The legal tampering period always announces the beginning of the new NFL league year, and then as the clock strikes 2:00 pm on March 15, free agency opens in a flurry. Teams rush to sign their new players and announce them to the world. In the ensuing chaos, both interested fans of the NFL and excitable partakers of the great game of fantasy football speculate as to how those new players will impact their favorite teams and their fantasy rosters. So let's dive into the tight-end group that signed deals so far in free agency and see what kind of impact they'll have!
Hayden Hurst, Carolina Panthers
I'm not sure where people expected Hurst's market to be following a year that he only put up 439 yards and 2 touchdowns in one of the best passing offenses in the league, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that most people probably didn't have him receiving the top contract in this tight end class from a guaranteed dollar standpoint. Hurst signed a three-year, $21.75 million contract with $13 million guaranteed to be the starting tight end for the Panthers, who right now have Adam Thielen, D.J. Chark, and Terrace Marshall Jr as their top three receiving options, so it is fair to say that Hurst could see more receiving work than he did with either the Bengals or the Ravens.
2023 Fantasy Football Prediction: Middling TE2, with some streaming value dependent on the matchup. Waiver wire pick up only.
Josh Oliver, Minnesota Vikings
Tally this up as another contract that absolutely nobody saw coming! Oliver signed a three-year, $21 million deal with $10.7 million guaranteed to back up T.J. Hockenson. Still, it is clear that Minnesota has a designed role for Oliver blocking in the running and passing game for the Vikings. This deal is much more about his proficiency with that part of the game rather than his pass-catching ability since, after Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn, and Hockenson, there won't be many passes left over for Oliver to catch.
2023 Fantasy Football Prediction: TE3 at best. Not a player you want in fantasy, don't bother picking him up unless something happens to Hockenson.
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