The FPC and the Tight End PPR Bonus Rule - Footballguys

The Footballguys Players Championship Analysis - Looking at the TE PPR Bonus Scoring Rule

By studying the rules of both the FFPC and the FPC along with some of the history and previous performances by FPC players, insights can be found that will help many players to not only compete well in both contests but also to be in a position to win their league and be in the running for a top prize in the championship round.

As the summer rolls on, I will continue analyzing many aspects of the Footballguys Players Championship and the Fantasy Football Players Championship. Through these articles, I hope to provide extra help with fully understanding how to best build a top-notch fantasy team within the contest. As someone who has competed against the best players in the world and in several contests much like the FPC and the FFPC, I fully understand how every possible advantage and extra edge can make all the difference in the world.

THE TE PPR BONUS RULE

Under the microscope this time around is the special PPR rule for tight ends. According to the rules of the Footballguys Players Championship, the tight end PPR rule is as follows:

Roster/Scoring:

  • The scoring system gives 1 point per reception for running backs and wide receivers but also gives 1.5 points per reception for tight ends, putting extra weight to the tight end position.

So how do you analyze the impact of this 50% bonus for PPR rule for tight ends? Is it of huge importance or not? We need to dig into some numbers.

Let's start by taking a look at how many tight ends really rack up a big total of catches each season. Looking back at the past six years, the following table breaks down the tight ends down by the number of players with 40 or more catches, tiering them all the way to 80 or more receptions. The results are shown below in Table 1:

Rec
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
Bonus
80+
2
4
2
3
3
3
4
1
3
3
40+
70+
4
5
9
4
6
5
7
3
8
5
35+
60+
8
10
10
9
10
10
11
8
10
6
30+
50+
13
20
17
14
16
18
17
13
14
11
25+
40+
22
23
23
20
21
30
20
24
20
19
20+

Table 1: Tight End Receptions in 2008 through 2017

Several key facts can be pulled from Table 1:

  • Top tight ends are really top heavy. Only three tight ends were able to break the 80-catch level in seven of the past ten seasons and 2016 tied the 2011 record of four. At least one tight end in every season has hit the 80-catch mark, and it appears the elite fantasy options approach this number each season.
  • "Very good" performers can be defined by the 60-catch mark. In all years aside from 2008, 2010, 2014 and last year (2017) at least 10 tight ends achieved the 60-catch mark, which roughly correlates to a solid TE1.
  • In all ten seasons, a plateau hits at both 50 and 40 catches. Somewhere in the 50-ish catch range marks the end of TE1s and 40+ receptions define very good fantasy TE2 options. Looking over the six years (2011-2016) prior to last season, a trend emerges that in most years 16-20 tight ends get at least 50 receptions, with 30-50% of them failing to break 60.
  • Last season was a down year for tight ends, similar to 2014. However, every other season since 2011 had at least 16 tight ends with 50+ receptions, which points to these two seasons being anomalies.

One of the key questions for 2018 is whether or not there will be so many "very good" tight ends to fill up that 60+ tier again this coming season. Certainly, if a dozen or more tight ends wind up reaching that level it would be of great value to teams with two top performers on their roster (and likely both in the lineup due to the Dual-Flex rule).

Let's take a different angle on the above chart. Notice the "Bonus" column in Table 1. What that reflects are the extra fantasy points that a team receives over a normal PPR scoring format (one point per reception for tight ends). To get a better understanding of the impact of this bonus two additional tools were used - the Footballguys Draft Dominator and also some FPC ADP information.

The Draft Dominator is a nice tool to use to run some mock drafts and get a feel for not only how to draft but also to see about when typical players should be drafted (if everyone used VBD drafting). A typical 12 team, 20 round draft (with FPC starting lineups) was created, and the Draft Dominator calculated both VBD and also perform a complete mock draft. This was run twice, once with FPC scoring and once with typical PPR scoring (1 point for tight ends). Below in Table 2 is a summary of the fantasy point differences and VBD differences in the two formats:

