Welcome to the 2015 Footballguys Discussion series, where we get a few staff members and toss them an open-ended question. Check out their answers.
The FFPC and FPC award 1.5 points for a reception by tight ends but only a single point to running backs and wide receivers. The starting lineup is 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, and 2 flex players (RB, WR, or TE). How significant is this? How does your strategy change at tight end in this scoring system?
Mark Wimer: Here's my bottom line on this FPC scoring paradigm (1.5 PPR for tight ends, 1 PPR for other positions, with two flex options) - this year, fantasy owners playing this scoring paradigm basically HAVE to scheme to get a minimum of two top tier tight ends (at least two of the top six tight ends). Depending on your draft boards that means you probably need TWO of these eight guys: Rob Gronkowski (NE); Jimmy Graham (SEA); Travis Kelce (KC); Greg Olsen (CAR); Martellus Bennett (CHI): Zach Ertz (PHI); Jason Witten (DAL); Jordan Cameron (MIA).
Also, I would angle for at least one other viable tight end who could step in if one of your top-tier guys goes down to injury.
Check out my commentary on this Footballguys.com 28-round FPC auction mock draft, where I landed Graham, Olsen, Maxx Williams, and Crockett Gilmore for my tight end corps. You will note I went with Antonio Brown in the first round, amd still got two of the top five (consensus) tight ends. This is because (despite Tom Brady's uncertain status for 2015), Rob Gronkowski is a curve-buster. He is SO far ahead of all the other tight ends entering 2015 that his projections artificially degrade the other elite tight ends to second/third round prospects.
Now, ask yourself, if Tom Brady is out for four games (or three, or two, depending on the pending settlement with the NFL), with Jimmy Garoppolo likely throwing the rock for New England in September for a few weeks, do you really think that Gronkowski is THAT far ahead of Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen (pick your favorite two other-than-Gronkowski tight end prospects)?
I don't think so, either.
There is a lot of upside in the second tier tight ends this year, friends. Gronk's resurgent 2014 season has artificially depressed the other elite options at his position when we look at projected X-value.
Andy Hicks: You don't need to be a maths wizzard to realize that the extra half point per reception alters the dynamic dramatically. Last year four tight ends posted more than 80 receptions, another seven had more than 60, while another five got 50 or more.
From a fantasy points perspective it moves a player like Jared Cook from backup tight end to a flex option, Zach Ertz scores just as many as your WR3 and gets the second flex spot ahead of someone like Kenny Stills. Jason Witten goes from a bottom end TE1 to being on par with your WR2, while Greg Olsen ranks just behind the elite seven wide receivers.
It is a big deal.
In this format Gronkowski is certain to be taken very high. That leaves the strategy of what to do with the next tier of players very important. Are you prepared to spend a 3rd rounder on a guy like Martellus Bennett? Do you want to try the volume approach and draft other positions first and hope one of the 4 or 5 guys you target later pans out?
You have to be very careful not to get at the end of a run, especially if you are in the first or last three spots of the draft board. Either draft a guy like Travis Kelce at the end of round 2 or leave the position alone. Don't get caught out and take Owen Daniels in the 5th because the options dried up quick.
Sometimes these runs don't happen in this format and the draft only slightly favors the tight end position. Other times the rush is crazy and 20 Tight Ends are gone before the 6th round. Have a plan in place and adapt accordingly.
If I'm in the first six, I take Gronkowski if he falls to me. If I'm in spots 7-12, I don't want to take Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham or Travis Kelce with my 1st or 2nd. I therefore have to hope someone drops to the 3rd or I wait and get a group of players looking in the 6th round onwards. If I'm in the first 6 and miss Gronkowski, I look and take Olsen or Kelce in the 2nd or 3rd if they fall.
Jeff Pasquino: This is a topic I touch on every year when I break down the FPC and the FFPC in articles such as this.
As Andy pointed out earlier, the 80/70/60 catch slash line is 4/11/16 for 2014. That's fairly consisted with both 2013 (3/9/19) and 2012 (3/8/18). Moreover, the extra half-point is not that dramatic when you simply look at the math - 70 catches is 35 points, or about two points per game. It is not that as significant as you think.
What is more significant in the FPC and FFPC is that you can start 2-3 tight ends in a given week. Combining the slight bump in scoring and the lineup flexibility affords teams to grab those TE7-18 guys as depth to cover bye weeks more consistently, and if you happen to grab the right tight end at TE7-15, you might get a 60+ catch guy who can round out your depth nicely.
The half-point is not as significant as you might think, but it does give teams more options in building depth and contending squads. Drafting two tight ends in the Top 15 is a recommended strategy, as is rostering at least three.
Stephen Holloway: The additional 0.5 per reception gives Gronkowski even more dominance over all other tight ends. The overall influence to the tight end position seems to have been decreased over the past few years as the tight end depth and use by most NFL teams is on the rise. The extra tight end depth seems to make cornering the market with two or three top tight ends less effective. If you can get Gronkowski at a reasonable price (close to same ADP as in ppr scoring) then you are even more steps ahead of the competition. Otherwise, the strategy of waiting a while and taking your favorites later among the fairly tightly bunched group between TE3 and TE14 seems like a solid plan. The relative difference this year (TE 1.5 ppr) between TE1 and TE3 is expected to be 65 to 70 points, while some projectors fall all the way to TE14 for that same 70 point differential from TE3.
Jason Wood: As my fellow staffers have articulated, it's a big deal on several levels. The additional points vault the tight ends into new relative paradigms. It would be rare to start a tight end as a flex in traditional PPR leagues, but in a 1.5PPR format, it's highly advisable provided you have a tight end that will be in line for 70+ catches. I don't have a lot to add here because the others have covered it well. You have to come out of a FPC style draft with an elite tight end. If you don't get the likes of Gronkowski, Kelce or Graham, it's important you take at least three tight ends and hope one of them vaults into the top tier.