Tight End Rankings: Overvalued / Undervalued

Using the Cheat Sheet Calculator and MFL10 ADP, I generated a set of players to target – and avoid. My criteria were simple. I searched for quarterbacks and tight ends drafted in the top 12 at their position, and running backs and wide receivers in the top 24. From there, I identified the three players at each position with the biggest discrepancy – either good or bad – between their ADP rank and projected positional finish. Up next, tight ends.

The Good

Witten, Jason 170.7 120 9 6 3
Thomas, Julius 171 94 7 5 2
Walker, Delanie 161.8 121 10 8 2

Jason Witten might be old, but here’s how to think about him. Witten and Austin Seferian-Jenkins are drafted within a few picks of each other. Are you more confident that Witten can average over 10 PPR points/game – something he’s done eight straight years, and 10 of the past 11 – or that ASJ can average over eight points/game – a 33 percent increase from his per game average last season. One more thought to consider: Witten has missed one game in 12 seasons. ASJ missed seven last year.

We like Julius Thomas relative to his ADP. Jacksonville is no Denver, but given what they paid for Thomas’ services, it’s reasonable to assume he’ll be a featured part of the offense. Still, he has basically the same projection as Witten, but needs to be drafted two rounds earlier.

Who cares that Delanie Walker didn’t break out until he went to Tennessee. With Justin Hunter possibly missing time, Walker could be an even bigger part of the Tennessee offense next season. Last year he was the fifth-most targeted TE in the NFL, while also finishing number 11 in per-target efficiency.1

The Bad

Ertz, Zach 156.6 84 6 10 -4
Bennett, Martellus 156.1 80 5 11 -6
Seferian-Jenkins, Austin 129.9 125 11 20 -9

By drafting Zach Ertz three rounds earlier than Witten, you can get a player who projects to score about a point/game less, who faces playing time competition from another TE, and who was only about half as efficient on a per-target basis.

Drafters seem to think that Martellus Bennett will reprise Julius Thomas’ performance under coordinator Adam Gase. Except Jay Cutler is no Peyton Manning. On the other hand, Bennett has been fairly consistent. I probably like him to finish somewhere between his positional ADP and projected finish.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins seemed to show more in his rookie season than either Jace Amaro or Eric Ebron. But there’s still plenty to not like about his 2015 prospects.

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  1. For TEs with 50+ targets.  (back)
By Charles Kleinheksel | @ | Archive

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  1. Just say no to Teal Julius this year. Same projection as Witten? That's ridiculous....I would gladly bet money on Witten outproducing JT.

    Witten has a decade's worth of production in the 800-900 yard range, even having gone over 1000 four times. And he's only 33...not that old for a TE. He had one somewhat less productive season last year for a very obvious reason....the lower pass volume of the Dallas offense, which most seem to agree is likely to regress this year. Even worst case, something like 700 seems to be his floor.

    As for Teal Julius....I've got him as an incredibly one-dimensional player propped up by historic offenses. He wasn't ever even close to a focal point of the offenses anyway; he mostly just happened to be on the right end of a large share of Peyton Manning's 40-50 TDs a year. And now he's going to an absolute dumpster fire of an offense, where he's what, maybe the third option behind ARob and Yeldon? I really don't think he's capable of being a volume receiving TE in the Gates mold, and I don't think he's a good enough blocker to stay on the field all the time. 700 yards might be somewhere around his ceiling. And in terms of TDs....I just can't imagine the Jacksonville offense scoring many of them, even with the small improvements they've made this offseason. Dallas will score plenty, and a lot of them could come through the air without a clear GL back.

    I would give Teal Julius a look around the area of the draft where Jared Cook is going. I actually think Cook is a decent comparison both in terms of the profile of the offense and the profile of the player. But at an 8th/9th round ADP he's easy to avoid. I was actually thinking earlier that he belongs in the segment of "players to avoid in PPR," but all that being said, I've been wrong before.

  2. CK says:

    great comments. thanks for posting.

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