Tight End By Committee (PPR)
By Jeff Pasquino
August 13th, 2012

Over the past few years, there have been two very popular articles written by our very own Chase Stuart that look at an interesting approach to building a fantasy team with late value picks. Based upon the theory of using both Strength of Schedule ("SOS") and taking two players as a combination to build one very good player, he has discussed both Team Defense by Committee ("TDBC") and Quarterback by Committee ("QBBC") as a general fantasy league strategy. In general I think that this is a wise move because very early on in fantasy drafts there are a ton of RB and WR prospects to go after to build a great team. While there are a few studs at QB and also a few choice defenses, I do not see a huge need in leagues to pursue either too hard in the beginning stages of a fantasy draft.

So with this in mind, I started to think about what else can be done with the committee approach. Wide receiver? Perhaps, but not a WR1. Running back? Maybe. Tight end? Hmmm, that's really intriguing. What if you could grab tight ends later in the draft that could combine to perform on a TE1 level, based solely on their current projections and their schedule? Now we're talking. This really got my attention, so I went after this. Let's take a look at how I went about building this committee and then we can digest and discuss the results.

(Tight) End Game

So how to begin? Defenses and quarterbacks are relatively easy to "committee" together. There's usually only one QB and certainly only one team defense per NFL club, so the approach is pretty simple as far as picking out which players / teams to try and pair up. When it comes to tight ends, the line is not quite so easy to draw, but I needed some basis to pick which players it made sense to try and combine for a decent committee. I decided that I would use the following criteria to decide which players to start with for evaluating:

Criteria #1 - TE13 and Beyond

This seems pretty simple. If we want to have a duo that puts up TE1 numbers, that means we want TE12 or better production - else we would just draft TE12 or higher and forget the whole idea. So here is the list of players with which I started, based on their Average Draft Position (ADP):

ADP
Tight End
ADP
Tight End
TE13
Brent Celek
TE20
Heath Miller
TE14
Jared Cook
TE21
Kellen Winslow
TE15
Coby Fleener
TE22
Ed Dickson
TE16
Owen Daniels
TE23
Scott Chandler
TE17
Dustin Keller
TE24
Marcedes Lewis
TE18
Greg Olsen
TE25
Dallas Clark
TE19
Kyle Rudolph
TE26
Lance Kendricks

Table 1: Tight Ends TE13-TE28 Based on PPR ADP

Great, now we have 14 guys to pair up and see how they do. That makes 91 potential committees, so there had better be a decent one (or several, we hope) out of all of those couplets. Now, before I go over the method of how to pair them up and the results, we need one more rule:

Criteria #2 - No more than one TE from Round 10 and one from Round 12.

This could get tricky here, but understand the overall goal. The point of TEBC is to "free up" the first 9-10 rounds of your fantasy draft to pursue all of the other positions for your team. Grabbing 3-4 running backs and 4-5 receivers (especially in PPR leagues) after grabbing a stud RB in Round 1 sounds like a good idea to me. This also gives you the flexibility of grabbing a stud QB, depending on your personal preference, or even to get TE1 if there's a huge value play available and have the "TEBC" be your TE2 (although I would only recommend this in very deep leagues with 20+ roster spots). Flexibility is the name of the game here. We all want value in our drafts, and having the ability to grab lots of RBs and WRs in the first 9-10 Rounds gives us that ability.

Here is the good news - all of the tight ends on the list above have ADPs that are Round 10 or higher (later). In fact, only the Brent Celek and Jared Cook are borderline Round 10 / Round 11 guys. We will have to keep that in mind when we look at the result because if we decide to wait unit Round 11 to get this pair to make up our TEBC we may be pushing it a little too far and may not get the combination that we want.

So what do we do now to figure out some TE pairs?

Criteria #3 - Use Footballguys' TE Strength of Schedule

This sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? Just take the TE Strength of Schedule to figure out when certain players are more likely to score well. What I did is similar to what the Projections Dominator and Draft Dominator do for you - take the projected fantasy points and slice them up over 16 weeks based on the strength of schedule. I call this result the "distributed fantasy points" for each receiver.

After I had all 14 tight ends with distributed fantasy points on a weekly basis, I just compared all of the possible TE pairs to find the best duos for TEBC. So here we are - time for some results.

Rnk
Tight End 1
Tight End 2
Value
1
Dustin Keller
Owen Daniels
203.6
2
Brent Celek
Dustin Keller
199.6
3
Brent Celek
Owen Daniels
196.5
4
Brent Celek
Jared Cook
192.5
5
Owen Daniels
Greg Olsen
192.2
6
Dustin Keller
Greg Olsen
191.7
7
Brent Celek
Greg Olsen
191.4
8
Brent Celek
Heath Miller
190.5
9
Brent Celek
Coby Fleener
189.7
10
Dustin Keller
Jared Cook
189.3
11
Dustin Keller
Heath Miller
188.9
12
Brent Celek
Lance Kendricks
188.7
13
Dustin Keller
Coby Fleener
188.5
14
Owen Daniels
Jared Cook
188.0
15
Dustin Keller
Ed Dickson
187.4
16
Brent Celek
Scott Chandler
186.7
17
Owen Daniels
Heath Miller
186.6
18
Owen Daniels
Coby Fleener
186.3
19
Dustin Keller
Kyle Rudolph
186.2
20
Brent Celek
Kyle Rudolph
186.2
21
Brent Celek
Marcedes Lewis
185.4
22
Brent Celek
Ed Dickson
185.2
23
Dustin Keller
Marcedes Lewis
184.7
24
Owen Daniels
Marcedes Lewis
184.3
25
Dustin Keller
Scott Chandler
183.7
26
Owen Daniels
Lance Kendricks
181.9
27
Owen Daniels
Kyle Rudolph
180.4
28
Brent Celek
n/a
177.9

