Fantasy Football: 25 TE Statistics from the 2023 Season

2024 Ultimate Draft Kit
Unlock the 2024 Ultimate Draft Kit!
Get the 2024 UDK

Concluding our annual 25 Statistics series, we now turn our focus to the most volatile yet increasingly vital position to crack in fantasy football. Once considered more of an afterthought, the tight end position has quickly evolved into a critical element in fantasy lineups, challenging preconceived notions and reshaping our understanding of their dynamic role in offenses across the league. We have recently observed the final four teams advancing to the conference championship games, each featuring standout tight ends such as Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, George Kittle, and Sam LaPorta. The tight end position has elevated its importance for teams league-wide, experiencing a parallel evolution in fantasy football. Presented below are 25 statistics that illuminate the intricacies of this captivating position, underscoring its significance and highlighting standout players and performances from the 2023 season.

Note: All statistics used are half-PPR scoring per the Ballers’ Consistency Charts found at JointheFoot.com.

1. Rookie sensation Sam LaPorta had the most total fantasy points on the season by a tight end. He additionally had the highest season average with 11.6 fantasy points per game. This was the first season since 2015 that the leader in fantasy points by a tight end was a player other than Mark Andrews or Travis Kelce.

Below is a table of the five best fantasy football seasons by a rookie tight end since the year 2000:

Season Player Team GP Total Points Points/Game
2023 Sam LaPorta DET 17 196.3 11.55
2021 Kyle Pitts ATL 17 142.6 8.39
2017 Evan Engram NYG 15 141.6 9.44
2002 Jeremy Shockey NYG 15 138.4 9.23
2010 Rob Gronkowski NE 16 133.6 8.35

2. In the final week of the NFL regular season, LaPorta broke the record for most receptions by a rookie tight end, passing Keith Jackson’s mark (81), which was set in 1988. LaPorta finished his first professional season with 86 receptions for 889 yards. He additionally led the position in touchdowns, scoring 10 on the season. The next highest mark was six touchdowns, accomplished by Cole Kmet, David Njoku, George Kittle, Hunter Henry, and Mark Andrews.

3. LaPorta (184.9) and Dalton Kincaid (101.9) stand out as the only rookie tight ends to surpass 100 fantasy points this season. Joining a select group, the only other rookies achieving this milestone since 2000 were Kyle Pitts (140.8) and Pat Freiermuth (113.4) in 2021, as well as the iconic duo of Rob Gronkowski (133.6) and Aaron Hernandez (119.5) back in 2010.

4. Despite having a down year, Travis Kelce finished second in season average for fantasy points per game, averaging 11.5. His streak of seven straight seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards also came to an end. He needed only 16 more yards to clinch it but rested in the final week of the season for the team’s playoff push. Feel free to thank me in the comments for not including a Taylor Swift pun in here.

2024 Ultimate Draft Kit
Unlock the 2024 Ultimate Draft Kit!
Get the 2024 UDK

5. For Mr. Kelce, his fantasy season unfolded as a tale of two halves. In the initial seven games, the superstar tight end embodied his vintage self, maintaining an average of 15.61 fantasy points per game. Regrettably, the narrative shifted in the final seven games of the season, where Kelce appeared as a shadow of his usual form, averaging only 8.64 fantasy points per game.

6. Kelce had the most fantasy points by a tight end in a week this season with 29.9 fantasy points in Week 7.

Player Team Week Fantasy Points
Travis Kelce KC Week 7 29.9
Evan Engram JAX Week 14 27.0
George Kittle SF Week 5 26.2
Sam LaPorta DET Week 15 26.1
TJ Hockenson MIN Week 10 24.9
Sam LaPorta DET Week 13 24.5
Cole Kmet CHI Week 4 24.1
David Njoku CLE Week 14 24.1
Mark Andrews BAL Week 4 22.5
TJ Hockenson MIN Week 2 22.1

7. Eleven different tight ends finished as TE1 on the week this season: Cole Kmet, Dalton Schultz, Evan Engram, George Kittle (3), Hunter Henry, Juwan Johnson, Sam LaPorta (3), Taysom Hill, TJ Hockenson (2), Travis Kelce (2), and Tyler Higbee.

8. Evan Engram led the position in total receptions, with 114 on the season. He was only two receptions away from breaking the single-season record set by Zach Ertz in 2018. Engram was the only tight end to reach the coveted 100 reception mark. The only players who had more receptions than him this season are CeeDee Lamb (135), Tyreek Hill (119), and Amon-Ra St. Brown (119). Engram also had the most targets by a tight end this season, with 143. This ranked him as the twelfth most targeted player in the league at any position. 

9. David Njoku, Evan Engram, and TJ Hockenson each accumulated 15 targets in a single game this season, representing the highest total for a tight end throughout the season.

10. We know that tight ends who excel at picking up yards after the catch are crucial for fantasy football. The only tight ends who averaged above 5.6 yards after the catch this season were David Njoku, George Kittle, and Jonnu Smith (minimum 50 targets).

11. David Njoku had the most yards after the catch at the tight end position this season, with 599. The only players in the league who totaled more are CeeDee Lamb (680), Amon-Ra St. Brown (668), Rashee Rice (654), Tyreek Hill (652), Breece Hall (649), Puka Nacua (640), and Rachaad White (611).

2024 Ultimate Draft Kit
Unlock the 2024 Ultimate Draft Kit!
Get the 2024 UDK

12. Njoku finished as a TE1 (top 12 at the position) in nine of the last 10 games to conclude the fantasy season. His worst fantasy finish over the last four games of the year was TE3. He was a key contributor to several championship-winning fantasy teams this year.