Tight End
Team
1 PPR
1.5 PPR
VBD Bump
FanPts
VBD
FanPts
VBD
Rob Gronkowski
NE
214.6
95
246.7
105
10
Travis Kelce
KC
197.9
79
233.6
92
13
Zach Ertz
PHI
177.2
58
211.2
70
12
Greg Olsen
CAR
164.1
45
193.4
52
7
Jimmy Graham
GB
160.8
41
188.3
47
6
Evan Engram
NYG
157.9
39
188.0
46
7
Delanie Walker
TEN
147.4
28
175.9
34
6
Kyle Rudolph
MIN
139.1
20
166.8
25
5
Jack Doyle
IND
133.1
14
161.0
19
5
Jordan Reed
WAS
130.0
11
154.7
13
2
Trey Burton
CHI
122.5
3
145.7
4
1
David Njoku
CLE
119.4
0
141.7
0
0
Cameron Brate
TB
115.7
-4
136.9
-5
-1
Eric Ebron
IND
115.4
-4
138.2
-3
1
George Kittle
SF
114.9
-4
136.1
-6
-2
O.J. Howard
TB
113.2
-6
132.5
-9
-3
Jared Cook
OAK
112.2
-7
132.6
-9
-2
Charles Clay
BUF
111.3
-8
133.0
-9
-1
Austin Hooper
ATL
107.5
-12
128.7
-13
-1
Austin Seferian-Jenkins
JAC
102.2
-17
122.2
-19
-2
Ben Watson
NO
101.0
-18
120.8
-21
-3
Tyler Eifert
CIN
95.4
-24
112.4
-29
-5
Virgil Green
LAC
90.4
-29
107.1
-35
-6
Vance McDonald
PIT
88.6
-31
105.0
-37
-6
Vernon Davis
WAS
87.5
-32
103.6
-38
-6
Ricky Seals-Jones
ARI
86.4
-33
102.3
-39
-6
Tyler Kroft
CIN
81.3
-38
96.9
-45
-7

Table 2: TE VBD and Fantasy Points Projections Comparison - 1.0 vs. 1.5 PPR

Based on Table 2, you can see that the Top 9-11 tight ends (and 12 of the Top 14) all get a VBD point bump due to the extra bonus of 1.5 PPR scoring, and five out of the Top 6 get at least a +7 bump. So how does that translate to a draft? Let's take a look at where each one was selected in the two formats during the Draft Dominator mock drafts in Table 3:

Tight End
Team
1 PPR Mock
1.5 PPR Mock
Mock Bump
Rob Gronkowski
NE
8
9
-1
Travis Kelce
KC
20
10
10
Zach Ertz
PHI
27
22
5
Greg Olsen
CAR
31
28
3
Jimmy Graham
GB
40
32
8
Evan Engram
NYG
49
35
14
Delanie Walker
TEN
59
55
4
Kyle Rudolph
MIN
67
73
-6
Jack Doyle
IND
91
85
6
Jordan Reed
WAS
93
90
3
Trey Burton
CHI
119
119
0
David Njoku
CLE
132
125
7
Cameron Brate
TB
154
156
-2
Eric Ebron
IND
155
139
16
George Kittle
SF
156
158
-2
O.J. Howard
TB
159
161
-2
Jared Cook
OAK
169
160
9
Charles Clay
BUF
170
159
11
Austin Hooper
ATL
171
163
8
Austin Seferian-Jenkins
JAC
172
169
3
Ben Watson
NO
175
170
5
Tyler Eifert
CIN
185
187
-2
Virgil Green
LAC
191
189
2
Vance McDonald
PIT
197
197
0
Vernon Davis
WAS
201
212
-11
Ricky Seals-Jones
ARI
202
213
-11
Tyler Kroft
CIN
229
214
-15

Table 3: TE Mock Draft Results Comparison - 1.0 vs. 1.5 PPR

The top tight ends, as you might expect by the big boost to their VBD, although Rob Gronkowski moves slightly downward due to Travis Kelce's boost in PPR-bonus scoring (more catches but fewer projected touchdowns thank Gronkowski). The Top 10 all move up several selections aside from Kyle Rudolph, with that move as much as a half- to full round in ADP. The second tier of tight ends had moved up as much as two rounds in the past, but lower projections have them only slightly moving up for 2018. Once again, if the trend of last year reverts back to the norm, this could be the sweet spot to pick up some value for the TE10-16 range. Towards the latter stages of most FPC drafts, the Top 20 list of tight ends is exhausted quickly, as teams are securing their lower end TE1 starter and also trying either a committee approach or grabbing a strong backup (or possible flex starter).

The last question that really needs to be asked is how these mocks compare to real drafts. With the help of Clayton Gray here at Footballguys, we have pulled together some great ADP data based on early FPC drafts and created current ADP data for all of the top players. Table 4 takes that ADP and compares it to the 1.5 PPR mock:

