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Tight End By Committee

Finding a Starting Tight End by Committee for 2017

Over the past few years, there have been several very popular articles written by myself and 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, Chase 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 I 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 quarterback 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 Player Team ADP Player Team
TE12 Jack Doyle IND TE21 Evan Engram NYG
TE13 Eric Ebron DET TE22 C.J. Fiedorowicz HOU
TE14 O.J. Howard TB TE23 Jared Cook OAK
TE15 Coby Fleener NO TE24 Dwayne Allen NE
TE16 Julius Thomas MIA TE25 Antonio Gates LAC
TE17 Jason Witten DAL TE26 Jesse James PIT
TE18 Austin Hooper ATL TE27 Zach Miller CHI
TE19 Cameron Brate TB TE28 Charles Clay BUF
TE20 David Njoku CLE      

Table 1: Tight Ends TE12-TE28 Based on ADP

This year I stopped at TE28 because of how murky the waters (and depth charts) get after Charles Clay, so it is probably best we do not go that deep unless you play in a TE bonus league or one where you can play 2-3 a week.  Tampa Bay screams out as an interesting situation to watch with both Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard on this list.  If one of them emerges as the leader, he could make for an automatic Top 12 candidate.  The Buccaneers and the Giants offer up two rookies with promise (Howard and Evan Engram), but it is rare if a first year tight end ever makes a real splash.  Odds are we are going to stick with proven veterans in favorable passing situations.  Also note that I added in Jack Doyle (TE12) because of how valuable he appears to be this year, so we should not arbitrarily cut make a cutoff of TE12 this year.  If TE12 is a huge value, we should snap him up and not worry that we are "breaking the rules" of waiting for a TE2.  Just take the value and move on.  So I took the Top 28 tight ends from the ADP list, removed the Top 11 and that left me with 17 guys to pair up and see how they do. That makes 136 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

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