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By Jonathan Bales

100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 61: In-Season Projections, Advice

This is your last chance to get my 2014 Weekly In-Season Package at its current price. To create the projections and values, I use the same methodology that I used to secure a seat in the DraftKings 2014 Fantasy Baseball Championship.

Good for both season-long and daily fantasy players, this is what you get:

  • UNLIMITED START/SIT ADVICE ALL SEASON

For season-long owners, this is the primary selling point. With the package, you can send me unlimited start/sit questions all year. I’ve revised my Vegas-based model for 2014 and I’m extremely confident in my ability to make accurate projections. My model uses a combination of the Vegas lines, aggregate projections from other really smart people, and advanced stats to project players each week. It will help your FFD 2014 Weekly Package pay for itself.

  • CUSTOMIZABLE PROJECTIONS FOR ALL RELEVANT PLAYERS

Second, you’ll receive projections for all of the top players at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end. This alone is worth the price of admission. A sample screenshot:

Tight End Projection Template

The projections come in Excel and can be altered to match your scoring system. Everything is automated, too; if you think I’ve projected too many yards for a player and you change the projection, for example, everything else – fantasy points, values, etc – will be auto-calculated for you.

  • OPTIMIZED DAILY FANTASY FOOTBALL VALUES

Play daily fantasy football on sites like DraftKings? I’m going to send you my top plays for those sites each week. They will be the same guys I’m actually playing in my own lineups. The values are generated by combining my model’s projections with each site’s player salaries (which are included in the spreadsheets) to create a value for each player. Whether you already play daily fantasy or you’re looking to get into it, the values will help you become profitable in 2014.

By the way, one of last year’s subscribers has won $25,000 in multiple daily fantasy tournaments and went on a two-week winning streak during which he profited over $100,000. So there’s that.

  • WEEKLY NEWSLETTER WITH IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS

Each week, I’ll send you a newsletter with my projections, optimal plays, and analysis on what I’m thinking for the week. It might be specific matchup-based analysis (i.e. players I like and hate), or I might look into a more general topic (such as position consistency, how weather affects outcomes, and so on). Either way, the purpose of the article will be to help you make better decisions leading up to each week’s games.

Buy the 2014 Weekly In-Season Package now.

By Jonathan Bales

100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 60: This Is How I Draft

Last year, Josh Moore at 4for4.com did an awesome article called “This is how I draft” in which he asked a few fantasy experts to discuss how they go about drafting their fantasy football teams. Here’s a look back at my entry:

I’m Jonathan Bales, and this is how I draft:

I really prefer to do live drafts. I like the environment, and I also like to trade picks quite a bit, which you can’t do on a lot of online sites like ESPN. I think trading picks makes drafts fair in that you’re not stuck selecting players you don’t really want; you can trade up or back and create a unique lineup in much the same way as an auction.

Heading into a draft, I typically have five sheets in front of me: one for each position and one that combines any positions that are allowed in the flex. So if there is a RB/WR/TE flex, I have one sheet with all of the running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends listed together.

Otherwise, I keep the positions apart. I’m one of the few who doesn’t use a single big board. The reason is that I think position value shifts so much as the draft unfolds, rendering a single board useless. You should be drafting players based on their position, scarcity, opportunity cost, and relative value as your draft unfolds, not how you ranked them prior to knowing how your particular draft would unfold.

Basically, I use a minimalist approach on draft day. There’s nothing on my boards other than the player name and his projected points. I’ve done all of the research heading into the draft, so I don’t want to be bogged down with information when I’m on the clock. The only other thing I examine is Week 1 matchups. I do that to select my defense (second-to-last round) and kicker (last round), since I stream them based on the opponent.

Jonathan Bales, Daily Fantasy Expert & Author of the Fantasy Football for Smart People series

Check out the rest at 4for4.

By Jonathan Bales

100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 59: A New Approach to Drafting

At RotoWorld, I detailed a new Taleb-inspired approach to fantasy football drafting.

“Readers sometimes ask me for recommended fantasy football reading, and I always forward them to a book that has nothing to do with fantasy football: Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Antifragile. In my opinion, the biggest leaps you can make as a fantasy owner aren’t in the area of football analysis, but rather risk analysis.

