The FPC and the Tight End Position

The Footballguys Players Championship Analysis - Looking at the Tight End Position

Footballguys continues to advance the world of fantasy football. With several additions to their offerings last year, the much heralded Best Online Content Site for 2009 joined the world of High Stakes Fantasy contests and made an instant splash. Joe Bryant and David Dodds teamed with David Gerczak and Alex Kaganovsky of the Fantasy Football Players Championship (myffpc.com) to create the first annual Footballguys Players Championship contest in 2010 and by all measures it was a huge success. Now the FPC and FFPC are back again for their fifth season, ready to knock it out of the park once again in 2015.

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 TIGHT END POSITION

Under the microscope this time around is the position of tight end. According the rules of the Footballguys Players Championship, the rosters are as follows:

Starting Roster

  • 1 QB
  • 2 RBs
  • 2 WRs
  • 1 TE
  • 1 K
  • 1 D/ST
  • 2 flex players (RB/WR/TE)

With the following relevant scoring system in place:

  • 4 points for passing TDs, 6 points for all other TDs
  • 0.1 point for every 1 yard rushing or receiving
  • 1.5 points per reception for TEs

Now, I have already discussed the impact of the 1.5 points per reception for TEs in a separate article here, so I will move on to focusing on fantasy scoring in general for tight ends.

So how do you analyze the impact of this scoring system to the current crop of potential fantasy tight ends? We need to dig into some numbers.

First, let's take a look at both the projected scores for the Top 30 tight ends this season and calculate some VBD numbers using the worst starter method (more on that in a minute). The results are in Table 1:

Rank Points VBD Rank Points VBD
1 299.9 142 16 149.4 -9
2 225.8 68 17 142 -16
3 230.6 73 18 139.8 -18
4 216.8 59 19 138.8 -19
5 212.2 54 20 138 -20
6 187.2 29 21 136.6 -21
7 176.5 18 22 136.5 -22
8 168.8 11 23 135.5 -23
9 172 14 24 134.4 -24
10 171.6 14 25 131.8 -26
11 163.5 5 26 123.1 -35
12 162.5 4 27 118 -40
13 161.9 4 28 112.1 -46
14 158 0 29 103.7 -54
15 151.3 -7 30 93.4 -65

Table 1: FPC Projected Fantasy Points For Top 30 Tight Ends

First a comment on the worst starter method. Even though only 12 TEs are necessary as starters (the rules require 1 TE per team), the Dual Flex rule put more of them into play. As a result, the 14th tight end is regarded as the last starter - meaning that some teams will be going with a tight end as one of their two flex players, and possibly even two most weeks.

The VBD does not do much for a complete analysis without some context of other positions. Looking at the Draft Dominator, we can run a mock draft to get a feel for when the various tight ends are slated to come off of the draft board. Table 2 gives some more insight as to when the mock draft says to take a TE:

Rank Points VBD DD ADP Rank Points VBD DD ADP
1 299.9 142 2 16 149.4 -9 135
2 225.8 68 21 17 142 -16 145
3 230.6 73 22 18 139.8 -18 152
4 216.8 59 29 19 138.8 -19 155
5 212.2 54 40 20 138 -20 156
6 187.2 29 79 21 136.6 -21 180
7 176.5 18 97 22 136.5 -22 161
8 168.8 11 107 23 135.5 -23 162
9 172 14 111 24 134.4 -24 163
10 171.6 14 112 25 131.8 -26 174
11 163.5 5 122 26 123.1 -35 175
12 162.5 4 123 27 118 -40 184
13 161.9 4 125 28 112.1 -46 199
14 158 0 126 29 103.7 -54 240+
15 151.3 -7 136 30 93.4 -65 240+

Table 2: Draft Dominator FPC Mock - ADP For Top 30 Tight Ends

Based on the results, one tight end, Rob Gronkowski, projects as afirst round pick and the next three usually do not escape Round 3. After the first five TEs are gone, the value heads towards other positions until Rounds 7-10, where the next tier of tight ends (TE6-14) should come off the board.  Teams lacking in tight ends then would start to take the next few at about a clip of two per round and teams will likely have at least two tight ends rosters by the end of the draft.

This is great for a mock draft, but how about some real life comparisons? 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. We can use this information to compare against the Draft Dominator mock results. Here are both ADPs compared side-by-side and their relative differences:

Rank FPC ADP DD ADP ADP Diff Rank FPC ADP DD ADP ADP Diff
1 3 2 -1 16 117 135 18
2 20 21 1 17 118 145 27
3 33 22 -11 18 126 152 26
4 35 29 -6 19 135 155 20
5 50 40 -10 20 139 156 17
6 62 29 -33 21 141 180 39
7 70 97 27 22 142 161 19
8 71 107 36 23 143 162 19
9 73 111 38 24 145 163 18
10 79 112 33 25 147 174 27
11 96 122 26 26 181 175 -6
12 98 123 25 27 212 184 -28
13 98 125 27 28 220 199 -21
14 117 126 9 29 220 241 21
15 117 136 19 30 226 241 15

Table 3: Draft Dominator FPC Mock vs. 2015 FPC Data - Comparison of ADPs

Several key facts can be pulled from Table 3 about tight ends and FPC scoring:

  • The Top 2 tight ends go right about where they should in both mocks, and then the next tier of TE3-6 come off the board about a round later than the Draft Dominator predicted.  That is a reflection of the gap between Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, and how teams will wait a litle for that next tier.   
  • Tight ends 7-13 go two to three rounds earlier than in the Draft Dominator mock. That speaks again to how valuable tight ends are in the FPC – or at least how valuable the tight end position is perceived.
  • The next tier of tight ends (TE14-25) seem to go very early as well – almost too early. That points to the value of having two solid tight ends and the possibility of using one as a flex spot with the FPC roster rules. 
  • Most teams will take at least two tight ends and about half of the franchises will draft three as the ADP results show an average of 30-32 TEs being selected.
  • The mock draft only selected 28 tight ends (hence the ADP over 240), 3-4 less than in most FPC drafts last season. Those numbers tend to skew the differences in the ADPs towards the end of Table 3.

PARTING THOUGHTS

Every fantasy league and its rulebook are a little different. For the FPC and the FFPC, the tight end position has many reasons to emphasize drafting them early and often. With the Dual Flex, up to three tight ends can start in a given week, and with 1.5 points per reception their value is bumped up a little across the board. Having the flexibility to start 2-3 in a given week - especially with bye weeks - is a nice option to have.

So what is the right approach? Taking a Top 4 tight end seems too expensive when you look at the price you will have to pay (Round 3 or higher) and the added cost of not getting a Top 15 RB or WR instead - unless you can steal Rob Gronkowski in Round 2 or Martellus Bennett in Round 4. While the Draft Dominator mock hints that all tight ends are reaches, the thing to take away from it is that the best value picks occur for the second group of the TE1s (TE5-TE10). Grabbing a Jason Witten, Kyle Rudolph or similar tight end in Round 6 or 7 when 5-7 tight ends have already been selected is a great idea and a good approach to an FPC draft. Another solid idea is to not wait on TE2, as they will dry up quickly after Rounds 9-11. Snagging two Top 15 or so tight ends gives stability and performance for your team and allows you roster flexibility when it comes to both bye weeks and the Dual Flex roster options.

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.