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How to Approach Tight End in 2024 (Fantasy Football)

There are many aspects of fantasy football drafts that can make or break your season. But this year especially, the tight end position appears to be pivotal in how you construct your fantasy football rosters and execute your drafts. Here is my tight end fantasy football draft strategy to help you understand how to approach the tight end position in 2024 drafts.

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Tight End Fantasy Football Draft Strategy

Let’s dive into our tight end fantasy football draft strategy for 2024 to help you dominate your leagues.

How to Approach the Tight End Position

After joining FantasyPros, I sat down at my office chair to update my author bio and began with the words, “An industry veteran of over a decade.” I had to pause momentarily to let that thought sink in that I had somehow been writing about fantasy sports (in one capacity or another) for over 10 years. Yikes.

It’s important to note that the date I refer to is when I transitioned from the financial sector to a career as a writer. However, my journey as a fantasy football player began much earlier – in 1999. I vividly recall the excitement of selecting Marshall Faulk and Brett Favre as the cornerstones of my first squad, “Murphy’s Law.” Since then, my journey has been marked by the ups and downs of the game, leaving its mark on my beard in the form of several white hairs.

Oddly, the phrase “the more things change, the more they stay the same” applies to the tight end position. For as long as I can remember, it was headlined by one or two standout options, with a dramatic drop-off afterward to middling talent and waiver wire options. Each passing season, fantasy football managers were told that the position would somehow experience some overhaul, through either rookies breaking the mold or mid-tier options rising to elite ranks.

Year. After. Year.

And what happened? Nothing.

The narrative would remain the same each season, with the same results. A clearly defined top tier of three to four players, followed by a vast reduction of points before the next group emerged.

Perhaps the lone saving grace at tight end since 2017 is consistency among the top performers rather than erratic production. Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, George Kittle, and (more recently) T.J. Hockenson have been staples fantasy managers can rely upon, who can produce TE1 totals when healthy.

To some, their increased draft costs outweighed the alternative of rotating players at the position each week. To others, their increased draft costs presented a challenge with acquiring the mid-round WR2/RB2 they desired. It was a decision that needed to be finalized earlier each year, culminating in Kelce’s average draft position (ADP) reaching the first round each of the past few seasons. Either address the position early and favor security over uncertainty, or fill other gaps, wait until the top tier is taken and wish upon a star you’d pick the next breakout candidate.

Same old, same old.

Then 2023 happened.

For the first time since 2013, six players scored more than 200 PPR fantasy points, and nine players eclipsed 175 PPR points. And I, for one, don’t believe that this is a fluke.

An increased shift to “11 personnel” offenses featuring multiple receivers has made the game less predictable, with the pigskin finding its way to tertiary targets, including tight ends. Able to work up the seam freely due to defenses being spread around, coordinators have begun integrating tight ends more often.

About time.

Further reinforcing the notion that we are amidst a renaissance at the position is the youth movement currently occurring, something which my colleague Pat Fitzmaurice pointed out:

“Of the nine tight ends who scored more than 175 PPR points last season, five will be 25 or younger. In addition, the league is also welcoming one of the most celebrated TE prospects in recent memory, Brock Bowers“.

A bevy of talented options that will see plenty of targets is music to our ears. Their presence dramatically inflates the size of the first two tiers of options, allowing fantasy managers not to face the “Kelce vs. the field” conundrum of yesteryears. Kelce (34), Kittle (30) and Andrews (28) are still solid options at the position, proven and dependable to be sure, but there are pivots aplenty.

The drop-off of points mentioned above that would transpire after the first tier of players has been significantly diminished, and I expect the trend will continue. The position is unlikely to see lofty 300+ PPR point totals in the near future due to the volume of targets being less concentrated, but it will conversely raise the floor of other options. This notion is echoed within FantasyPros’ expert consensus rankings (ECR), where nine players are listed within the first two tiers (a number that would have reached double-digits if T.J. Hockenson was fully healthy).

Tight End Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Top Targets

Of those first two tiers, there are two players that I wanted to touch on briefly, and I’m higher on them than most.

Dalton Kincaid (TE – BUF)

Selected as the first tight end off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft, Dalton Kincaid finished with a terrific 73/673/2 split for the Bills, and his chemistry with quarterback Josh Allen was evident. Following Buffalo’s offensive exodus due to cap issues that saw the departure of Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis, Kincaid will be thrust into the limelight as the focal point of the offense, and it is within the realm of possibility he leads the team in targets this season. With a full year of the offense under his belt, I’d expect Allen to look in Kincaid’s direction early and often as the team phases in rookie Keon Coleman and journeymen Curtis Samuel and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Kincaid offers a more versatile skillset than anyone else on the Bills, and his athleticism is underrated.

Kyle Pitts (TE – ATL)

I referred to Kyle Pitts as the “tight end prince that was promised” due to the overwhelming hype he received entering the league in 2021. A promising rookie campaign (68/1026/1) was followed by two stinkers under head coach Arthur Smith, who refused to involve Pitts in the game plan each week consistently. Thankfully, Atlanta made the easy decision to move on from Smith in the offseason and new head coach Raheem Morris brought in Zac Robinson, formerly the passing game coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams. Robinson’s presence and Kirk Cousins under center should propel Pitts to the front of the line for targets. His ability to stretch the field vertically (up the seams and outside of the numbers) when given an opportunity is rare. Pitts should become an easy safety net for Cousins to utilize at every opportunity. Nearly 27% of Cousins’ passes targeted tight ends last year, the fifth-highest rate in the NFL. Robinson is on record saying the “sky is the limit” for Pitts, and Raheem Morris stated he has come into training camp with a “personal vendetta” to get back to form. Entering a contract year, I put a lot of stock in Pitts, finally having the breakout we’ve all been waiting for.

I strongly feel that both Kincaid and Pitts have the opportunity to finish as top-five options and further bolster that first tier at the position.

Current ECR draft rankings for tight ends can be found at FantasyPros here for managers intent on doing draft prep. To conclude, I’m more comfortable than ever waiting to acquire a tight end due to the number of proven veterans and outstanding young talent available. FantasyPros has nine players ranked within the first two tiers:

Fantasy Football Tight End Draft Rankings: Tier One

Fantasy Football Tight End Draft Rankings: Tier Two

I envision Hockenson returning to Tier One after he fully recovers from his knee injury, and it won’t take Bowers long to make splash plays. His collegiate tape from the University of Georgia was unreal, and Las Vegas had a game-changing talent fall into their laps at 13th overall.

Invest accordingly.

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