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Incredibly True Statistics – Tight Ends

By Matt Morrison (@dynastyjerk)

As we start another week in dynasty football, my article series comes to an end. This will be the final installment of my “Incredibly True Statistics” theme. Today, I will be talking about the surprising seasons that a few tight ends have had. Like I always mention, we are still dealing with a fairly small sample size. Yes, six weeks is a big chunk of the season, but what can happen in six game increments can still be misleading. Regardless, six weeks is not negligible.  We have seen what the majority of player’s seasons should shape up to be within the first two months of the season. Of course, there will be outliers in the back half of the season as there are in the first half, but I feel like we have a much better idea of what some of these players (especially rookies) will become.

This is a long winded way of saying that you may have the urge to give up or replace certain players on your team, and it is perfectly fine to do that by now.  While one or two weeks is not enough time to move on from a certain player, six weeks is more than sufficient.

Incredibly True Statistics

Tight ends may not be your favorite topic to hear about, and to be honest they aren’t my favorite, but they are an important position in Dynasty Owner. Hopefully you can find some value in what I’m about to present to you as there is a major opportunity to beat your opponent in this position especially. While others are becoming bored with tight ends, you should be trying to improve it. Your opponent’s complacency is your gain. Any edge that you can find over your opponent should be exploited, and I think tight end is one of the most exploitable positions in all of fantasy football.

Mark Andrews

The thing that makes Mark Andrews’ performance this season incredible is not the fact that he is TE2 on the season. Before the season started, I would have admitted that a TE2 finish for Andrews is in the realm of possibility. While I wouldn’t have predicted him to be TE2 six weeks through the season, I wouldn’t have called you crazy if you would have told me that. Rather, what’s incredible is how close he is to being the TE1 on the season.

It’s no surprise that Travis Kelce is the current number one tight end, but he holds that spot by only 3.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (DOFP). That’s right, only three receptions separate the Tight End King from Mark Andrews. Here is how Andrews has done it…

He currently has:

 ReceptionsReceiving YardsTDsDOFP
Mark Andrews344683105.8

This really is an incredible amount of volume when you examine it next to his 2020 and even 2019 volume.  Here is Andrews’ 2021 16-game pace compared to his 2020 and 2019 16-game pace.

2021 ProjectedReceptionsReceiving YardsTDsDOFP
Mark Andrews911,2488282.1
2020 16-Game StatsReceptionsReceiving YardsTDsDOFP
Mark Andrews668018192.1
2019 16-Game StatsReceptionsReceiving YardsTDsDOFP
Mark Andrews6890911218.9

So, there are two ways you can look at this. You can choose to say, “Well, Andrews is on pace for a career year in volume and overall production. He’s well over his career pace, and he’s not going to be able to sustain that efficiency or volume.”

You could take it the other way and say, “Andrews is having a career year, and he is finally being utilized the way that he should. He is a Top 5 tight end in the NFL, and he should see 100 receptions a season.”

I don’t think either side is wrong because I could see his season going either direction, but I would tend to think his usage will more or less be the same going forward. He is a Top 5 NFL tight end. I do feel like he had been underutilized in the past. Here’s the thing though. He really wasn’t needed to be a 100 reception guy in the previous two years. The running game was more than enough to allow Baltimore to win the majority of their games, and I’m worried that you can’t say that now. Running back injuries have decimated the Ravens’ depth chart. I think placing a bigger responsibility on Andrews is the right decision, and I think it will continue through the rest of the 2021 season. If he gets anywhere close to 100 receptions this season, he will be one of the best values in all of Dynasty Owner, let alone among tight ends. A salary of $863,290 is going to allow him to compete for the Value of the Year award.

Dalton Schultz

Probably more surprising than Andrews’ spot at TE2 is the fact that Dalton Schultz is TE3 in Dynasty Owner on the season. Yes, he is in a completely separate tier from Kelce and Andrews due to a significant drop in Dynasty Owner fantasy points, but it’s still very impressive that Schultz has been the third best fantasy tight end. The most interesting part of his epic rise has been the fact that he’s doing it with Blake Jarwin back on the team. You may remember that Schultz got his big opportunity in the NFL after Blake Jarwin missed almost the entire 2020 NFL season. Schultz had a fantastic season as he finished as the TE10 with 148.5 fantasy points.

The assumption was that Schultz’s production would decrease with Jarwin returning. The opposite has actually been true. Schultz not only seems to be the more trusted tight end, but he is also receiving the most volume and playing time. I have both Jarwin and Schultz in one of my Dynasty Owner leagues. I incorrectly played Jarwin over Schultz in the first two weeks. That won’t be happening again this season. While I don’t know if Schultz’s production will continue at a TE3 pace, I do know that he is a Starting tight end, or at the very least a Bench tight end.

As is the case with Andrews, Schultz is on a very cheap salary ($728,090) and has been a good value so far through six weeks.

Kyle Pitts

Finally, let’s talk about Kyle Pitts. There was more hype and optimism surrounding Pitts than any other rookie tight end that I can remember. A lot of this hype was justified though. It’s not every day that NFL fans get to see a tight end selected fourth overall in the NFL draft. I’m not going to say anything bad about Pitts for a few reasons…

First, I think it would be extremely unfair to downplay Pitts’ production so far when he has played in only five NFL games. He is playing one of the most difficult positions to learn as a rookie player. Second, he really hasn’t been bad. A lot of his lack of production has come because of either poor quarterback play or just a lack of volume.

Pitts currently sits as the TE10 on the adolescent season. Pitts’ Dynasty Owners are probably not too happy with the start to his season. Let me give you a few reasons why you shouldn’t be concerned.

First, the most obvious reason is that Atlanta has already had their bye week. This means that while most tight ends have played six games, Pitts has only played five. Don’t let the lack of Dynasty Owner fantasy points scare you. It is a little misleading. Second, as I said earlier, Pitts is a rookie. He’s still learning. Third, his most recent game a week and a half ago was by far his best, and it was a real breakout game. In Week 5, Pitts posted 9 receptions, 119 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown. Now, I don’t expect him to do this every week, but this gives a lot of hope to the Dynasty Owners who have him on their roster. This should help you see a path to fantasy greatness.  Finally, this is Dynasty Owner. So, what if it takes him a year to figure out how to be an NFL tight end?  You are still going to have a superstar in the future with a relatively cheap contract ($8,227,624). Sure, he may disappoint you this year, and this may be a year that you really want to take home the Championship, but you will say that about every year.  Be patient with him (and really all rookies). I can promise you that in two or three years you will be reaping the benefits of sticking with Pitts.

That finishes up my “Incredibly True Statistics” articles.  As always, thank you for reading and continuing to support Dynasty Owner. Message me on Twitter (@dynastyjerk) and let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I would appreciate it if you followed @Dynasty_Owner on Twitter as well as subscribed to Dynasty Owner on YouTube. Take care everyone and be safe.

TheJerk

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