The tight end position is always a tricky position to draft for in fantasy. Outside of the big three (Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, George Kittle), there are no guarantees that player will produce. This is why it’s important to identify some late round tight end sleepers you can take a flyer on. With that said we have compiled a list of three tight end’s that could provide big upside in 2023.
Mike Gesicki (Patriots-TE) | ADP-169 | TE-21
What happened to Mike Gesicki in 2022? Gesicki all but disappeared from the Miami Dolphins offense and despite playing in all 17 games was only targeted 52 times. He is now with the New England Patriots and hoping the change of scenery will benefit him. Of course, Gesicki will be behind Hunter Henry on the depth chart but that doesn’t mean he should be ignored.
When Gesicki was involved in the offensive gameplan he has shown he can produce. For instance, in week 6 vs the Minnesota Vikings he had 6 receptions for 69 yards and 2 touchdowns. The 21.9 fantasy points propelled Gesicki to the #1 tight end for that week. I expect the Patriots to give Gesicki more opportunities in their passing game as they love to utilize 2 tight end sets. Look for him to be targeted often in the red zone and expect a bounce back year in 2023.
Michael Mayer (Raiders-TE) | ADP-171 | TE-23
The Las Vegas Raiders decided to part ways with Darren Waller this past offseason. In his place, they now have three tight ends competing for the starting role. Austin Hooper and O.J. Howard were brought in and the Raiders drafted Michael Mayer in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Despite the competition at the tight end spot, I expect Mayer will be the starter in week 1.
Mayer was a star for Notre Dame in his final 2 seasons. He totaled 1,649 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns in that span. At 6’4″, Mayer has the length to be a big-time red zone target in the Raiders offense. Expect Mayer to benefit from Jimmy Garoppolo and his quick, accurate passes. I project Mayer to finish inside the top 20 at the tight end position.
*Cole Turner (Commanders-TE) | ADP-NA | TE-NA
If you’re looking for a deep tight end sleeper look no further than Cole Turner. It’s easy to forget about Turner as he had a quiet rookie season plagued with injuries. As a result, Turner finished with only 2 receptions for the Washington Commanders in 2022. Logan Thomas is presumably the TE1 in Washington but can he be trusted for a full season?
Turner is a massive 6’6″ tight end that can make acrobatic catches. His athleticism was on full display at the Commanders training camp last season before his hamstring injury. Turner is now back fully healthy and already making some noise at OTA’s. The tight end position has always been a key component in an Eric Bieniemy offense. With that said, I see Turner being a better fit than Thomas in this new Commanders offense. If he can stay healthy, Turner could be one of the steals of the year that no one is talking about.
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