In this series, we’re going to be looking at sophomore players position by position and looking at what they’ve done in their rookie season, plus their outlook for this upcoming year and the future. For this article, we’ll be looking at the sophomore tight ends and comparing where I have them ranked now versus where they were ranked for me last preseason. It’s notable that I left out Isaiah Likely and Daniel Bellinger. They just missed the cut here, but I see both as TE handcuffs to elite and once-elite talents. Because of that, I don’t value them very highly due to the small chance they will get a relevant role soon. Make sure also to check out the other positional breakdown articles in this series!
Dulcich missed the first five weeks of the season, but came back and immediately made an impact, scoring in his first NFL game. For a rookie, he had a very impressive season with over 400 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns with nearly a 20% target rate when he was on the field. He wasn’t always on the field, but still ran 84.1% of the routes during the games that he played.
Wilson has another year to acclimate to this offense and plenty of mouths to feed if he can just get the ball into the hands of either Jeudy, Sutton, or Dulcich. Dulcich proved to be a top-end receiver at the tight-end position in his rookie year and I only expect that to go up. As a young and productive player, that’s already enough to get him into the top 12 rankings of the position. And still a great buy at his current acquisition price.
2021 Rookie Rank: TE2
2022 Class/Overall Rank: TE1/TE11
KTC (Market) Class/Overall Rank: TE1/TE12
Chigoziem is another young tight end that flashed as a rookie. There will be arguments all offseason on who is the sophomore TE1 between Okonkwo and Dulcich. But both are great investments before one or both increase their values in 2023. While just these flashes from both Dulcich and Okonkwo is great and enough to make them top 12 dynasty tight ends, they still need to build upon their rookie performances.
Similarly to Dulcich, Okonkwo has a murky quarterback situation as Ryan Tannehill showed serious signs of regression and there isn’t much to inspire confidence behind him in Levis and Willis. But unlike Dulcich, there is not a lot of target competition in Tennessee other than Treylon Burks, who is just as unproven at this point. I’m excited for both of these two and willing to buy into both of them before they work their way into the top 6 dynasty tight end discussion.
2021 Rookie Rank: N/A
2022 Class/Overall Rank: TE2/TE12
KTC (Market) Class/Overall Rank: TE2/TE13
McBride took some time to get on the field and even then he wasn’t overly involved in the offense. But after the Bye Week and also following Zach Ertz’s injury, McBride really stepped up. He received 28 targets, 20 receptions, 219 yards, and a touchdown over the final 5 weeks of the regular season with Ertz out of the offense. Ertz should be back at the beginning of the 2023 season, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see McBride truly start to take over this offense without needing an Ertz injury.
With a bit more development and opportunity, McBride has the potential to catch right back up to Okonkwo and Dulcich in dynasty rankings. He seems to be the forgotten-about tight end in this group even though he was a lot of analysts’ TE1 most of the offseason. I expect a bounce back and am willing to take a shot at a discounted price this offseason.
2021 Rookie Rank: TE1
2022 Class/Overall Rank: TE3/TE15
KTC (Market) Class/Overall Rank: TE3/TE18
Jelani Woods wasn’t overly involved in the offense as part of a crowded tight end room that also includes Mo Alie-Cox and Kylen Granson. But when he was on the field, he made an impact. He’s clearly the most physically gifted tight end in the group and is still the youngest with untapped potential. Mo Alie-Cox has proven to be a body at the position, but Granson still has some untapped potential as well as he heads into his third season.
Now, with a mobile quarterback leading the way, it’s going to be interesting to see how the target distribution shakes out. Not to mention the talented wide receiver room that includes bonafide WR1 Michael Pittman, and budding receivers in Josh Downs and Alec Pierce. I’m concerned about the opportunity here, but Woods has the potential to overcome that and be a focal point in this offense. We have a roadmap to look at in a Shane Steichen offense with two elite receivers and a very fantasy-viable tight end, see AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert respectively.
2021 Rookie Rank: TE3
2022 Class/Overall Rank: TE4/TE27
KTC (Market) Class/Overall Rank: TE4/TE22
Cade Otton quietly had an impressive rookie season for a tight end. Granted, a lot of that was on the back of the pass-happy offense in Tampa Bay that won’t be sustainable now that Tom Brady is no longer the signal caller. With either Kyle Trask or Baker Mayfield as the quarterback and the target competition between Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, sustained success is definitely in question. But the flashes he showed and earning 65 targets is still an impressive feat that should be seriously considered. The former fourth-round tight end has an intriguing ceiling with minimal competition for playing time and he’s dirt cheap as a dynasty asset.
2021 Rookie Rank: TE4
2022 Class/Overall Rank: TE5/TE30
KTC (Market) Class/Overall Rank: TE7/TE32