Tight End By Committee
By Jeff Pasquino
July 30th, 2010

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
Heath Miller
TE19
Jermaine Gresham
TE14
John Carlson
TE20
Tony Scheffler
TE15
Dustin Keller
TE21
Jimmy Graham
TE16
Greg Olsen
TE22
Brandon Pettigrew
TE17
Jeremy Shockey
TE23
Fred Davis
TE18
Kevin Boss
TE24
Tony Moeaki

Table 1: Tight Ends TE13-TE24 Based on ADP

Great, now we have 12 guys to pair up and see how they do. That makes 66 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 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 11 or higher (later). In fact, only the Heath Miller, John Carlson and Dustin Keller have Round 11 ADPs, so we will have to keep that in mind when we look at the result because it might be unlikely to get two of these three players for a committee.

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 12 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.

Rk
Tight End 1
Tight End 2
Value
1
Heath Miller
Jeremy Shockey
109.8
2
Heath Miller
Kevin Boss
109.6
3
Heath Miller
Dustin Keller
109.3
4
Heath Miller
Greg Olsen
108.8
5
Heath Miller
Fred Davis
106.6
6
Heath Miller
Tony Scheffler
106.0
7
Heath Miller
Tony Moeaki
105.6
8
Heath Miller
Jermaine Gresham
105.6
9
Heath Miller
Brandon Pettigrew
105.3
10
Heath Miller
Jimmy Graham
103.6
11
Heath Miller
John Carlson
102.9
12
Heath Miller
None
102.9

Table 2: Tight End Committee Pairs

As we can see from Table 2, we have some very good pairs to select from for TEBC. There are 11 pairs that are worth more than Heath Miller (projected as TE8 in fantasy points) by his lonesome, who is projected to come in with 102.9 points. Let's also take a look at how often some of these guys show up on the table:

Tight End
Frq
Tight End
Frq
Heath Miller
11
Tony Scheffler
1
Jeremy Shockey
1
Tony Moeaki
1
Kevin Boss
1
Jermaine Gresham
1
Dustin Keller
1
Brandon Pettigrew
1
Greg Olsen
1
Jimmy Graham
1
Fred Davis
1
John Carlson
1

Table 3: Tight End Committee Pair Appearances by Player

As we can see from Table 3, the results are dominated by one guy – Heath Miller. That is a significant result as it gives us the key player to target for the TEBC approach to the draft.

Putting It All Together

Now that we have 11 possible pairs that are better than Heath Miller, what exactly does that mean? Should Heath Miller 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 12 TEs:

ADP
TE Rk
Tight End
FPs
FP Rk
39
1
Dallas Clark
138.1
2
43
2
Antonio Gates
138.6
1
47
3
Vernon Davis
125.8
4
54
4
Jason Witten
123.2
5
58
5
Jermichael Finley
129.1
3
60
6
Brent Celek
108.6
7
65
7
Tony Gonzalez
121.2
6
98
9
Kellen Winslow
101.3
9
110
12
Zach Miller
100.9
10
93
8
Owen Daniels
91.3
11
102
10
Visanthe Shiancoe
89.0
12

Table 4: Projected Fantasy Points for Top 12 ADP TEs

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 Zach Miller and several owners drafting Owen Daniels based on his phenomenal half-season of work last year. Looking at our possible pairs, we have four duos that are higher than Brent Celek (TE7) in projected fantasy points, 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 Heath Miller. Nabbing Miller in Round 10 locks him into your lineup and then you can pick the next tight end that you like from the list of 11 possible pairs. Based on the relative cost and value plus the job security for the New York Giants and the stability of Eli Manning under center, I am recommending Heath Miller and Kevin Boss as the TEBC for 2010. Take Heath Miller in Round 10 and follow up with Kevin Boss no later than Round 14 (just to be safe) to pair together for your TE committee.

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 Heath Miller and Kevin Boss, and when the committee approach suggests starting each one:

Wk
Suggested Starter
Opponent
1
Heath Miller
Atlanta
2
Heath Miller
at Tennessee
3
Heath Miller
at Tampa Bay
4
Heath Miller
Baltimore
5
Kevin Boss
at Houston
6
Heath Miller
Cleveland
7
Heath Miller
at Miami
8
Heath Miller
at New Orleans
9
Heath Miller
at Cincinnati
10
Heath Miller
New England
11
Heath Miller
Oakland
12
Kevin Boss
Jacksonville
13
Heath Miller
at Baltimore
14
Heath Miller
Cincinnati
15
Heath Miller
New York Jets
16
Heath Miller
Carolina

Table 5: Suggested TEBC Schedule Plan

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

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