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2023 NFL Tight End Power Rankings: All 32 Starting TEs

T.J. Hockenson - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

The tight end position has continued to evolve in the modern game. Once known as blockers that would occasionally catch passes, today's TEs are often extremely athletic and do serious damage as key parts of offensive schemes. While a select few at the position are truly elite pass catchers, many tight ends still handle plenty of dirty work at the line of scrimmage.

This glaring discrepancy in tight-end play is dramatically demonstrated by fantasy football production, but even in "real life" football, having an elite player at this spot can be the difference between winning and losing.

While last season's stats will play a part in these power rankings, they won't be the only determining factor. Instead, I'll use last year's production combined with projected 2023 production to form the pecking order among the top 32 starting tight ends in the NFL. Let's dive into our TE Power Rankings for the upcoming season.

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The Top Dog

1.) Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

Putting any tight end in the same tier as Kelce would be a disservice. The 33-year-old has seven straight seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards and holds the single-season record for receiving yards with 1,416 in 2020.

In 2022, he caught a career-high 110 passes, so he's showing no signs of slowing down and he's already on the Mount Rushmore of all-time tight ends.



2.) Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

Despite playing in a run-first Ravens' offense, Andrews has been elite when Lamar Jackson has been healthy. His 1,361 receiving yards from 2021 rank third all-time among tight ends, trailing only Kelce (2020) and George Kittle (2018). Some might argue he's too high on this list, but with Baltimore set to open its passing game more than ever before with Jackson under center, he'll be universally viewed as the TE2 in the NFL after 2023.

3.) George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

Kittle is a YAC and touchdown machine and has arguably been the second-best tight end in the NFL since he broke out in 2018. The Iowa product is an elite blocker so the 49ers don't always feature him in the passing game, but he caught 11 touchdowns in 2022 and remains one of the elites at the position.

If the 29-year-old can stay healthy moving forward, he's on track to go down as one of the GOATs at the position.


Great TEs

4.) T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

Hockenson posted monster games on two occasions last year, posting an eight-catch, 179-yard, two-touchdown stat line and a 13-catch, 109-yard, two-touchdown performance with the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings respectively. He hasn't been ultra-consistent just yet, but his ceiling rivals the top three at the position. With a full offseason in Kirk Cousins' offense under his belt, he could tier up during the 2023 season.

5.) Darren Waller, New York Giants

Waller has been banged up over the last two seasons, so many have forgotten just how dominant he was in 2019 and 2020. The converted wide receiver caught 197 passes for 2,241 yards and 12 touchdowns in that two-year span and cemented himself as a top-five player at the position.

In 2023, he could drop mightily in the rankings if he has another lost season, but he may tier up once again as the No. 1 option in the New York Giants passing game.

6.) Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

Pitts became just the second tight end in NFL history to post 1,000 receiving yards as a rookie in 2021, but his production declined big-time in 2022 thanks to the shortcomings of Marcus Mariota and a season-ending knee injury Pitts suffered in Week 11. We can't just brush off his elite rookie season, though. Over the last four seasons, Pitts is one of only six players to post 1,000 yards as a rookie. The others? A.J. Brown, Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, Garrett Wilson, and Chris Olave. That's some pretty elite territory, especially for a tight end.


Well Above Average

7.) Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

Goedert has posted at least 700 yards receiving in each of his last two seasons, and although his production is capped while playing alongside stud wideouts A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, he's clearly a top-10 tight end.

He may never reach elite territory, but he's greater than a run-of-the-mill player.

8.) Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

Freiermuth has had an impressive start to his career, catching 123 passes for 1,229 yards and nine touchdowns in his first two seasons. Tight ends often take time to develop, but he has hit the ground running and will likely be a locked-in top-10 tight end for a decade.

9.) Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals

Ertz was once a top-three tight end and he holds the record for receptions in a single season (116) from the position. He's regressed at age-32, but he was still productive before suffering a season-ending knee injury 10 games into his tenth NFL season. The Stanford alum was on pace for 79 receptions, 690 yards, and just under seven touchdowns before his season ended. He's rumored to be a cut candidate this offseason, but he remains in my top 10 for now.

10.) Dalton Schultz, Houston Texans

Schultz will have to prove he is more than just a product of the Cowboys' offense when he plays in Houston this season, but given his production over the past two seasons, he barely cracks the top 10.


Veterans With Upside

11.) Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars

Engram had a spectacular rookie campaign with the New York Giants but never lived up to his first-round draft capital afterward in the Big Apple. Catching passes from Trevor Lawrence in 2022, he posted career-highs in receptions (73) and receiving yards (766).

In Week 14 against the Tennessee Titans, he caught 11 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns - propelling himself up the TE rankings.

12.) Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears

Kmet's 50-540-7 line in 2022 is far more impressive than it seems on the surface, as Chicago had the worst passing offense in the NFL. He led the team in all receiving statistics, so he could be in for a huge season if Justin Fields takes a step forward as a passer.

13.) David Njoku, Cleveland Browns

It took several years, but Njoku finally put together an above-average season for the Cleveland Browns, catching 58 passes for 628 yards and four touchdowns in 2022. If Deshaun Watson returns to 2020 form, the sky is the ceiling for the athletic freak from Miami.