Tight End
Team
1.5 PPR Mock
FPC ADP
ADP Reach
Rob Gronkowski
NE
9
15
-6
Travis Kelce
KC
10
20
-10
Zach Ertz
PHI
22
24
-2
Greg Olsen
CAR
28
39
-11
Jimmy Graham
GB
32
44
-12
Evan Engram
NYG
35
48
-13
Delanie Walker
TEN
55
57
-2
Kyle Rudolph
MIN
73
60
13
Jack Doyle
IND
85
88
-3
Jordan Reed
WAS
90
65
25
Trey Burton
CHI
119
70
49
David Njoku
CLE
125
101
24
Cameron Brate
TB
156
129
27
Eric Ebron
IND
139
116
23
George Kittle
SF
158
81
77
O.J. Howard
TB
161
106
55
Jared Cook
OAK
160
147
13
Charles Clay
BUF
159
135
24
Austin Hooper
ATL
163
152
11
Austin Seferian-Jenkins
JAC
169
118
51
Ben Watson
NO
170
148
22
Tyler Eifert
CIN
187
121
66
Virgil Green
LAC
189
287
-98
Vance McDonald
PIT
197
127
70
Vernon Davis
WAS
212
193
19
Ricky Seals-Jones
ARI
213
128
85
Tyler Kroft
CIN
214
198
16

Table 4: Tight End FPC Mock Pick vs. FFPC ADP Data

Interesting results when you compare the two drafts. FPC drafters have completely changed their plans this year, waiting a little more than usual at the top end of the draft with most, if not all of the Top 9 tight ends in both mocks and projections being selected almost a full round later than where the Draft Dominator suggests to take them. That screams take a tight end early as a good strategy this year, as value will present a tight end to you amongst the first four or five rounds. After that point, the normal reaching starts to take hold, with most of the next tiers of tight ends in the Top 20 going two or three rounds earlier than suggested. That means taking one tight end in the first five rounds followed by a reasonable TE2 for value in the middle of your draft appears to be optimal for both value and to secure two Top 20 options. Determining the tight ends to target in the TE2 range (TE13-24) will go a very long way if you can figure out which ones will hit that 50+ catch total this year, as historically a few of them should. Even if you miss out on those 50+ catch guys, most tight ends in the Top 20 should get 40+ catches, so targeting options in pass-heavy offenses or players with higher touchdown likelihoods looks like a very good option for a second tight end.

PARTING THOUGHTS

The common thought is that the 1.5 PPR scoring rule will create a significant advantage for tight end scoring, but the degree to which it matters varies widely with the talent level of the tight ends themselves. If a fantasy player grabs an 80+ catch tight end, he should have a significant advantage over other teams (about 20 catches per season for about half the league). That advantage is not as big as it might seem, yet based on the early 2018 FPC Draft ADP data we see that the tight ends are not going too early like last year (and several of the past seasons), but rather going about a round too late. Why is that? It has to be the perception of the value of tight ends and the view that getting a big boost at the position is not as significant as in seasons past. It could also imply that elite running backs and wide receivers are more important, and getting a second tier option (or two) later is a better plan. Basically, the scoring and uniqueness of the format create a false sense of a run on the position and teams reach for tight ends early. The reach problem is not that bad, however, if everyone agrees that they will do it - and that seems to be the trend across 1.5 PPR leagues.

So how do you approach the tight end position, especially with 1.5 PPR scoring? Certainly running a few mocks and reviewing previous drafts are a good start in trying to figure out when to take a TE1. Grab one too soon and your team will be hurting in other spots, but wait too long and you will fall behind at a key starting position. My recommendation is to target any Top 2 tight ends early if they slide beyond where they should (both should be gone by the end of Round 2), but then consider taking TE3-5 if you really like one of them in Round 3, 4 or 5. If you wait for a tight end (or even want a second one early), there will be some key rounds to target for this position. Based on the ADP of 2018 drafts, the sweet spot is similar to the 1.5 PPR mock - Rounds 8-10 for many of the lower TE1s and higher TE2s in the TE6-TE13 range. At that point of the draft you should have your starters at running back and wide receiver, along with 1-2 flex options at the position and a top tight end, so taking another tight end at that point does not cost you your true studs with your first picks. The advantage of having the top tight end (based on projections) could easily be not worth it since some tight ends overperform and others disappoint, so snagging your favorite tight end in the TE7-TE10 range seems like a solid Plan B.

As a second thought to getting the best tight end value, keep an eye out for any tight ends that are slipping down in Rounds 10-12. Grabbing a strong TE2 can give a fantasy squad excellent depth and versatility under the Dual-Flex rule and also back up a key starting position. Lots of tight ends appear to have solid secondary (TE2 / flex) value this coming season, so do not be afraid to grab a TE2 and a TE3 in the second half of your drafts.

It takes a little time to get your mind wrapped around a new contest with a new set of rules, but the time spent is often well worth it if the goal is to field a competitive team. Giving a little bit of effort to get a greater understanding of the twists and turns to the rulebook can give turn a good fantasy player into a great one and a great player into a dominant force. Knowledge is power - so be as powerful as you can!

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