Teams around the NFL have wrapped up their final preseason games. They are now focused on getting their regular season rosters set, but we have a good idea of how players will be used in offenses and who can be counted on for fantasy relevance. The tight end position is one of the toughest to judge because of the high variance between the top of the position and the bottom. If you miss out on one of the elite tight ends, here are four guys to target much later in your draft that could be in line for good years.
2023 Fantasy Football TE sleepers: Post-preseason
Dalton Schultz, TE, Houston Texans
Schultz is now with the Texans after spending the first five years of his career with the Dallas Cowboys. He finished as the TE10 in half-PPR scoring but is currently being drafted as the TE13. He is in a new offense but has a rookie quarterback throwing him the ball. The Texans are expected to be a run-first offense, but Schultz is a talented receiver and should benefit from added check-downs typical of a first-year QB.
Juwan Johnson, TE, New Orleans Saints
Johnson isn’t new to his team, but his quarterback is. Derek Carr is no longer with the Las Vegas Raiders and instead took his talents to NOLA. Carr has spent the last few years relying on tight end Darren Waller. He is a more talented tight end, but the workload he had could be coming to Johnson. Johnson isn’t expected to be the top pass-catcher in the offense, but he doesn’t have to be to have still value being drafted as the TE17.
Jake Ferguson, TE, Dallas Cowboys
Replacing Schultz in the Dallas offense is rookie Jake Ferguson. The Cowboys used a fourth-round pick on him after using a second-rounder on Luke Schoonmaker. Still, Ferguson has been the more impressive tight end in the preseason. He should be the starting tight end for Dallas and assume the Schultz role. He finished as the TE13 a year ago, and Ferguson is being selected as the TE28 and is basically free with your final draft pick.
Hayden Hurst, TE, Carolina Panthers
Hurst is heading into his sixth NFL season with his fourth different team. Most recently, he was with the Cincinnati Bengals and played in 13 games. Hurst brought in 52 of his 68 targets for 414 yards and two touchdowns. The difference between playing for the Panthers and his other landing spots is that he won’t have the competition at tight end for targets and Carolina has an overhauled offense and he should see more targets from rookie quarterback Bryce Young.