The tight end position is not usually the top priority when building a fantasy football lineup, but when the best in the business is on a bye, you may be looking to the waiver wire to pick someone up for the week or even long term. If you guessed I was referring to Travis Kelce, you were correct. Kelce is on bye this week and spending some quality time with Taylor Swift before she starts the overseas leg of her tour.
As unfortunate as it will be to not have Taylor in attendance for Kelce, he is still a must-start fantasy TE. However, some other tight ends may have fallen out of that tier, whether due to injury to their quarterbacks, bad usage, or just plain underperformance. Luckily, I have four tight ends in mind who have shown they have the ability to step up and may be the answer to the hole on your fantasy team.
Best Fantasy Football Tight End Pickups
Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints
We all know Hill is the human Swiss Army knife, and he has been great the last couple weeks. In Week 7 against the Jaguars, Hill rushed five times for 18 yards and a touchdown for 16.80 fantasy points. In Week 8 against the Colts he rushed nine times, for 63 yards and two touchdowns. He also racked up 44 passing yards, making it his best week of the season with 22.46 fantasy points. In Week 9 against the Bears, he rushed 11 times for 52 yards and a passing touchdown for 20.62 fantasy points. Taysom has been a big part of this offense in the last few weeks and is one of the top-performing tight ends this season, with very favorable matchups coming up against Minnesota, Atlanta, Detroit, Carolina, and the Giants.
Jonnu Smith, Atlanta Falcons
Smith was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the third round with the 100th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, coming of an impressive performance at the NFL Combine where he finished in the top five among tight ends in the majority of the drills. His career with the Titans started slow, but he had a combined 887 yards and 11 touchdowns in his final two years with the team. He then signed a big deal with the Patriots but didn’t produce much thanks to quarterback inconsistencies and competition with fellow tight end Hunter Henry. He spent two years with the Patriots and was traded to Atlanta for just a seventh-round pick this offseason. I think it is safe to say that Smith is the top target at tight end in Atlanta now. Kyle Pitts has had more targets, but Jonnu has more receptions and yards. Another stat that stands out is yards after catch, where Smith has 258 to just 91 for Pitts. While Pitts has received a lot of hype for his athleticism, Smith has been showing that he was also once a Combine darling. Following his 60-yard touchdown against Minnesota this week, he is well and truly on the fantasy radar, but I have secretly been writing him up all season on my Milly Maker article at DrRoto.com, and he has done well for me this season.
Cade Otton, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Otton was drafted by the Buccaneers 106th overall in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He had 42 catches for 391 yards and scored two touchdowns in 16 games his rookie season. His 2023 stats so far are 28 catches for 244 yards and three touchdowns. That’s not too impressive, but his production has been trending upwards. In Week 9, Otton connected with QB Baker Mayfield for six receptions for 70 yards and two touchdowns. This was by far his best performance since entering the NFL, and if he and Baker can continue to build on their chemistry, Cade may be in for a productive second half of this season.
Dalton Schultz, Houston Texans
Schultz was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round, 137th overall, of the 2018 NFL Draft. Schultz had a good six seasons with the Cowboys, racking up 232 receptions for 2,337 yards and 20 touchdowns. Unfortunately, Schultz struggled with injury in the 2022 season, opening the door for Jake Ferguson to get more snaps and ultimately take over the starting job. Schultz was picked up by the Texans this offseason, and he has been a great addition for the rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud. This past week, Dalton had a monster game with 10 receptions on 11 targets for 130 yards and one touchdown, landing Schultz as at least the TE10 in all formats for the season. Schultz is a lower-end TE1, and his production is reliant on the performance of the rookie quarterback, who has luckily been amazing. His veteran experience definitely gives him the upside we all want, and he is less risky than some other options out there. If you need TE help and Schultz is available, grab him ASAP.