Pro Football24x7’s Spotlight Fantasy TE
The importance of the TE position in fantasy football seems to change every couple of years. Of course this has to do with the NFL being a copy cat league and the talent level of the players themselves. For recent memory, Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates have been almost in a league of their own, then there was a few in the second tier, after that a subtle constant drop in points.
Gonzalez and Gates are in the top three, with Dallas’ Jason Witten sitting at the top with Dallas Clark at 4th. You can argue who belongs where, but when it comes down to pure fantasy points, Gonzalez was the top in 2008 with an average of 10 fantasy points a game in basic scoring leagues. Greg Olsen and Anthony Fasano were tied for tenth with a little more than 5 points a game.
When you view the entire TE picture, the best to the tenth is just a 5 point average. The lesson here, do not use an early choice on your TE. Witten has come off the board first in early drafts, he has been selected on average pick 40. Early in the third round in twelve team drafts, on the flip side, John Carlson has been picked at 98, early eighth round. If trends remain the same and final scoring equates to the popular rankings, you gain just 5 points a game by using your third round selection instead of your 8th round selection on a TE. The value is in the lower choice.
The lesson here, wait to draft your TE, and if you are going to wait, do so with conviction. Do not get caught up in a “run”, when Witten comes off the board, there will be a few picks then Gonzalez, Gates, and then Clark. Let everyone else spend their 5th , sixth , or 7th round pick to preserve 5 points a game. Load up on wide receivers and a top back up running back, then sit back and wait to round 10 or so and select Brent Celek of the Eagles.
Celek comes into 2009 as the Eagles top TE, there is no LJ Smith and Brian Westbrook is going to get a few less receptions to preserve him for the playoffs. Celek became a go to receiver for Donovan McNabb in the playoffs. The Eagles are a throwing team, their TE’s average as a team in the McNabb era, 50 plus catches, 600 plus yards, and a good bet to get 5 scores. In basic scoring leagues, this translates to 90 fantasy points, 5.6 over 16 games, Celek is not going to share much this year in Philadelphia. The top TE will get around 10 a game and you can wait 7 rounds or more to get your starter.
To make this an effective strategy, you have to have some luck with those picks you used while you waited to select your starting TE, but the odds say wait.
History always repeats itself in fantasy football, if you feel strongly about one of the top TE’s, take him, but remember you are not gaining that much by reaching for one early.