2017 Final Consistency Report - Tight Ends

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I am a mixed bag of emotions because of the end of the 2017 season. I am excited for the NFL playoffs and a chance for the my hometown team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, to win their third Super Bowl in my lifetime. I am sad because the regular season is at an end and with it goes the 2017 fantasy football season. I am happy for those of you out there who brought home the fantasy championship in your leagues, but also mad because Mike Evans cost me one of mine. I am hopeful for the 2018 offseason and all the joys that come with free agency, draft season, training camp, and the weeks before the 2018 season.

However, since the 2017 season has come to a close, we now have a full season's worth of fantasy data to compile, analyze, and interpret to get ready for next year. To start, we have the final consistency numbers for each player at each position. To breakdown these numbers fully, I will be devoting a single article to each position (QB, RB, WR, TE) to analyze the final consistency numbers from 2017.

The players are sorted by COR and filtered by playing at least six games and having at least one top-12 performance. This gives us a large enough tally of players at each position to get a clear grasp on how well our studs performed and how bad the busts failed to deliver. Be sure to catch up on the previous articles on quarterbacksrunning backs, and wide receivers as we now dive into the tight end position.

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Tight Ends - 2017 Consistency Report

 

Studs

Rob Gronkowski - The number one tight end based on COR, Gronk was Gronk again in 2017. Besides missing three games in 2017, Gronk only scored less than 10 points per game three times. For a tight end, he was inconsistent based on his 7.71 standard deviation, but his weekly ceiling of 25.19 points was the highest at the position. Scoring more than 20 points in six games this season, Gronk was exactly what you wanted him to be. He is a difference maker in any lineup and will continue to be a high draft pick in 2018.

Travis Kelce - The TE1 in 2017, Kelce continued his hot streak from 2016 right into this season. He led all tight ends again in receptions with 83 and was second in yards behind only Gronk. The difference from 2016 to 2017, however, was touchdowns. Kelce scored twice as many touchdowns in 2017 (8) as he did in 2016 (4). He become a focal point of the Chiefs offense in the redzone with the departure of Jeremy Maclin and is a staple of that offense anywhere on the field. Consistency wise, Kelce was very similar to Gronk, with five games over 20 points and four games under 10. This lowered his ceiling slightly, but like Gronk, Kelce is a game changer in any roster at the position. I would not be surprised to see him taken before Gronkowski in 2018 drafts.

Zach Ertz - Maybe a little forgotten after a rough end to the 2017 season with injuries, Ertz was by far the most consistent tight end (and overall player) through the first ten weeks of the season. Though he only scored more than 20 points once, he only scored less than 13 points three times (once in Week 17). As Wentz's go-to target anywhere on the field, Ertz has firmly established himself as an elite tight end in fantasy as the TE3 in 2017.

 

Duds

Tyler Eifert - Some people may think that I missed Tyler Eifert in the chart above, but I promise you I did not. Not only did he not play six games this season, but he did not finish as a TE1 once, let alone a top-20 tight end. Perhaps the most overrated tight end in the league, Eifert can never stay on the field to be worth his price in fantasy recently. This season may have changed a lot of people's valuations on him. Personally, I do not believe Eifert is a Bengal next year, as he is an UFA this offseason. With that said, Tyler Kroft becomes an interesting buy in dynasty and worth a flyer for late-round tight end strategists in redraft, should Eifert not resign in Cincy. As for Eifert, he is a very boom/bust type of asset. I am not touching him in any format, however, for potentially the rest of his career.

Eric Ebron - This dud saddens me because I jumped aboard the hype train last summer. Despite a successful finish to the season that raised my hopes for next year again, Ebron was very lackluster for most of the year. He only eclipsed double digits in five games, three of which came in Weeks 14-16. Ebron also started out the season with five of his first six games under five fantasy points. Reminder, this is in PPR formats. Though he may have helped win someone a fantasy title with a 19 point performance in Week 16, not many owners were willing to trust Ebron in the championship, let alone the entire playoffs. I am hopeful for next season, but Ebron remains a TE2 until he starts consistently producing more at a TE1 level.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins - After a breakout return to the NFL world, with three of his first five games above 11 fantasy points, ASJ's second half of the season was dreadful. After Week 8, ASJ only scored more than six points twice, with only one double digit game. There is some hope heading into 2018. ASJ was heavily targeted in his first few games back, but saw a significant decrease in target share over the second half of the season. Should he return to the target share he was seeing, ASJ could be a sneaky sleeper in 2018, but only as a late-round flyer in drafts or a mid-season waiver add.

 

Honorable Mentions

Delanie Walker - Perhaps the most underrated tight end in fantasy, Walker continues to produce week-in and week-out. Walker was one of the most consistent tight ends in fantasy, with a 4.18 standard deviation. His ceiling may not be as high as some other tight ends, but Walker is a producer with nine double digit games in 2017. People may be quick to write him off and prepare the way for Jonnu Smith, but Walker is not done yet. He remains a top-5 tight end heading into 2018, but a player you can get at a much cheaper price.

Evan Engram - The surprise (maybe not to some) of the 2017 tight ends, Engram does not care about historical production from rookie tight ends. With perhaps the best stat line by a rookie TE in recent history, Engram found himself sitting as the TE5 in fantasy in 2017. Statistically, Engram was always one step behind the elite tier of tight ends, but quickly became a near weekly starter over the course of the season. With ten games over nine fantasy points and eight top-10 finishes at the position, Engram has now become a second tier tight end with first tier upside. His name may carry a lot of value, but his production will certainly match his name-value in 2018.

Jack Doyle - Finishing second among tight ends in receptions, Doyle was a late-round tight end gem in 2017. Finishing seventh among tight ends in COR, Doyle was fairly consistent on a weekly basis, even with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. After a slow start to the season, Doyle finished with seven of his final eleven games over double digit points, including a 30 point explosion in Week 8. When (if?) Andrew Luck returns, Doyle should see not only more targets but better quality targets than he did from Brissett. This would put Doyle in the second tier of tight ends with Walker and Engram and a valuable starter in PPR leagues.

Jimmy Graham - Graham had quite the perplexing 2017 season, to say the least. He finished with the most touchdowns among tight ends with 10 on only 57 receptions. He became the Seahawks go-to player in the redzone, given their inabilities to run the ball at any point in the season. Because of his ten touchdowns, Graham was fairly consistent over the course of the season, but was not the same Jimmy Graham we knew from New Orleans or even from 2016. His fantasy game log is solid, but removing even half of his touchdowns drops him outside the top-10 tight ends in fantasy. In dynasty, Graham is a sell-high to anyone believing this is still the Jimmy Graham of old. In redraft, I fear Graham may be drafted higher than he should, which means I may not have him on any redraft leagues. He is a risky player to own heading into 2018.

 

That's all for tight ends! Make sure to read the previous articles on quarterbacksrunning backs, and wide receivers!

 

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