Dynasty Fantasy Football Tight End Tiers, 2024

Throughout May, we will be layering in some additional context to go along with the player ranking tables.

After laying the groundwork this offseason with full dynasty player rankings, we are going to break that linear list down a bit into tiers with some added flavor.

You can also check out my full dynasty rookie rankings for those with rookie-only drafts on the horizon, and I have already published Dynasty tiers for quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers.

Dynasty Fantasy Football Tiers:

Some really quick methodology here if you are new to how I do fantasy tiers.

I make my dynasty tiers based on a blend of age, fantasy performance, career arc, team situation, and fantasy archetype.

There is some overlap to actual player rankings, but these tiers do not specifically follow the rankings, instead following those archetypes.

The purpose of tiers is not to be a carbon copy of player rankings.

The purpose is to spot a potential arbitrage situation and shop in different buckets based on how you are constructing your team in startups as well as looking for trade opportunities.

*Player Age = Age on 9/1/2024

Tier 1 Tight Ends, Dynasty Fantasy Football:

  • Sam LaPorta (Age: 23.6)
  • Kyle Pitts (23.9)
  • Trey McBride (24.8)
  • Dalton Kincaid (24.9)
  • Brock Bowers (21.7)

The tight end position has been desperate for an injection of young talent, and we got that last season.

During the NFL regular season a year ago, rookie tight ends combine to catch 341 passes on 469 targets. Those are the highest totals ever at the position for an incoming rookie class.

We had two rookies, Sam LaPorta (86) and Dalton Kincaid (73), elevate those totals nearly entirely themselves.

It was the first time we had two rookie tight ends go over the 70-reception mark in the same season.

LaPorta turned in one the best seasons for a rookie tight end in NFL history.

LaPorta caught 86 passes, the most ever by a rookie tight end.

His 889 yards were fourth all-time for a first-year tight end while his 10 touchdowns as a rookie were tied for second all-time.

From a 2023 season context, LaPorta was fourth among all tight ends in receptions, fifth in yards, and first in touchdowns.

LaPorta ran a route on 79.3% of the Detroit dropbacks, which was fourth among all tight ends in the league.

His 23.8% target rate per route run as a rookie was third in the league. No rookie tight end in the 2000s had a higher rate that ran as many first-year routes as LaPorta did.

We are now entering the fourth season for Kyle Pitts and are still waiting for him to completely tap into the upside that had him selected at No. 4 overall in the 2021 draft.

After posting 1,026 yards as a rookie, Pitts has totaled 1,023 receiving yards across 27 games over the past two seasons.

Before even making any excuses for Pitts based on playing 2023 after surgery we did not know the extent of or his attachment to Arthur Smith, Desmond Ridder, and this anemic offense overall, Pitts still comes with an upside skill set.

Let’s take a step back for a moment.

Pitts still will not even turn 24 years old until October of this upcoming season.

Travis Kelce caught his first pass in the NFL one month before turning 25 years old.

Kelce had his first 1,00-yard season at age 27. Pitts did that at age 21.

Pitts is only three months older than LaPorta.

He may never match the run that Kelce has gone afterward, but we have a lot of meat on the bone here for the career of Pitts, who I still would suggest has the largest individual upside as a player here at the position.

Since entering the league, 16.2% of the targets Pitts has had come his way have been inaccurate via the quarterback.

The only tight end with a higher rate over that period is Darren Waller (17.1%).

We still need to see Zac Robinson get Pitts access to more full-field targets as opposed to living as a vertical target alone, but the addition of Kirk Cousins paired with the removal of the offense that Atlanta ran under Smith gives Pitts arguably the best outlook of his career entering an offseason.

After a disappointing rookie season, Trey McBride once again started slowly in 2023, buried on the depth chart behind veteran Zach Ertz.

McBride played fewer snaps than Ertz in each of the opening five games of the season, catching only eight passes over that span and running 48 pass routes while Ertz had 22 receptions and had run 140 routes.

McBride then trickled up in playing time in Week 6 before Ertz suffered a season-ending knee injury that unlocked the full runway for McBride to capitalize and showcase the ability and production that got him selected in the second round the year prior.

Over the final 11 games of the season, McBride was second among all tight ends in receptions (69), and third in receiving yards (684) with three touchdowns.

He led the position in team target share (25.9%) over that period while ranking second in target rate per route run (27.2%).

When Kyler Murray returned in Week 10, McBride led the team with 538 yards receiving while the next closest player on the team had only 278 yards.

Buffalo used a first-round pick on Dalton Kincaid last spring, who caught 73-of-91 targets for 673 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie.

The Bills did not find a great role for him until the close of the season, using him solely near the line of scrimmage for the crux of his rookie season.

Through week 16, Kincaid averaged only 4.6 air yards per target with three total targets on throws 20 or more yards downfield. That was the same amount as Dawson Knox.

Over the final four games of the season, Kincaid averaged 12.5 air yards per target with four downfield targets, one more than he had through 16 weeks.

Kincaid had games of 87, 84, 59, and 45 yards receiving over that span.

Through 16 weeks, he had cleared 51 yards in just three games.

Given the losses that Buffalo has had at wide receiver this offseason, Kincaid should be tasked with a larger role in the passing game entering his second season.

I am including Brock Bowers here in this opening tier.

Even if you are down on his landing spot in the NFL, he is going to retain year-over-year value for fantasy to open his career based on his age and production entering the NFL.

As the only two-time John Mackey Award winner since the title was awarded in 2000, Bowers led this draft class in career receptions (4.4) and receiving yards (63.5) per game while catching a class-high 26 touchdown passes over three seasons at Georgia.

For good measure, Bowers also rushed 19 times for 193 yards and another five touchdowns.

He is also the second-youngest tight end that was invited to the combine. Bowers will not turn 22 years old until December of his rookie season.

From an age-adjusted production stance, only Pitts has a higher career production score than Bowers has in my prospect model for all tight ends going back to 2000.

Tier 2 Tight Ends, Dynasty Fantasy Football:

  • Travis Kelce (Age: 34.9)

Travis Kelce gets his own tier based on being at the tail-end of his career but still possessing front-end upside at the position for fantasy.

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