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5 Breakout Tight Ends for 2024 Fantasy Football

Identifying breakouts for Fantasy Football before the season can pave the path to winning your Fantasy Football leagues. Targeting players set to explode for Fantasy Football in your Redraft drafts, or trading for these players in Dynasty Leagues can give you the edge to bring home a championship. If you know me as a content creator, you know my intention (and original brand) has always been to help you “Play 2 Win”. That is the goal of this article – to help you win by outlining my favorite Fantasy Football breakout tight ends for 2024.

Most Fantasy Football terms are defined differently, so I need to clarify what I mean by a breakout. Your definition, my definition, and the definition of countless others for a Fantasy Football “breakout” may have some similarities but also can be looked at completely differently at the same time. I define a breakout as – a player who can take a substantial leap in Fantasy Football production or a player who can have an immediate Fantasy Football scoring impact which in either case is a major positional advantage in lineups for a given year. 

A tight end breakout example from last year is Cole Kmet, who averaged 10.7 Fantasy PPG which ranked 10th for the position after finishing outside of the Top 15 in Fantasy PPG his previous three seasons. An example of an instant tight end for Fantasy Football was Sam LaPorta, who scored the most Fantasy Points for the position as a rookie. In both examples, these players were extremely valuable difference-makers for their positions and advantages to have in lineups.

The tight ends listed below are all breakout candidates for 2024 that you will want to roster for Fantasy Football this season. The combination of perceived skill set, situation, data, opportunity, and other factors support my take on these specific players. Embrace big seasons to come from these guys.

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2024 Fantasy Football: 5 Breakout Tight Ends

Trey McBride, Cardinals TE

Some may read this and instantly react by saying “McBride already broke out last season!” which can be true after McBride leaped from 3.8 Fantasy PPG (#40) to 10.7 Fantasy PPG (#8) from rookie to sophomore season. 39 to 106 targets, 29 to 81 receptions and 265 to 825 receiving yards are all massive jumps within a year. McBride’s 2023 season shifted into a great campaign, but he is not done there and that was not his ceiling for Fantasy Football.

McBride opened the first five weeks of the season playing a secondary role as the TE2 in the offense with periodic involvement. Weeks 6 and 7 McBride began playing above 50% of the snaps, which was a hint at a changing role as he played 58% and 53% of the snaps in those two games in a row. Week 8 McBride played 82% of the snaps, which was the red flashing light that his role would shift the rest of the year. In Weeks 8-17, not only did McBride become the starter and a key part of the Cardinals’ offense but for the position he ranked:

  • #3 in targets
  • #2 in receptions
  • #3 in receiving yards
  • #3 in Fantasy Points scored
  • Averaged 15 Fantasy PPG

Not only did Trey McBride become fantasy-relevant, but he also became fantasy-dominant during this stretch. McBride finished weeks with 25.5 Fantasy Points (Week 8), 21.1 Fantasy Points (Week 10), 22.9 Fantasy Points (Week 13), and 20.2 Fantasy Points (Week 15) which easily could have meant winning matchups for Fantasy managers as a positional advantage. Games of 131 receiving yards (Week 10) and others of 10 receptions (Week 8) were examples of the upside that McBride could have in receiving. McBride finished #5 in receptions (81), #7 in receiving yards (825), #5 in yards after catch (439), and #9 in Fantasy PPG (10.7) despite a smaller role for a chunk of the year which was even more evident by ranking 19th in snap share (69.5%) and #16 in routes run (406).

The connection with Kyler Murray was established in 2023, who only played eight games in 2023 recovering from an injury. Kyler heavily targeted McBride in 2023, and the two had one of the better QB-to-TE connections in the league. The Cardinals drafted star wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. with the fourth overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, which drew some questions on if this would hurt McBride but I strongly believe it helps him. We have seen plenty of strong WR-TE duos in the NFL that translate well for Fantasy Football through time: Tyreek Hill + Travis Kelce back on the Chiefs, Justin Jefferson and TJ Hockenson recently on the Vikings, Amon-Ra St. Brown + Sam LaPorta this past year on the Lions. Now enter Marvin Harrison Jr. + Trey McBride. Murray opened up his first two seasons with 542 and 558 passing attempts, so before anyone says anything about volume just know he has never had this sort of WR-TE combo so he could easily get back to better passing volume.

McBride checks the boxes to what I look for in my breakout tight ends search: a consistent role in his offense, consistent targets, volume in targets, receiving yard upside, and Fantasy Football scoring upside. A full season of what we saw in 2023 during McBride’s emergence can be scary for Fantasy Football. Taking a leap from eighth in Fantasy PPG to being top three is a major breakout. McBride is a candidate to be the best Fantasy tight end in 2024.

