2019 Expected Fantasy Points - TE

Hayden Winks
Rotoworld

In my “Targets Aren’t Created Equal” column, I highlighted different variables that affect fantasy pass catchers, including depth of target, location to the sideline, yards to the end zone, etc. I used these factors to build expected fantasy points models using @nflscrapR’s play-by-play data. This column will find tight ends who performed better or worse than they should have based on their usage, and what that means for 2020 fantasy football drafts. 

 

Top 50 TEs in Expected Fantasy Points Per Game

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Rank

Name

PPR Per Game

Expected PPR Per Game

PPR +/-

1

Zach Ertz

14.4

15.8

-1.5

2

Travis Kelce

15.8

15.3

0.4

3

Evan Engram

13.6

14.5

-0.9

4

George Kittle

15.7

13.5

2.3

5

Austin Hooper

15.1

13.0

2.1

6

Darren Waller

14.3

12.7

1.6

7

Mark Andrews

13.9

12.4

1.5

8

Hunter Henry

13.0

11.2

1.8

9

Tyler Higbee

10.7

10.6

0.1

10

Greg Olsen

9.3

10.5

-1.3

11

Dallas Goedert

9.9

10.1

-0.2

12

Mike Gesicki

8.6

9.7

-1.1

13

Jacob Hollister

9.1

9.3

-0.2

14

Jason Witten

8.7

9.1

-0.3

15

Jared Cook

12.0

8.9

3.1

16

Eric Ebron

7.9

8.6

-0.8

17

Gerald Everett

6.9

8.4

-1.5

18

T.J. Hockenson

6.7

8.3

-1.6

19

Jack Doyle

7.4

8.1

-0.8

20

Will Dissly

12.2

8.0

4.2

21

Kaden Smith

8.4

7.8

0.7

22

Delanie Walker

7.8

7.7

0.1

23

Tyler Eifert

6.5

7.1

-0.6

24

O.J. Howard

6.1

7.0

-0.9

25

Noah Fant

7.1

7.0

0.1

26

Jimmy Graham

6.3

6.7

-0.4

27

James O'Shaughnessy

8.3

6.5

1.8

28

Vance McDonald

5.7

6.3

-0.6

29

Dawson Knox

5.3

6.2

-0.9

30

Cameron Brate

6.1

6.0

0.1

31

Jordan Akins

5.6

5.9

-0.3

32

Ryan Griffin

7.4

5.4

1.9

33

Dan Arnold

6.5

5.3

1.2

34

Darren Fells

6.9

5.2

1.6

35

Kyle Rudolph

7.0

5.2

1.8

36

Irv Smith

4.9

5.2

-0.2

37

Trey Burton

2.8

4.9

-2.1

38

Nick Boyle

4.7

4.8

-0.1

39

Jonnu Smith

6.2

4.7

1.4

40

Rhett Ellison

4.1

4.6

-0.5

41

Ben Watson

3.4

4.6

-1.2

42

Hayden Hurst

4.8

4.5

0.3

43

C.J. Uzomah

4.0

4.5

-0.5

44

Blake Jarwin

5.3

4.3

1.0

45

Geoff Swaim

3.3

4.3

-1.0

46

Josh Hill

4.1

4.0

0.1

47

Jeremy Sprinkle

3.9

4.0

-0.1

48

Tommy Sweeney

3.2

3.9

-0.6

49

Demetrius Harris

3.2

3.4

-0.3

50

Ian Thomas

2.2

3.4

-1.2

 

The tight end position is made up of about eight locked-in TE1s and then a bunch of dart-throw TE2 streamers. Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Austin Hooper, Darren Waller, and Mark Andrews were the steady TE1s, but Hunter Henry, Evan Engram, Tyler Higbee, Dallas Goedert, and Jared Cook all had TE1 stretches as well. Of these players, only Ertz, Engram, and Goedert had negative PPR over expected scores in 2019. The moral of the story: draft tight ends that you think are actually talented. Three tight ends that flashed talent last season but have room for more volume in 2020: Mike Gesicki, Noah Fant, and Jonnu Smith.

