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):
|TE13||Brandon Myers||TE20||Fred Davis|
|TE14||Brandon Pettigrew||TE21||Dwayne Allen|
|TE15||Jordan Cameron||TE22||Tyler Eifert|
|TE16||Jermaine Gresham||TE23||Coby Fleener|
|TE17||Ed Dickson||TE24||Rob Housler|
|TE18||Dustin Keller||TE25||Jake Ballard|
|TE19||Heath Miller||TE26||Marcedes Lewis|
Table 1: Tight Ends TE13-TE26 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 Brandon Myers and Brandon Pettigrew 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.
|Rank||Tight End 1||Tight End 2||Value|
|1||Brandon Pettigrew||Jordan Cameron||164.4|
|2||Jordan Cameron||Dustin Keller||163.5|
|3||Brandon Pettigrew||Dustin Keller||162.9|
|4||Jordan Cameron||Brandon Myers||161.0|
|5||Brandon Pettigrew||Dwayne Allen||160.4|
|6||Brandon Pettigrew||Jermaine Gresham||160.4|
|7||Jordan Cameron||Martellus Bennett||160.0|
|8||Brandon Pettigrew||Martellus Bennett||159.0|
|9||Jordan Cameron||Jermaine Gresham||158.7|
|10||Jordan Cameron||Dwayne Allen||158.4|
|11||Jordan Cameron||Marcedes Lewis||157.3|
|12||Brandon Pettigrew||Coby Fleener||156.7|
|13||Brandon Pettigrew||Fred Davis||156.3|
|14||Brandon Pettigrew||Ed Dickson||156.3|
|15||Dustin Keller||Brandon Myers||156.2|
|16||Jordan Cameron||Fred Davis||155.6|
|17||Dustin Keller||Jermaine Gresham||155.2|
|18||Dustin Keller||Martellus Bennett||155.1|
|19||Jordan Cameron||Ed Dickson||154.5|
|20||Dustin Keller||Dwayne Allen||154.1|
|21||Jordan Cameron||Coby Fleener||153.6|
|22||Jordan Cameron||Rob Housler||153.5|
|23||Brandon Pettigrew||Heath Miller||153.4|
|24||Dwayne Allen||Marcedes Lewis||152.4|
|25||Dustin Keller||Ed Dickson||152.2|
|26||Brandon Pettigrew||Brandon Myers||152.1|
|27||Dustin Keller||Marcedes Lewis||151.9|
|28||Brandon Pettigrew||Tyler Eifert||151.6|
|29||Brandon Pettigrew||Marcedes Lewis||151.6|
|30||Dwayne Allen||Fred Davis||151.5|
|31||Jordan Cameron||Jacob Tamme||151.2|
|32||Jermaine Gresham||Brandon Myers||151.0|
|33||Jordan Cameron||Heath Miller||150.4|
|34||Dwayne Allen||Brandon Myers||150.4|
|35||Martellus Bennett||Fred Davis||150.4|
|36||Martellus Bennett||Brandon Myers||149.7|
|37||Dustin Keller||Coby Fleener||148.9|
|38||Martellus Bennett||Marcedes Lewis||148.8|
|39||Jermaine Gresham||Fred Davis||148.6|
|40||Martellus Bennett||Jermaine Gresham||148.4|
|41||Fred Davis||Brandon Myers||147.8|
|42||Brandon Pettigrew||Rob Housler||147.7|
|43||Dwayne Allen||Jermaine Gresham||147.6|
|44||Jermaine Gresham||Marcedes Lewis||147.4|
|45||Jordan Cameron||Tyler Eifert||147.3|
|46||Marcedes Lewis||Coby Fleener||147.0|
|47||Dustin Keller||Fred Davis||146.7|
|48||Brandon Myers||Ed Dickson||146.6|
|49||Dustin Keller||Rob Housler||146.3|
|50||Dustin Keller||Jacob Tamme||146.3|
|51||Dwayne Allen||Jacob Tamme||146.2|
|52||Brandon Pettigrew||Jacob Tamme||145.9|
|53||Martellus Bennett||Jacob Tamme||145.5|
|54||Marcedes Lewis||Ed Dickson||145.1|
|55||Dwayne Allen||Rob Housler||144.8|
|56||Dustin Keller||Tyler Eifert||144.7|
|57||Fred Davis||Marcedes Lewis||144.7|
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 57 pairs that are worth more than Brandon Pettigrew (projected as TE12) by his lonesome, who is projected to come in with 144.3 points. Let's also take a look at how often some of these guys show up on the table:
Table 3: Tight End Committee Pair Appearances by Player
As we can see from Table 3, the results are dominated by three guys – Brandon Pettigrew, Jordon Cameron and Dustin Keller. That is a significant result as it gives us the key player to target for the TEBC approach to the draft. The next six on the list – Dwayne Allen, Marcedes Lewis, Brandon Myers, Fred Davis and Jermaine Gresham – gives us options for the second half of the pairing for TEBC.
Putting It All Together
Now that we have 57 possible pairs that are better than Brandon Pettigrew, what exactly does that mean? Should Brandon Pettigrew 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 21 TEs (and Heath Miller), using PPR:
|ADP||TE Rank||Player||FPs||FP Rank|
Table 4: Projected Fantasy Points for Top 21 ADP TEs (PPR)
Based on Table 4, we see that TEs beyond the Top 7 are really jumbled all over the place thanks to a good number of people sleeping on Brandon Pettigrew and several owners drafting Jared Cook based on his new home in St. Louis. Looking at our possible pairs, we have 23 duos that are higher than Jared Cook (TE10) plus five points for a bye week filler, and four pairs that exceed Jermichael Finley (TE8) with a similar bye week score added. Those top pairs 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 Brandon Pettigrew. Nabbing Pettigrew in Round 10 locks him into your lineup and then you can pick the next tight end that you like from the list of possible pairs with Pettigrew, four of which represent four of the top six TEBC options. Based on the relative cost and value for the top candidates, the situation for both Jordan Cameron and Dwayne Allen are very appealing. Cameron is a solid sleeper in Cleveland, where the Browns lack playmakers in the passing game and QB Brandon Weeden needs a safety valve. Dwayne Allen will be a big part of the Indianapolis passing game, and he has proven to be a solid target for Luck after his rookie campaign. Given the big offenses in both Detroit and Indianapolis, I am recommending Brandon Pettigrew and Dwayne Allen as the TEBC for 2013. I am picking this duo over the Pettigrew-Cameron pair for quarterback and overall offensive stability reasons. The Colts have Andrew Luck and a good passing game, while Cleveland has quarterback issues. Couple this to the lower draft price for Allen (Round 14) vs. Cameron (Round 11-12) and the choice is much easier to see. Take Pettigrew in Round 10 and follow up with Dwayne Allen no later than Round 13 (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 14 (like Marcedes Lewis or Coby Fleener) if Allen is gone.
For thoroughness, Table 2 should be your guide on Fantasy Draft Day if you attempt to use TEBC.
|2||Brandon Pettigrew||at Arizona|
|3||Brandon Pettigrew||at Washington|
|6||Brandon Pettigrew||at Cleveland|
|9||Dwayne Allen||at Houston|
|10||Brandon Pettigrew||at Chicago|
|11||Dwayne Allen||at Tennessee|
|12||Brandon Pettigrew||Tampa Bay|
|14||Brandon Pettigrew||at Philadelphia|
|16||Brandon Pettigrew||New York Giants|
Table 5: Suggested PPR TEBC Schedule Plan
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