In another of our current series of “One Shall Rise, One Shall Fall” style articles, aka the Fantasy Face-Off, I make the case for Travis Kelce over Jordan Reed in 2017.
In the recent RotoViz MFL10 Draft, Kelce was the second tight end taken, with the sixth pick in the third round. 12 picks later, with pick 4.06 Cort Smith selected Reed. It is somehow fitting then Cort should be the man who will argue that Reed will be better than Kelce this year. Well, to paraphrase Anakin Skywalker, he will try.
After missing all but one game in his rookie season back in 2013, Kelce has become a more productive member of the Chiefs offense in each of the last three seasons, as the chart below shows.
Targets, receptions, and yards all improving year after year is the stuff TE dreams are made of…at least, that’s what I have told my therapist. It’s all the more impressive when one remembers that his coach Andy Reid just loves forgetting about his best players for hours on end during games. If you doubt this, just ask the likes of Brian Westbrook and Jamaal Charles. The only real disappointment is that as most of Kelce’s figures have gone up, his touchdown rate has gone in the other direction. Since 2014, Kelce’s TD rate of 4.6 percent is 15th among TE’s with at least 100 receptions, and as you can see above it has gone down every year.
I am not projecting huge leaps forward for Kelce in my RotoViz staff projections. Far from it, in fact. With 21 percent of the targets, I have him hauling in 82 of his 114 targets for 1,093 yards. All of these numbers are down from last season. But what I am projecting is a slight increase in touchdown rate for Kelce. I have him going from four all the way up to six! Wow! A projected 227.30 PPR points would make Travis Kelce, at least according to my numbers, the TE1.
With regards to Jordan Reed, I am ready to acknowledge that there are obvious opportunities for his numbers to be bountiful in 2017. After all, the Redskins did wave goodbye to not one but two 1,000-yard WRs this offseason. In their stead, the team looks set to turn to a sophomore who spent most of his rookie season on the shelf in Josh Doctson, and a former Browns WR who was the last player to lead the Raiders in passing yards before Derek Carr arrived, namely Terrelle Pryor.
However, despite projecting an 18 percent share of the targets, I only have Reed chipping in with 69 catches, 768 yards, and seven scores. It is my belief that the Redskins will not be as pass happy with Jay Gruden calling the plays and as a result, Reed’s 18 percent will not look as rosy as it would have last season. There is also the very strong possibility that Reed will not play all sixteen games. He has yet to do so in his four seasons in the NFL and has missed 18 games in total due to injury. His long and worrying concussion history makes any future hits to the head a massive cause for concern. With all that being said, I still think he will be the TE4 at the close of the season.
But he will be looking up towards a summit that has Travis Kelce sitting comfortably atop it.