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The Candidates to Be the Overall TE1 in 2023

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Welcome to our “No. 1 Overall” series for 2023, where we take a look at which players are most likely to finish as the top fantasy scorer at their position. Up today: TEs.

This series is as simple as it sounds. We’re going to go through the TEs — in tiers — that have the best chance of finishing as the overall TE1 in 2023. Let’s get to it.

 

Check out the other articles in this series:

Keep in mind these are not fantasy TE rankings, but a tiered list of players most likely to finish as the overall fantasy TE1 in 2022. 

Tier 1 Overall Fantasy TE1 Candidates in 2023

As it turns out, the post-Tyreek Hill life for Travis Kelce in KC was pretty, pretty good. Per our Fantasy Wins Added tool, Kelce was the fourth-most valuable player in all of fantasy football last year — not just among TEs. In late November, he was the most valuable player:

The article could almost just end here. Kelce’s stat line last year (110 catches, 1,338 yards, 12 TDs) is unreachable by nearly all other TEs, and his floor is higher than every other TE. We don’t need to wax poetic about Kelce. He’s worth the first-round pick.

Tier 2 Overall Fantasy TE1 Candidates in 2023

If there’s a TE who can dethrone Kelce, it’s Mark Andrews. In fact, he did it just two years ago with his 107-1,361-9 line. (Eerily similar to Kelce’s stats from 2022.) The issue is that Kelce is just much more consistent and likely to hit those heights again, keeping Andrews in Tier 2.

The Ravens are set up to pass much more in 2023, which is great news for Andrews. Sure, he has more competition for targets, but an increase in overall passing volume should make up for that.

Andrews did lead all TEs — Kelce included — in air yards last year with 1,105, and that was with Andrews playing two fewer games than Kelce. A return to the land of overall TE1 is certainly possible here.

Tier 3 Overall Fantasy TE1 Candidates in 2023

T.J. Hockenson’s trade to the Vikings unlocked his fantasy potential. On the year, Hockenson had the third-most air yards (981), second-most targets (129) and second-most receptions (86). He’s a rung below the proven ceilings of Kelce, Andrews and George Kittle, but a leap forward is reasonable to expect as this is inarguably his best situation since entering the league five years ago.

Kittle, meanwhile, can be a Gronk-level game-wrecker any given Sunday, but his consistency is not at the level of the other players already mentioned. Since back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2018-2019, Kittle hasn’t come close to reaching those levels again. He did, however, score 11 TDs last year, by far the most of his career. 

The real question with Kittle is how all the other playmakers in San Francisco impacts his usage. Take a look at Kittle with and without Deebo Samuel on the field over the last three years. No Samuel means more Kittle across the board. He’d be a firm Tier 2 candidate — or even a Tier 1 candidate — if there weren’t so many other good players to feed on the team.

Tier 4 Overall Fantasy TE1 Candidates in 2023

Kyle Pitts ranked fourth among all TEs in air yards last year despite playing on 10 games:

That’s actually crazy. And it should get you excited about Pitts for 2023. (Yes, really.) If things click with this young Falcons offense, Pitts may be the biggest beneficiary of them all.

He has gone 2-for-2 as a fantasy bust, so I won’t blame you if you don’t want to take the plunge again, but the upside is still very much there.

 

Tier 5 Overall Fantasy TE1 Candidates in 2023

This group really has no legitimate shot at finishing as the overall TE1, but I suppose it’s greater than 0%. Darren Waller could be heavily used in a Giants passing attack that has no obvious leader.

Evan Engram and Dallas Goedert are both capped by elite players in front of them, but an injury to a top WR would see these TEs take on a WR-like role. 

And Dalton Kincaid makes the list as a wild card. If he’s used as the Bills slot WR right from Week 1, then a massive rookie season is possible.

Previous 2023 NFL Team Offseason Roundup: Washington Commanders Next Sleepers, Busts and Bold Predictions: The 2023 Tennessee Titans