Photo by San Diego Shooter

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.

2010Philip RiversAntonio Gates65500.7778210213.72
2011Philip RiversAntonio Gates88640.73778738.9
2012Philip RiversAntonio Gates80490.61538736.79
2006-2009Philip RiversAntonio Gates4382830.65373332138.95

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.

12.03Jimmy Graham14.5
24.01Rob Gronkowski36.7
34.11Jason Witten47.2
45.07Vernon Davis55.1
55.11Tony Gonzalez59.1
66.11Dennis Pitta70.7
77.12Kyle Rudolph83.6
88.1Jared Cook93.8
99.05Antonio Gates100.6
109.1Greg Olsen105.9
119.11Jermichael Finley106.7
1210.09Brandon Myers116.5
1311.07Owen Daniels127.4
1412.01Martellus Bennett133.3
1512.06Jordan Cameron138.1
1613.04Tyler Eifert147.9
1713.06Coby Fleener150.3
1813.08Heath Miller151.5
1913.1Brandon Pettigrew153.6
2014.01Dustin Keller157
2114.02Jake Ballard158.2
2214.04Fred Davis160.5
2314.05Jermaine Gresham160.7
2414.07Rob Housler162.6

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:

Subscribe for a constant stream of league-beating articles available only with a Premium Pass.