The second installment of my ADP analysis series will focus on the tight end position. Again, courtesy of the RotoViz Best Ball App, we will take a look at some Average Draft Position (ADP) numbers from the past few weeks to give us a pulse of the fantasy football community. Let’s see what sticks out at the tight end position.
MFL10 Tight End ADP
Again, because of their popularity, MFL10’s (a “best ball” league that is hosted by MyFantasyLeague) give us a really nice sample size for ADP in PPR leagues. The tight end trends, without further ado:
|Gronkowski, Rob NEP
|Kelce, Travis KCC
|Reed, Jordan WAS
|Olsen, Greg CAR
|Graham, Jimmy SEA
|Eifert, Tyler CIN
|Rudolph, Kyle MIN
|Henry, Hunter LAC
|Walker, Delanie TEN
|Bennett, Martellus GBP
|Ertz, Zach PHI
|Ebron, Eric DET
|Doyle, Jack IND
|Fleener, Coby NOS
|Howard, O.J. TBB
|Hooper, Austin ATL
|Thomas, Julius MIA
|Witten, Jason DAL
|Njoku, David CLE
|Fiedorowicz, C.J. HOU
|Brate, Cameron TBB
|Engram, Evan NYG
|James, Jesse PIT
|Cook, Jared OAK
|Gates, Antonio LAC
- Unsurprisingly, Gronk is at the top of this list. I don’t need to go into the details of his injury risk – you already know that. But I will point out that before last season, he had played in 15 games in both 2014 and 2015, averaging 17.4 fantasy points per game over those two years. For context, last year’s overall WR5, TY Hilton, averaged 17 FPPG. His ADP is in the late second round, and you’re getting an elite WR1 at your TE spot for as many games as he is healthy. You can handcuff him with Dwayne Allen if it helps you sleep at night.
- Travis Kelce exploded toward the end of last year. Is he worth his 3rd round ADP? I believe the answer lies in how effectively Tyreek Hill replaces Jeremy Maclin. Here’s show Kelce played in 2016 with Maclin off the field.
As you can see, Kelce took on the alpha-dog role in the passing offense without Maclin, increasing his target and yardage pace by about 50%. If that trend continues, he is worth his ADP. Also worth mentioning? Kelce hasn’t missed a game in three seasons.
- Jordan Reed is simply a lesser version of Gronk: can he stay healthy? Reed has never played more than 14 games in a season. He’s just one year removed from averaging 17.7 PPG as a league-winning TE. As far and away the most experienced pass catcher in Washington, he will be the focal point of an electric passing offense as long as he’s on the field.
- Left for dead by the fantasy community after a devastating patellar tendon tear, Jimmy Graham finished as the TE4 last year and played all 16 games. With plenty of uncertainty in the backfield, a healthy Russell Wilson, and no real added competition in the pass-catching corps, Graham should be the second option in the passing game behind Doug Baldwin and the red-zone focal point. He makes for a fine selection in the late 6th round – we’ve seen what he’s capable of.
- Kyle Rudolph’s 2016: Overall TE2, TE3 by PPG, 1st in TE Targets, tied for 3rd in TE receptions, 4th in TE yards, tied for 2nd in TE TDs… and a TE7 ADP in the 8th round? Yes, please. Rudolph is a monster in the red-zone and a chain mover – Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Rudolph are going to be the focal points of this underrated quick-hitting passing offense.
- Tied for 1st in TE TDs last year? Hunter Henry. A rare rookie TE success story, his ADP is probably getting out of hand. He will be a fantastic fantasy TE… but there are issues with his potential value this upcoming season. With Antonio Gates not going anywhere and Keenan Allen healthy, Henry’s PPR floor and ceiling are both pretty low. It will be difficult for Henry to maintain the same touchdown rate and there’s a lot of mouths to feed in Los Angeles. We are likely a year early on Henry, and I’d rather have Rudolph in the same round or Ebron, Jack Doyle or Austin Hooper later on.
- Zach Ertz is in a suddenly crowded pass-catching situation in Philadelphia, but one that is riddled with question marks. Can Alshon Jeffery stay healthy? Does Jordan Matthews remain a trusted target? Can Torrey Smith take the lid off defenses anymore? It seems like as the offense stagnates or injuries add up toward the end of the season, the Eagles focus on feeding Ertz with simply insane results. It isn’t beyond the realm of possibilities that Ertz becomes the second option on this offense, so at TE11 he’s probably worth the risk. Take a look at his splits comparing Weeks 14-17 to all other games over the past three seasons:
- Eric Ebron is my favorite value TE pick this year. His efficiency and volume have increased every year in the league and he’s still just 24 years old. My esteemed colleague Mike Braude wrote an in-depth analysis on him, so I will refer you to that for more information.
- Indianapolis had enough confidence in Jack Doyle to trade away Dwayne Allen. He should be close to an every-down player in an offense lacking any consistency from anyone not named TY Hilton. An unathletic but savvy chain-mover and red-zone target, he won’t win you many weeks but has a reasonable floor.
- I like Austin Hooper a lot as an arbitrage play to Hunter Henry. He’s similar as an elite 2nd-year prospect in a crowded but elite passing offense, although Hooper is drafted, on average, three rounds later. Hooper will not bring consistency in an offense with playmakers Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Taylor Gabriel and Mohamed Sanu but the Falcons did lead the league in scoring in 2016, meaning there will be touchdowns to go around.
- Count me out of the rookie TEs this year. OJ Howard has way too much target competition, including Cameron Brate who tied for the lead in touchdowns out of tight ends last year. David Njoku has plenty of target competition himself but lacks solid quarterback play and offseason puff-piece star Seth DeValve is receiving plenty of hype. Evan Engram would be lucky to see the 4th-most targets in an offense featuring Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard.
- CJ Fiedorowicz was sneaky good last year, registering a top-10 finish in targets at the TE position and somehow being a useful fantasy asset in an offense commanded by Brock Osweiler. DeAndre Hopkins will obviously lead this team in targets, but Fiedorowicz will likely battle Will Fuller to be the second fiddle.