FF Strategy 2012: Tight End Value
I’m like you, I will join about a 100+ mock drafts over the next month and a half. I like to chat with people about sleepers and possible bust players, but more importantly I like to see how player perception changes throughout the pre-season. I also join mock drafts to test wild strategies, I try to change the flow of the draft by loading up on a certain positions while analyzing the pros and cons of traditional drafting methods to wild aggressive approaches.
Many fantasy fans simple love to join mock drafts to see if they can draft the perfect team, but in reality all they’re doing is mentally creating a massive favorites list. Over enough time the middle round players in a mock draft become automatic, people draft the same names without even thinking. This is fine if you are convinced these are your guys, yet blacklisting players without researching them creates for missed opportunities.
I plan to write many Fantasy Football Strategies over the next 2 months about mock drafts and sleepers. Gridiron Experts will be inviting fans to join our mock drafts which will be post on our Facebook page (so “Like” our FB page and watch for announcements)
For this particular article I wanted to talk about the glaring value available for Tight End talent in the late rounds this year. As it seems, Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham are creating this perception that if you can’t get either one of these two fantasy studs on your team, then there’s no point drafting a TE until late. This is very true to a certain degree, although the value of talent has really been pushed down from the haunting need to get one of these top two studs.
|RK||2012 ADP||ADP||RK||2011 ADP||ADP||RK||2010 ADP||ADP|
|1||Rob Gronkowski||2.06||1||Antonio Gates||4.02||1||Dallas Clark||4.04|
|2||Jimmy Graham||2.07||2||Jermichael Finley||4.06||2||Antonio Gates||4.06|
|3||Antonio Gates||5.07||3||Jason Witten||4.12||3||Jermichael Finley||4.07|
|4||Vernon Davis||6.03||4||Dallas Clark||5.08||4||Vernon Davis||5.04|
|5||Jermichael Finley||6.06||5||Vernon Davis||5.11||5||Jason Witten||5.08|
|6||Aaron Hernandez||6.08||6||Jimmy Graham||6.05||6||Brent Celek||6.02|
|7||Jason Witten||7.01||7||Owen Daniels||6.1||7||Tony Gonzalez||6.05|
|8||Fred Davis||8.01||8||Tony Gonzalez||7.04||8||Owen Daniels||7.05|
|9||Jacob Tamme||8.04||9||Marcedes Lewis||8.03||9||Chris Cooley||8.12|
|10||Brandon Pettigrew||9.03||10||Rob Gronkowski||9.02||10||Visanthe Shiancoe||9.01|
|11||Tony Gonzalez||10.05||11||Kellen Winslow||10.05||11||Zach Miller||9.09|
|12||Coby Fleener||11.05||12||Zach Miller||11.01||12||Kellen Winslow||10.07|
The history of Tight Ends ADP 2010-12 (Fantasy Football Calculator)
As you can see the last two years the Tight End position was usually targeted around the 4th or 5th round. Most likely when an owner was unhappy with the available Tier 2 WR or RB talent on the board. This year however, players that were normally going in this 4th to 5th round pocket are being pushed down even lower. It’s like a really pretty girl standing next to super models, we all seem to have blinders on.
Players like Antonio Gates and Jason Witten do have some risk attached to them with age and recovering injury concerns, yet both are being drafted at least a round or more later than last year. Tony Gonzalez is 36 years old, but hasn’t missed a game since 2006, he is always productive and has fallen 3 rounds despite a solid 2011 campaign. Brandon Pettigrew was 2nd for TE’s last year for targets, and his ADP is in the 10th round? Brandon Pettigrew is on my sleeper list and if I could get him in the 10th round I would do a back flip. With the NFL leaning more than ever towards the Tight End position these players should have added value to their redzone looks.
The talent level comparison for Wide Receiver to Tight Ends in the 8th to 10th round is ridiculous. An owner could arguably draft two solid performers at the TE position here and be set all year. In my opinion there seems to be a major drop off at the WR position after about the 7th round. That would lead me to suggest that owners should be targeting stud WR’s earlier and more often in 2012. Last summer my number one sleeper for the year was Jordy Nelson, I had many pats on the back for spotting that one, but in 2012 I really don’t care for a lot of the bottom dwellers in the WR pool.
This is forcing me to be more aggressive than ever when drafting my Wide Receivers early on. I am after 1 solid RB and then buying out the store targeting of the best WR talent I can find.
I encourage you to test this strategy: Draft 1RB and 3 WR’s in the first 4 rounds. Focus on QB’s and TE’s in the rounds 7-10 and compare your results to a traditional draft style (best available or filling need). So far I have been able to draft very strong teams.
Mike is the founding member at Gridiron Experts with over 1000+ articles credited to his name. With over 25 years of fantasy experience, Mike has a very unique style when picking sleepers and gems. He has always had an outside the box look on the NFL and rarely gets sucked into the hype over players or buzzing offenses. Mike has three kids and lives on the West Coast. He’s happily married to a beautiful woman who also loves sports. Sundays are spent with friends and family watching games from opening kickoff to well into the evenings.