When to Draft Tight Ends In 2023

by Andrew Elmquist | Published: August 2, 2023

It’s officially redraft season! There are so many different formats of fantasy football, including tight-end premium, super flex, half PPR and standard scoring, and so many more. Whatever format you are participating in this season, it’s important to have a leg up on your fellow drafters.

For the casual football fan, drafting tight ends might seem like an afterthought. Grabbing those elite receivers and running backs seems like it’s the fun thing to do in a draft, even hoping to find a diamond in the rough. Plus, most leagues start two backs and at least two receivers, meaning that you’ll want to get deeper at those positions than at tight end.

However, if you’re able to get a great option at the position, you can set yourself up for success all year long. With that being said, we’re going to break down a few tight ends to target this season and the general vicinity that you should be drafting them.

The Upper Echelon

Even the most novice of fantasy players knows how dominant Travis Kelce is. He has finished as the TE1 in PPR formats in six of the last seven seasons, with Mark Andrews taking his crown in 2021.

With his dominance in mind, just where should you draft Kelce this season? My advice would be to take him as early as possible, giving yourself a marked positional advantage. The only players that I would take over Kelce in a PPR format are Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Christian McCaffrey, and Austin Ekeler.

After that, it seems like a great time to take Kelce. His 316.3 PPR points were the 12th-highest in the league last season. With Kelce on your roster, there’s no reason to panic, as he’s a set-and-forget option each week.

What if I Can’t Get Kelce?

Don’t panic. While Kelce is certainly the best all-around option, there are a few other tight ends that we’re excited about this season, especially where you’re likely going to have an opportunity to draft them.
According to Fantasy Pros’ PPR ADP, T.J. Hockenson is currently going as the TE3, the 43rd overall player off the board.

This is right after Joe Mixon, Aaron Jones, Deebo Samuel, and Kenneth Walker III. Walker’s ADP will drop soon, given his recent injury news. Regardless, I’d much rather have Hockenson this season than any of these players, especially at this ADP. Hockenson has proven to be a staple of the Minnesota Vikings’ offense and will provide just what you’re looking for on your roster.

If you don’t want to go for a projected top-seven or eight tight end this year, there are a few sleepers that I would recommend. Loading up your team with receivers and running backs is certainly a valid strategy, but you do miss out on a lot of points potential by not taking an elite tight end.

Consider Schultz or Dulcich

One of those players is Dalton Schultz, currently going as the TE11 or the 112th player off the board. If you’ve punted on tight end throughout the draft, Schultz could be a great player as the TE1 for your roster. He’s in a new role with the Houston Texans, who should be markedly improved with C.J. Stroud at the helm.

The other tight end in a similar range that we recommend is Greg Dulcich of the Denver Broncos. He established a great rapport with Russell Wilson during his rookie campaign, which we believe will continue in 2023. Dulcich could have some high upside this year, so if you’ve waited this long for a TE1, you could be rewarded handsomely if he pays off.


Andrew Elmquist

Andrew Elmquist graduated from Winona State University with bachelor's degrees in Communication Studies and Spanish. Andrew is a budding analyst in the sports industry, and he enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with his beautiful wife, and playing both real-life and fantasy sports.

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