Where To Spend Late Picks in Your Draft: TEs (Fantasy Football)
We all know the power of Travis Kelce, but sometimes you aren’t comfortable enough to draft a onesie position so early. I get it. Unfortunately, past the top few TEs – throw Mark Andrews and Darren Waller in there as well – almost every other TE in your draft is a dart throw, and if you decide to punt the position, may the odds ever be in your favor. Here are a few options of late-round TEs in decent situations that might give you fantasy gold or at least copper.
A reminder that all of the TEs mentioned here are currently being drafted in or after round 12, courtesy of the ADP comparison tool on the website. We are also using 12-team, half PPR data.
Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans, 12.07
Kyle’s poster boy for so long in the preseason took a hit when DeAndre Hopkins got traded to the Titans, but all is not lost. Chig was the sneakiest of all sneaky TEs, finishing as TE9 or better in three out of the last six weeks of 2022. His highest target share last year was 25% in Week 8, and you can’t expect numbers like that with Hopkins and Burks as the primary pass catchers. Hopkins has always commanded close to 30% of the targets, and Burks got close to 20% last year, and this is coming from a team whose target total was the fourth lowest in 2022. But if you punt TE in your draft, there are worse options; Chig still seems to be the third receiving option ahead of the WRs behind Burks. Burks did suffer an LCL injury in mid-August at practice, so if he is a little slow returning to the field, Chig could see a bump there.
Catch of the day 🎣
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) August 22, 2023
Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals, 16.07
Remember Zach Ertz? Exactly. Ertz missed the last six games of the 2022 season with an ACL injury, so he might seem like an afterthought to many fantasy managers. In fact, most people outside of Arizona were surprised when it was announced that Ertz was back and practicing, but it seems he is good to go. If you remove the game he got hurt in last year, where he only played 13% of the snaps, he was TE9, including five finishes in the top 10. He also managed to turn 10 targets inside the 10 into four TDs.
We know the Cardinals will be bad this season, and there is no guarantee of the number of games Kyler will be under center. To be fair, the entire offense could be close to a dumpster fire. However, the TE is frequently a rookie QB’s best friend, and I can sing along to that Tune, especially when you could grab him with your last pick or even off the waiver wire. If he truly looks to be worthless, cut him and move on.
Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions, 13.05
Sam LaPorta was one of the best TEs coming out of this draft class, and this Iowa TE, drafted 34th in 2023, had the fourth-highest receiving yards of his draft class in his final year. The Lions parted ways with TJ Hockenson last year, leaving the TE position wide open for the taking, and with it, a bunch of targets. Playing only seven games for the Lions in 2022, Hockenson was on a 17-game pace of 94 targets. Jameson Williams is suspended for six games to start the season, and LaPorta could quickly become the second read after Amon-Ra.
I have a feeling that 12 days from now, everyone will be waking up, wishing they drafted more Sam LaPorta.pic.twitter.com/EPRnDZFbjN
— Seth Woolcock (@Between_SethFF) August 28, 2023