Each week throughout the season I’ll be taking you through some notable TE performances as evaluated by the Fantasy Efficiency App. This app really is a fantastic tool which measures the value of players’ workloads, as well as their efficiency in meeting or exceeding that expected point total. The first part of that is exceptionally valuable standalone data. Denoted reEP, receiving expected points are a cumulative measure of the expected value of targets, based on historical line of scrimmage data. Rather than look at an arbitrary cutoff like “Red Zone Targets,” this app instead weights the specific value of a target at every single yard line — based on 1/2 PPR scoring — giving us a much clearer picture of a player’s utilization. (For example, historical data tells us that we should expect more points, on average, from a target at the opponent’s 10-yard line than one at midfield.)
Because this is RotoViz, there is additional utility in the app. Taking a player’s actual output on those targets and subtracting the expected amount provides a measure of efficiency – fantasy points over expectation (denoted reFPOE). So if a player’s targets are worth an expected value of 10 points and he scores 15, his reFPOE is 5.00.1 Finally, the app also provides efficiency on a per-target basis, measuring fantasy points over expectation per target (denoted reFPOEPT). There is much to be gleaned from the information in this app, so I highly recommend using it if you don’t already.
Week one was a huge week for tight ends. Here are my opportunity and efficiency observations:
- After Rob Gronkowski’s massive Thursday night, it seemed like a lock he’d be week one’s leader in reFPOE. Amazingly, after one of the best TE weeks in history across the NFL, his 13.97 points over expectation only finished third. I won’t spend too many words telling you what you already know. He took an extremely valuable workload — 18.43 reEP — and he Gronk Spiked it.
- The leader in reFPOE was none other than Zeus himself. Travis Kelce only received six targets, but he more than tripled his expected output of 8.98 points. With 19.62 reFPOE, Kelce made it very clear he deserves more work. Here’s to hoping Andy Reid agrees.
- The top two market shares were Jordan Reed’s 35.5 percent and Tyler Eifert’s 35.3 percent.2 Reed narrowly eclipsed his 17.57 expected points (1.73 points over expectation), while Eifert had a massive game, taking 12 targets worth 18.31 reEP and finishing with an additional 13.09 reFPOE. Both are strong plays going forward, with Eifert being the superior option of the two.
- In a bit of a surprise, the TE with the highest value of targets in week one wasn’t Gronk or Eifert, but rather Heath Miller and his 11 targets worth 19.35 reEP. He hauled in 8 of 11 targets for 84 yards, but still finished in the red at -2.95 reFPOE because he’s Heath Miller. Expect Le’Veon Bell to take some of the short passing game work upon his return in week three, and Martavis Bryant’s eventual return also can’t be good news for Miller’s workload. But if you’re looking for a streamer in week two and Miller is available, he faces a San Francisco defense next week that allowed the 10th most fantasy points to TEs in 2014, and allowed Kyle Rudolph to have an effective day (relative to the rest of the Vikings offense) on Monday night.
- Jason Witten’s day could have been top billing among TEs some weeks, but on this week it was pretty ho-hum. He saw nine targets (fourth most among TEs), with an reEP of 16.42 points. Despite the valuable workload, he exceeded the expectation by 9.58 points. With Dez Bryant out for potentially as much as half the year, Tony Romo should be utilizing his safety option often going forward.
- There were two more TEs with double-digit reFPOE.3 The TE with the second most points over expectation – more than even Gronk – was Austin Seferian-Jenkins and his 16.71 reFPOE. ASJ only saw seven targets worth 11.29 reEP, but put up an impressive 2.39 points over expectation per target. He’ll have to contend with Mike Evans for some of that work when Evans gets back. The other big efficiency game came from Darren Fells, who put up 10.64 reFPOE for Arizona despite just five targets and 7.56 expected points.
- Neither of the other two top-drafted TEs were able to match Gronk or Kelce. Jimmy Graham finished with the 6th highest workload at 15.32 reEP, but his 1.78 reFPOE looks downright pedestrian compared to the other TEs in week one. Greg Olsen finished with just three targets for 4.57 expected points, yet managed a -2.47 reFPOE. For now this looks like a minor blip on his radar, and he did have a TD catch that was called back due to penalty.
Head over to the Fantasy Efficiency App, set the filters to “receiving”, “TE”, and “2015”, and compare these observations with the workloads and efficiency of the other TEs I wasn’t able to get to, like Ladarius Green, Martellus Bennett, and Delanie Walker.