The tight end position in fantasy football is notoriously top-heavy, and if you can’t snag the likes of Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews you’re generally left scouring the waiver wire for sleepers with big upside. The good news is that there is always a handful of viable candidates that rise to the occasion, with Greg Dulcich and Mike Gesicki serving as examples from a season ago.
Looking for sleepers for fantasy football isn’t about finding players nobody has heard about, because that isn’t happening. When we refer to sleepers, we’re highlighting players who should outplay their average draft position. Instead of the term “sleeper,” we can replace it with “value” and still be on the right track.
Here’s a look at some of our favorite deep sleepers that could help you win your fantasy football leagues.
Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans
Okonkwo was one of the few bright spots for the Titans in 2022, as the fourth-round rookie looks to take advantage of some departures in the offseason. When looking at the depth chart last season, Austin Hooper and Geoff Swaim were the two players ahead of him and neither one is on the roster for 2023. He caught three passes for 38 yards and a touchdown in his fourth game, which led to an increased role over the rest of the season.
Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills
The Bills selected Kincaid with the 25th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, signaling that he should be the future at the tight end spot and heir apparent to Dawson Knox. Granted, the latter is still ahead of him on the depth chart, but it could be only a matter of time before the former Utah product leapfrogs him. Despite being undersized for his position, he could thrive in the slot and take advantage of defenses paying extra attention to Stefon Diggs.
Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos
Dulcich is looking to build on a strong rookie season after catching 33 passes for 411 yards and two touchdowns. While his targets were inconsistent from one week to another as the season progressed, there’s hope with Sean Payton coming in to rework the offense. Don’t forget that when Payton was at the helm in New Orleans, tight ends like Jimmy Graham and Jared Cook elevated themselves into highly productive seasons within Payton’s offense.
Hayden Hurst, Carolina Panthers
Frank Reich has a track record of leveraging tight ends during his head coaching career, although he’s also been liable to use a carousel of options as the position. Regardless, Hurst has an intriguing opportunity to lead the Panthers in targets, especially if he becomes a de facto safety net for rookie quarterback Bryce Young. His 3.7 receptions per game ranked 12th-most among tight ends last season, which speaks to his upside as a deeper sleeper.
Jelani Woods, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts selected Woods with the 73rd overall pick in the 2022 draft, setting up a chance for him to embrace a major increase in his role this season. With Shane Steichen as Indianapolis’ new head coach, he has a track record of maximizing his tight ends. With a quarterback room that features Anthony Richardson, Gardner Minshew, and Sam Ehlinger, Woods could thrive in catching passes underneath as a solid complement to a run game led by Jonathan Taylor.