Chigoziem Okonkwo was already one of the biggest risers in Dynasty Fantasy Football in the past calendar year. That rise continued after his Tennessee Titans didn't select their first pass catcher until Round 5 of the 2023 NFL Draft. He's now just outside my top 12 tight ends in the rankings below, and I'm not sure he's done rising yet.
The case for Okonkwo is both in his skillset and his opportunity. He's a 240-pound man who can run a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. He's also one of seven tight ends since 2000 to earn 40 targets in their first season and average better than nine yards per target. The other six are Antonio Gates, Rob Gronkowski, Hunter Henry, Mark Andrews, Chris Herndon, and Kyle Pitts. Not bad company.
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The target competition in Tennessee is nearly non-existent. The Titans top three receivers are Treylon Burks, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, and Kyle Philips. No one on their current roster has ever had a season with more than 600 receiving yards. Only Chris Moore has ever had a 500-yard season. Generally speaking, if we get a breakout tight end in the top five, it's because they finish the season first or second on their team in targets. That's not only possible for Okonkwo, it may be the expectation.
So why isn't he ranked higher? He plays in one of the most run-heavy offenses in the league, he has serious questions at quarterback both this year and long term, and the 450 yards he posted in his rookie season were more than he ever had in a season at Maryland. In other words, there is an enormous gap between Okonkwo's floor and his ceiling.
If Okonkwo gets off to a hot start to the 2023 season functioning as the No. 2 in the Titans passing game, he will continue to rise in these rankings, and fast. He could crack the top eight by October and top five is not out of the question by the end of 2023. On the flip side, if he's still playing 45% of the offensive snaps the first month of the season, he could reverse course. There have been plenty of young tight ends that have jumped into the consensus top 20 because of their youth and upside only to flame out the very next year.
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Here are my updated Dynasty tight end rankings: