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Star TE Stays In State: Texans TE Dalton Schultz

Dalton Schultz may have left Big-D but he didn't go very far. @ReflipeWThenuz breaks down the former Cowboy and his new fit in Houston.

If you are a regular listener of the Dynasty Nerds podcast, you will know that the Nerds brass believes that the TE position is the best way to gain an advantage over the competition. To that end, finding production at a discounted price is always great. Houston Texans tight end Dalton Schultz falls nicely into that category. The former Dallas Cowboys star has found a new home in the Lone Star State and taken his talents across the state to Houston. In this article, we will examine his fit in the new system and his prospects in both the short and long term. Without further ado, let us discuss Schultz.

Background

Schultz came to the NFL after a relatively quiet career at the University of Stanford. He was a 4-star recruit, according to 247sports.com, where he was the TE4 in the national class. Schultz chose Stanford over a list of some heavy hitter schools, including Notre Dame, Arizona, Arizona State, and BYU. Despite being a heavily recruited player, coaches used him as much as a blocker as a pass-catcher during his time at Palo Alto. You can see his college stats below. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Receiving & Rushing Table
ReceivingRushingScrimmage
YearSchoolConfClassPosGRecYdsAvgTDAttYdsAvgTDPlaysYdsAvgTD
*2015StanfordPac-12SOTE101012112.110001012112.11
*2016StanfordPac-12JRTE12232229.71000232229.71
*2017StanfordPac-12SRTE11222129.63000222129.63
CareerStanford5555510.150005555510.15
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 6/14/2023.

Despite his relative light usage in college, Schultz was still recognized as a quality player on the national scene. Ahead of his senior season, he was named to the John Mackey Award Watch List, and that season garnered First-Team All-Pac-12. Clearly, he was a complete player who was an effective blocker and a pass-catcher. You can see some of his college highlights below. 

Athletic Profile

Following his graduation, Schultz decided to forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL draft. Heading to Indianapolis for the event, Schultz was seen as the next in a long line of quality Stanford TEs. He was effective in multiple facets of the game and didn’t have to come off the field, whether it was a rushing or passing play. Despite his pedigree, Schultz didn’t blow the world away with his athletic profile. In fact, he only tested above the 80th percentile in one category. You can find his combine metrics below.

Despite his lackluster measurables, Schultz impressed coaches with his intangibles and played in the drills. He did well enough that the Dallas Cowboys eventually selected him with a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft. 

NFL Career

The Dallas Cowboys have enjoyed a number of quality TEs throughout their franchise history. The Cowboys know how to use the position, from Mike Ditka to Jay Novacek, Jason Witten, and everyone in between. For the first two seasons of his career, Schultz had to bide his time to get on the field. He toiled away behind the likes of Blake Jarwin and Geoff Swaim. He even spent his sophomore season behind Witten, who returned from a short stint in the broadcasting booth. Despite not being on the field, Schultz was improving his craft. And when his time came, he grabbed it with both arms.

Entering his third season in Dallas, Schultz had locked down the TE2 job behind team favorite Blake Jarwin. However, an early season ACL injury to Jarwin opened the door to Schultz, and that, as they say, is history. Schultz was a revelation to the Cowboys team that had been searching for a long-term replacement for Witten for years. Nobody will ever confuse Schultz with Kyle Pitts or Mike Gesicki. Still, despite his athletic limitations, he is an effective playmaker who managed to put up multiple quality years in Dallas. You can find his career numbers below.

