4 Tight Ends Studs & Duds for 2021

Jun 25, 2021
4 Tight Ends Studs & Duds for 2021

In the last article of this four-part series, I will discuss tight ends that outperformed their volume in 2020, as it pertained to touchdowns, as well as those that failed to turn ample opportunity into winning fantasy production. The basis for this analysis is touchdown expectation. For each position, I evaluated touchdown rates from various points on the field and calculated expected scoring for every player in the league. A full rundown of the methodology can be found in the introduction to this article.

More Studs & Duds: QB | RB | WR

The following table outlines scoring rates for tight end targets from each line of scrimmage:

TE TD Rates Based on Field Position, 2018–2020
Line of Scrimmage TD Rate
1–49 0.3%
50–41 1.2%
40–31 1.9%
30–21 6.4%
20–16 12.4%
15–11 21.0%
10–6 31.1%
5–1 53.1%

This approach to finding players likely to regress has been actionable for every position but the results are especially dramatic for tight ends. That is largely due to their relatively low volume compared to other positions, making tight end touchdown rates more volatile than any position. Dating back to the 2016 offseason, this process has identified 18 tight ends that had outlier scoring seasons—11 outperformed their expected touchdowns while seven fell well short of expectations. All 11 tight ends that scored on the high end of the spectrum saw a decline in touchdown rate the following year (minimum 40 targets)—the average drop in touchdown rate was 4.8% with a median decline of 5.0%. Similarly, each tight end that had a historically bad scoring season rebounded, increasing their touchdown rate by an average of 2.8% with a median increase of 2.0%.

After calculating each tight end’s touchdown expectation (minimum 40 targets) and comparing that number to the actual touchdowns that they generated, we can get an idea of which tight ends scored more or less often than they should have and, in turn, potential studs or duds in 2021.

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