The FPC and the Tight End Position
By Jeff Pasquino
August 18th, 2012

Footballguys continues to advance the world of fantasy football. With several additions to their offerings last year, the much heralded Best Online Content Site for 2009 joined the world of High Stakes Fantasy contests and made an instant splash. Joe Bryant and David Dodds teamed with David Gerczak and Alex Kaganovsky of the Fantasy Football Players Championship (myffpc.com) to create the first annual Footballguys Players Championship contest in 2010 and by all measures it was a huge success. Now the FPC and FFPC are back again for their third season, ready to knock it out of the park once again in 2012.

By studying the rules of both the FFPC and the FPC along with some of the history and previous performances by FPC players, insights can be found that will help many players to not only compete well in both contests but also to be in a position to win their league and be in the running for a top prize in the championship round.

As the summer rolls on, I will continue analyzing many aspects of the Footballguys Players Championship and the Fantasy Football Players Championship. Through these articles I hope to provide extra help with fully understanding how to best build a top notch fantasy team within the contest. As someone who has competed against the best players in the world and in several contests much like the FPC and the FFPC, I fully understand how every possible advantage and extra edge can make all the difference in the world.

The Tight End Position

Under the microscope this time around is the position of tight end. According the rules of the Footballguys Players Championship, the rosters are as follows:

Starting Roster

  • 1 QB
  • 2 RBs
  • 2 WRs
  • 1 TE
  • 1 K
  • 1 D/ST
  • 2 flex players (RB/WR/TE)
  • With the following relevant scoring system in place:

  • 4 points for passing TDs, 6 points for all other TDs
  • 0.1 point for every 1 yard rushing or receiving
  • 1.5 points per reception for TEs
  • Now, I have already discussed the impact of the 1.5 points per reception for TEs in a separate article here, so I will move on to focusing on fantasy scoring in general for tight ends.

    So how do you analyze the impact of this scoring system to the current crop of potential fantasy tight ends? We need to dig into some numbers.

    First, let's take a look at both the projected scores for the Top 30 tight ends this season and calculate some VBD numbers using the worst starter method (more on that in a minute). The results are in Table 1:

    Rank
    Points
    VBD
    Rank
    Points
    VBD
    1
    251.6
    96
    16
    167.3
    11
    2
    237.5
    81
    17
    158.3
    2
    3
    227.6
    72
    18
    154.4
    -2
    4
    218.1
    62
    19
    152.3
    -4
    5
    210.8
    55
    20
    147.3
    -9
    6
    198.1
    42
    21
    145.0
    -11
    7
    188.7
    33
    22
    141.9
    -14
    8
    188.4
    32
    23
    140.9
    -15
    9
    185.3
    29
    24
    133.2
    -23
    10
    182.5
    27
    25
    132.5
    -24
    11
    182.3
    26
    26
    123.7
    -32
    12
    180.1
    24
    27
    114.2
    -42
    13
    172.4
    16
    28
    112.9
    -43
    14
    169.1
    13
    29
    106.8
    -49
    15
    168.4
    12
    30
    98.7
    -57

    Table 1: FPC Projected Fantasy Points For Top 30 Tight Ends

    First a comment on the worst starter method. Even though only 12 TEs are necessary as starters (the rules require 1 TE per team), the Dual Flex rule put more of them into play. As a result, the 16th tight end is regarded as the last starter - meaning that most teams will be going with a tight end as one of their two flex players, and possibly even two most weeks.

    The VBD does not do much for a complete analysis without some context of other positions. Looking at the Draft Dominator, we can run a mock draft to get a feel for when the various tight ends are slated to come off of the draft board. Table 2 gives some more insight as to when the mock draft says to take a TE:

    Rank
    Points
    VBD
    DD ADP
    Rank
    Points
    VBD
    DD ADP
    1
    293.4
    97
    9
    16
    153.0
    -43
    207
    2
    274.4
    78
    22
    17
    151.9
    -44
    209
    3
    232.9
    37
    52
    18
    142.0
    -54
    223
    4
    224.7
    29
    62
    19
    139.0
    -57
    228
    5
    223.5
    28
    64
    20
    138.1
    -58
    232
    6
    212.8
    17
    73
    21
    123.0
    -73
    240+
    7
    205.5
    10
    76
    22
    119.5
    -76
    240+
    8
    195.2
    -1
    96
    23
    115.2
    -81
    240+
    9
    192.4
    -4
    102
    24
    114.6
    -81
    240+
    10
    179.5
    -16
    141
    25
    111.6
    -84
    240+
    11
    177.0
    -19
    147
    26
    106.6
    -89
    240+
    12
    174.4
    -22
    150
    27
    105.8
    -90
    240+
    13
    170.9
    -25
    159
    28
    105.7
    -90
    240+
    14
    156.8
    -39
    194
    29
    97.5
    -98
    240+
    15
    153.8
    -42
    205
    30
    96.0
    -100
    240+

    Table 2: Draft Dominator FPC Mock - ADP For Top 30 Tight Ends

    Based on the results, just one tight end is a first round pick (usually Jimmy Graham) and the second one (Rob Gronkowski) does not escape Round 2 After that the results suggest TE3 in Round 4 with two each in Rounds 5 and 6. After the first seven TEs are gone, the value heads towards other positions until Rounds 8 and 9 (one each) and then a tier of 3-5 TEs go in Rounds 12 and 13 in a big run.