13. Despite having an incredible season, Njoku led all tight ends in drops this season, with 11. He was the only player at the position to reach double digits in this category. The significance of drops as a statistic is overrated and tends to fluctuate from season to season.

14. George Kittle had the most receiving yards by a tight end this season, with 1,020. He was the only tight end to reach 1,000 receiving yards on the year. He also led the position in plays resulting in 20+ yards (18), 30+ yards (8), 40+ yards (3), 50+ yards (2), and had the biggest play by a tight end this season, resulting in 66 yards.

2024 Ultimate Draft Kit
Unlock the 2024 Ultimate Draft Kit!
Get the 2024 UDK

15. Kittle led all tight ends in yards per route run, averaging 2.22. 

TE Yards Per Route Run Leaders (2023):

16. Shockingly, Kyle Pitts led all tight ends in air yards this season, with 1,029 yards. He also had the highest aDOT of relevant tight ends, averaging 11.37. Despite these statistics, his most yards gained on a play this season was only 39 yards. Conversely, his teammate Jonnu Smith had two plays that resulted in 50+ yards. Thank you, Arthur Smith.

17. Jake Ferguson led the position in red zone targets for the season, totaling 23. Despite the abundance of opportunities, he only secured five touchdowns. Adam Trautman surprisingly ranked eighth among tight ends in red zone targets this season, accumulating 13. However, the outcome was less unexpected, as he converted only three of these targets into touchdowns.

Player Team RZ Targets TDs
Jake Ferguson DAL 23 5
Travis Kelce KC 19 5
David Njoku CLE 17 6
Sam LaPorta DET 15 10
Cole Kmet CHI 15 6
Mark Andrews BAL 14 6
Dalton Schultz HOU 13 5
Adam Trautman DEN 13 3
George Kittle SF 12 6
Trey McBride ARI 11 3

18. Only two tight ends managed to contribute 40% or more of their team’s total receiving touchdowns this season. Mark Andrews led this category with an impressive 46.2%, even though he played in only 10 games during the season. The second player to achieve this feat was Hunter Henry, who accounted for 42.9% of New England’s total receiving touchdowns. Despite leading in touchdowns for the position, Sam LaPorta trailed behind both players in this category, contributing 33.3% of Detroit’s total receiving touchdowns. This statistic vividly illustrates the potency of the team’s offense in the 2023 season.

19. Taysom Hill led all tight ends (if you want to consider him one) in rushing yards this season, accumulating 401 yards, which ranks fifth all-time in NFL history at the position. Hill also led in this category last season with the second-most in league history, boasting 575 rushing yards. The next highest rusher this season was Gerald Everett, who recorded only 10 rushing yards. Hill also set career highs in receptions (33) and receiving yards (291) this season.

20. The Atlanta Falcons prioritized targeting the tight end position the most in the league this season, accounting for 34% of their throws. The Arizona Cardinals trailed closely behind at 33%. This shift was largely influenced by the breakout performance of sophomore tight end Trey McBride. Overcoming a sluggish start, McBride surged with four top-five finishes from Week 8 until the conclusion of the fantasy regular season. Notably, he maintained an average of 9.8 targets per game from Week 10 onward, surpassing Sam LaPorta‘s 6.8 targets per game during this timeframe.

2024 Ultimate Draft Kit
Unlock the 2024 Ultimate Draft Kit!
Get the 2024 UDK

21. Durham Smythe boasted the league’s highest catch rate among tight ends this season, reaching an impressive 81.4%. Despite starting in nearly every game for the Miami Dolphins, Smythe failed to secure a single top-12 finish at the position. Furthermore, he concluded the season as the TE38 in average fantasy points per game, with a meager average of 3.4 points. It is worth noting that the Dolphins unsurprisingly targeted the tight end position with the lowest frequency in the league, accounting for only 9% of their throws.

22. Jimmy Graham(pa) scored a touchdown in every game in which he had a reception this season. He finished the season with four touchdowns and caught a touchdown on 67% of his total receptions. Yes, this is one more touchdown than Kyle Pitts had this season. Again, thank you, and good riddance, Arthur Smith.

23. TJ Hockenson finished inside the top 10 at the position in eight of the first 12 games of the season for the Minnesota Vikings. This included five games as the TE5 or better. For the second consecutive season, Hockenson finished as a top-five tight end in season total and average fantasy points. Hockenson also had the highest percentage of a team’s total passing yards by a tight end this season at 23.9%.

Player Team TGT%
TJ Hockenson MIN 23.9
Evan Engram JAX 23.6
Travis Kelce KC 22.7
Mark Andrews BAL 21.8
David Njoku CLE 21.5
Sam LaPorta DET 21.0
Darren Waller NYG 20.6
George Kittle SF 20.2
Trey McBride ARI 19.6
Zach Ertz ARI 19.4

24. Logan Thomas (6.2) averaged more fantasy points per game this season than his teammate Jahan Dotson (5.9). This is a stat I included just because it depresses me a bit. On a side note, I would recommend buying low on Dotson in dynasty leagues this offseason. I am anticipating a post-hype, bounce-back season on the horizon.

25. Despite playing only 10 games this season, Mark Andrews outscored Kyle Pitts by 2.1 fantasy points. Pitts was active in every game of the season for the Atlanta Falcons. This article was not meant to be an outlet to dunk on the young tight end, but it certainly appears that way. Luckily, with Arthur Smith now out of town, there is optimism heading into next season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *