Fantasy football is always a difficult game to project. We rolled out of first projections in July and have been fine-tuning them as the season approaches.
From injury news to camp battles and trades, player outlooks can change quickly. To see where the biggest changes occurred, I compared our original projections to our most recent. Here’s a peek behind the RotoViz curtain as to what caught my eye at tight end:
The two largest drops in overall fantasy points from July to August are on the same team. Zach Miller (-48) and Dion Sims (-45) dropped while rookie Adam Shaheen dropped a single point. That moves Miller from TE18 to TE32, Sims from Te32 to TE42 and Shaheen actually moved up from TE45 to TE41, just ahead of Sims. Combined, our July projections had the Bears’ TEs scoring 262 points. For comparison, we had Rob Gronkowski at 235 points. Were we irrationally too high on the Chicago TEs to begin with?
In short, yes. Chicago TEs accounted for only 100 targets and 166.6 points in the 2016 season with the QB carousel of Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, and Matt Barkley. Now the trio of Miller, Sims, and Shaheen will have Mike Glennon and rookie Mitchell Trubisky throwing to them. The biggest driver for the increase in projected fantasy points lies with Sims, whom the Bears signed as a free agent. Miller’s lack of durability has been a point of contention since he entered the league but Sims has been used mostly in a blocking role and Shaheen is facing a huge leap in competition coming from Division II.
Current ADP from our Best Ball App shows the uncertainty of the role and a slight lean to the unknown. Shaheen is being drafted first as the TE32, between Vernon Davis and RotoDoc favorite Erik Swoope. Miller is TE34 and Sims is last at TE44 in ADP. When healthy, Miller was a viable streaming option last year and actually saw an increase in scoring without Cutler. The first-team snaps have gone to Miller thus far in the pre-season and I think that can carry over into 2017. Overall, this is a “wait and see” situation and our projections have adjusted accordingly.
The New York Jets were already staring down an inexperienced WR corps with the departures of veterans Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Add to that the injury to Quincy Enunwa and the target void is massive. That should give Austin Seferian-Jenkins a plethora targets with which to become fantasy relevant. 14TeamMocker covered this situation extensively earlier in the month. As it relates to our own projections, we gave ASJ the largest increase in fantasy points for TEs from July to August. He jumped from 87 to 133, moving him from TE33 to TE18, in the range of Antonio Gates and Charles Clay.
You can see the direct jump in ADP for Seferian-Jenkins as it relates to Enunwa’s injury on August 7th. Over the last two weeks, ASJ is being drafted on average at TE25. That implies a nice value compared to our projections and the risk as a TE2 with upside is limited.
The consensus at the top remained unchanged for the top five TEs from July to August. With minor adjustments, Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, Greg Olsen, Jordan Reed and Kyle Rudolph still hold down the top five. However, Jimmy Graham is less than two points behind Rudolph in our August projections and his overall projection increased nine points. That is minuscule over the course of a season but it did move Graham from TE9 in July to TE6 in August. That falls more in line with his best ball ADP of TE5 and demonstrates just how close the projections are after the top four. With Graham climbing, Delanie Walker moved down from sixth to eighth and Tyler Eifert from eighth to ninth. Again, small changes here as fifth through tenth are only separated by 12 points and create their own mini-tier in the TE1 range.
We’ll continue tweaking the projections until opening kick-off. In the mean time, you can create your own custom projections in our draft lab along with cheat sheets and an optimizer. We now have redraft rankings and please check out the rankings and projections roundtable for more context.