Dalton Kincaid, Bills TE

There were high expectations for Dalton Kincaid in 2023 after the Bills selected the Utah tight end with the 25th overall pick in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. A long-term attachment to Josh Allen in the Bills offense screamed Fantasy relevance. Kincaid would end up splitting some time through windows with Dawson Knox in his rookie season and finished #23 in snap share at 65.6% for the year. Kincaid finished #8 in targets (91), #7 in receptions (73), #10 in receiving yards (673), and #14 in Fantasy PPG (9.4). Kincaid did run the second-most slot snaps for the position, and truly caught fire in Weeks 7-12 where he ranked for the position:

  • #4 in targets
  • #2 in receptions
  • #5 in receiving yards
  • #3 in total Fantasy Points
  • Averaged 14.1 Fantasy PPG

That six-game stretch was a major indicator of what Kincaid could more consistently be. Kincaid through the Bills’ two playoff games was a major factor as well, leading the team in receiving yards with 104 which was 29 more than any other teammate. The rookie campaign was solid but overshadowed by fellow rookie Sam LaPorta who broke records and finished as TE1 for Fantasy Football. 2024 could mean a huge step forward for Kincaid with him possibly being Allen’s #1 target.

Stefon Diggs, now in Houston, vacates 160 targets. The Bills signed Curtis Samuel to a three-year deal. He could be used creatively but should not be looked at as the premiere target in an offense. Khalil Shakir took steps forward in the second half of the season but likely is a reliable slot compliment outlet. Keon Coleman was selected by the Bills with the first pick in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft, and while he has a lot of promise Coleman likely has some growing to do before he is the locked-in alpha of a NFL system. I personally believe there is a very real chance that Dalton Kincaid is Josh Allen’s Travis Kelce, his #1 target. Allen has attempted over 570 passes for four straight seasons, so if Kincaid ends up being the #1 target or even the #2 target that sort of volume could have major impacts for Fantasy Football. Volume is king at the end of the day, but not all volume is created equal. Volume from Josh Allen is a lot more of a perk than volume from most QBs in the NFL. Kincaid is a sneaky candidate to be the TE1 overall for Fantasy Football in 2024, and I am leaning on ranking him as that for Redraft Fantasy Football.

Kyle Pitts, Falcons TE

Kyle Pitss entered the NFL with extremely high expectations after his fourth overall selection by the Falcons back in 2021 with the tag “generational prospect”. The combination of freak athlete traits with a heavy Florida production profile meant the hope that Pitts would enter the league and instantly break Fantasy Football. Three seasons later, consensus feels Pitts has fallen far short of those expectations. Pitts has finished as the TE11 (2021), TE22 (2022), and TE16 (2023) in the last three seasons, which feels off from what we all have felt could have been the outcome.

I feel that Pitts’ rookie season is often overlooked. Pitts finished with 1,026 receiving yards, which ranks as the second-most all-time and was the third-most for the position that year. Finishing as a Top 12 Fantasy tight end in PPG is also not a failure in my eyes as a rookie. 110 targets as a rookie was also very significant volume, and targets are earned. In 2022, Pitts missed time due to injuries, only appearing in 10 games with some of those not at full health either, so it felt like a lost season. In 2023, Pitts earned 89 targets and led the position in air yards (1,012) along with deep targets (11) but finished 16th in reception (53) and 11th in receiving yards (667).

Two significant factors have held Pitts back from production: Quarterback play and coaching. Matt Ryan was the best quarterback in the NFL Pitts has played with and he actually saw some decent production with Ryan but it was the veteran’s final full season played. The combination of Marcus Mariota, Desmond Ridder, and Taylor Heinicke over the last two seasons makes up for a mediocre (at best) group of quarterbacks. The Falcons threw the ball the eighth-fewest times in 2023 and the second-fewest times in 2022. Pitts’ catchable target rate the last two seasons ranked 37th on top of that. Poor volume + poor target quality = set up to fail.

Atlanta fired Head Coach Arthur Smith this off-season, who many believe held their star players back from actually being featured. Kirk Cousins was brought in on a four-year, $180 million deal. Cousins is a major upgrade to the quarterback room and averaged 291.4 passing yards through his eight appearances prior to injury in 2023. Cousins threw for over 4,200 yards for three straight seasons prior to 2023 ranging from 29-35 touchdowns during this span. Michael Penix Jr. was also selected by the Falcons in the 2024 NFL Draft to serve as insulation for now, and is the future for Atlanta. Penix threw 13,741 passing yards and 96 touchdowns in college. So with the combination of these two things we have the potential for a coaching staff to feature the playmakers in Atlanta, more passing volume and a higher quality of targets. If you believe in the talent of Kyle Pitts, that math easily reads “Fantasy Football breakout” for 2024. Pitts has a top-five Fantasy upside and can be looked at as a sneaky TE1 overall candidate this year.

