Conventional wisdom for almost all of my career in the Fantasy Football industry has been that rookie tight ends should be avoided in Fantasy Football, but that has started to shift. A big change in the landscape came in 2021 when the Falcons took Pitts fourth overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Redraft managers pushed Pitts into the first five rounds in all formats, while some Dynasty managers took him first over all. While those managers may regret that choice now, in fairness to them Pitts was arguably the best tight end prospect ever, though that may be challenged this year.

Last year further clouded the picture, with Sam LaPorta outscoring every other rookie in his rookie season, while Dalton Kincaid also finished as a top-12 option. It's quite possible LaPorta killed the rookie tight end aversion altogether. One thing is for sure, there is a tight end in this class who is going to test it.

1. Brock Bowers, Georgia

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 243 pounds

40-yard dash: 4.53 seconds

I used the term 'arguable' when calling Pitts the best tight end prospect ever and I would use the term with Bowers. If nothing else, he is in the conversation. As an 18-year-old freshman, Bowers caught 56 passes for 882 yards and 13, all three of those led all Georgia pass catchers. The rarity of a freshman tight end dominating receiving production across the board like that should not be overlooked. Neither should the fact that he rushed 19 times for 193 yards and five touchdowns, he's that kind of athlete.

The upside for Bowers is that he is the best tight end in both the NFL and Fantasy Football. He has the size, speed, skill, and athleticism to be just that good. In rookie drafts, he's in the conversation as soon as Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, and Rome Odunze have been taken, if not sooner.

2. Theo Johnson, Penn State

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 259 pounds

40-yard dash: 4.57 seconds

Don't let Johnson's proximity to Bowers fool you, there is no comparison. Bowers is the only tight end worthy of a Round 1 pick in the NFL Draft and may be the only tight end worthy of a pick in the first two rounds of a Dynasty Fantasy Football rookie draft. Johnson produced 938 yards and 12 touchdowns in four years at Penn State, the production profile isn't in the same ballpark. But when evaluating rookie tight ends, there is something that matters at least as much as production, athleticism. And Johnson has no shortage of that.

Johnson's 9.9 Relative Athletic Score is the second highest mark ever for a rookie tight end, out of 1,150 tight ends since 1987. That type of size and athleticism doesn't not guarantee Fantasy success, but it does give a player elite upside if they hit. If he gets Day 2 draft capital, Johnson could sneak into the second round of rookie drafts, especially if he lands somewhere like the Chargers. The downside is that he could be a part-time player early in his career and that role can be tough to shake.

3. Ben Sinnott, Kansas State

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 250 pounds

40-yard dash: 4.68 seconds

There are a lot of smart people who have Sinnott at TE2 in this class and if the NFL agrees I probably will too. He's two years younger than Johnson at just 21 years old and his best year of production is considerably better. Last year Sinnott caught 49 passes for 676 yards and six touchdowns. What makes those numbers even better is that the receptions were the second-bet mark on the team while he led the Wildcats in both receiving yards and touchdowns. Sinnott is also a very good athlete, even if not quite as impressive as Johnson. While good draft capital could move him up in my rankings it seems more likely he's a Day 3 pick you can find in Round 3 of rookie drafts, which could make him a Fantasy steal. He has low-end TE1 upside, just probably not in Year 1.

4. Ja'Tavion Sanders, Texas

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 245 pounds

40-yard dash: 4.69 seconds

Sanders didn't lead his team in receiving production, not even close, but you should maybe forgive him for that since he played alongside Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell, who may both be Round 1 picks in the NFL Draft. Even under those less-than-ideal circumstances he caught 45 passes for 682 yards as a 20-year-old, so there is plenty of reason to get excited. Sanders is a better pass catcher than blocker and a better athlete than technician. That leads to a wide range in potential outcomes. It's possible some team falls in love and takes him early and thrusts him into a prominent role in the passing game. If that happens, he could vault to TE2 in this class in a hurry. I do wish he had scored more than seven touchdowns in 39 college games.

5. Cade Stover, Ohio State

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 247 pounds

40-yard dash: 4.65 seconds

There is a more clear path to TE2 for Johnson, Sinnott, and Sanders than there is for Stover, but that doesn't mean he can't get there. He'll turn 24 years old in June, didn't have a 600-yard season in college, and isn't one of the top athletes in this class. He still has some development to do as a pass catcher and that is tougher to project at his advanced age. If everything goes right for Stover I could still see him as TE3 in this class and a borderline TE1 in Fantasy Football. 

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Erick All
Jared Wiley
Dallin Holker
A.J. Barner
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