The staff members at Footballguys are full of opinions. In a Faceoff, we allow two members to voice their opinions on a specific player. One picked the high side, and the other took the low side.
High Side by David Dodds
Gary Barnidge set career highs in snaps (945), targets (125), receptions (79), yards (1,043), and TDs (9) in 2015. This was good enough to be the 4th best TE in PPR leagues. Yet this year, he is being severely discounted with an ADP of TE8.
His critics point to these reasons:
- Better WR weapons will lessen his targets
- New HC, QB, and system
- 2015 was an outlier year statistically for him.
Admittedly his targets may go down some as the Browns could barely roster anyone who could catch the ball at the end of last year. The head coach argument seems weak at best though. Under Hue Jackson's play-calling, Tyler Eifert managed 13 TDs in just 13 games in 2015. Barnidge could see considerable redzone consideration in Hue's revamped offense.
Additionally, the Browns have one of the better offensive lines in the league (graded as top-tier by our own Matt Bitonti). Barnidge has minimal competition for snaps and should be on the field for nearly all plays again in 2016. I think this is simply a case of the ADP being pushed a little low. If anything, the 2016 Barnidge looks like a player that should have production close to the 2015 version who set career highs in all categories.
Low Side by Devin Knotts
Gary Barnidge was a breakout performer in 2015 as he was the Browns leading receiver with 1,046 yards. Prior to last season, Barnidge was an unknown player in the NFL as he had a total of 603 receiving yards. There is no denying how great he was last year, but there are some red flags pointing to him not coming close to the level of production he had last season.
The Browns are in a transitional year, and Barnidge is likely going to lose his trusted quarterback Josh McCown in favor of Robert Griffin III. In the seven games that McCown played a majority of the snaps, Barnidge had 603 yards receiving or an average of 86 yards receiving per game. In the other nine games where McCown did not play a majority of the snaps, Barnidge only had 440 yards per game or an average of 48 yards per game. The Browns also will have a new coaching staff this season as Hue Jackson replaces Mike Pettine as Head Coach and Pep Hamilton comes in as the Offensive Coordinator. Hamilton previously was the Offensive Coordinator in Indianapolis for three seasons where he ran a multiple tight end system with Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener. All signs point to Hamilton running a multiple tight end set with Barnidge and players such as Seth Devalve who the Browns drafted in the fourth round, and either Randall Telfer or E.J. Bibbs both who are young athletic tight ends. This will likely limit Barnidge's upside as there will be more receivers involved this season including the three that the Browns took in the 2016 draft.
Gary Barnidge is currently being drafted as a number one tight end for this season and with all of the risk for a player who turns 31 this season who has only had one season of being fantasy relevant he is being overvalued. If the Browns fall out of it early, which we are all expecting, the new coaching staff may start looking at evaluating the young talent on the roster to determine which players to keep long-term. This would be a less than ideal situation as come fantasy playoff time you'll be scrambling for another tight end.