Aug 20, 2012
Ever have a game plan heading into your fantasy football draft and believe that you may have reached for some picks targeting specific players? That’s why looking at Average Draft Position (ADP) numbers is helpful because they track drafts–mock and otherwise–happening everywhere. Studying ADP can’t account for the rookie fantasy football owner throwing everything off track by picking Ben Roethlisberger and Vernon Davis before the Round 4 is over, but it should give you a good idea of which players will be available at which rounds for each draft position. Varying strategies and scoring rules will also dictate how much your draft strays from ADP numbers, however the most important thing here is getting idea of reasonable predictions based on fantasy football rankings and importance of position.
Here is a sample of the biggest RISERS at the tight end position in ADP, charted on Fantasy Football Calculator using 12 teams and standard scoring over the time July 19-Aug 19, however in future weeks we’ll be looking at shorter time ranges to see who’s moving based on the first week pre-season games. PPR numbers are in parenthesis.
Neither Jimmy Graham 2.05 to 2.05 (1.12 to 1.12), nor Rob Gronkowski 2.07 to 2.10 (2.06 to 2.07) have budged in a month but we did want to address them because many are wondering, especially those new to fantasy football as to know how when to pick up either of these tight ends. They won’t last for long. Graham has been consistently near the end of the first round to early second, as high as the middle of the first and as low as the end of the second round. Meanwhile, Gronkowski is near the bottom of the second round on average, but has been picked as high as a mid-first rounder too and as low as the end of the third round.
Here’s the thinking behind that. Drafting at the top of a snake draft, you know you won’t pick again for another 18-26 picks. If you’re at the bottom of the snake, you’ll wait, make two picks close together and then grab a beverage until the third round comes back to you. Face it, you’re going to miss out on the top ranked players at some of the skill positions, but that doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on other great players at other positions like quarterback or receiver.
Graham and Gronk are in such a class of their own that they have the potential to sway fantasy games because of the direct mismatches against other tight ends or receivers. So rather than take a good running back with question marks, both Graham and Gronk are worthy of the high picks because how highly targeted they are in the red zone. Graham grades higher because Gronkowski has Aaron Hernandez as a teammate – the fourth-ranked TE in ADP. If you want either of these players, you’ll have to grab them early. Just know you’ll probably be weak in at least one position.
RISING UP THE CHARTS
Antonio Gates, Chargers
ADP: 5.05 to 4.09 (4.08 to 4.04)
“Hasn’t looked this good in years,” is what Gates’ teammates are saying about him this training camp. We’ve heard it all before, but unlike the last two seasons, we actually believe them. The 32-year old tight end is the slimmest and healthiest he’s been since 2009. San Diego’s run game will be off to another slow start thanks to Ryan Mathews’ glass bones and the receiving corps should be downgraded with the loss of Vincent Jackson. But when Philip Rivers is flushed out of the pocket, he’ll know where Gates is at all times making him the team’s No. 1 receiver.
Bruno Boys Verdict: Agree
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Jacob Tamme, Broncos
ADP: 8.07 to 7.11 (8.03 to 7.09)
So you’ve been shut out of Graham-Gronk sweepstakes and you’re worried about Vernon Davis’ targets or Jason Witten’s health. Good, you should be. The clock is ticking and you’re wondering if there are any tight ends left who can score consistently. The answer is yes, look at what Peyton Manning has done with his offenses in the past with tight ends and Tamme was one of those “unknown soldiers” who became a household fantasy name in 2010 when Dallas Clark got hurt. Manning’s progressions prioritize the tight ends at one or two, instead of three and four in most offenses. That’s why Tamme is moving up draft boards briskly, but if you’re wondering why he’s not another round or two higher, it’s because Joel Dreessen is probably a better red zone option. Both should give linebackers headaches and be targeted frequently. Ultimately we prefer Tamme because of the three to four years of experience with Manning and Dreessen is also is comfortable being #2 on the depth chart–a similar role he played in Houston.
Bruno Boys Verdict: Agree
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings
ADP: 14.02 to 13.09 (14.03 to 13.05)
We highlighted Rudolph in our ABCs of the NFC North and noted his attractive height and catcher’s mitt-hands for an underrated pass-catching tight end. Tight ends and young quarterbacks are like peanut butter and jelly. Rudolph has the physical tools to be Gronkowski-esque but the Vikings need to improve their receiving corps before the game really opens up for Rudolph, otherwise his ADP would be higher. If you’ve already nabbed one of the elite tight ends, Rudolph is a smart, late round investment/flyer to take if you’re in need of his services one to three weeks out of the season, max. Be patient though, remember everyone’s fascination with Lance Kendricks last season? There’s a good chance Rudolph could go undrafted and you can keep him on a watch until he shows promise.
Bruno Boys Verdict: Agree
Jared Cook, TE, Tennessee Titans – The fourth option for the Titans–regardless of who starts at quarterback–is seeing a minor uptick in his ADP. We saw signs of improvement in the young tight end, but for Cook to contribute consistently, he’ll have to push 60 receptions and 800+ yards. If you believe that those are unrealistic expectations too, then he should remain a backup fantasy tight end. Verdict: Neutral
Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots – The Gronkowski-Hernandez fascination is so out of control that Hernandez is going as high as the end of the second round in PPR leagues. More sensible owners are waiting around the fifth or sixth round, which seems a little high, even for a tight end who had nearly 80 receptions. Still, he’s the third, maybe fourth option on the team–THE TEAM– because Brandon Lloyd will get targeted heavily too. We see the appeal in a PPR league, but is there a bigger overreaction than drafting Hernandez too early? Verdict: Disagree