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Quality Starts: Tight Ends (PPR) - Footballguys

Quality Starts for 2017 for Tight Ends Using PPR 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 decided to take the #12 TE for the year (Jared Cook, 134.8 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, but I believe that the numbers will get averaged out by doing this method. Also, taking TE12 seems a bit arbitrary, but if you are looking for a bare minimum of quality, the 12th tight end should be the "worst starter" in your fantasy league. An improvement on that is to take the per-game average and rank them based on those criteria, which brings an elite tight end that suffers an injury (like Jordan Reed) back into the mix. That adjusts TE12 to be Charles Clay, who had an average of 8.985 points per game last year - which is slightly higher than Cook's average (8.425) - but both methods are comparable. Using Clay instead of Cook makes sense here as we are more interested in game-by-game performance.

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 6.7
Quality Start
6.8 to 11.2
Excellent Start

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