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Quality Starts: Tight Ends - Footballguys

Quality Starts for 2017 for Tight Ends Using Standard Scoring

There are some fantasy football players that believe that the lineup you pick can lose you a game just as much as it can win a contest. Having a player give you a consistent performance week after week can be considered more valuable than a player who goes off every third week and then takes two weeks off between those fantastic performances. Consistency has a value, and it does not take much of a leap to understand that players that you can rely on for solid games when you need them (such as in your postseason) are a huge advantage.

Baseball has a term called "Quality Starts" for pitchers, which is a statistic that represents how often a starting pitcher will put up a good (not great, just good) performance in a given game. The bar is set neither high nor low (six innings pitched, three earned runs or fewer) so as to gauge a decent performance. The theory behind it is that if your pitcher gives you a Quality Start, your team has a fighting chance to win a given game.

So now we need to translate this to football. What is "quality" for each position? How do we define a "Quality Start" for quarterbacks or running backs or any other position? Looking back at the 2017 season, I first decided to take the #12 TE for the year (Hunter Henry, 81.9 fantasy points) and take that fantasy total and divide it by 16 for a per game average. Now a case can be made to argue against doing this. I did not account for missed games or a per-start performance metric, so I also looked at sorting the tight ends by points per game. That landed me on Tyler Kroft as TE12 with an average of 5.4 points per game - or 86.4 over 16 games. It is close, but I chose to go with the game average to allow for players who suffered injuries to be included more. Also, taking TE12 seems a bit arbitrary, but if you are looking for a bare minimum of quality, the 12th TE should be the "worst starter" in your fantasy league.

So now we move on to the next question - one of quantifying the quality. At what point do we decide whether or not a tight end has given us a quality performance? Here is where it gets a bit murky, but looking at the distribution of TE performances by starters over the season and it becomes evident that the using the 12th TE average and adding or subtracting a percentage gives us a good range for a TE Quality Start.

Using the TE Quality Start range, we can also define a bad performance or an excellent performance as either falling below or exceeding the Quality Start range. Table 1 gives us the fantasy points that it takes to fall in each of the three areas:

TE Start Type
Fantasy Points
Bad Start
0 to 4.0
Quality Start
4.1 to 6.7
Excellent Start
6.9+

Table 1: 2017 TE Quality Start and Fantasy Point Ranges - Non-PPR Scoring

Table 2 shows us the breakdown of all the Top 36 TEs and how many of each type for each:

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