Table 2: PPR Tight End Committee Pairs

As we can see from Table 2, we have some very good pairs to select from for TEBC. There are 27 pairs that are worth more than Brent Celek (projected as TE11) by his lonesome, who is projected to come in with 177.9 points. Let's also take a look at how often some of these guys show up on the table:

Tight End
Frequency
Tight End
Frequency
Brent Celek
12
Jared Cook
3
Dustin Keller
10
Marcedes Lewis
3
Owen Daniels
9
Kyle Rudolph
3
Coby Fleener
3
Ed Dickson
2
Greg Olsen
3
Scott Chandler
2
Heath Miller
3
Lance Kendricks
2

Table 3: Tight End Committee Pair Appearances by Player

As we can see from Table 3, the results are dominated by one guy Brent Celek. That is a significant result as it gives us the key player to target for the TEBC approach to the draft. The next two on the list Dustin Keller and Owen Daniels gives us options for the second half of the pairing for TEBC.

Putting It All Together

Now that we have 27 possible pairs that are better than Brent Celek, what exactly does that mean? Should Brent Celek be the basis of our comparison? Of course not. Remember our goal - find a pair of tight ends that can combine for TE1-type fantasy production. To figure that out we need a better metric, so here are the projections for the Top 20 TEs, using PPR:

ADP
TE Rnk
Tight End
FPs
FP Rnk
10
1
Jimmy Graham
296.8
1.0
14
2
Rob Gronkowski
281.3
2.0
56
5
Jason Witten
230.4
3.0
51
4
Antonio Gates
229.3
4.0
49
3
Aaron Hernandez
224.0
5.0
63
7
Vernon Davis
220.3
6.0
78
8
Brandon Pettigrew
209.2
7.0
94
10
Tony Gonzalez
198.0
8.0
61
6
Jermichael Finley
196.7
9.0
81
9
Fred Davis
183.1
10.0
120
13
Brent Celek
177.9
11.0
141
17
Dustin Keller
177.1
12.0
130
16
Owen Daniels
173.7
13.0
112
12
Jermaine Gresham
168.2
14.0
144
18
Greg Olsen
155.1
15.0
100
11
Jacob Tamme
155.0
16.0
123
14
Jared Cook
150.2
17.0
188
20
Heath Miller
145.5
18.0
127
15
Coby Fleener
141.2
19.0
196
22
Ed Dickson
127.3
20.0
165
19
Kyle Rudolph
126.1
21.0

Table 4: Projected Fantasy Points for Top 20 ADP TEs (PPR)

Based on Table 4, we see that TEs beyond the Top 10 are really jumbled all over the place thanks to a good number of people sleeping on Brent Celek and several owners drafting Jacob Tamme based on his new home in Denver. Looking at our possible pairs, we have 25 duos that are higher than Fred Davis (TE10) in projected fantasy points and two pairs that exceed Tony Gonzalez (TE8), which would be a reasonable target to strive for with a TEBC approach. This tells us that choosing the correct pair can give us the result we wanted - TE1 production on the cheap.

Considering all of the results, the committee recipe looks very clear get Brent Celek. Nabbing Celek in Round 10 locks him into your lineup and then you can pick the next tight end that you like from the list of 12 possible pairs with Celek. Based on the relative cost and value for the top candidates, the situation for Owen Daniels is very appealing. Matt Schaub is healthy again and the Texans are lacking at wide receiver after Andre Johnson. Given the big offenses in both Philadelphia and Houston, I am recommending Brent Celek and Owen Daniels as the TEBC for 2012. Take Celek in Round 10 and follow up with Owen Daniels no later than Round 11 (just to be safe) to pair together for your TE committee. Yes, that is a round earlier than expected, so if you want to wait then there are many options near the top of Table 2 that will be there in Round 12 (like Greg Olsen or Heath Miller).

For thoroughness, Table 2 should be your guide on Fantasy Draft Day if you attempt to use TEBC.

Here is a final summary of the combined schedules for Brent Celek and Owen Daniels, and when the committee approach suggests starting each one:

Week
Suggested TE
Opponent
1
Brent Celek
at Cleveland
2
Owen Daniels
at Jacksonville
3
Brent Celek
at Arizona
4
Brent Celek
NY Giants
5
Brent Celek
at Pittsburgh
6
Owen Daniels
Green Bay
7
Owen Daniels
Baltimore
8
Brent Celek
Atlanta
9
Owen Daniels
Buffalo
10
Brent Celek
Dallas
11
Brent Celek
at Washington
12
Brent Celek
Carolina
13
Brent Celek
at Dallas
14
Owen Daniels
at New England
15
Brent Celek
Cincinnati
16
Brent Celek
Washington

Table 5: Suggested PPR TEBC Schedule Plan

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

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