We always hear that we’re supposed to minimize risk and maximize upside, but few ever tell us how to do that. I want to use Taleb’s “barbell” investment strategy as a template for how I think that’s best accomplished. First, an excerpt from Antifragile:

What do we mean by barbell? The barbell (a bar with weights on both ends that weight lifters use) is meant to illustrate the idea of a combination of extremes kept separate, with avoidance of the middle. In our context it is not necessarily symmetric: it is just composed of two extremes, with nothing in the center.

I initially used the image of the barbell to describe a dual attitude of playing it safe in some areas and taking a lot of small risks in others, hence achieving antifragility. That is extreme risk aversion on one side and extreme risk loving on the other, rather than just the “medium” or the beastly “moderate” risk attitude that in fact is a sucker game (because medium risks can be subjected to huge measurement errors). But the barbell also results, because of its construction, in the reduction of downside risk—the elimination of the risk of ruin.

So basically what we’re looking at is an extreme approach to fantasy football drafting that involves patching up potentially disastrous leaks in our strategy (extreme risk aversion) while trying to hit home runs (extreme risk seeking), as opposed to a more moderate strategy that emphasizes both risk aversion and risk-seeking behavior with each pick.

This is how I’m planning to implement a barbell fantasy football approach this year.

For rankings, projections, exclusive columns, mock drafts and tons more, check out our jam-packed online Draft Guide or Draft Guide iOS app, or follow @BalesFootall and Rotoworld Football on Twitter for the latest news.

A Barbell Approach to Positions

When I first began my fantasy football analysis, one of the strategies I proposed was drafting a quarterback semi-early for the sole reason of it being safe. Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees—unless those players get injured, we know what we’re getting, and we’re going to be comfortable with it. There’s value in that.

Are quarterbacks the shrewd early-round play given their scarcity? No, they’re not, but I think a pure value-based draft strategy assumes that player performances are governed by a deterministic set of laws and all we need to care about is median projections.

The entire philosophy behind the barbell approach is understanding where we might be fragile to estimation errors. On the position level, every position is more error-prone than quarterback. The key is thinking of players in terms of probabilities with a range of potential outcomes; most elite quarterbacks have a narrow range of possible outcomes and don’t warrant early selection in the strict value-based sense. But we’re not looking to nab a few extra expected points of VBD with a barbell drafting strategy (while simultaneously opening ourselves up to measurement errors).

In effect, the cautious end of the barbell strategy works as an insurance policy for your team. When you pay for insurance, there’s no value in the strict sense; insurance companies make money by charging you more than you’ll put in over the long run. But there’s still a ton of value in insurance because it limits your exposure to massive downside. That’s exactly what an elite quarterback does to your fantasy roster (at least at his position).

The other reason that the early-quarterback approach is underrated, in my book, is that the cost of securing these elite passers is now incredibly low. We’re seeing Brees & Co. fall into the fourth and even fifth round in expert drafts, which is absurd. Now, these quarterbacks are at least close to offering value in the strict projected point/scarcity sense, in addition to the barbell-based reason we want to draft them: they aren’t that susceptible to projection errors and thus limit our exposure to huge downside.

So which quarterback should you draft? The answer is ‘I don’t know,’ which kind of illustrates the whole point. You don’t need to be extremely accurate in your individual player assessments because there’s not an extremely high bust rate among elite passers; the value comes in the fact that you can pick an elite quarterback, any quarterback, and he’s likely to act as your team’s insurance policy.

When you draft other positions, even in the first round, you necessarily require a higher level of accuracy in your player evaluations—a whole lot of risk to assume for a few projected points, right?”

Check out the full article at RotoWorld.

By Jonathan Bales

100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 58: Injury Analysis at RotoWorld

At RotoWorld, I’ve been contributing a lot of analysis on injuries to the Draft Guide. You need to be a subscriber to read them, but it’s worth the price of admission. Here’s a preview of the article on running backs:

One of the most important aspects of fantasy football—and one of the most challenging to forecast—is injuries. There’s so much variance with injuries that it becomes really difficult to 1) understand when a player is likely to get injured and 2) use that information in any sort of predictive, quantifiable manner.

One of the issues is that we don’t really have great data on injuries to help make predictions. Well, we didn’t, until SportsInjuryPredictor.com came along. Using extensive injury data and a variety of variables, the site uses an algorithm to help predict when players are likely to get injured. Click here for a breakdown of the injury model graphic.

