Finding Tight End Value Through Advanced Stats
My last article talked about how you can find values in your fantasy drafts through data by combining different metrics into one spreadsheet, ranking the players by those metrics, and then taking the averages of the combined rankings. The last article was about wide receiver, and with tight end, I'm using the same metrics, as their metrics line up similarly. The categories I chose were:
- Team Pass Plays Per Game
- Target Share %
- Targets Per Game
- Receptions Per Game
- Receiving Yards Per Game
- Yards Per Reception
- Yards Per Target
- Yards Per Route Run
- Completed Air Yards Per Target
Missing from this list are stats like: Fantasy points per game, fantasy points per target, fantasy points per route run, etc. The reason I did not include these is because they include points for touchdowns. Obviously touchdowns are important and should never be ignored, but they are also fluky and can vary drastically year to year.
Below is the full list of the top 25 ranked tight ends from those categories. The blue column represents the average over these 8 categories.
I'll touch on three players based on their ADP pulled from FantasyData, Tyler Higbee, Zach Ertz and Noah Fant.
TYLER HIGBEE Over his last five games played, no tight end was better than Higbee, not even close. Zach Ertz was 2nd with 87 points scored....20 points (4 points per game) less than Higbee's 107. Goff really developed a connection with Higbee down the stretch, and with Cooks now shipped out of town, the concentration of targets just became more focused. With an ADP of TE16, Higbee is likely the biggest value at the position in 2020.
ZACH ERTZ: I like to think of Ertz as the Jarvis Landry of tight ends. He relies heavily on volume and lacks elite efficiency. I still love Zach Ertz, don't get me wrong, but over the past two seasons he has benefited from wide receiver injuries focusing the target volume his way. If all Philly wide receivers can stay healthy and if incoming rookie Jalen Reagor becomes a threat out of the slot, Ertz volume could take a hit which would drop him from elite tight end consideration. With an ADP of TE3, this might be the year to shift off of Ertz and take another quality tight end later.
NOAH FANT: Fant looked good as a rookie. His big play ability is easy to see. However he is still playing with an unproven quarterback and has seen his competition landscape expand around him. The Broncos selected two wide receivers in the first two rounds, Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler. Add those to stud wideout Courtland Sutton and newly acquired running back Melvin Gordon who is a good receiving back and you have a target squeeze on your hands. Noah Fant still has big play ability, but it's hard to see consistency from him and with an ADP of TE10, it feels like you're drafting his ceiling.
You can create similar spreadsheets using any metrics you want based on what you find important with your fantasy players and league scoring settings. Give it a try, you might be surprised what you find.
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