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Year Two Breakout Candidates – Tight Ends

In dynasty, we are always hoping for a 2nd year breakout from our picks that show flashes, and you can multiply that hope by 2 when it comes to the TE position because they typically don’t breakout their rookie seasons, unless your name Is Sam LaPorta. The 2023 class finally gave us some TEs that could take over for the old guard. A fresh coat of paint to a position that desperately needed a face lift. The TE is one of the most difficult positions in dynasty/fantasy football to predict due to a variety of reasons — crowded room of pass catchers, scheme fit, or can’t block — the list goes on and on. One of the best advantages in fantasy is to have a top TE. The purpose of this article is for me to give you two 2nd year TEs that I believe could breakout in their sophomore seasons and hopefully give you a boost on your rosters for 2024 and beyond. Both players are someone I am targeting this offseason due to dynasty managers frustrated with year 1 production. If you learn anything from this article, always look for frustrated managers in dynasty. I believe both guys are better than what we have seen so far and worthy of being in your top 12 dynasty TE ranks.


Luke Musgrave, Green Bay Packers – (2023) 11 games, 34 receptions, 352 yards, 1TD

My TE3 of the 2023 TE class. The former Oregon State Beaver was a 2nd round selection by the Green Bay Packers, and the 4th TE off the board. While watching his college film, he instantly reminded me of Dallas Goedert, someone who has had fantasy success, due to his size and frame (Goedert 6’4’’ 256lb, Musgrave 6’5’’ 253lb) athleticism (Goedert 9.48 RAS, Musgrave 9.78), YAC ability, vertical threat, decent blocker, and very solid hands. Like his comparison, Musgrave has shown the ability to line up inline or in the slot causing a mismatch for opposing defenses. He was too quick for LBs (4.41 shuttle, and 7.09 cone drill at combine) and is too big for safeties to cover. Unfortunately, his rookie season left me and others wanting more due to injuries taking him off the field, something that plagued him in college as well, as he was only able to play in 2 games his senior season. There are some very hasty dynasty owners out there and I think right now is the time to strike and go out and trade for Luke Musgrave. The Packers offense is an ascending offense thanks to the emergence of Jordan Love, and why not go out and get the TE they drafted to be their TE1? If you play in TEP (tight end premium) leagues his value is about a mid-late 2024 2nd round pick, and to me that is a steal because I believe he can be a top 10-12 dynasty TE, he is certainly athletic enough and that’s what I like to bet on for the position. I have also seen him go for RB Chase Brown, and that is an absolute smash accept.


Michael Mayer, Las Vegas Raiders – (2023) 14 games, 27 receptions, 304 yards, 2TD

My TE2 of 2023 TE class. It was a bit of a surprise to a lot of people when the former Notre Dame TE fell out of the 1st round and was taken in the 2nd round by the Las Vegas Raiders as he was the most pro ready in the eyes of many. Mayer is a big body target with strong hands, plus route running ability and a very impressive red zone target. Mayer was a devy/C2C darling, and had the nickname “Baby Gronk”, that had the community buzzing while having a 92.5 PFF grade, leading all TEs in 2022. Michael Mayer is a versatile TE and a vertical treat. His final season in college, Mayer had 8 deep catches (1st for TE), 210 deep yards (3rd for TE) and 17 contested catches (1st for TE), this shows me Mayer could be a difference maker once the Raiders unlock him. While fantasy points come from catches, yards and touchdowns, TE’s need to be able to block to stay on the field, something that Mayer does pretty well. Mayer’s first 8 games of his NFL career with Josh McDaniels as HC were rough to say the least. In that span, Mayer had 2 games with a goose egg as a stat line, and only had 11 receptions, 146 yards and 0TD in the other 6. Once Antonio Piece came in to save the day in Vegas, the Raiders started to come to life and Mayer’s production went up slightly and showed some promise in 2 less games. In the 6 games with Pierce, he had 15 receptions, 156 and 2TD. Unfortunately, Mayer missed the last 3 games of the season with an injury. The biggest question for the success of Mayer and for the Raiders offense in general is who is the starting QB in 2024? Is it Aiden O’Connell or Gardner Minshew? Will they go up and grab a QB in the draft? Honestly, I’d love for Justin Fields to be the QB there for Mayer’s success, but that’s another discussion. Like I mentioned before, year 1 breakout TEs are extremely rare, so even with a rough rookie season I still think Mayer could be a major dynasty contributor on your rosters, especially with the lack of mouths to feed in Vegas. Michael Mayer’s value in dynasty is around also mid-late 2nd round pick, and I would take him over all TE’s in the 2024 class outside of Bowers.

Written by Michael Anthony (@DynastyDogMike), 03/12/24

Reviewed and edited: J. Clark, 03/14/24


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