14.) Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers

Everett has seen an increase in receptions and receiving yards every year since entering the league in 2017, flashing upside with the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, and Los Angeles Chargers. He posted 555 receiving yards and four touchdowns last season as one of Justin Herbert's top targets and has a chance for another big year in 2023.

15.) Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

Higbee is far from flashy, but he's been underrated as the Rams' starter since 2017. He posted a career-high 72 receptions last season, ranking fifth among all tight ends. He doesn't have elite big-play upside, but he's been a reliable target for Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford over his last four seasons.

16.) Noah Fant, Seattle Seahawks

It seems like there's a ceiling for Fant that he hasn't been able to reach yet, but he dealt with putrid QB play during his time with the Denver Broncos and is likely buried behind DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the Seahawks' target pecking order. However, he has at least 50 receptions in each of the last three seasons and has the ability to be one of the best vertical threats at the position in the NFL.

17.) Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints

Johnson had a sneaky good season last year catching passing primarily from Andy Dalton, hauling in 42 passes for 508 yards and seven touchdowns. With Derek Carr now in New Orleans, could his ceiling truly be unlocked? I think so.

18.) Hunter Henry, New England Patriots

Henry is consistently a 600-yard tight end, but that seems to be his ceiling, and he's failed to produce big numbers in New England, despite mediocre target competition. With Mike Gesicki joining the tight end room as a TE/WR hybrid, Henry's production could take a dip.


Young Guns With Promise

19.) Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans

Okonkwo flashed big-play ability as a rookie, posting 450 receiving yards on just 32 receptions (14.1 YPR), and will now be the bonafide starter for Tennessee with Austin Hooper out of the picture. With mediocre pass-catchers on the Titans' roster outside of Treylon Burks, Okonkwo should get plenty of chances to show just how good he is in 2023.

20.) Michael Mayer, Las Vegas Raiders

Mayer was the TE1 in the 2023 rookie class for much of the pre-draft process, but his average athletic profile proved to move him down draft boards. He was still an early-second round pick but went after Dalton Kincaid and Sam LaPorta.

In my opinion, NFL teams overthought this one. Mayer carried the Notre Dame offense in 2021 and 2022 and could hit the ground running as a high-level receiver for Jimmy Garoppolo right away.

21.) Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills

Kincaid has fascinating receiving skills and will likely split out wide on a ton of -- if not most -- of his snaps. The Utah product has a 234-yard receiving game on his college resume, so the upside is tantalizing.

22.) Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions

LaPorta's 1,786 yards and five touchdowns over four college seasons don't scream upside, but given the context of the lifeless Iowa offense, his college career was more than impressive.

He's set to join a high-power Lions offense and could be the next great Iowa tight end.

23.) Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos

Dulcich flashed as a rookie, catching 33 of his 55 targets for 411 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games. Hopefully, Sean Payton can fix the putrid Denver offense we saw last season, and Dulcich can show his ceiling in 2023.

24.) Luke Musgrave, Green Bay Packers

Musgrave totaled just 47 receptions for 633 yards in four years at Oregon State but proved to be a super-athlete at the 2023 NFL Combine, earning second-round draft capital. With Robert Tonyan Jr. gone, he's a virtual lock to be the starter for Green Bay right away.


Bottom-Tier TEs

25.) Tyler Conklin, New York Jets

Conklin has had his fair share of upside flashes, but he's primarily been a backup or timeshare tight end. Let's see if he can break out with Aaron Rodgers under center for the Jets in 2023.

26.) Jake Ferguson, Dallas Cowboys

Ferguson played well in the absence of Dalton Schultz last season, but let's see if he can hold off Luke Schoonmaker to be the lead tight end for Dallas long-term.

27.) Jelani Woods, Indianapolis Colts

Woods is another player who oozes upside thanks to his athleticism, but he didn't do enough as a rookie to get too excited yet.

28.) Irv Smith Jr., Cincinnati Bengals

In a Joe Burrow-led offense, Smith could and should post career highs all over the board, but we've seen what he is after four seasons in the league.

29.) Hayden Hurst, Carolina Panthers

Hurst enjoyed solid years with the Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals, but both teams had high-level QBs and great offenses. Led by a rookie Bryce Young, don't expect Hurst or the Panthers' offense to be prolific. He'll likely be back to irrelevance in 2023.

30.) Logan Thomas, Washington Commanders

The converted quarterback was awesome in 2020, catching 72 passes for 670 yards and six touchdowns for the Washington Football Team. However, he has just 57 receptions for 519 yards and four touchdowns in his last two seasons. The 31-year-old looks to be the starter once again in 2023, but his 2020 campaign was likely just an outlier season.

31.) Cade Otton, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Otton is largely an unknown player who played in a shallow passing game last season and it's tough to see Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask giving him a chance to flash upside in his sophomore campaign.

32.) Durham Smythe, Miami Dolphins

Smythe has 88 receptions in his five-year career as a backup tight end. Expect the Dolphins to use him primarily as a blocker with all the high-level pass-catchers on its roster.

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