    This is great for a mock draft, but how about some real life comparisons? With the help of Clayton Gray here at Footballguys, he has pulled together some great ADP data based on early FPC drafts and created current ADP data for all of the top players. We can use this information to compare against the Draft Dominator mock results. Here are both ADPs compared side-by-side and their relative differences:

    Rank
    FFPC ADP
    DD ADP
    ADP Diff
    Rank
    FFPC ADP
    DD ADP
    ADP Diff
    1
    6
    9
    3
    16
    98
    207
    109
    2
    10
    22
    12
    17
    105
    209
    104
    3
    23
    52
    29
    18
    110
    223
    113
    4
    28
    62
    34
    19
    117
    228
    111
    5
    36
    64
    28
    20
    130
    232
    102
    6
    43
    73
    30
    21
    139
    241
    102
    7
    47
    76
    29
    22
    147
    241
    94
    8
    56
    96
    40
    23
    152
    241
    89
    9
    62
    102
    40
    24
    159
    241
    82
    10
    67
    141
    74
    25
    163
    241
    78
    11
    73
    147
    74
    26
    172
    241
    69
    12
    77
    150
    73
    27
    179
    241
    62
    13
    84
    159
    75
    28
    187
    241
    54
    14
    89
    194
    105
    29
    192
    241
    49
    15
    94
    205
    111
    30
    201
    241
    40

    Table 3: Draft Dominator FPC Mock vs. 2012 FPC Data - Comparison of ADPs

    Several key facts can be pulled from Table 3 about tight ends and FPC scoring:

  • All of the tight ends go much faster this year than even the Draft Dominator expects. That is a reflection of how valuable Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski were last year and the general trend in the NFL towards tight end involvement in the passing game.

  • Tight ends 3-7 go two to three rounds earlier than in the Draft Dominator mock. That speaks again to how valuable tight ends are in the FPC or at least how valuable the tight end position is perceived.

  • The next tier of tight ends (TE8-13) seem to go very early as well almost too early. TE8 and TE9 both fly off the board more than three rounds too early, and TE10-13 are nearly 6 rounds ahead of schedule. That points to the last starters going off the board as some teams play catch up at the position.

  • The top TE2s tend to go in Rounds 8-10, but the last TE2 is still there through Round 16.

  • Most teams will take at least two tight ends and about half of the franchises will draft three as the ADP results show an average of 30-33 TEs being selected.

  • The mock draft only selected 20 tight ends (hence the ADP of 241), 10-13 less than in most FPC drafts last season. Those numbers tend to skew the differences in the ADPs towards the end of Table 3.
  • Parting Thoughts

    Every fantasy league and its rulebook are a little different. For the FPC and the FFPC, the tight end position has many reasons to emphasize drafting them early and often. With the Dual Flex, up to three tight ends can start in a given week, and with 1.5 points per reception their value is bumped up a little across the board. Having the flexibility to start 2-3 in a given week - especially with bye weeks - is a nice option to have.

    So what is the right approach? Taking a Top 5 tight end seems too expensive when you look at the price you will have to pay (Round 4 or higher) and the added cost of not getting a Top 15 RB or WR instead. While the Draft Dominator mock hints that all tight ends are reaches, the thing to take away from it is that the best value picks occur for the second group of the TE1s (TE8-TE13). Grabbing a Tony Gonzalez, Fred Davis or similar tight end in Round 6 or 7 when 8-9 tight ends have already been selected is a great idea and a good approach to an FPC draft. Another solid idea is to not wait on TE2, as they will dry up quickly after Rounds 9-11. Snagging two Top 15 or so tight ends gives stability and performance for your team and allows you roster flexibility when it comes to both bye weeks and the Dual Flex roster options.

    It takes a little time to get your mind wrapped around a new contest with a new set of rules, but the time spent is often well worth it if the goal is to field a competitive team. Giving a little bit of effort to get a greater understanding of the twists and turns to the rulebook can give turn a good fantasy player into a great one and a great player into a dominant force. Knowledge is power - so be as powerful as you can!

    Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to pasquino@footballguys.com.

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