 
Receiving & Rushing Table
Games Receiving Rushing Total Yds
Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD 1D Lng R/G Y/G Ctch% Y/Tgt Att Yds TD 1D Lng Y/A Y/G A/G Touch Y/Tch YScm RRTD Fmb AV
201822DALTE8611717121169.706171.110.570.6%6.80129.7116001
201923DALTE861602166.0060.10.450.0%3.0016.06000
202024DALTE86161489636159.8433283.938.470.8%6.90639.8615415
202125DALTE8617151047880810.4843324.647.575.0%7.807810.4808807
202226DALTE861515895757710.1527303.838.564.0%6.505710.1577516
Career7551301211212210.117109322.828.370.1%7.0021110.1212217219

Fresh Start In Houston

Despite his impressive run with the Cowboys, Schultz and Dallas’s brass decided to part ways following his 2022 campaign on the franchise tag. Schultz didn’t have to look very far to find his next job as he stayed in Texas and moved on to the Houston Texans on a one-year $6.25 million contract. The length of his deal will mean that Schultz will be playing for his career in 2023. That will guarantee his best possible effort for his new squad. 

In Houston, Schultz is one of the most accomplished pass catchers on the roster. The team also brought in Robert Woods to help in the WR room, but he is well past his prime at age 31. Despite that fact, Woods and Schultz are the only players on the roster even to have 500 receiving yards in a single year. At just 27 years old, Schultz is in the prime of his career. 

Schultz also finds himself in the enviable position of playing with a rookie QB. Former Ohio State signal caller C.J. Stroud will take over the reign of the Texans this season following his selection at second overall in the NFL draft. We all know that a young QBs best friend is a TE who can get open in the middle of the field. Schultz should be in an excellent position to challenge for his career-best stats across the board in 2023. Despite his limited physical gifts, he can still make plays like the ones you see below. 

Price

Another nice feature of Schultz is his affordable price. Few players offer top 10 upside at their position at such an affordable cost. Add to that the fact that Schultz is only just entering his prime years as a TE, and you definitely have an interesting player. Looking through the most recent Dynasty Nerds ADP, you will find Schultz ranked as the TE17 overall! He finds himself behind numerous rookie and second-year TEs who are unproven at the NFL level. 

Expanding upon his ADP, when you search the Dynasty Nerds Trade Browser, you will find that the cheap price matches his ADP to acquire him. I found numerous deals that have gone down recently where Schultz is being exchanged for peanuts. You can see a few examples of such deals below. 

Final Thoughts

I personally believe that Schultz is one of the better values at the TE position heading into the 2023 season. He has a proven track record of production and success at the NFL level. He is entering his prime physical years on a team that lacks a true No. 1 option in the passing game. His rookie QB will likely target him as one of his first two looks on virtually every passing play. Add in his cheap price, and you have a great target for any manager’s roster. 

All of these positives do not mean there isn’t some risk involved. Whenever a player switches schemes, it leads to a situation where he may not fit into the system as well as in his previous spot. That shouldn’t be the case here as incoming OC Bobby Slowik will be bringing in a form of the Shanahan scheme that has made star TEs in virtually every destination it has been applied. That being said, one needs to look no further than Austin Hooper for a player not that dissimilar to Schultz. Hooper enjoyed great success in his first team, only to move on to a richer deal elsewhere before crashing and burning from a statistical perspective. 

In dynasty, there is a player for every taste. For me, Schultz is the perfect TE2 for your dynasty squads. If you punt the position in your startup or you are having trouble finding that young stud, he will also pass as an every-week starter, guaranteed not to give you a goose egg. Schultz should be a significant part of the passing game in Houston. Players are already common out and saying that Schultz is like a coach on the field. This means he is embracing his newfound leadership role on the offense. Perhaps Schultz will flourish under OC Bobby Slowik alongside rookie Stroud. If he does, he will be extremely valuable at his current ADP. Scoop him up where you can because, at that price, the juice is worth the squeeze. 

Thank you for reading this article! Please be sure to join the #Nerdherd, so you don’t miss out on any of the amazing things we have to offer @Dynastynerds.com. Use my promo code DynastyHolliday for a 15% off discount. You will get rankings, extra podcasts, and access to our rookie film room. For just a couple of bucks more you can get access to our revolutionary DynastyGM tool. So much for so little; why miss out on all the fun? Also, you absolutely must check out our new mock draft tool. Find it in your Apple & Android app stores. Follow me @ReflipeWThenuz for more dynasty content and other musings.

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