Is it perfect? Of course not, but neither are any of our 2014 fantasy football forecasts. We’re simply trying to tilt the odds in our favor, even if slightly, and that’s what this data can help us do.

Below, you’ll find Sports Injury Predictor’s analysis on 10 high-risk running backs heading into the 2014 season, along with Rotoworld’s fantasy spin.

 

1. Arian Foster

The Injury Predictor has highlighted Foster as one of the most likely players across all positions to get injured this year.

Key analysis:

o He picked up several injuries last year before the back injury took him out for the season. The hamstring and the calf issues that sidelined him for training camp all speak to a body that is in decline.

o His current workload is not helping his health outlook. The Texans passed on drafting a running back with a high pick and let go of Ben Tate in free agency. The Texans are going to ride Foster until he breaks for good.

 

Fantasy Spin

That last sentence is key, because even though the chance of an injury of course increases with more and more touches, that’s a good thing for fantasy owners. Avoiding a player who is likely to get injured because he will have a heavy workload is akin to forgoing making more money because you need to pay more taxes.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that Foster offers value this year, though. There’s a lot of risk here, so it’s a matter of his ADP and your personal risk tolerance. It’s tough to replicate his expected workload in the late-second or early-third round, which is where he’s getting drafted, but there’s also a decent chance of Foster tanking in 2014.

 

2. Eddie Lacy

Lacy came into the NFL with injury/conditioning concerns (turf toe issues and a pulled hamstring). He has enough upside to offset the injury risk that he carries, but buyer beware.

Key analysis:

o In a six-month span, Lacy fractured his hand, pulled his hamstring, suffered a concussion, and severely sprained his ankle. Bad luck, or a sign of things to come in 2014? Our algorithm has identified these injuries as playing a large factor in Lacy’s outlook for 2014.

o He is a sophomore-year running back. Statistically, rookies and sophomores have a far higher risk of getting injured than veterans.

o Lacy played on an injured ankle for most of last season, which could very well have caused more damage.

 

Fantasy Spin

This is a great example of where analytics can help us make smarter decisions. Based on anecdotal evidence alone, I would have assumed that older players are more likely to get injured than the youngsters, but that’s apparently not the case.

Despite his past injuries, it seems like for whatever reason people just aren’t labeling Lacy as “injury-prone.” I think Lacy is getting drafted around where he should, but note that you aren’t getting much of a discount on a running back who might carry greater risk than assumed.

 

3. Ryan Mathews

Mathews appeared to be healthy in 2013 for the first time since he was drafted in 2010. However, this “healthy” 2013 season is misleading because if you look beyond the “games started” statistic, you will see that he suffered a hamstring pull and a concussion that had him removed from two games. So while he did not miss any games, he continued his track record of being injured in every season he has played.

Key analysis:

o Mathews’ injury history contains several really severe injuries to his upper and lower body, including a fractured collarbone (2007 and 2012), a fractured foot (2008), torn ankle ligaments (2010) and three concussions.

o The concussions are a cause for concern, as those tend to become cumulative over time, occurring more frequently and with less contact.

o Even though the algorithm does not predict how players respond to injuries, one can observe that Mathews does not play through injury well due to the length of time he takes to get back on the field when reporting an injury.
Fantasy Spin

It’s always been a challenge to use injury information in any meaningful way simply because injuries are really difficult to forecast. I think examining a player’s recovery time potentially has more uses for us because that gives us an idea of how his body deals with stressors. The fact that Mathews hasn’t healed quickly, to me, is more important than his injury frequency.

You can get a discount on Mathews this year, but not enough of one, in my opinion, to offset both the risk and potential workload issues he might run into in San Diego.

 

4. Andre Ellington

Ellington is interesting, as he has very similar physical measurables to Jamaal Charles (small, elusive and fast) and has a similar injury history to what Charles had at this stage of his career. The question is whether or not Ellington has the bounce-back ability like Charles that makes him such an outlier for a player of his size at this position.

Key analysis:

o Ellington had two surgeries in college (foot and ankle).

o In 2013, he missed two games (Week 1 concussion and Week 13 MCL sprain).

o He was unable to fully take part in the combine due to a pulled hamstring.

o Bruce Arians is talking up Ellington as a true workhorse back for 2014, which only increases his likelihood of injury during the season
Fantasy Spin

The Charles comp for Ellington is an interesting one. It seems like the players who best avoid hard contact, such as Charles, Chris Johnson, LeSean McCoy and perhaps Ellington are also the least likely backs to get injured. I don’t think we have a good reason to believe that Ellington’s injuries are due to either him being injury-prone or the result of variance; there’s not enough evidence one way or the other.