 

Top 15 TEs in Expected Fantasy Points Per Game Over Expected

Rank

Name

PPR Per Game

Expected PPR Per Game

PPR +/-

1

Will Dissly

12.2

8.0

4.2

2

Jared Cook

12.0

8.9

3.1

3

George Kittle

15.7

13.5

2.3

4

Austin Hooper

15.1

13.0

2.1

5

Ryan Griffin

7.4

5.4

1.9

6

Foster Moreau

5.3

3.4

1.9

7

Hunter Henry

13.0

11.2

1.8

8

James O'Shaughnessy

8.3

6.5

1.8

9

Kyle Rudolph

7.0

5.2

1.8

10

Darren Fells

6.9

5.2

1.6

11

Darren Waller

14.3

12.7

1.6

12

Mark Andrews

13.9

12.4

1.5

13

Jonnu Smith

6.2

4.7

1.4

14

Ricky Seals-Jones

4.4

3.1

1.2

15

Dan Arnold

6.5

5.3

1.2

 

This is a list of some of the best (George Kittle, Jared Cook, Hunter Henry, Mark Andrews, Darren Waller, Austin Hooper) and luckiest (Will Dissly, Ryan Griffin, Darren Fells) tight ends of 2019. Unless Kittle is actually a Rob Gronkowski-level player, we should expect his efficiency numbers to take a small step back next season, although he’d still likely be a top-three TE1 with regression baked in. Jared Cook won’t be as efficient either, but his usage was really strong this season after he and Brees returned from their injuries. Jonnu Smith and to a lesser extent Dan Arnold are potential deep sleepers in 2020 depending on how their depth chart materializes this offseason. 

 

Bottom 15 TEs in Expected Fantasy Points Per Game Over Expected

Rank

Name

PPR Per Game

Expected PPR Per Game

PPR +/-

1

Trey Burton

2.8

4.9

-2.1

2

T.J. Hockenson

6.7

8.3

-1.6

3

Gerald Everett

6.9

8.4

-1.5

4

Zach Ertz

14.4

15.8

-1.5

5

Greg Olsen

9.3

10.5

-1.3

6

Ian Thomas

2.2

3.4

-1.2

7

Ben Watson

3.4

4.6

-1.2

8

Mike Gesicki

8.6

9.7

-1.1

9

Geoff Swaim

3.3

4.3

-1.0

10

Dawson Knox

5.3

6.2

-0.9

11

Jesse James

1.9

2.8

-0.9

12

Evan Engram

13.6

14.5

-0.9

13

O.J. Howard

6.1

7.0

-0.9

14

Logan Thomas

2.5

3.3

-0.8

15

Adam Shaheen

2.1

2.9

-0.8

 

There are two types of tight ends on this list: bad tight ends and young tight ends. We obviously can ignore the bad and minimally-used tight ends, so the only potential bounceback/cheap candidates I see for 2020 are T.J. Hockenson (8.3 expected PPR points per game), Mike Gesicki (9.7), Evan Engram (14.5), and O.J. Howard (7.0). 

 

 

TE Only Charts

PPR Depth TE
PPR Depth TE

 

Here’s a free tip for you NFL coaches out there: throw the ball to your tight end right beyond the first down marker but never much further than that. 

 

PPR Variance TE
PPR Variance TE

 

This chart shows how much variance a target has depending on how deep the pass was. My takeaway is that targets become volatile at relatively short depths for tight ends. A tight end with a higher average depth of target (aDOT) will be more boom-or-bust than a low-aDOT tight end.   

 

PPR Red Zone TE
PPR Red Zone TE

 

Targets to receivers are more efficient than targets to tight ends from 100 yards to 25 yards out -- WRs are faster -- but tight ends are more efficient within 25 yards from the end zone -- TEs are bigger. This chart shows how important inside-the-10 looks are for tight ends. 

 

TD Regression TEs
TD Regression TEs

 

A tight end below the blue line scored fewer PPR points than my model expected based on his inside-the-15 targets. Travis Kelce was severely unlucky in 2019 when it came to touchdown scoring in the red zone. On the other hand, Darren Fells did way more with his near end zone touchdowns than he should have. 

 

 

What's Next?

1. 2019 Deep Target Report - Expected vs. Actual PPR Points

2. 2019 Receiving TD Report - Expected vs. Actual TDs

3. 2019 Expected Fantasy Points (WRs)

4. 2019 Expected Fantasy Points (TEs)

5. 2019 Rushing TD Report - Expected vs. Actual TDs

6. 2019 Expected Fantasy Points (RBs)

7. 2019 Passing TD Report - Expected vs. Actual TDs

8. 2019 Expected Fantasy Points (QBs)

9. When to Pass and Run in the NFL

 

As always, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@HaydenWinks) if you have questions or ideas on what to study next. 

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