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Fantasy Football: Top tight end breakout candidates, including Chigoziem Okonkwo

2M9JK5R Tennessee Titans tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo in action during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Chigoziem Okonkwo’s rookie season puts him in rare company: Dominant underlying metrics and an elusive 80.0-plus receiving grade as a rookie tight end create high expectations for 2023.

Denver Broncos tight end Greg Dulcich looks to stay hot: After a productive stretch as a rookie, Dulcich will look to remain the Broncos' top tight end amid added competition in 2023.

The elusive Year 5 breakout: Irv Smith has been an unreliable fantasy asset thus far in his career, but can a fresh start with the Cincinnati Bengals allow him to finally break out this season?

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Each season, players take their game to new levels and significantly improve their fantasy production along the way. The tight end position can often be frustrating for fantasy football purposes, but patience and knowing what to look for can go a long way in finding the next great asset when building out your roster.

Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans

Perhaps the most interesting tight end heading into this season, Okonkwo — after some truly remarkable numbers as a rookie, albeit on a smaller sample size — has top-12 potential for his position for 2023. He is one of just six rookie tight ends who averaged 2.00 or more yards per route run in Year 1, joining elite company from a fantasy perspective. Each tight end in the tweet below, with the exception of Kyle Pitts, who has just two seasons of NFL experience, went on to post at least two top-12 fantasy PPR finishes in their careers. And, obviously, there are some with a lot more.

For Okonkwo, that 100% TE1 success rate is key heading into Year 2 after he made the most of his rookie opportunities, finishing third among all eligible receivers in the league in yards per route run (2.61) while also ceding receiving snaps to Austin Hooper. With Hooper out of the picture, there are snaps and targets on the table for a very good Okonkwo to snag this coming season, and potentially beyond. He also posted an impressive 84.6 receiving grade, making him one of just seven rookie tight ends since 2010 to hit the 80.0 receiving grade mark (minimum 150 routes run). Of those six that hit the mark prior to him, five (83.3%) posted at least one TE1 PPR finish in their career.


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