The bigger issue for me is Ellington’s workload. If you believe he’s going to see 15-plus carries per game, then he’s going to offer value in the third round.

By Jonathan Bales

I’m Going to Atlantis to Compete for $1 Million

I’m so pumped that I won one of the 50 seats to the DraftKings 2014 Fantasy Baseball Championship in the Bahamas. I’ll be traveling to Atlantis later this month for a five-night stay and a chance to win $1 million. The entire tournament will have $2.5 million in prizes, so the value of each seat is $50,000.

I’m so honored to be part of what has turned into truly elite field of competitors. I’m a severe underdog in this thing, competing against some of the top names in daily fantasy sports, including my pals CSURAM88, naapstermaan, headchopper, dinkpiece, and Al_Smizzle, all of whom helped me create my latest book on daily fantasy.

I can honestly say I wouldn’t have been in a position to benefit from an EXTREME amount of good fortune (I got lucky as shit) without all of the stuff I’ve learned from these pros. I’ve spent countless hours talking to these guys, and to be in a field with them and other amazing players (00oreo00, DirtyGirl15, bw5126, DraftCheat, NastiNati, and McJester, among others) is surreal.

By Jonathan Bales

100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 57: My First FF Podcast of the Year

Last year, I did basically every radio appearance and podcast that was offered to me. They were fun (kind of, I guess, but not at all), but they ended up taking up way too much of my time. This year, I’ve said no to every offer just because I decided it would kind be of all or nothing, but when the guys at Bartstool Sports asked me to join them for a 2014 Fantasy Football Preview podcast, I couldn’t say no.

No literally, I couldn’t say no because I owed money to the host. So here it is. It’s about 45 minutes of us just dicking around, with some decent fantasy analysis thrown in there from time to time.

 

By Jonathan Bales

100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 56: Creating Optimal DFS Lineups

I’m doing a bunch of work over at FOX Sports detailing DraftKings strategies. These articles will start off very basic and then get more and more complex as the season rolls along. The latest is on how to structure lineups based on the type of league you’re entering. Here’s a preview on how to play cash games:

PHILOSOPHY IN CASH GAMES

Many players refer to head-to-head and 50/50 contests as ‘cash games’ (and three-man leagues are also often thrown in that mix). Basically, cash games are leagues in which a fairly high percentage of entrants get paid (typically at least one-in-three).

Since there aren’t many users in cash games and you generally don’t need an elite score to win, most experienced DraftKings users like to play it safe. That means creating a “high-floor” lineup—one that might not score at an elite rate, but is very unlikely to tank as well. The focus is simply on attaining a solid score each time out.

Thus, one of your goals in cash games should be risk-minimization. Don’t target high-variance players who are all-or-nothing options; slow and steady wins the race in cash games. Your focus should be on pure value—how a player compares to his salary—and not necessarily his upside.

There are different ways to decrease risk, of course. One is to target high-floor players—those who can give you sustainable production night in and night out. Depending on the sport, you might or might not be able to look at a player’s past stats to determine how risky of a play he is.

It can be difficult to decipher individual volatility, so it makes sense to look for the right types of players. In daily fantasy football, for example, pass-catching running backs are safer than those who don’t catch many passes because the former backs aren’t reliant on a particular game script; they can contribute even when their team is losing, which gives them a higher floor than running backs who don’t catch passes.

Finally, you can increase the safety of your team by pairing players in an optimal way. Certain pairings can increase risk; when you use multiple hitters from the same team in baseball or a quarterback and receiver on the same team in football, for example, you have players whose production is correlated, which can make your lineup more boom-or-bust.

By Jonathan Bales

100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 55: The Ideal RB and How to Deal with Suspended Players

I recently posted two articles over at RotoWorld. The first is a look at my ideal running back. You need to buy the RotoWorld Draft Guide to read the whole thing (and future posts of mine), but here’s a snippet:

A Hefty Workload

Workload matters for all positions, but it is absolutely the most vital at running back. The league average for YPC is around 4.2, and the best backs in the NFL this year (with a decent number of carries) might be around just 5.5 YPC or so. To say there’s a larger deviation in workload than efficiency is an understatement.

