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Top Ten Takeaways From Week 16: The TE Opportunity and Efficiency Report

antoniogates

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 16’s action:

– Merry Christmas! If Santa brought you the gift of more fantasy football in Week 17, or you’re just a degenerate like me who spends time reading about Cooper Helfet when you should be “bonding” with your “family,” then please read on! Also, in the Christmas spirit, I won’t even count this as one of the ten takeaways.

– Through 16 weeks, which tight end has been the most impressive? The answer seems pretty clear cut, especially if you read this report each week and have noticed that I have a…ahem…tendency to mention him: Rob Gronkowski. It’s hard to argue against the player who leads all TEs in targets, market share, expected points, and points above expectation. But allow me to submit, if only just for fun, an alternative candidate: Antonio Gates. The one category Gronk does not reign supreme in 2014 is per-target efficiency, because yes, it’s hard to top James Casey’s reFPOEPT of 5.16 when Casey has only three targets. But Antonio Gates is 6th in targets on the season, and his reFPOEPT of 0.64 is higher than what even Gronk was able to post, and by a comfortable margin of 0.13. In fact, since 2000, only one other time has a TE recorded 90 targets and reFPOEPT that high, and that player was Robert Bieber-Loving Gronkowski.1. Gates himself put together an utterly dominant stretch of his career when he led all TEs in reFPOEPT for six straight seasons between 2004-2009. But in none of those seasons did he post an reFPOEPT of 0.64 or higher. In other words, from a per target efficiency standpoint, this was a career year for a player that, coming into the season, was already a first ballot hall-of-famer. Not too shabby.

– Speaking of Gronk,2 what do you do with him this week? No seriously, I’m asking. I’m in the second week of a championship, and my options are to roll with the guy who got me here, but who’s playing for a team with nothing to play for (and logically would put him first in line to sit out), or roll with Zach Ertz. I’m going with Gronk, but let the record show that I’m scared shitless about it. Yet another example of why no league should go into Week 17. Tell your friends. Only you can prevent these kind of asinine shenanigans.
Owen Daniels reFPOEPT on the season is exactly 0.0. Makes me think of what Ron Burgundy said when he found out Baxter pooped in the refrigerator and ate a whole wheel of cheese. 
– Dolphins TE numbers on the season:
Charles Clay: 78 targets, reFPOEPT of -0.20.
Dion Sims: 32 targets, reFPOEPT of 0.44.
Just sayin.
– Zach Ertz had a career game, recording over a 100 receiving yards and leading all TEs in expected points. And yet he still managed to perform inefficiently with an reFPOEPT of -0.26. This is roughly 7,157th on the list of most frustrating things to happen to the 2014 Philadelphia Eagles.
Jermaine Gresham recorded the highest target market share percentage of the season on Monday night at 44 percent. Only one other TE has registered a market share percentage above 40 in 2014.3 Meanwhile Gresham had 11 targets, almost 14 expected points, and performed well above expectation with a reFPOEPT of 0.27. He’s an unrestricted free agent this offseason… is there a reason to closely monitor his movement? Gresham has an uninspiring career reFPOEPT of 0.13, but has three seasons of 80+ targets including an impressive 2012 campaign in which he recorded 93 targets and an reFPOEPT of 0.29. On the other hand, his efficiency this year has been aggressively pedestrian (reFPOEPT of 0.06) and throughout his career he has been fairly inconsistent even when fantasy relevant. Unless he signs with Green Bay I doubt we’ll be talking about him much at all next August.
– While we’re on the subject of Packers TEs, I’d like to take a moment to mention that Richard Rodgers and Andrew Quarless have a combined reFPOEPT on the season of 0.08. I bet I know one thing Aaron Rodgers had on his Christmas list.
– One more thing about Gresham: despite his Monday night performance he still ranks 17th in expected points on the season. So if you’re targeting Tyler Eifert as a dynasty buy-low or a 2015 redraft sleeper, you’re either expecting a dramatic role change for the TE in Cincinatti’s offense or banking on Eifert being a considerably better player than Gresham. The former is possible, given that Hue Jackson is a head coaching candidate. And the latter is certainly not that far-fetched. But overall that idea gives me pause.
– Speaking of 2014/2015 unrestricted free agents, how about Julius Thomas? Would his value sneakily go up if he went to a team not quaterbacked by Peyton Manning? It sounds crazy, but Thomas is a good athlete, and he’s currently 19th in targets on the season. His efficiency with Peyton is off the charts; since the start of 2013 he has an reFPOEPT of 0.89. But beyond receiving an inconsistent workload, he hasn’t always matched that efficiency with a high(er) volume of targets. Case in point:
Week 15: 2 targets, reFPOEPT of 0.75
Week 16: 6 targets, reFPOEPT of -0.28
I will definitely say this: if Thomas does return to the Broncos, I have no freaking clue where he’ll be drafted, and I’ll be even less sure where he should be drafted.
– Congratulations to Luke Willson, who had the highest reFPOEPT of the week. His 7.97 was the third highest of the season, and the highest of the season for a TE with multiple targets. That’s a great accomplishment, but really it’s just nice to see him get his name out there. Seems like things went pretty quiet there after Old School.4

 

  1. Who compiled an abso-freaking-lutely ridiculous 1.01 on 124 targets in 2011  (back)
  2. C’mon, you know I had to mention him again. I don’t have a problem. Really, I swear.  (back)
  3. Delanie Walker in Week 2  (back)
  4. Do you guys think I’m one of the first 10,o00 people to make that joke? Yeah, me neither.  (back)

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