Tight End is terrible in redraft, I get it. But imagine it without Travis Kelce. That's what Dynasty managers have to do as they look to the future. And not just Kelce. Darren Waller is 30. George Kittle is 29 and possibly already showing signs of decline. We need a few guys to step up and fast or I might start listening to suggestions that we retire the position in Fantasy Football when Kelce retires.
With that in mind, here are four tight ends I'll be watching close in Week 4, for a variety of reasons. Mostly because the future of this position is even more frightening without them.
LaPorta has been a glimmer of hope, becoming the first rookie tight end ever to catch at least five passes in each of his first three games. He's No. 2 on the Lions in target share at 22.7% and third place isn't particularly close. LaPorta looks like a set-it-and-forget-it tight end after only three games in the NFL.
The results don't matter as much this week as the role. Another week of 70%-plus snap share and 20%-plus target share is all I need to see. LaPorta moved up to TE8 in my most recent Dynasty rankings update and TE5 is well within range in the next month. Maybe sooner.
Dalton Kincaid is supposed to be the other rookie tight end we're talking about, but there hasn't been much to watch with him early on. I haven't changed my opinion on Kincaid, but LaPorta did pass him. Kincaid is pretty comfortable as TE2 in Dynasty from this rookie class, but Musgrave has taken that position in redraft. Now we get to see if Musgrave can hold on to it with Christian Watson back.
Musgrave has a great matchup on Thursday against a Lions defense that gives up a lot to tight ends. If he delivers, he has a chance to crack the top 10 in the rankings in both redraft and Dynasty next week.
Pitts was supposed to be the guy who filled Kelce's shoes. He was my No. 1 tight end in Dynasty for more than the first year of his career. He's still in my top five but it is getting harder and harder to justify. At some point, his ability has to turn into Fantasy production and that may not happen as long as Arthur Smith is there. If you're holding Pitts in Dynasty you should probably be cheering against the Falcons this year.
That's one reason to watch Week 4, but I also want to see what Pitts looks like moving. He hasn't quite looked like himself running this season. Still faster than most tight ends, but he looks sore or stiff or something. I don't want to completely write him off for 2023 if he's still working through something.
Ferguson is easily the lowest-ranked in this group and his upside can't touch the first three guys, but his role makes him a borderline starter anyway. This week he faces a Patriots defense that is almost always great against tight ends. I'm sitting him because of the matchup. But if he sees another seven targets in this game I may start thinking that the role, if not the player, is matchup-proof. I don't remember sitting Dalton Schultz because of matchups last year.
I do think that despite the fact he's a second-year tight end, Ferguson's future value is more about the next few months than the next few years. He's not the type of tight end I would want to hold over an offseason unless I'm planning on starting him in the Fantasy playoffs. He could take a step toward changing that perception with a good game against the Patriots.
For more Dynasty content, you can head over to SportsLine to find my complete Dynasty Trade Chart with values for both Superflex and one-QB leagues. These will be updated once a week on Wednesday nights throughout the season and are based on 12-team PPR leagues where you start two running backs, three receivers, and a tight end. The values assigned to the players factor in a combination of current year projection, age, and my perception of the player's upside and risk. There is also a factor for replacement cost at a given position. You can find the Dynasty Trade Charts here.