Here’s how running back carries have aligned with fantasy rank over the past four seasons.

PRB1

That outlier at the bottom is Darren Sproles, who basically works as a receiver (although it’s important to keep in mind that targets are just as important—probably more so—than carries). Now compare that graph to this one showing YPC versus fantasy rank.

PRB2

This is a far less linear distribution and a much weaker relationship. Yes, you want your running backs to be efficient, but efficiency is volatile from year to year. You can actually often find value by targeting backs who were inefficient in the prior season, but will still see a hefty workload, because their YPC is likely to regress near the league mean (as we’ve seen with Lynch in recent seasons).

Fountain of Youth

There are times when it’s okay to be bullish on aging backs—specifically when they’re set to see heavy usage—but the best ones are generally the youngest. In terms of fantasy points per touch, running back efficiency peaks basically from the moment a back enters the league, and it’s a steady decline from there.

PRB3

This is the perfect example of when to emphasize long-term trends over year-to-year stats. There’s so much variance from year to year that we can generally be a lot more accurate by simply understanding where a running back falls on his career trajectory and working from there. If a specific 30-year old running back has a 10 percent chance of rushing for over 1,000 yards and just so happens to do it, that doesn’t really change much in the subsequent season. Now he’s just a 31-year old back.

And here’s my article on how to deal with suspended/injured players:

The Math on Players Missing Games

Ray Rice and Josh Gordon (maybe) are the two big-name players who are going to miss time in 2014. We can’t use Gordon as an example because we don’t know how long he’ll be suspended, if at all, following his appeal. Rice is in a bit of a unique situation since everyone kind of thought he’d be suspended for more than two games; when that ruling was handed down, Rice’s ADP actually jumped nearly a full round.

However, we can use Gordon’s 2013 situation to show why we should generally be bullish on suspended players. Last year, Gordon was ranked as the WR29 in terms of ADP before news broke that he’d be suspended for the first two weeks of the season. At that spot, Gordon could be expected to score 7.4 PPG in standard leagues if he perfectly lived up to his ADP. That’s just based on historical data, which doesn’t change all that much from year to year.

After the suspension, Gordon’s ADP promptly dropped to WR38. That decline was in line with what we’d expect if owners are viewing players in terms of an entire season of expected production. In approaching fantasy football from a week-to-week angle, however, we realize that the real “cost” of drafting Gordon wasn’t solely the points we’d miss while he was out, but rather those points minus the points from a replacement receiver; it’s not like you couldn’t start anyone in place of Gordon.

Working through the numbers, here’s how we should have been calculating Gordon’s season-long value to help us figure out how far to drop him:

(Projected PPG * Expected Games) + (Replacement Player Projected PPG * Expected Games Missed)

Again, based on his ADP, Gordon’s projected PPG was 7.4 before the suspension. As far as a replacement player, even if we waited multiple rounds to draft another receiver after selecting Gordon last year—ending up with the WR48—we’d still expect him to score around 6.0 PPG based on historical trends at the position.

That means that the calculation for Gordon in 2013 was (7.4*14) + (6.0*2), or 115.6 points. That’s barely less than the 118.4 points we should have expected from Gordon (based on his ADP) if he played all 16 games. And based on those numbers, Gordon should have dropped three spots among all receivers, down to WR32. Gordon (and Justin Blackmon) fell way too far, even though we could have mathematically calculated how far they should have dropped if their pre-suspension ADP was accurate. You might argue that you need to factor in extra risk for players like Gordon, who could realistically get suspended for the year at any point, but that risk should already be priced into his ADP.

On top of that, don’t forget that you know which games a suspended player will be missing. You can potentially soften the blow of his absence by targeting players with quality matchups in the short time that he’s out.

Read the rest here.

By Jonathan Bales

100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 54: Interested in Playing Daily Fantasy Football?

I’m going to be doing some work for FOX Sports this year, giving advice on how to play daily fantasy football on DraftKings. My first post was on the similarities and differences between daily fantasy and season-long. Here are the similarities:

If you’ve played season-long fantasy football for even a moderate duration, you know that there are general principles—many of which are consistent with any sort of marketplace—that you need to follow to have success.

