Top Ten Takeaways From Week 8: The TE Opportunity and Efficiency Report

robgronkowski

The idea of these reports is to leverage the fantastic Fantasy Efficiency App to give us some sense as to which players are producing more (or fewer) fantasy points than expected based on their usage. Here’s a brief primer:

Using the line of scrimmage it’s possible to estimate what an average player would do with a target based on the field position, and we can measure every target versus that average. reFPOE is the number of fantasy points a player had above the expected average. reFPOEPT is reFPOE on a per target basis.

Here the top ten takeaways from Week 8’s action:

– For the third time in eight weeks, Josh Hill led all TEs in reFPOEPT, and another one of those weeks he was on a bye. I know it’s late in the season, but if anyone has an open spot in their reFPOEPT-only league, please let me know.

– Speaking of reFPOEPT, remembering that it’s a measure of how many points above expectation a player scored on a per target basis, we can use it to further examine Rob Gronkowski’s dominance. Let’s start with the fact that Gronk was second for the week in expected points, meaning if he had performed with merely average efficiency, he would have had a very nice day. Now consider that his reFPOEPT on Sunday was 2.62 on 9 targets. Here are the target totals for the other six TEs who recorded an reFPOEPT over 2.0 in Week 8: 11, 2, 1, 1, 2, 2. Thank God we have these advanced analytical measures to tell us that Gronk is good, because, you know, it’s not super obvious when you watch the games.

– I disparaged Delanie Walker a little bit last week, calling him a sell if you could get value commensurate with his year to date production. I’m not totally ready to back off of that, but for one week, at least, Walker made me look dumb. Among TEs he was tied for first in targets, fourth in target market share, third in expected points, and performed slightly above expectation with reFPOEPT of 0.03. To be fair, part of my argument referenced Charlie Whitehurst, and was posted before Zach Mettenberger was announced as the starter. I should have known that this guy would provide the professional competency that was needed for the Titans offense to thrive. But in all seriousness, the switch to Mettenberger may be a boon for Walker, as Sunday was the first time since Week 2 that he’s finished in even the top five in expected points. Through weeks 1-7, Walker had been posting consistently high reFPOEs, but his reFPOEPT had, for the most part, been steadily declining each week. Sunday was only one game, but if he continues to post expected points numbers around 9 then there’s actually little reason to expect a decline in production.

– Since I took it on the chin with Walker, let me take a moment to pat myself on the back about Martellus Bennett, whom I called a “hold” going into last week despite his slump. Bennett broke out again on Sunday, receiving a top ten workload and exceeding expectation by a greater margin than any TE not named Rob Gronkowski. He also made this ridonkulous catch for a touchdown, which, and this is just my opinion, should have been worth 7 points instead of 6. Full speed ahead.

Jimmy Graham is finally starting to look healthy. He received only 6 targets but posted an impressive reFPOEPT of 1.13. Expect that target number to climb back up in the coming weeks.

– Three TEs tied for the most targets of the week with 9. I’ve already mentioned the first two: Gronk and Delanie Walker. Can you guess the third one? I’ll give you like, 11 guesses. No peeking! If you guessed Mychal Rivera…then you either fanatically pore over target data, are a Raiders fan, are a Browns fan, or lost some sort of twisted bet and as a result were forced to watch those two teams play on Sunday. In any of those scenarios, you need to SERIOUSLY reconsider your life choices. But you’re right. Rivera had 9 targets, was fifth in expected points, and even performed above expectation with an reFPOEPT of 0.3. I haven’t mentioned Rivera in this space all year, and for good reason: he hasn’t received a top 20 workload and Sunday was only the second time all year he has performed above expectation (the other time he did so, it was on 1 target). I’m mentioning all of this for two reasons: 1. Just to give to give Rivera a little tip of the cap for a nice week and 2. With six teams on a bye in Week 9, I could see someone who’s desperate for a TE streamer looking at the box score and concluding that Rivera is a nice option. Don’t be one of those people.

– Austin Seferian-Jenkins had his best week of the season2 both from a raw output and an efficiency standpoint. While 4 targets aren’t particularly impressive, a reFPOEPT of 1.14 certainly is, and ASJ’s physical gifts were on full display on his near-game winning touchdown catch in double coverage. He’s still not a viable redraft starter, but this is an encouraging sign for dynasty owners. In most dynasty rookie drafts, the top two TEs off the board this year were Eric Ebron and ASJ. After eight games (Ebron has played six, ASJ has played five) they have almost the exact same target totals (21 to 20 in ASJ’s favor) and expected points (ASJ is ahead by 1.09). But when it comes to efficiency, ASJ has seperated himself, posting an reFPOEPT of 0.19, while Ebron has performed below expectation of -0.11. It is still waaaaaay too early to make definitive judgments about these players, but at the moment anyone who passed on Ebron in the late 1st to take ASJ in the late second has to be feeling pretty good.3

– Speaking of rookie TEs, Richard Rogers had a decent week, recording 5 targets and performing above expectation with a reFPOEPT of 0.39. After a rough start to the season, including being held to only one target in the first two games, Rogers has quietly out-targeted Andrew Quarless for two weeks in a row. He’s also performed slightly more efficiently on the season. I expect more growing pains and muddled target distribution, but this is a third round pick that is slowly emerging in one of the NFL’s top three offenses. Dynasty owners should have their eyebrows raised.

– If you look at the full season numbers and sort by target market share, an interesting name pops up at #7: Kyle Rudolph. This is a friendly reminder that Rudolph, a former Pro Bowl MVP, is both probably on your waiver wire right now and is expected back after Minnesota’s bye in Week 10.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how disappointing Jared Cook has been. But I already feel compelled to do it again. If you look at the full season numbers and sort by target leaders, you’ll notice that almost every single player in the top 20 has posted positive efficiency numbers. That makes intuitive sense, as positive efficiency is an indicator of a good player, and good players tend to receive more targets. In fact, only three players among the top 20 targets leaders have negative a reFPOEPT on the season. One is Jermaine Gresham, who is 17th in targets and in the top 20 only because of an injury to Tyler Eifert. Another is Charles Clay, who ranks 20th. And then there’s Jared Cook, who ranks 7th in targets but has posted a reFPOEPT on the season of -0.11, which while isn’t egregious, is certainly a waste of a great opportunity. Cook has the most targets of any player yet to score a touchdown, and that includes players at all positions. I guess you could make a regression to the mean argument around that, but here’s what I’ll be doing instead: Paying close attention to who the Rams draft at TE in April.

  1. Josh Hill!  (back)
  2. despite costing his team a win by fumbling in overtime  (back)
  3. As should those who took Jace Amaro in the 3rd. Amaro has been the most productive rookie TE by far  (back)