You Too Can Have An Amazing Tight End… Score In DFS Fantasy Football
Jake Ciely (@allinkid) of DailyRoto.com continues his offseason DFS Strategy articles for Fantasy Football. This week, he explains just how important the tight end position is and how easily you can put up big scores each week.
As we continue our offseason look at strategies to help you win at DFS Football, we're going to touch on tight ends this week. Hey! Stop. Get your mind out of the gutter. This week is going to be a bit simpler than the others are. Why? Well, you'll see, as tight ends involve easier planning thanks to one key stat.
If you missed the previous pieces, just click away!
I said this wouldn't be as intense as the other pieces, so let's get right into the biggest reason behind tight end DFS selection being simple: touchdowns. Quarterbacks are weighted heavily towards touchdown production with fewer points per yard than running backs, receivers and tight ends, but tight ends are the most touchdown-reliant of all positions.
How touchdown-reliant? Well, I'm glad you asked. Before we get into that, let me explain how I analyzed the tight ends.
It's DFS Football; we don't care about seasonal totals. We care about weekly performances. In those weekly performances, it's not accurate to say, "___ points equal a TE1 performance." If you simply took the average, you would look at those season long totals and assume anyone who finished above TE13 (Dwayne Allen) would have been a TE1 on average. Yes, on average, but again, we don't want a yearly average, and Allen himself represents the problem. While Allen was the 13th best tight end, he actually ranked ninth in FPPG due to missed games. Even if we look at FPPG and said whoever finished above TE13 would usually be a TE1, we'd still be off. James Casey (and his three games) was TE13 in FPPG at 6.0. Yet, we know that some weeks, whether due to byes, injuries, matchups, etc., 10 points might not be enough to reach TE1 value, but other weeks just getting six points could do the trick.
That's why I went through all 17 weeks and pulled the Top 12 tight ends. I have 204 data points, which gives us a true picture of how many times a tight end was truly a TE1 for you. Not surprisingly, Rob Gronkowski leads the way with 13 weeks of TE1 value. Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham and Travis Kelce check in with nine each and so on. The actually average score is way higher than Casey and even Allen's 7.3 mark. The average score for a TE1 was 11.2. Whoa. Last year, only Gronk had a higher per game average at 12.3. Julius Thomas was second at 10.1. Quite a difference between seasonal totals and weekly performances, huh?
Now, let's get back to the touchdowns. Of all 204 TE1 performances, only 45 came without a touchdown. That means 78 percent of the time, a TE1 scored in any given week. If that doesn't tell you how important touchdowns are to Fantasy Football tight end performance, I don't know what will.
Of all 204 TE1 performances, only 45 came without a touchdown.
The average yardage for TE1 performances was just 56.0 yards. For reference, 37 receivers and tight ends averaged more than 56 yards per game. Getting 56 yards is not something to get excited about… well, especially when you consider it's only 5.6 Fantasy points and not going to help you win much in DFS Football.
(Side note: yes, all of the stats, PPG, etc. are Yahoo! based scoring before PPR points are added in. It's to avoid differences in scoring between sites and give a clearer picture of touchdowns to yardage production.)
Think of it this way too: a player only needs to catch a one-yard touchdown to outscore that yardage average by 0.5 points. There were actually 14 TE1 performances that involved a touchdown and 10 receiving yards or less! Coincidentally, there were just 14 instances of TE1 performances hitting double digits without scoring a touchdown.
It's obvious that touchdowns drive Fantasy Football tight end performance in DFS… well, in any format really. So how do you attack the position each week? Honestly, you have to be willing to invest.
There were actually 14 TE1 performances that involved a touchdown and 10 receiving yards or less!
Of tight ends with eight-plus TE1 performances, the average TE1 hit rate was 60.4 percent. These tight ends include Gronk, Gates, Graham, Kelce, Allen, Greg Olsen and Jason Witten. If we include Julius Thomas because he played just 12 games, we're still at 60.2 since he had 7-of-12 TE1 weeks. Notice there are no Heath Miller, Charles Clay, Mychal Rivera or Jared Cook types there. Some of you may be thinking, "But Jake, you kind of made the argument that you could change dirt cheap options and just hope to get a touchdown." Sure, that's a tactic if you are going to punt tight end, but do you want to roll the dice on a Brandon Bostick, Chase Coffman, Jim Dray, Matt Spaeth, Michael Palmer or Rhett Ellison (all with a TE1 week thanks to a touchdown)? On top of that, the main point was that you want to go big at tight end; otherwise, you have no shot at winning a million this year. You don't need 6.7 points from your tight end, you need mid-teens or better. Those eight tight ends above averaged 14.0 points when they scored (before PPR points), and that's just an average. Just imagine what you can do if you up your odds by picking from that group and playing the matchups..
Of tight ends with eight-plus TE1 performances, the average TE1 hit rate was 60.4 percent.
That's the last point. How do you find these tight ends scoring touchdowns? It's actually not that hard. You can look at touchdowns allowed to tight ends and FPPG allowed on most any site, but you should also use Football Outsiders, as they break down DVOA by position. You can see just how effective defenses are at stopping opposing tight ends, which takes out the variance of facing Gronk one week instead of someone like Jeff Cumberland.
When you start building lineups for 2015, saving your tight end spot for last and whatever you can afford is not the best strategy. In fact, based on the numbers, you should make your tight end a priority. If you can afford Gronkowski every week, well, you can see just how much of a leg up he gives… even though you don't have to default to just him. Using a few select stud options, adding in matchup analysis and offensive efficiency will have you raking in the big point at tight end every week.
Image via Getty
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