NFL News & Analysis

Ranking the NFL's top 10 most valuable tight ends of the 2023 season

2T6Y2EA San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) laughs on the sideline during the first half of a NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, November 12, 2023 in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Menendez)

George Kittle leads the way: The San Francisco 49ers standout’s success as a run-blocker and receiver vaults him into the top spot.

Two rookies crack the top 10: Sam LaPorta and Dalton Kincaid have made an impression early in their careers.

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Tight end is a position in transition across the NFL, and heading into this year, it seemed like there was a real lack of talent below the elite level.

We’ve seen rookies make an immediate impact in 2023, though, along with some second- and third-year players stepping up. Here are the most valuable tight ends in the NFL through 12 weeks.

1. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

Wins above replacement: 0.53

Kittle's 87.3 PFF grade leads all players at the position through 12 weeks. He’s on track for a sixth straight 85.0-plus receiving grade, while his 78.5 PFF run-blocking grade would be a career-high.

2. T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

Wins above replacement: 0.49

A huge part of the Vikings' passing offense since his arrival ahead of the trade deadline in 2022, Hockenson's 82.6 receiving grade trails that of only Kittle and Travis Kelce. He has forced six missed tackles on 80 receptions through 12 weeks.

3. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

Wins above replacement: 0.44

Kelce's 88.2 receiving grade leads all tight ends, while his 2.26 yards per route run also ranks first. Kelce is on track to record his eighth consecutive 85.0-plus receiving grade. 

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4. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

Wins above replacement: 0.42

Likely done for the year, Andrews' high ranking here highlights just how big a loss he is for the Ravens. Despite playing in just 10 games this season, his six receiving touchdowns lead all tight ends at this point in the season.

4. Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears

Wins above replacement: 0.42

Quietly having his best season as a pro in his fourth year out of Notre Dame, Kmet is averaging a career-high 1.49 yards per route run. He has yet to drop a pass from 56 catchable targets.

6. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

Wins above replacement: 0.38

Goedert could soon return to the Eagles lineup after the injury he suffered against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9. He’s currently on track for a career-low 1.34 yards per route run, but he has still been an important part of the Eagles' offense.

7. Jake Ferguson, Dallas Cowboys

Wins above replacement: 0.34

One of the breakout players at the position in 2023, the second-year tight end out of Wisconsin has already doubled his 2022 yardage and has forced eight missed tackles on 40 receptions.

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8. Dalton Schultz, Houston Texans

Wins above replacement: 0.33

Schultz moved across the state from the Cowboys to the Texans this offseason but has maintained his level of production with his new team. He’s averaging 1.44 yards per route run, 0.01 yards more than a year ago.

8. Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills

Wins above replacement: 0.33

The 26th overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft has seen his production increase as the season has gone on. After topping 40 receiving yards just once in the opening five games of the year, he has been below that mark just once since.

8. Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions

Wins above replacement: 0.33

Another standout rookie, LaPorta ranks seventh at the position with an average of 1.56 yards per route run in 2023. He has forced six missed tackles on 55 receptions through 11 games of his career.


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