Well, weekly fantasy football is no different; it’s a marketplace—perhaps a purer one than season-long leagues—and the same general concepts still apply. One of them is scarcity. Why is Jimmy Graham a first-round pick? Not because of his bulk points, but rather because he’s an extremely scarce resource at his position—an outlier in comparison to his peers.

The same is true in weekly fantasy, too; Graham costs a lot of money because he is a scarce commodity. In the same way that you need to determine if a first-rounder is too steep of a price to pay for Graham, you need to figure out if using X-percent of your salary cap on him is wise.

As in season-long leagues, consistency is also a major component of weekly  fantasy football. While season-long owners need to focus on both seasonal and weekly consistency, though, daily fantasy owners are concerned solely with the latter. The manner in which you create your weekly fantasy lineup is in large part dependent on how much you can trust their anticipated production—how consistent they are.

An underrated aspect of season-long fantasy football is the use of game theory—strategic decision-making that attempts to best exploit value based on the thoughts and actions of your opponents. Well, weekly fantasy football is filled with elements of game theory—specifically in tournaments, where you’re trying to juggle finding value with creating a unique lineup, which necessitates predicting which players will be popular among other users.

Finally, just like with season-long fantasy football, weekly fantasy football boils down to a fundamental understanding of risk and reward. If you can accurately assess a player’s floor and ceiling—his range of potential outcomes in a given week—you can be a successful weekly fantasy player.

Read the differences over at FOX Sports.

By Jonathan Bales

100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 53: How to Locate Touchdown-Scoring Tight Ends

At rotoViz, I examined which trait best predicts touchdown-scoring ability for tight ends:

I think a lot of NFL teams could maximize their red zone efficiency by removing all of their small-ish WRs and replacing them with TEs near the goal line. To give you an idea of how much better TEs can be over WRs in tight areas, I charted the red zone touchdown rate for the top 70 players in red zone targets at both positions since 2000.

TE Red Zone 1

While the best red zone receivers have converted just over 24 percent of their looks into scores, TEs check in at 30 percent. On any given red zone target since 2000, a TE has been 24 percent more likely to score than a WR.

Despite that, we still consistently see players like Santana Moss and DeSean Jackson (despite horrific red zone efficiency) playing near the goal line. Overall, the top 70 red zone receivers since 2000 have seen 6,487 targets inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, compared to just 4,202 for TEs. Those numbers should be reversed.

We know that weight is the best predictor of red zone success for WRs, with heavy ones checking in above 220 pounds and a few approaching 240 pounds. So how far does the correlation extend? I think it’s obvious that extra weight isn’t always a positive because, at a certain point, it will hinder a player’s ability to move athletically and make plays on the ball.

So, let’s break down TE red zone play based on size.

 

TE RED ZONE EFFICIENCY

Weight seems to be much more closely linked to red zone efficiency than height. And since WRs rarely top even 230 pounds, heavier is pretty much always better. The same goes for height, but to a lesser degree.

There seems to be a pretty linear relationship between height and red zone production for TEs, too, at least in the height range we observe in the NFL. I broke down every TE drafted since 2000 to receive at least 20 red zone targets. Here’s how they’ve produced.

TE Red Zone 2

Much like the WRs, the tallest TEs have produced the greatest efficiency. On average, a TE standing 6’6” or greater has been 13.8 percent more likely than a TE 6’3” or shorter to take a red zone target into the end zone.

This is interesting because 6’3” is actually fairly tall for a WR. There’s really no reason that we should think of WRs and TEs differently, though, at least in regards to their receiving numbers. A 6’4”, 235-pound player is a 6’4”, 235-pound player–it doesn’t matter where or how we file him.

This suggests that although height isn’t necessarily as important as weight for pass-catchers in the red zone, more is better. Being in the top-tier of pass-catchers in terms of height isn’t a hindrance. Hello Joseph Fauria.

However, the same “more is better” mentality doesn’t seem to apply to weight. At a certain point, it just hurts to be a fatass. There’s a reason Fauria could potentially dominate in the red zone but Haloti Ngata wouldn’t, even if he had a normal TE skill set.

TE Red Zone 3

Looking at the numbers, it appears as though more mass equates to better red zone efficiency up until around 260 pounds. That’s represented in the graph. It’s not like being 265 is a deathblow—you can see that TEs in that range have still been far more efficient in the red zone than those under 250 pounds—but just that efficiency seems to flatten out.

Check out the full article.

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