Scott Fish Bowl 9 drafts are just days away. Unless you already play in another “half-PPR, half-point per first down, TE-premium, three flex, one superflex, achievement bonus league,” chances are you might be underprepared. Luckily, you can get a quick handle on how to approach your draft using our new (and free!) SFB9 Game Log Explorer app.
One of the first questions worth answering is whether the TE-premium element makes it imperative to try to get one of the big three TEs. Travis Kelce’s 445 total points through 16 weeks ranked sixth overall last year among all positions, including QBs. Zach Ertz’ 417 points ranked ninth. With this kind of scoring, it’s hard not to be intrigued by the thought of coming away from your draft with an elite TE. All three of the elite TEs — Kelce, Ertz, and George Kittle — had games in which they accumulated at least three achievement bonuses, tacking on an extra 15-plus points to what is already at least a 150-yard outing.1
But if we look a little deeper, we find that Kelce and Ertz’ 2018 seasons are the best seasons ever for a TE in the last five years. In fact, they are the only times in the last five years that a TE has scored over 400 points in SFB9 scoring. Of the top five TE seasons since 2014, three of them happened last year. The other two were by Rob Gronkowski.2 The TE production we saw in 2018 was unprecedented. In every other year since 2014, the top-scoring TE was outside the top 10 in total points. If TE scoring returns to even 2017 levels, a first-round TE might not look like such a wise investment.
The point becomes clear when looking at the scoring distributions for the top TEs over the last two years.
Top Three TEs in 2018
Top Three TEs in 2017
Game scores were concentrated much more on the left side of the graph in 2017. Although both Kelce and Ertz averaged over 20 points per game, the most common outcome was that your top-three TE was giving only around 10 SFB9 points in a given week.3 In 2018, however, the most common outcome was for a top-three TE to score over 20 SFB9 points in a week.
If you’re considering taking a TE in the first round, it’s probably Kelce. And I’m going to assume you wouldn’t take Kelce ahead of one of the elite RBs who all have legitimate chances to score over 500 SFB9 points. Therefore you probably have a pick in the middle of the first round and are having to choose between Kelce and either a RB or a WR, possibly Melvin Gordon or DeAndre Hopkins. If, when making this decision, you look only at 2018, Kelce becomes attractive.
But when you look back a little further, you realize how extraordinary 2018 was.
In prior seasons, Kelce’s scoring has been concentrated at the lower end, and he also has not had quite the upside that Gordon and Hopkins have. To be sure, it’s possible Kelce’s 2018 is more predictive of how 2019 will go, but the explosion we saw in top-end TE scoring might not be.
Unless you think 2018 is the new normal at TE – and maybe it is, but that would be big change from the previous seasons – there are good reasons to look at other positions in the early rounds of your SFB9 draft.
Image Credit: Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Travis Kelce.
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- And Kittle had one game in which he got four achievement bonuses. (back)
- If you include Week 17, thus pulling in Kittle’s 45-point game against the Rams, all of the top three spots in the last five years are 2018 seasons — and still 2018 is the only season in which a TE scored over 400 points. (back)
- Unless you had Gronkowski, although it’s worth remembering he only played 13 games. (back)