Brock Bowers, Raiders TE

Georgia has been 42-2 across the last four seasons in College Football, and Brock Bowers has been “The Guy” for them through the air in each of those seasons. Bowers totaled 175 receptions, 2,538 receiving yards, and 26 receiving touchdowns across those three seasons at Georgia. Massive production profile and is regarded by some as the best tight end prospect to date. Bowers won the John Mackey Award, given to the nation’s best tight end in both 2022 and 2023. Bowers profiles as having solid long-speed, a field stretcher, athletic build and traits, a high motor with high energy, yards after the catch upside, creativity paired with physicalness, elite ball skills, and great hands.

The Raiders surprised a lot of us by drafting Brock Bowers in 2024 with the 13th overall pick. Las Vegas selected Michael Mayers in the second round the year prior, who many thought would take a year two jump in production. Davante Adams led the Raiders last year with 175 targets, and Jakobi Meyers trailed Adams with 106 in 2023. The quarterback battle will be between sophomore Aidan O’Connell and Gardner Minshew. O’Connell threw 213/343 for 2,218 yards, 12 touchdowns, and seven interceptions last year as a rookie. Minshew stepped in for an injured Anthony Richardson in 2023 and threw 305/490 for 3,305 passing yards, 15 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. This is one of the weaker quarterback rooms in the NFL heading into 2024, but we can at least note both of these guys had flashes in 2023.

Adams should continue to operate as the #1 target for the Raiders, and it is hard to argue against that. I do believe Bowers steps in and commands the second-most targets as a rookie tight end. Even if Bowers does not have Patrick Mahomes throwing to him, we know and mentioned earlier that volume is king. The Raiders may be a team forced to throw the ball often in 2024 as a team that projects to struggle. Bowers is a player used to handling high-volume and making plays with the ball in his hands. Bowers’ versatility and athletic attributes can mean being deployed in several different ways. Levi Edwards of was quoted recently saying “Brock Bowers could be seen doing a little bit of everything Wednesday morning. The tight end lined up in multiple spots in a similar fashion to what he was accustomed to doing at Georgia, showcasing both his pass-catching and rushing abilities”. Bowers can instantly be a top 12 Fantasy tight end in 2024, and have a weekly Fantasy Football impact in lineups.

Jake Ferguson, Cowboys TE

Jake Ferguson was a breakout in 2023, and I actually was going to use him as my example when defining a breakout (above) but then I thought to myself “Wait… what if 2024 is an even bigger breakout for Ferg”. Ferguson had a massive jump in production from his rookie to sophomore seasons, going from 22 to 102 targets, 19 to 71 receptions, 174 to 761 receiving yards, and 3 to 10.4 Fantasy PPG. Having this big of a jump in 2023, Ferguson’s second NFL season, makes you wonder what he can do in year three. Especially seeing as though the Cowboys did not go and add any significant pass-catchers this off-season.

CeeDee Lamb had a massive 2023 season, not just for the Cowboys, but for the NFL as the year’s best wide receiver. Ferguson was the second option in Dallas and produced well in that role. Ferguson’s 102 targets ranked #7 at the TE position. His 71 receptions ranked #9, 761 receiving yards ranked #8, 425 yards after catch ranked #6, five touchdowns ranked #7, and 10.4 Fantasy PPG ranked #10. An interesting stat is that Ferguson led the position in red zone targets with 25, and only scored five touchdowns. Flashing red lights that touchdowns can certainly go up in 2024, leading to more Fantasy Football production.

Dak Prescott threw the ball 590 times in 2023, which ranked fourth for quarterbacks. The Cowboys did a mediocre job of building their backfield, which consists of the return home of Ezekiel Elliott and unproven backup Rico Dowdle. AKA – moving the sticks may need to be through the air even more in 2024. Dak also threw for 4,516 yards (#3 for QBs) and led the position with 36 passing touchdowns which shows upside in Dallas through the air. Knowing Ferguson will be tied to this volume and passing upside, with the potential to take a leap in touchdown production, could mean a major Fantasy Football season. It is spicy to say this now, but Ferg has top-five Fantasy potential in 2024 which would mean taking 2023’s “breakout” to a new level.

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