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Welcome to my bi-weekly tight end rankings update. Each fortnight I’ll take you through the major movers and shakers in fantasy tight end-land as we head towards the NFL off-season. This week I’ll be talking about tight ends who have signed or been released so far in free agency, while my full rankings are at the bottom of the article and you can check out my other positional rankings at www.ffdfantasyfootball.com. If you have any questions, comment below plus I answer all questions on Instagram @thefantasyfirstdown and Twitter @FantasyFirstDwn.

 

  • Player: Dalton Schultz
  • Team: Houston Texans
  • My Ranking: TE13

Two weeks ago I extolled the virtues of Dalton Schultz as a vital component in CJ Stroud’s stunning rookie season. The Texans clearly agreed as they signed Schultz to a 3 year, $36 million contract. This is on the high side but given the available free agents, I think it was the right move to re-sign a solid tight end entering his prime. Schultz has moved one step up in my rankings but not because of this signing. Rather, it’s in response to this next guy…

 

  • Player: Darren Waller
  • Team: New York Giants
  • My Ranking: TE15

One of the more surprising stories of free agency so far has been the news that Darren Waller is contemplating retirement. At only 31-years-old, this is a surprise. Waller looked promising in the 2023 pre-season but he recently discussed not having the fire to keep competing plus his long list of recent injuries can’t have helped. He’s at best a late-round dart throw in redraft at this stage and somebody I’d be looking to sell in dynasty.

 

  • Player: Hunter Henry
  • Team: New England Patriots
  • My Ranking: TE16

This Patriots franchise is just a shadow of what it was during the Brady years, as they continue to give mediocre pass-catchers large contracts. This reached a climax in 2022 when they were paying the 2nd most money to wide receivers and the most money to tight ends across the whole league, only to finish 21st in passing yards. Things have settled down since the crazy Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne contracts, but over the next two seasons the Pats will still pay free agency bust Juju Smith-Schuster $20 million and washed receiver Devante Parker $13 million. I hoped that after the departure of Bill Belichick, things might change. Unfortunately, they’ve reverted to their old ways, signing Hunter Henry to a 3 year, $27 million contract.

While we don’t yet know the specifics, spending up on a mediocre tight end entering his age-30 season is utter stupidity when this roster is clearly years from challenging. Large tight end contracts rarely pay off. Having said that, this is still good for Henry’s fantasy owners. With no receivers to challenge his volume and a rookie in Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye at the helm, Henry should have a busy 2024. If Maye is the man, I will move Henry even higher, if it’s Daniels I’ll be concerned about his tendency to use his legs over check-downs. Watch this space.

 

  • Player: Jonnu Smith
  • Team: Miami Dolphins
  • My Ranking: TE27

Jonnu Smith being released by the Falcons wasn’t surprising, but the Dolphins quickly picking him up wasn’t what I expected. The Dolphins have been struggling away with the league’s weakest tight end corps for years and this doesn’t move that dial too far. While I think Smith is an upgrade over Durham Smythe, I doubt he’ll be a significant fantasy weapon. He’ll have the occasional positive week, as Smythe did, but I think this could, if anything, be a scary committee. I’m not touching either of this guys with a 10-foot pole, especially if a rookie joins the fray next month.

 

  • Player: Zach Ertz
  • Team: Washington Commanders
  • My Ranking: TE38

I’m not buying this move for fantasy at all. Ertz will turn 34 later this year and hasn’t shown the capacity to be a consistently fantasy-relevant player in over 5 years. While he showed sparks early in his Cardinals stint, they were few and far between. He’s been oft injured and struggled when on the field so for me, I think this is a depth signing to offer some cheap experience in what is the league’s poorest tight end room even with Ertz there.

 

  • Player: Logan Thomas
  • Team: Formerly Washington Commanders
  • My Ranking: TE33

Two weeks ago I warned that Logan Thomas was a possible cap casualty and that’s exactly what happened, with the Commanders doing what the Patriots should have done and letting go of their expensive, aging veteran for a cheaper model before they pick up a new quarterback. Thomas will be totally irrelevant to fantasy unless he manages to sign somewhere as a starter, and I think that’s unlikely. I also don’t think you should be picking up Zach Ertz, John Bates or Cole Turner in fantasy just yet.

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Sam LaPortaDET
Mark AndrewsBAL
Travis KelceKC
Trey McBrideARI
David NjokuCLE
George KittleSF
Evan EngramJAC
Kyle PittsATL
Dallas GoedertPHI
Dalton KincaidBUF
Jake FergusonDAL
Dalton SchultzHOU
Cole KmetCHI
T.J. HockensonMIN
Darren WallerNYG
Hunter HenryNE
Michael MayerLV
Brock BowersFA
Pat FreiermuthPIT
Luke MusgraveGB
Cade OttonTB
Juwan JohnsonNO
Noah FantSEA
Chigoziem OkonkwoTEN
Tucker KraftGB
Jonnu SmithMIA
Tyler HigbeeLAR
Gerald EverettCHI
Isaiah LikelyBAL
Ja’Tavion SandersFA
Taysom HillNO
Tyler ConklinNYJ
Logan ThomasFA
Greg DulcichDEN
Dawson KnoxBUF
Mike GesickiCIN
Jelani WoodsIND
Zach ErtzWAS
Hayden HurstLAC
Tommy TrembleCAR
Jeremy RuckertNYJ
Tanner HudsonCIN
Donald Parham Jr.LAC
Durham SmytheMIA
Colby ParkinsonLAR
Davis AllenLAR
Brevin JordanHOU
Noah GrayKC
Will DisslyLAC
Kylen GransonIND
Will MalloryIND
Austin HooperNE
Robert TonyanCHI
Daniel BellingerNYG
Adam TrautmanCLE
Elijah HigginsARI
Johnny MundtMIN
Connor HeywardPIT
Teagan QuitorianoHOU
Foster MoreauNO
Cole TurnerWAS
Luke SchoonmakerDAL
Harrison BryantLV
Lucas KrullDEN
Stone SmarttLAC
Pharaoh BrownSEA
Charlie WoernerATL
Irv Smith Jr.KC
Drew SampleCIN
Darnell WashingtonPIT
Payne DurhamTB
John BatesWAS
Josh OliverMIN
Josh WhyleTEN
Jordan AkinsCLE
Grant CalcaterraPHI
Brock WrightDET
Brenton StrangeJAC
Geoff SwaimARI
Peyton HendershotDAL
Hunter LongLAR
Julian HillMIA
James MitchellDET
Mo Alie-CoxIND
Cameron LatuSF

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Drop your names in the comments below!

Look for my articles right here each week, and be sure to follow me on Twitter/X @fantasyfirstdwn. Also, tune into our Tuesday/Thursday @RazzballNFL podcast on YouTube at 6 pm PST/9 PM EST as we discuss all things fantasy football!





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