With the all-important Week 3 preseason games underway, now is crunch time in terms of your Fantasy draft preparation. Can you believe that we are inside of two weeks before things get going for real?
Our examination of the skill position ADPs concludes today as we perform some tight end ADP analysis. Previously, we showed you three mispriced pairs of quarterbacks, wide receivers, and running backs.
As a refresher, we have been comparing ADPs to consensus projections, both courtesy of Fantasy Pros, and ensuring that there is appropriate alignment. In a few cases there have been mispricings, which is great since it creates an opportunity.
As you will see with our tight end ADP analysis, in a some cases, a pair of players has an incorrect ADP gap given their respective projections. The ADP deviation could be a result of the media, history, or even emotion. Often, extreme events are rewarded and consistency is shunned. This results in undervaluing the boring and stable Fantasy players. Everyone wants to get rich quick and impatience takes over.
As we have with our earlier mispriced pairs, we will be using standard scoring rules.
Tight End ADP Analysis: Mispriced Pairs
Regression versus The Old Guy
Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
Eifert had a breakout campaign last year as he finished with the sixth most Fantasy points among tight ends; however, it does not seem that it will be replicated in 2016. The majority (78 of 139.5) of his Fantasy points came from his impressive touchdown total of 13. This was due to his incredible red zone efficiency where he caught 12 of his 16 targets, including 11 touchdowns. To put that into perspective, Eifert’s red zone targets ranked 32nd in the NFL, while he had the 11th most red zone catches and second highest red zone touchdown number. Touchdowns are always more volatile than yardage, so be careful drawing a trend line off Eifert’s 2015 total.
Gates continues to find a way to be productive despite his advanced age. Last year, despite playing in two fewer games than Eifert, Gates saw 11 more targets, had four more catches, and 15 more receiving yards. As we look towards 2016, the departure of Ladarius Green and his 63 targets should result in even more targets going to Gates, even with the addition of rookie and second round pick Hunter Henry.
After you factor in the likely touchdown regression for Eifert and the fact that he is dealing with an ankle injury, it is a head scratcher why he is being drafted over 30 spots in front of Gates. The consensus projection total comparison also leans in Gates’ favor, further complicating the matter. Do not buy the outlier event, pass on Eifert and wait to scoop up Gates later on.
Brittle versus Consistency
Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
Thomas had a decent campaign last year, his first with the Jags. However, he once again failed to play a full slate of games, as his knack for getting injured struck again. There has been plenty of talk about regression hitting the Jags offense this year, especially with respect to their passing game, as they consistently played from behind in 2015. For what it is worth, on paper they looked to have upgraded both their defense and running game, so both factors point towards a lower number of throwing attempts to all their pass catchers this year.
What Witten accomplished in 2015 is what we have come to expect year in and year out. Last year was the 12th consecutive year that he played a full 16 games and had at least 89 targets, 64 catches, and 700 receiving yards. To say he has been consistent would be a gross understatement. Let’s also not forget that Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo only played in four games in 2015. Witten should benefit from Romo’s return (assuming his latest back injury is nothing), as he will no longer have to catch passes from the likes of Matt Cassel, Kellen Moore, and Brandon Weeden this year.
This one is too close to call, and the consensus forecasts agree, as Witten only holds a slight Fantasy point advantage over Thomas. It makes no sense why Witten is being drafted nearly 40 picks after Thomas, especially when you consider the likelihood of Thomas not suiting up for 16 games. All things considered, it is a near toss up who outpoints who in 2016, which actually makes this decision a simple one. All you have to do is be patient and pick up the cheaper tight end option from the Big D.
Injured and New Number Ones
Ladarius Green, Pittsburgh Steelers
Zach Miller, Chicago Bears
Green, who is finally out of San Diego and Antonio Gates’ shadow, was looking to get things rolling in Pittsburgh in 2016. However, an ankle issue and possibly a head injury have left his 2016 start date in doubt. All of this risk and uncertainty should be lowering the price of Green, yet Fantasy owners are more than happy drafting Green well within the Top 150 players, although his ADP has been dropping of late.
Miller is currently the undisputed number one tight end in Chicago now that Martellus Bennett is in New England. Last year, Miller performed admirably, especially when you consider that he was the starting tight end in only four games. In fact, over his final three games last year, Miller averaged six catches and 70 yards per game. Miller has an injury concern of his own; however, he has been cleared to practice, so his concussion doesn’t look like it will keep him out much longer.
Fantasy owners currently have the ADP gap at roughly 40 spots, in Green’s favor, despite Miller having a double digit Fantasy point advantage. Do not follow the herd, just understand that these two assets are not that different. Let someone else overdraft Green, just hang around and snag a little value with Miller a few rounds later.
Our tight end ADP analysis shows that sometimes an ADP gap should be eliminated or even partially reversed. Just because the majority of Fantasy owners out there are incorrectly drafting certain players does not mean that you should too. A good rule to follow is that if two assets have the same expected production, then those two assets should have the same price. I hope you enjoyed our Mispriced Pairs series, but be sure to stay with SCFE and all of the in-depth Fantasy coverage.
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Data courtesy of www.fantasypros.com and Yahoo Fantasy Football.
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