2024 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tiered look at the tight end draft landscape

We’ve finally made it to the Shuffle Up series for the new fantasy football draft season. The dollar values you'll see below are unscientific in nature but reflect how I see the clusters of talent at the tight end position. Use these tiers however you like.

The other main positions (quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers) will be shuffled in the next couple of weeks.

Have some disagreements? Good, that’s why we have a game. I welcome your reasoned disagreement over at X/Twitter: @scott_pianowski.

It's likely I will treat tight end as the third priority among the flex-eligible positions; early wideouts are always a heavy priority for me, and I want at least one anchor running back to hang my hat on. And maybe the top of the tight end board isn't as exciting as it once was. Travis Kelce was a monster in the playoffs, but the volume was modest in-season. Trey McBride, Evan Engram and Kyle Pitts have yet to unlock their touchdown upside. Mark Andrews and George Kittle carry a fair amount of injury risk, and this is a position defined by collisions and extra injury downside.

If the market gives me even a modest discount on Pitts this year, he's likely to be a target of mine. And Jake Ferguson looks interesting in the next tier down, as his touchdown count did not mesh with his red-zone usage last year. A positive correction is likely on the way.

  • $23 Sam LaPorta

  • $21 Travis Kelce

  • $19 Trey McBride

  • $19 Mark Andrews

  • $18 George Kittle

  • $18 Kyle Pitts

  • $17 Dalton Kincaid

Over the final two months of the 2023 season, we wondered what was up with Kelce. He had just one touchdown in his final nine games, and was merely the TE10 over that period. Perhaps it was a matter of load management or a Chiefs rope-a-dope strategy, because Kelce was unleashed in the playoffs, rocking a monster 32-355-3 line en route to another championship. I suspect the Chiefs might consider a similar strategy for 2024, using Kelce often but judiciously during the regular season, then throwing caution to the wind in the playoffs. Kelce turns 35 in October, and while he's in the discussion for the best tight end ever, I am unlikely to pony up his Yahoo ADP of 25.4.

If long-distance touchdowns are your thing, Kittle is your tight end. Over the last three years he's scored 11 times from outside the red zone, six more than any other tight end. But those big plays aren't always sticky year over year, and Kittle has to make his points on modest volume — he's been at 94 targets or fewer in four straight seasons. Real life, Kittle is one of my favorite players. He won't be a destination pick for me as he enters his age-31 season.

We've had some Pitts discussions this offseason, so this will come as a review. He's still just a pup entering his age-24 season, and his fantasy frustration of recent years was mostly driven by spotty coaching and subpar play at quarterback. The fantasy market is still aggressively targeting Bijan Robinson and Drake London this summer — reasonable, with Kirk Cousins triggering the fresh offense — but I wonder why that optimism hasn't trickled down to Pitts. Hold onto the plausible upside here.

It took half a season for McBride to grab a starting job for good, but he was a fantasy star the rest of the way. If you cut up the tight end production for the final 11 weeks, McBride was top three in catches, targets and yards. Sure, we need touchdowns, too, and McBride had just three of those. But with Kyler Murray set to play a full season and the Cardinals offense having just one pass-catching option above McBride in the pecking order — rookie hotshot Marvin Harrison Jr. — McBride deservedly is slotted among the Top 3-5 tight ends on everyone's board. Maybe it won't be easy to profit at McBride's current 53.4 ADP, but he has a good chance to justify the investment.

  • $16 Evan Engram

  • $15 David Njoku

  • $14 Jake Ferguson

  • $13 Dallas Goedert

  • $11 Brock Bowers

  • $11 Dalton Schultz

  • $10 T.J. Hockenson

  • $10 Pat Freiermuth

Given that Ferguson led the position in red-zone targets, it was a little disappointing that he scored just five touchdowns. But Ferguson is probably the second-best option in the Dallas passing game — albeit a significant drop from overlord CeeDee Lamb — and some positive regression could be coming around the goal. He's a proactive pick for me.

Freiermuth had seven touchdowns as a rookie, but he's scored just four times in 28 games since. Much of the blame lies at the feet of the past quarterbacks, but how much of an upgrade are Russell Wilson and Justin Fields? And remember all the Arthur Smith/Kyle Pitts anxiety we dealt with in Atlanta? Now Smith is the play caller in Pittsburgh. If I do draft Freiermuth on any teams, I'll want to pair him with another tight end who offers a bit of upside.

  • $9 Cole Kmet

  • $9 Luke Musgrave

  • $9 Hunter Henry

  • $8 Cade Otton

  • $6 Juwan Johnson

  • $6 Chigoziem Okonkwo

  • $5 Tyler Conklin

  • $4 Tucker Kraft

  • $4 Isaiah Likely

  • $4 Noah Fant

Musgrave acquitted himself well in the first half of the year with a tidy 33-341-1 line over his first 10 games, decent production for a rookie. But a kidney injury held him down for the final two months, and fellow rookie Tucker Kraft was productive in Musgrave's absence. Crowding seems to be a theme in the Green Bay offense — in addition to these two talented tight ends, the Packers have exciting young receivers all over the roster — but these guys are also tied to a good setup, working with ascending QB Jordan Love and play-design maestro Matt LaFleur. When a situation is nebulous, it eliminates the fantasy floor, I get it. But it also presents potential for ADP profit.

The Mark Andrews injury allowed Likely to spread his wings down the stretch — Likely had 25 catches and six touchdowns in his final seven games, despite never seeing more than seven targets in any week. The Ravens are creative enough to use Andrews and Likely together in packages this fall, but there's also ample talent in the Baltimore receiver room, and the running game is going to gobble up a bunch of touchdowns, too (Derrick Henry might fall into an easy 15 touchdowns). Likely has the potential to smash his ADP but it's tied to one necessary condition — an injury to Andrews.

  • $3 Ben Sinnott

  • $2 Mike Gesicki

  • $2 Michael Mayer

  • $2 Taysom Hill

  • $2 Zach Ertz

  • $1 Ja'Tavion Sanders

  • $1 Dawson Knox

  • $1 Jelani Woods

  • $1 Gerald Everett

  • $1 Tyler Higbee

  • $1 Jonnu Smith