— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) July 23, 2013
You may have heard that Philip Rivers is toast. Makes sense that Antonio Gates might be as well. Here’s why, and what you can do about it.
Beating Around the Bush
It seems like we’ve been warming up to this conclusion for awhile. First, Davis Mattek suggested Gates‘ backup, Ladarius Green is someone to target: in redraft. Then Jonathan Bales demonstrated that Gates (along with Kyle Rudolph) is the worst TE value. Finally, Rich Hribar’s tweet prompted me to dig a bit more. These articles are worth a read (and Rich is worth a follow); they’ll give you a fuller understanding of the risk Antonio Gates presents.
There’s An App For That
From the QB/Receiver Efficiency App, here’s Gates’ performance over the past three seasons, compared to the previous three seasons. I added catch rate info.
|2010||Philip Rivers||Antonio Gates||65||50||0.77||782||10||2||13.72|
|2011||Philip Rivers||Antonio Gates||88||64||0.73||778||7||3||8.9|
|2012||Philip Rivers||Antonio Gates||80||49||0.61||538||7||3||6.79|
|2006-2009||Philip Rivers||Antonio Gates||438||283||0.65||3733||32||13||8.95|
Gates’ game has declined three straight years, and last year’s performance was below the average for the previous three years. Obviously, Philip Rivers gets “credit” for a big portion of the decline. But even if the decline were entirely on Rivers, Gates is stuck playing with him.
Keep Hope Alive
Despair not, dear reader. This situation presents an opportunity. In recent drafts (both PPR and Standard), Gates is going off the board as the 9th TE.
What do we see below Gates’ ADP? A smorgasbord of RotoViz endorsed Tight Ends. According to the TE Similarity App, all of these players, except Housler, project better than Gates in both Standard and PPR formats, and at low, median, and high projection levels. And even Housler’s low projections beat Gates’ low projections. Let your leaguemates pick Gates, while you grab one of these players instead:
- Greg Olsen is a recommended redraft target, but is also easily replaced.
- Jermichael Finley represents a high reward, low risk option, AND an exploitable inefficiency.
- Brandon Myers is the third-best value relative to ADP, and could provide unexpected utility.
- We’re not sanguine on Jordan Cameron, but we are on Rob Housler.
- Heath Miller is an underrated asset.
- Brandon Pettigrew remains the forgotten TE on the pass happy offense.