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Early Best Ball Tight End Fantasy Football Sleepers (2024)

Cade Otton - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Top tight ends such as Sam LaPorta and Travis Kelce are bound to put up quality fantasy football numbers weekly, but most tight ends are unpredictable. The top tier of tight ends are reliable for fantasy football purposes, but most tight ends are boom-or-bust type of players.

Even though it is hard to hit on a tight end in fantasy football, some diamonds in the rough are perfect for use in best ball leagues. They may not be the flashy names you constantly hear about on Sunday football broadcasts, but these players will get you much-needed fantasy points.

These sleeper tight ends can be drafted late or picked up off waivers, depending on how the draft goes. There are lots of tight ends that put up double-digit fantasy points one week and put up less than five points the following week. Due to the inconsistencies in tight end play, it might be necessary to draft multiple less stable tight ends. Here are a few tight ends in that space.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!


Michael Mayer, Las Vegas Raiders

Mayer saw action in 14 games with the Las Vegas Raiders, tallying 27 catches for 304 yards and two touchdowns. Target share was an issue for Mayer in 2023, as he gained more than two targets in just four games. His season was underwhelming, but rookie tight ends usually need time to become fantasy relevant.

Mayer’s rookie outing saw hindrance due to injury and quarterback play. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was benched in 2023, and will more than likely move off the Raiders’ roster in 2024. Garoppolo’s suspension for the first two games of the 2024 season is due to violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, making a cut even more likely.

In 2023, Garoppolo played in seven games, completing 110-of-169 passes for 1,205 yards. He also put up seven touchdowns. For a large chunk of 2023, the quarterback throwing Mayer the ball was fourth-round rookie Aidan O'Connell. 38-year-old Brian Hoyer started at QB for one game. Las Vegas should fix its quarterback issues for Mayer to take the next step. The Raiders did recently sign quarterback Gardner Minshew to compete for the starting role.

A toe injury caused Mayer to miss the season's last three games. Although his season was cut short, he did manage to play 607 snaps on offense, ranking fourth in this category among rookie tight ends. He would have been more productive if not injured.

With an upgraded quarterback, Mayer could become a second-year breakout tight end capable of putting up numerous double-digit fantasy weeks for best ball. The flashes of greatness in 2023 should translate to some big games for 2024.


Cade Otton, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay tight end ran the second-most routes by a tight end in the 2023 season while seeing a 95.9% snap share, first at the position in 2023. How the Buccaneers were utilizing this player looks likely to bleed over into the 2024 season.

Otton is in a comfortable position to be the TE1 for Tampa Bay again in 2024. This young talent was one of the many options in the passing game, including running back Rachaad White and wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Baker Mayfield will be back under center again in 2024, continuing his rapport with the pass-catchers on the roster.

Although Otton’s regular season was mediocre (average of 6.9 PPR points per game), he exploded during the postseason. The Wild Card game saw Otton catch eight passes on 11 targets for 89 yards. In the Divisional Round loss to the Detroit Lions, Otton snagged five receptions on eight targets, gaining 65 yards and a touchdown.

For best ball, Otton makes for a favorable pick, being a player that does not put up zero-point weeks. If looking for a steady tight end, Otton fills that role perfectly.


Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans

The season was a disappointment for those who rostered Okonkwo, as the tight end only secured one touchdown. Considered a sleeper by many going into the 2023 season, Okonkwo is a value pick in 2024 now that the hype has died down.

The Titans offense saw DeAndre Hopkins acquire most of the team’s targets at 137. Although Okonkwo didn’t live up to the hype, he did see an increase in targets, from 46 in 2022 to 77 in 2023. He was second on the team in receiving yards at 528, while Hopkins gained top honors with 1,057 yards.

Wide receiver Treylon Burks saw 30 targets but missed six games due to injury. In Burks’ rookie year in 2022, he also missed time due to injury. Burks also dealt with the injury bug in college, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him miss time again in 2024. Okonkwo should take advantage of this situation if Burks has to sit.

2023 was a down year for Tennessee’s offense, ultimately ending Mike Vrabel’s era with the team. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill played in six contests for the Titans during the 2023 season, eventually being benched for rookie Will Levis.

Cincinnati Bengals former offensive coordinator Brian Callahan joined the Titans as the new head coach. The Titans attempted 494 passes in 2023 compared to the 615 passing attempts by the Bengals. Look for Callahan to get Levis more involved in the passing game, helping to improve fantasy numbers for all Titans pass-catchers.


Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens

Likely’s fantasy football success depends heavily on the health of the Baltimore Ravens’ other tight end, Mark Andrews. Last season, Andrews missed time starting in mid-November due to a left ankle injury. Likely filled in nicely for Andrews during his absence. Over this time frame, Likely scored five touchdowns. The young tight end was tied with Travis Kelce, Dalton Schultz, Jake Ferguson, and T.J. Hockenson when it came to touchdowns by tight ends in 2023.

He also caught 30 of the 40 passes tossed in his direction. The 23-year-old tight end additionally tallied 10.3 yards per target in that time span. Likely proved he could make key plays with Andrews sidelined.

The way Baltimore decides to use its tight ends in 2024 is a main factor in Likely’s success. The Ravens love a run-heavy offense, especially with the rushing talent of quarterback Lamar Jackson. Zay Flowers was Baltimore’s leader in receiving yards at 858. Andrews had 544 yards in the 10 games he played while Likely saw 411 receiving yards, with the majority of yards coming in Andrews’ absence.

The tight ends on the team do get as involved in the passing game as the wide receivers, and it will be interesting to see the direction the Ravens go with offensive coordinator Todd Monken in the fold. He has a track record of using multiple tight ends in his offense.

With Andrews back in the mix, Likely won’t see the same type of numbers in 2024. If Andrews does miss time again, Likely on your best ball roster would be beneficial. If you draft Andrews, taking Likely late means you have a proven backup who can get fantasy points if Andrews misses time. It is worth taking a flyer on Likely.



George Kittle and Trey McBride both had four games of more than 20 PPR fantasy points last season. Kittle finished the season as TE5 while McBride was TE7. Logan Thomas was TE16, but managed to put up one week over 20 fantasy points. Darren Waller was TE22, yet he had a week over 20 points as well.

Tight ends have inconsistent play, but they are valuable players in best ball leagues. A majority of tight ends will have disappointing fantasy numbers for a good portion of the season. Finding sleepers at that position means taking shots on the backups and slow bloomers of the league.

The tight end position is fickle, but best ball works well in this case. Make sure to check your draft settings and scorings before drafting your best ball team. See how many tight ends you are allowed to roster as well as how many players in total you can have on your team. This will help you determine how you want to address the tight end position.

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