The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Fantasy Football: Projecting Second-Year Tight Ends

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At RotoWire, I examined which rookie tight end stats are most predictive of future success.

The 2012 NFL Draft was only the second time since 1999 that no tight end was selected in the first round. Stanford’s Coby Fleener was the first player at the position to come off the board in the beginning of the second round, and his current teammate on the Colts—Clemson’s Dwayne Allen—was the next tight end to get drafted all the way in the third round.

The weak rookie tight end class hasn’t done much of anything in 2012, but that’s not surprising. A few weeks ago, I published an article showing why you should avoid rookie tight ends in fantasy drafts. Other than an outlier or two, tight ends simply haven’t produced in their rookie seasons.

Of course, that can be a good thing for fantasy owners, too. Since tight ends take time to develop, grabbing them prior to their second seasons can offer value. As I’ve done with quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers, I’ve broken down the stats of rookie tight ends since 2000 to see which are most predictive of future NFL success. As usual, I’ve rated the players based on their career approximate value—a solid indicator of fantasy football value.

If you recall, different stats are important when projecting players at various positions. Efficiency is key for running backs, for example; yards-per-carry is a far better indicator of future NFL success even than yards or carries for rookie runners. On the other hand, efficiency for wide receivers (as measured by yards-per-reception) is almost meaningless.

As you can see, rookie tight ends are much like wide receivers; yards-per-catch is a rather poor predictor of future value. It’s the bulk stats—catches, yards, and touchdowns—that matter for tight ends. Interestingly, all three stats count about the same for tight ends.

See more at RotoWire.

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