TEs Projected For More Volume | Fantasy Football 2023

by Joshua Kellem · Dynasty Leagues

Using PlayerProfiler‘s advanced stats, metrics, and analytics – we’ve unearthed four TEs projected for more volume next season.

Below are key statistics to know while following along:

Route Participation – How frequently a pass-catcher runs a route on his team’s pass plays.

Target Rate / Targets Per Routes Run – How frequently a pass-catcher commands a target in context with his Route Participation mark.

Chig Okonkwo

Chig Okonkwo is the one. In fantasy football, you draft Travis Kelce or wait until the double-digit rounds. The difference between TE6 and TE12 is minuscule but the opportunity cost isn’t. So, you wait. This strategy unearthed Gerald Everett last season. Well, Okonkwo is next. He totaled a 33.3 percent Target Rate (No. 2) on 138 routes run last season. With Robert Woods released, the Tennessee Titans totaled 249 vacated targets (No. 6) as well.

With the No. 6-most vacated targets, Okonkwo has room to grow his lowly 30.3 percent Route Participation clip and his 10.6 percent Target Share. This is because earning targets is a skill and vacated targets equal vacated routes. In Weeks 12-18 – seven games – Okonkwo totaled four-plus targets in all but one game. Okonkwo earned five-plus targets in all but three games.

Note: three of the seven games were with Malik Willis and Joshua Dobbs at QB.

Cade Otton

After returning from injury Week 4, in 13 games through Week 17, Cade Otton totaled four-plus targets in 9-of-13 games on a 35.2 percent snap share. He ran just five routes in Week 18. In the same time frame, Otton totaled five-plus targets in 8-of-10 games he ran 24-plus routes. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers total 117 vacated targets (No. 21) as well. Otten’s 58.3 percent Route Participation clip is a good bet to balloon. The Bucs are dead-last in effective cap space, and this means fellow TE Cameron Brate, and his $4.985 million cap number, is likely cut. This will save the team $4 million. There’s an outside chance the Bucs trade WR Mike Evans as well. Yes, Otten totaled a 15.7 perecnt Target Rate on 413 routes run, but he performed much better in games sans Brate. In week 5 with no Brate, Otten totaled seven targets. In weeks 7-9, Otton earned five-plus targets in each week, 10 targets in Week 13, and six targets in Week 17.

Greg Dulcich

Greg Dulcich debuted in the NFL like an RKO out of nowhere. He was the TE5 Weeks 6-8. Dulcich totaled 17 targets and just over 60 yards per game in that span. However, in Weeks 10-16 – seven games – Dulcich’s yards per game dwindled to just over 32 yards per game. He was TE19 during that time frame [minimum five games]. The good news is Dulcich’s five targets per game from Weeks 6-8 held up in Weeks 10-16 as well. The bad news is Russell Wilson is still the tight end’s QB. That means a bet on Dulcich next season is a bet on a Wilson rebound. It’s worth the risk based on Dulcich’s ADP, though. I.E. an asymmetrical bet.

Entering Year 2, Dulcich totals an 84.1 percent Route Participation clip (No. 5). If he keeps getting better, his 19.3 percent Target Rate clip (No. 25) on 285 routes run will increase as Dulcich earns more targets. Additionally, his 17.2 percent Target Share (No. 13) will likely increase as well. Where Dulcich can pay off his ADP, and enter the top five at his position in fantasy football, is converting more of his Air Yards next season. He totaled 312 Unrealized Air Yards (No. 7). That said, Dulcich still totaled 584 Air Yards (No. 11), an 18.6 percent Air Yards share (No. 7), and a 10.6-yard ADOT (No. 3). The Denver Broncos total 147 vacated targets (No. 17) as well.

Jonnu Smith

After signing a four-year, $50 million contract with the New England Patriots before the 2021 season,  Jonnu Smith totaled 55 receptions on 83 targets for 539 yards and a touchdown. A bet on Smith next season is a bet on newly-hired OC Bill O’Brien to unlock the TE, who – for the follow-the-money crowd – totals the second-highest cap number among tight ends. Even as a post-June 1 cut, the Patriots save just over $4.5 million of Smith’s $17.2 million cap number.

Both sides know this has to work. Fellow TE Hunter Henry, meanwhile, is a cut candidate and would save the Patriots $10.5 million of his $15.5 million cap number. His absence would free up 59 targets in the offense. If Henry stays, it’s a good thing the Pats total 176 vacated targets (No. 10) anyway. Smith totaled a 26.2 percent (No. 5) Target Rate on 149 routes run, while his Route Participation clip is a lowly 33.4 percent. Smith, though, totaled five-plus targets in all but one game where he ran 25-plus routes. If O’Brien gives Smith a slightly conservative 25 routes a game, it’s wheels up!