by a wide margin, but Washington could start getting more opportunities in 2024.

Denver Broncos: Greg Dulcich vs. Adam Trautman

Greg Dulcich was hurt for essentially all of last season. He’ll look to get back to his 2022 form. As a rookie, he caught 33 passes for 411 yards and two touchdowns. However, that was before Sean Payton came to town. Payton brought in Adam Trautman, who spent some time under him during his time as the head coach of the Saints.

Payton didn’t draft Dulcich; Trautman was.

Last season, Trautman caught 22 passes for 204 yards and three scores. He hardly had a role, so that could leave some room for the more talented Dulcich to emerge.

Will Payton let talent win, or will “his guy” get the first crack at being the top dog at tight end?

Los Angeles Chargers: Will Dissly vs. Hayden Hurst vs. Donald Parham Jr.

Oh boy, what a group of players we have here.

Gerald Evertt is no longer with the team. The Chargers and new head coach Jim Harbaugh brought in Will Dissly and Hayden Hurst, with Donald Parham Jr. still on the roster.

In 2023, before Harbaugh, Parham Jr. saw 40 targets, catching 27 for 285 yards and four touchdowns.

However, the signings of Dissly and Hurst don’t appear to be a good sign for his playing time.

As for who could be the top guy out of Hurst and Dissly, follow the money.

Dissly signed a three-year deal worth $14 million, while Hurst is on a one-year deal worth just over $1 million.

Hurst is a cut candidate, but will Parham Jr. still get a chance to contribute to this offense? Dissly certainly got “paid” compared to Hurst, but it’s also less than $5 million per season.

This is another group to watch for that could have an impact on how few weapons there are in the Chargers’ offense.

Carolina Panthers: Tommy Tremble vs. Ja’Tavion Sanders

If we were Tommy Tremble, we’d be, well, uh, trembling after the team took Ja’Tavion Sanders in the fourth round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

As with any player at any position, whenever a new regime comes in and drafts a guy at that spot, look out.

Tremble was drafted in 2021 when Matt Rhule was the head coach. There’s been what feels like a dozen head coaches since then.

In 2023, Tremble caught 23 balls for 194 yards and three touchdowns.

Sanders still has some stuff to figure out to be a complete tight end, like blocking, but there’s no denying the vertical ability he showed in college.

Tremble should have the upper hand on a rookie tight end who still has nuances of the position to get a better handle on, but he’s far from cemented in his role.

Las Vegas Raiders: Brock Bowers vs. Michael Mayer

We saved the best for last, but really, though, is it?

Mayer was drafted in the second round in 2023 by a regime consisting of Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels. Antonio Pierce and Tom Telesco spent a top-15 pick on Brock Bowers.

Mayer will still find snaps, especially as a run blocker (he had 260 run-blocking snaps last year), but offensively, he caught just 27 passes for 304 yards and two scores.

This is already Bower’s job, but we’ll see what happens. Mayer also had solid draft capital invested in him with a top-40 pick.

The problem, as mentioned, is that it was a different regime.

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