There were a number of teams that fantasy analysts expected to be buyers in the deep tight end class during the 2023 NFL Draft. The Bengals, Chargers, Cowboys, Lions, Packers, and Raiders immediately came to mind as the most TE-needy squads. However, what most did not see coming was the Bills trading up (leap-frogging the Cowboys) to select Dalton Kincaid out of Utah as the first tight end off the board.
Kincaid profiles as an athletic tight end who should make an immediate impact in the Bills’ elite offense. He’s been compared to Zach Ertz, who’s been a nightmare matchup for opposing defenses throughout his career. What’s most encouraging for Kincaid’s fantasy stock is being tied to one of the best young quarterbacks in the game, Josh Allen. Injected into an elite offense right away will do wonders for Kincaid’s stock, along with the fact that Buffalo still does not have a reliable WR2 in place (sorry, Gabe truthers).
One intriguing element about the Kincaid selection is his ability to play out of the slot at 6’4″ and 246 lbs — similar to how the Chiefs deploy Travis Kelce. After the team added Kincaid, Bills general manager Brandon Beane compared the rookie’s game to the Bills’ former slot guy, Cole Beasley, even though the rookie tight end towers over the veteran slot receiver.
“This guy’s got great feel, great instinct,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said. “You guys saw it from a different position, Cole Beasley, great feel. This guy, in a different body type, does that.”
“I would say the No. 1 thing about him — elite hands, great route runner, separation ability at the top of the route.”
NFL Network’s Albert Breer echoed Beane’s statement:
While there are positives to this situation, we’d be stupid to ignore the red flags of this situation. First off, the Bills re-signed Dawson Knox to a four-year deal last offseason. Although he has a potential out in his contract in 2025, Knox is guaranteed a roster spot for two years. Regardless, Knox was a Pro Bowler last year (not sure how much weight that carries anymore) and despite not living up to his lofty expectations, still finished with a 48-517-6 stat line.
But, as noted above, it’s possible for both tight ends to play together due to their opposing skill sets.
“’12’ personnel is going to open up a lot of doors for the offense. . . . We want them in nickel if we want to run and if we bring in two tight ends, sometimes they will have to bring in a base linebacker,” Knox told reporters. “That will start to expose some mismatches. It’s going to be really fun.”
The other slightly concerning part for Kincaid would be his age. As a rookie, he’s already 23 years old and will be 24 by roughly Week 4 of the season. This doesn’t carry much weight in redraft leagues, but in dynasty, that could be a factor compared to the 21-year-old Michael Mayer.
Overall, Kincaid profiles as the top rookie tight end and currently sits at 10th overall in The Wolf’s 2023 Rookie Rankings. Being a part of that Bills offense offers too much upside to ignore for a tight end who leans more towards a Kelce or Ertz receiving type than an every-down in-line tight end who will be tasked with a lot of blocking. The Wolf also ranks Kincaid as a fantasy TE1 at No. 12 overall on his 2023 Fantasy Rankings.
WHAT THE EXPERT SAYS
“With his basketball background, Kincaid has fluid movement skills and flashes the short-area quickness
to open stride and accelerate in and out of his breaks. He is a natural ball winner and shows confidence in his hands, doing most of his damage when catching the ball on the move (remarkable 35-to-4 touchdown-to-drop ratio in college). Overall, Kincaid is still developing his play strength and consistency as a blocker, but he is an above-average pass catcher with the burst, body control and ball skills to be a weapon in the slot. He projects as a playmaking “move” tight end in the NFL,” wrote Dane Brugler.