Who is the Dynasty Tight End 1 heading into 2024?
This week, Mike Lindberg (@FFCanuck99) and I will discuss who is Tight End #1 for the 2024 season. In 2023, Travis Kelce was drafted in the first round in many fantasy drafts. Is that still the case for 2024? Is a veteran ready to assume the title? Or has a young stud at the position ascended as "king" of the Tight End mountain? This edition of Dynasty Debate will more closely examine the Tight End landscape heading into 2024.
Goody: I find it challenging to go against Sam LaPorta as TE #1 heading into 2024. He could also finish as TE #1 for 2023. LaPorta has been that good in his rookie season. We recommended buying him back in August.
Lindberg: Laporta has done some incredible things his rookie season and could finish this year as the TE1 overall, with T.J. Hockenson suffering his season-ending knee injury. It'll be hard to make a case against him, seeing what Laporta has done as a rookie; however, Goody, have you yet to notice the late-season emergence of one Trey McBride? The top tight end selected in the 2022 NFL draft has also done some remarkable things this year and should be considered the dark horse in the 2024 tight end one discussion. Let's dive in.
Goody: I have noticed Trey Mcbride's emergence in the last six weeks. And, I will admit, he's been strong. However, does his two touchdowns worry anyone? For all those targets he has, they are not translating to touchdowns. LaPorta has demonstrated his ability to be the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd option and still produce. I love that LaPorta has shown us the full arsenal when predicting future success. McBride is not finding the endzone, doesn't stretch the field, and will assuredly have more competition next year for targets. I like LaPorta as TE #1 because he can produce in various settings.
Lindberg: Great points, Goody; however, the Cardinals adding a perennial #1 wide receiver will benefit McBride as he now sees his fair share of double teams. The positive touchdown regression will surely follow suit, with an improved offense after the draft. Laporta is on an unsustainable touchdown pace with nine, and his target share concerns me. The Lions have a lot of mouths to feed, which garnered a lot of high draft capital that we can't ignore. Amon-Ra St-Brown (ARSB) has emerged as a Top 5 dynasty wide receiver, and Jahmyr Gibbs is everything people thought he would be. The sneaky one is Jameson Williams, a player the Lions moved up to get in the 2022 NFL draft, a first-round talent and selection.
Williams was a player some had as the #1 prospect that year. Williams has come on strong as of late; in his past three games, Williams has earned a 13.8% target share, and he has produced in those games, reaching 15 targets for nine receptions for 90 yards. This type of workload has cut into Laporta's target share. Laporta's target share has dipped to 12.8% in those three games compared to his season average of 18.6%. Laporta has been great, but his situation at the start of his year was optimal. With a full arsenal of healthy Lions offensive weapons, we see more of the norm now. With a fully healthy Lions team, I cannot see Laporta earning more than 17% of the target share, which would make him rely on touchdowns to deliver TE1 overall stats.
Goody: That is precisely my point! He has already demonstrated he can still be a fantasy-elite tight end on a team that has involved many players. Is ARSB an elite receiver? Yes. Is Gibbs dynamic? Yes. The one thing LaPorta brings to the table is stability. He will be the "release valve" when teams try to overload the box to stop Gibbs or provide double coverage to limit ARSB. And this team will continue to grow together. LaPorta has been a true star as a rookie from a position that has seen few tight ends flourish so quickly. LaPorta has posted six Top 10 weeks in 2023. I would instead take the "known" of LaPorta's situation to the unknown of McBride's. Arizona has yet to indicate if Kyler Murray is the quarterback to lead this team. McBride has been good but could have been better this year. And with so many question marks, I would not anoint McBride a Top Five tight end, let alone the #1.
Lindberg: A couple of counters here; wondering how you can have McBride outside the top 5. Hockenson's injury will surely linger well into the 2024 season; Kelce is aging and has regressed negatively, especially in the second half of this year; Mark Andrews will also likely start the season off slower, coming off his season-ending injury. Given their ages and roles in their systems, I need help putting George Kittle and Evan Engram ahead of McBride next year. McBride is a top 5 tight end, especially with how GREAT, not good that he's been since linking up with Kyler.
Since Kyler's return in week 10, McBride has not just been GREAT, he has been ELITE. McBride has a 25.6% target share #1 during that span amongst tight ends. McBride has 456 yards receiving, good for #2 during that span. McBride has 44 receptions, good for #2 during that span, and his 53 targets are #3 during that span. Great numbers. You also failed to mention how Jameson Williams' role has affected Laporta lately. We can't ignore the draft capital nor the recently earned role from Willaims now that the Lions are fully healthy. We are seeing quite a dip in Laporta's targets because of Williams. Is this not a concern to you?
Goody: it is not a concern for me. Why? Unlike McBride, LaPorta is a red-zone target that Jared Goff trusts. Secondly, an outside presence, like Williams, will help open the middle for LaPorta to work. Targets are essential, but not the only thing that matters. And why is McBride not in the top 5?…well, my top tight ends heading into 2024, in no particular order, are LaPorta, Kelce, David Njoku, Mark Andrews, Hockenson, Kittle, and Cole Kmet. I would put McBride toward the end of that list. McBride has produced at a Top 10 level, a fringe top 5, and by no means the #1. It's just how I see it. Remember, this dynasty debate isn't about who is Top 5 but who is #1.
Lindberg: That's fair, and it makes me reflect on the Tight End landscape in fantasy football and how it has improved immensely and is now in a great spot with a pool of young talent. We are no longer discussing two or three battling for the top spot. We finally have five or six in the #1 conversation, which is a great place to be. For me, McBride and Laporta are almost even; it's splitting hairs between the top tight ends in the past two drafts. Laporta has been a touchdown machine, a pace, to me, that is unsustainable. If you look at Laporta's game logs, he is a consistent 5-reception for 50-yard kind of player. Laporta has over 50% of his touchdowns in just two games.
Furthermore, his target share of 18.6% is not close to strong enough to compete for the #1 slot in 2024. This stat will vastly need improving. Unfortunately, I don't see this number improving to elite status with all the offensive weapons in Detroit. Laporta will need to rely on keeping up his touchdown pace, which we all know is a stat that is the most volatile and fluctuates from year to year. In conclusion, this late-season surge from McBride is legit, the #1 tight end during that span; outside of David Njoku, there is no other tight end playing at the level and in the same tier, and that's no joke…... Laporta certainly hasn't peaked, but he must earn a much larger target share to be the TE1 overall.
I don't see it happening next year in Detroit with all the weapons around. McBride is playing elite; his situation will only improve with an upgrade at QB or the Cardinals getting a true #1 wide receiver. McBride will also come with a cheaper price tag during the draft season. I'll be drafting McBride a full round or two later. Another reason McBride is my #1 Tight End target and #1 tight-end target in 2024.
Who won the Dynasty Debate?
Has Goody proved why Sam LaPorta is the #1 TE heading into 2024, or has Mike Lindberg shown why Trey McBride should be your #1 Tight End?
You get to decide!
Please vote and share!
This time they are debating who is the TE1 in 2024 fantasy drafts.
Who won the Debate??? Read and then vote!
— Dynasty Pros (@DynastyProsFF) January 10, 2024
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Full time teacher, full time fantasy sports enthusiast. I try to look at fantasy sports through my own lens and share that vision with my readers I love to explore and find new, and exciting fantasy football options including: C2C, dynasty, IDP, and Devy. See me on Twitter @JGoody77
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