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Fantasy Football: Darkhorse candidates to finish as the overall TE1 in 2023

2MMC412 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. 29th Jan, 2023. Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (88) runs the ball during the first half of the NFC Championship against the San Francisco 49ers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mandatory Credit Eric Canha/CSM/Alamy Live News

• The best bet among dark horses: Dallas Goedert meets many of the criteria to push for the overall TE1 in fantasy football this season.

• Betting on a Browns bounce-back: David Njoku could be a significant beneficiary for fantasy purposes if Deshaun Watson and this Cleveland offense are able to get back on track.

• A rookie tight end who could buck the trend: Dalton Kincaid appears to be in a great spot to outperform typical rookie tight end expectations, and he has the needed skill set in the right offense to make this work.

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Finding a darkhorse fantasy TE1 more than likely means that Travis Kelce missed a good chunk of games this season, so maybe calling this “potential darkhorse TE2 candidates” is more appropriate. However, that’s not nearly as fun, so we’ll proceed as planned. Kelce has consistently been drafted among the first two players at his position, and even in the one year where he didn’t finish as the fantasy TE1, Mark Andrews, who did reach that mark, was still drafted inside the top five.

To continue with the darkhorse theme and qualifications, we’ll look at tight ends going outside the top five in their positional average draft position to find a potential Kelce usurper, as difficult as that may prove to be. Looking back at the impressive numbers that Kelce and Andrews posted in their TE1 seasons, we should at least have a starting point for what to look for in our potential darkhorse options.

Season TE1 Total PPR Points PPR PPG PPG Rank ADP
2022 Travis Kelce 316.2 18.6 1 TE1
2021 Mark Andrews 300.9 17.7 1 TE5
2020 Travis Kelce 313.5 20.9 1 TE1
2019 Travis Kelce 254.4 15.9 1 TE1
2018 Travis Kelce 294.4 18.4 1 TE2
  • Averaging close to 16 PPR points per game should be considered the absolute minimum for our TE1 candidates this season — a mark that only Kelce hit (and surpassed) last year.
  • Several tight ends cleared double-digit PPR points per game last season, so it will be necessary for a darkhorse tight end to add a few more points per game to get themselves into that upper echelon in 2023.

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