Keeping an Eye on High Ceiling Tight Ends Zach Sudfeld and Joe Fauria
With both players continuing to generate strong buzz in training camp, I thought I’d update my earlier work on both TEs. Sudfeld has actually gotten a lot of attention lately, given the high profile nature of the Patriots in general, and their TE situation specifically. But Fauria has somewhat more quietly been having a very strong camp as well. You can check my previous articles for more specifics about these two.
I wrote about Sudfeld, the 6’7” bro with the 37” vertical here.
Catch of the Day, Sudfeld with a one-armed snag in the endzone….Brady was pumped pic.twitter.com/3NEVqPvkpN
— Steve Balestrieri (@SteveB7SFG) July 30, 2013
I wrote about Fauria, the TD catching machine here.
@hospiceman yes he can!
— Joseph Fauria (@BigJoeFauria) July 13, 2013
In this article, I’m going to look for comparable players that might give us a glimpse of the type of production we might expect from them. I started with Pro Football Reference’s player query tool, and searched for all TEs in the past ten years who were at least 6’6” and 250 pounds, and caught at least one pass their rookie season. Then I added in as much physical measurable data as I could (from NFL Draft Scout). College production stats come from Football Study Hall. I threw out three of the comparables: Taylor Thompson, as he converted from DE after college; Nate Lawrie, as he was the oldest, least similar comparable, with the fewest available measurables and collegiate stats, and Hayden Smith, the converted rugby player.
Here are the ten remaining comparable players, along with Fauria and Sudfeld.
My first takeaway is that this is a pretty good set of comparables, and Sudfeld and Fauria certainly seem to belong. My second takeaway is that Fauria does better on the strength and explosion related measures and Sudfeld on the speed/agility measures. Here are the two most-similar players on each measure.
|Weight||Graham, Rudolph||Olsen, Utecht|
|40||R.Gronkowski, Sypniewski||Boss, D.Gronkowski|
|20||Rudolph, Boss||Rudolph, Boss|
|10||Rudolph, Boss||Lewis, Sypniewski|
|Bench||Rudolph, Boss||Graham, Boss|
|Vert||Boss, Olsen||Lewis, Pope|
|Broad||Graham, R.Gronkowski||Rudolph, Olsen|
|20 Short Shuttle||Olsen, Sypniewski||Rudolph, Boss|
|3 Cone||Lewis, Pope||Olsen, Sypniewski|
This table gives us a sense of the college production of these players. Stats are from Football Study Hall and our College Receiver App. Target Percentage is the percentage of team targets the player received. All stats are for the player’s final collegiate season. Fauria’s catch rate leads the pack, and his market share of TDs is second only to Gronk’s ridiculous 67% mark. As a Lions fan, his catch rate and TD rate intrigues me, since Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler both underperform in the red zone and don’t catch well. Conversely, the Patriots’ Aaron Hernandez did perform well in the red zone; Sudfeld might be able to help replace his production. Both Suds and Big Joe post respectable numbers in all categories, finishing in the top half for each measure (except for a near miss for Fauria in market share of yards).
So, how did this batch of comparable players perform in their rookie season? Take a look. Fantasy points are PPR.
Hmm. Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham had the best rookie seasons, but only finished 10th and 22nd respectively in terms of TE fantasy points (PPR). So let this be a giant bucket of cold water on any redraft plans you might have for targeting Fauria or Sudfeld.
Dynasty however is a different situation. I’d caution that Sudfeld is 24, and with the exception of Graham, none of the other 24 year old rookies in this cohort had much of an NFL career. But overall, 6 of the 10 have had at least some fantasy utility.
|Fantasy Stud||Consistently Useful||Occasionally Useful||Fantasy Bust|
|Rob Gronkowski||Greg Olsen||Marcedes Lewis||Ben Utecht|
|Jimmy Graham||Kyle Rudolph||Quinn Sypniewski|
|Kevin Boss||Dan Gronkowski|
Now consider this. Here’s the current ordering of rookie TEs in recent Dynasty drafts.
|8||1.08||Eifert, Tyler CIN TE||12.25|
|24||2.12||Ertz, Zach PHI TE||26.88|
|25||3.01||Kelce, Travis KCC TE||29.3|
|48||4.12||Escobar, Gavin DAL TE||44.59|
|51||5.03||Reed, Jordan WAS TE||48.07|
Sudfeld and Fauria are essentially undrafted. And they certainly compare to these TEs physically. None are as tall, and only Eifert and Kelce come close on the Vertical jump.
|Name||Hght||Wght||40 yd||10 yd||Bnch||Vert||Broad||3Cone||20 ss|
|Tyler Eifert||6′ 5″||250||4.68||1.66||22||35½”||119″||6.92||4.32|
|Gavin Escobar||6′ 6″||254||4.84||1.66||—-||32″||114″||7.07||4.31|
|Zach Ertz||6′ 5″||249||4.76||1.62||24||30½”||111″||7.08||4.47|
|Jordan Reed||6′ 2″||236||4.72||1.63||16||—-||—-||—-||—-|
|Joseph Fauria||6′ 7″||259||4.72||1.71||17||35½”||120″||7.49||4.53|
This Heatmap compares the collegiate production of these rookie TEs. Fauria and Sudfeld hold their own. Neither does so well in market share of yards, but both perform very well in red zone TD rate and market share of TDs.
What Does It All Mean
In Dynasty formats, Sudfeld and Fauria are definitely worth a late round or waiver addition. You might also consider grabbing a different position and forgoing one of the higher drafted TEs in favor of Sudfeld or Fauria, or “double dipping” by picking up one of these two to go along with one of the higher drafted TEs. They compare favorably to this year’s higher drafted rookies, and could offer future production ranging from Kyle Rudolph and Marcedes Lewis, to Greg Olsen, to Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. And they don’t cost a thing, so if they turn out to be the next Leonard Pope or Dan Gronkowski, no problem.