Will the tight end position improve in fantasy football next season? | Yahoo Fantasy Football Forecast
Yahoo Sports’ Matt Harmon and Dalton Del Don explain why the TE position should be more effective in fantasy football in 2023.
DALTON DEL DON: Greater, bigger picture, I'm not going to talk myself into tight end ever again. I repeatedly make that mistake. I mean, even right now on paper, I could form an argument to you, being like, did you see Hockenson's targets after getting traded to Minnesota? Mark Andrews is going to bounce back with a healthy Lamar Jackson. And now we're talking Kyle Pitts isn't even going top three, and he's entering year three.
I mean, Kittle with some quarterbacks there. Evan Engram was treated like a wide receiver, and he has Lawrence there. So I mean, we're already at six tight ends, and then I could list 10 other sleepers. A lot of interesting young guys, Jelani Woods, Trey McBride, and whatnot. And my guy Chig. But I'm not going to fall for it. You just need to draft a bunch of them in best ball and ignore them in your redrafts.
Because the position sucks, and it's just a hard-- it's a battle of attrition. It is. It's a real tough position, so just load up on your receivers. And, yeah, that's basically my takeaway is, every year, I fall for it. I'm like, this is the year it's going to be deep. And every year, it's not.
MATT HARMON: I don't think it's going to be deep. I'm with you that I don't think we're going to have-- I don't think we're going to have the debates in the offseason where, oh, well, what if this guy breaks out? What if that guy breaks out? Somebody like the Chig Okonkwo or the Jelani Woods, one of those guys I think-- we didn't get that last year, right?
We didn't get the super athletic late-round breakout, unless you want to count old Jauan Johnson at tight end 11 or Cole Kmet at tight end seven. But I'm not really going to count those. Pat Freiermuth at tight end eight. I mean, come on. But we're probably going to get one of those breakouts because we used to always get one. Think about Logan Thomas or Darren Waller.
Even Travis Kelce back in the day. Way, way back in the day, he was that late-round tight end athletic breakout. I think we get one of those guys, but pretending there's going to be like four or five every year, I'm done with that.
What I do disagree with you on, though, is that I think the upper middle class of the position will be better this year. I think TJ Hockenson can stabilize and get like 100-- he had 172 points last year. That's perfectly fine for the tight end four, normally. I think George Kittle, if he stays healthy, could definitely stabilize a little. Mark Andrews, same thing. And then guys like Evan Engram. Why can't Evan Engram have a repeat performance of his year? And that's perfectly fine for overall tight end six.
Guys like Dallas-- I think the thing that we overlook is how many injuries were-- how much injury was a part of the problem at tight end last year, and that's just not something that you can count on going forward. Dallas Goedert got hurt last year. Dalton Schultz, we bagged on him, but he got hurt last year as well. Think about Zach Ertz. People totally forget that Zach Ertz was an answer at tight end early on in the year before getting hurt.
Even Kyle Pitts. I know Kyle Pitts was frustrating last year, but he ended up getting hurt. Who's to say that Kyle Pitts couldn't have stabilized his season in the second half of the year, like Drake London did with better quarterback play? So I kind of disagree, I think, this whole narrative that we need to get rid of tight ends or we need to merge them with wide receivers or any of that stuff.
I'm definitely out on pretending that there's going to be like five or 10 breakout guys late in the draft or that tight end is deep. But I think the middle class, the upper middle class of the position, could easily come back this coming season.
DALTON DEL DON: That's a fair counter. Maybe I'm overly pessimistic following such a down year. I mean, I did bring up those five, six guys because, yeah, within all of their range of outcomes is a really good season. I mean, Pitts we keep waiting for. Yeah, I mean, you could lay the narrative down for five or six of them. So I hope--
MATT HARMON: Even David Njoku. Even David Njoku, 14 games.
DALTON DEL DON: Yeah, totally. And even Dallas Goedert really there too. So what if one of the Eagles receivers went down? I mean, he would suddenly be a monster. So, yeah, even Dawson Knox quietly got some targets. So, yeah, you could talk yourself into it. Here we go. Now you're trying to get me to again here.
But injuries happen at the position, it seems, abnormally high. And it's just tough to live up to, seemingly every year, of what we hope. But, yeah, maybe I'm being overly harsh. And if you squint, you certainly could talk yourself into the position. I agree as far as let's not separate it. I think the position absolutely should still be in fantasy terms.
But, yeah, it just perennially disappoints based on intrigue. Because it's like every year, I talk myself into it, being like, man, there's so many interesting, intriguing breakout candidates. And it just seemingly disappoints yearly.