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TE By Committee - PPR

Finding a Starting Tight End by Committee in a PPR League for 2013

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 Player ADP Player
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
58 Brandon Pettigrew n/a 144.6

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:

Tight End Freq
Brandon Pettigrew 15
Jordan Cameron 14
Dustin Keller 13
Dwayne Allen 9
Marcedes Lewis 9
Brandon Myers 8
Fred Davis 8
Jermaine Gresham 8
Martellus Bennett 8
Ed Dickson 5
Jacob Tamme 5
Coby Fleener 4
Rob Housler 4
Tyler Eifert 3
Heath Miller 2

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
14 1 Jimmy Graham 253.4 1
40 3 Jason Witten 219.3 2
34 2 Rob Gronkowski 213.5 3
50 4 Tony Gonzalez 195.4 4
59 5 Vernon Davis 179.6 5
81 6 Greg Olsen 171.8 6
84 7 Kyle Rudolph 158.5 7
103 9 Jermichael Finley 155.6 8
109 11 Owen Daniels 155.6 9
92 8 Jared Cook 152.6 10
104 10 Antonio Gates 144.8 11
133 14 Brandon Pettigrew 144.3 12
146 15 Jordan Cameron 142.5 13
152 18 Dustin Keller 136 14
119 12 Martellus Bennett 132.1 15
179 21 Dwayne Allen 130 16
153 16 Jermaine Gresham 129 17
167 20 Fred Davis 128 18
206 26 Marcedes Lewis 127.6 19
125 13 Brandon Myers 131 20
157 17 Ed Dickson 126.1 21
166 19 Heath Miller 101.8 26

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.

Here is a final summary of the combined schedules for Brandon Pettigrew and Dwayne Allen, and when the committee approach suggests starting each one:

Week Suggested Player Opponent
1 Brandon Pettigrew Minnesota
2 Brandon Pettigrew at Arizona
3 Brandon Pettigrew at Washington
4 Brandon Pettigrew Chicago
5 Dwayne Allen Seattle
6 Brandon Pettigrew at Cleveland
7 Dwayne Allen Denver
8 Brandon Pettigrew Dallas
9 Dwayne Allen at Houston
10 Brandon Pettigrew at Chicago
11 Dwayne Allen at Tennessee
12 Brandon Pettigrew Tampa Bay
13 Dwayne Allen Tennessee
14 Brandon Pettigrew at Philadelphia
15 Dwayne Allen Houston
16 Brandon Pettigrew New York Giants

Table 5: Suggested PPR TEBC Schedule Plan

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


More from Jeff Pasquino:

The Daily Grind - Daily Fantasy Contest News: Week 9 - October 31
Eliminator Pool: Week 9 - October 30
Against The Spread Pool: Week 9 - October 30
For the Win: Week 9 - October 29
Money Talks (Free Agent Bidding Advice): Week 9 - October 28
The Daily Grind - Daily Fantasy Contest News: Week 8 - October 25
Eliminator Pool: Week 8 - October 23
Against The Spread Pool: Week 8 - October 23
For the Win: Week 8 - October 22
Money Talks (Free Agent Bidding Advice): Week 8 - October 21