Tight End SOS Beneficiaries & Ideal Late-Round Pairings
At times, the volume of noise surrounding fantasy football can feel like you’re communicating with Charlie Brown’s teacher, with endless amounts of new data, charts, tables, and graphs creating a wah wah wah wah sound inside your brain. With so much information available, it can feel overwhelming for some and be confusing for others as to what they should focus on to benefit them the most on draft day.
When it comes to using strength of schedule, knowing which tight ends have the most favorable path in front of them is more advantageous than perhaps any other position in a fantasy draft. This is in part due to the amount of disparity between the top few elite tight ends and the rest of the pack. In other words, if you don’t draft Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, or Zach Ertz, there is a chance you will find yourself combing the waiver wire or streaming the tight end position at some point throughout the course of the season.
By looking ahead and evaluating each team’s schedule you can up your chances of drafting a mid- to low-tier player who could hit it big, therefore potentially eliminating the need for the waiver wire or streaming options. No matter which strategy you choose to implement this season, walking into your draft knowing which tight ends will benefit from the softest schedules gives you a leg up on your competition—we will take any advantage we can possibly get in fantasy football.
Below is a list of mid-to-low-rated tight ends who, according to 4for4’s strength of schedule (SOS) rankings and schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) metric, will have the easiest route from week to week through the NFL season. From here you can decide whether your approach will be to reach for a top-tier player, aim for upside on a mid-grade tight end, grab one of the pairs mentioned later in this piece, or use this data to prepare to stream a few players as the season develops.
Eric Ebron, Colts
The Colts' other tight end, Jack Doyle, obviously has the same favorable schedule but is being drafted as the TE11 thus far in 2018, compared to Ebron’s super-low TE23 ADP. The former Lion has big-play capabilities in the Colts’ offense and has the softest schedule among all tight ends this season. The Colts' opponents are projected to allow an average of 12.6 PPR and 7.8 standard points per game to opposing tight ends.
Ebron faces four weak defenses versus the tight end position, two moderately weak, and only one team ranked within the top 10 against tight ends all season long. He is currently being taken in rounds 15–18, which is a steal based on his fantasy potential in 2018.
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins
Though some balk at rookie tight ends for fantasy football purposes. But Miami’s soft schedule is a tough one to ignore. Within their own AFC East division, the Patriots, Jets, and Bills are ranked 18th, 19th, and 22nd in TE aFPA, respectively, which bodes well for the two times per season they matchup. With a late Week 11 bye, the Dolphins only face one top 10 aFPA ranked team before they rest (Packers in Week 10). A contest with the Vikings in Week 15 is Miami’s only other tough tilt, as their remaining opponents boast an average ranking of 21st in the league versus the tight end position.
With a depth chart of tumbleweeds at tight end, all the talented Gesicki needs to do is get a firm grasp on Miami’s playbook, and he could be in for a breakout rookie campaign in 2018. Think Evan Engram or even George Kittle from last season.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jaguars
Continue reading to see why Seferian-Jenkins' schedule makes him an ideal tight target in your fantasy draft, as well as which late-round tight pairings Jen recommends...
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