Should You Draft Dalton Kincaid or Evan Engram in 2024


The tight end position feels… deep?

I know, I know. Famous last words. But players like Evan Engram and Dalton Kincaid make me feel very comfortable passing on the elite tight ends toward the top of drafts. But if you have to draft a starting tight end for your fantasy team in 2024, who should you go with? The proven veteran coming off a huge season? Or the popular second-year breakout candidate paired with Josh Allen?

Evan Engram, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Case For Engram

Pop quiz time. 

CeeDee Lamb, Tyreek Hill and Amon-Ra St. Brown finished top three in the NFL in receptions this past season. Who was fourth? That’s right. It was Engram, who caught a whopping 114 passes on 143 targets. We know Doug Pederson’s offense is tight end friendly, but I did not expect Engram to rank inside the top five among all players in receptions, as well as 12th in targets. His 143 targets were the 15th-most by a tight end in NFL history. That means that the highest (156, Ertz) and 15th-highest (143, Engram) targeted seasons ever by a tight end have come in Pederson’s offense. When it comes to the tight end position, we should always be chasing routes, not snaps. And if you did so last season, you likely landed on Engram as your starting tight end. He ran 617 routes last season, with the next closest tight end being Cade Otton (568). Engram also ran a route on a whopping 87% of Jacksonville’s dropbacks, the second-highest rate in the league. His 24% target share also ranked top three among all tight ends, so Engram basically was elite in all of the volume metrics you want.

NASHVILLE, TN – DECEMBER 11: Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) scores a touchdown in front of Tennessee Titans safety Andrew Adams (47) during a game between the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars, December 11, 2022, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire)

Entering the 2024 season, it wouldn’t be wise to project 140-plus targets again for Engram. But I’d guess he will finish top five among tight ends in targets. The Jaguars moved on from Calvin Ridley this offseason while adding Brian Thomas and Gabe Davis. Thomas is a talented player, but it is unlikely he commands the same number of targets that Ridley did last year, while Davis certainly won’t. So this passing game should continue to run through both Engram and Christian Kirk. I also think there is a potential spike in touchdowns on the horizon. Engram scored just four times last year, ranking third on the Jaguars in targets from inside the 10-yard line (4). Ridley, meanwhile, led the NFL with 24 end-zone targets. He’s now in Tennessee, and while I like Thomas’ red-zone ability, a ton of those targets could head toward Engram.

The Case Against Engram

The only argument you can make against Engram is if the touchdown jump doesn’t actually come to fruition. That would limit his weekly ceiling, which was the case last year. Although Engram finished as a top-three fantasy tight end on the year, he only finished as a top-five tight end in five separate weeks. 

Dalton Kincaid, TE, Buffalo Bills

The Case For Kincaid

It wasn’t quite to the level of Sam LaPorta. But make no mistake, Dalton Kincaid had an awesome rookie season.

FOXBOROUGH, MA – OCTOBER 22: Buffalo Bills Tight End Dalton Kincaid (86) runs with the ball during the NFL game between Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots on October 22, 2023, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. (Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire)

His 73 receptions were the fourth most by a rookie tight end in NFL history, while Kincaid flirted with 700 receiving yards on 91 targets. It was an interesting season, as Kincaid opened the year splitting time with Dawson Knox while competing for targets with Stefon Diggs and company. Outside of the signs he showed as a rookie, the most obvious excitement surrounding Kincaid in 2024 is the fact that he’s in line for a ton of work. In case you are living under a rock, Diggs has been traded, and Gabe Davis is also gone. That means just over 44% of Buffalo’s targets from last year are gone. Yes, the Bills added Curtis Samuel and Keon Coleman this offseason, but Kincaid, especially after posting 91 targets as a rookie, projects to be the top pass-catcher in an offense led by Josh Allen. 

That’s enticing.

The sample size isn’t massive, but we saw healthy usage from Kincaid when Diggs was off the field last year. According to FTN Data, Kincaid had a respectable, but not great, 15.7% target share when Diggs was on the field. But when the All-Pro wideout was off the field, Kincaid’s target share climbed to 22.6%. For reference, that would have been a top-five rate among tight ends in 2023. Again, the sample size isn’t huge, but it gives us a general idea. During his time in Buffalo, Diggs averaged over 160 targets per season. Of course, all of that isn’t going to Kincaid, but the sophomore tight end should see 100-plus targets in 2024.

The Case Against Kincaid

For multiple reasons, Buffalo’s offense will look different this year, especially without Diggs and Davis. But it already started to shift last year. Remember, once Joe Brady took over as the offensive coordinator, Buffalo moved to more of a run-centric offense. From Week 11 on, the Bills ranked top six in neutral script rush rate, while dropping to 11th in early-down pass rate during that span. Still, that would be more of a problem for Kincaid if he was still competing for targets with Diggs. 

I am interested, however, to see the usage between Kincaid and Knox. Buffalo likely will run plenty of 12 personnel this season, but it is worth noting that Kincaid’s splits with and without Knox were notable. With Knox sidelined from Weeks 8-12 last year, Kincaid averaged 7.4 targets, 6.2 receptions, 56.2 receiving yards and 14.2 PPR points per game. He ran a route on 84% of dropbacks and posted a 23% target share during that stretch. But in the games he played alongside Knox, Kincaid averaged just 4.5 targets, 4.2 receptions, 32.2 receiving yards and just over seven PPR points per game. 

The Verdict

As a noted Bills fan, this is very difficult for me.

Engram, after what he did last year in a tight end friendly offense, certainly has the higher floor. But Kincaid, entering his second season as Allen’s top target, has so much undeniable upside that it is tough to pass on. It is going to come down to what the average draft position looks like over the summer. At the moment, Kincaid is going quite a bit ahead of Engram in best ball drafts, but a lot of that is due to stacking. If the gap is much closer in traditional redraft formats, I’ll take Kincaid and the upside. But if Engram continues to come off the board rounds and rounds later, it is difficult to pass on that value.

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