Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule Beneficiaries: Tight Ends
Knowing which tight ends have the most favorable schedules laid out before them might be more important than understanding the strength of any other position’s schedule.
Why? Because if you don’t leave your draft room with one of fantasy’s elite tight ends – Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, and Julius Thomas – you’ll likely be at least tempted to stream the position as the season wears on.
To boot: Jordan Cameron, fantasy’s No. 5 tight end in 2013, had nine games in which he scored fewer than seven standard points. That’s just one example of why I advocate streaming the position – drafting a couple late round options and working the waiver wire – if you don’t end up with one of the elites.
(Editor's Note: By popular demand, TJ Hernandez will be writing a TE By Waiver Wire column this season designed to help 4for4 subscribers identify weekly TE streaming options off the waiver wire that should easily combine for TE1 production.)
We’ve already looked at which wide receivers will benefit from the softest 2014 schedules, thanks to 4for4’s new Strength of Schedule (SOS) Rankings tool that helps distill the site’s Strength of Schedule Hot Spots and aFPA data.
Below is my take on how the most appealing tight end schedules might impact borderline fantasy options this season.
I’ve been bullish on Zach Ertz’s prospects since the end of his rookie season, when I realized that Ertz was among fantasy football’s most efficient producers. Ertz scored 1.4 fantasy points per target and posted an absurdly high .46 points every time he ran a pass route.
Eagles beat writers have said that Ertz could easily double his stat line in 2014, giving him 72 receptions, 939 yards, and eight touchdowns. That season long stat line would’ve been eight points better than Julius Thomas in 2013.
Philly’s tight ends will see six good or very good matchups, to go along with three very bad matchups. It’s another reason why Ertz might be best deployed as a streaming option. They have the third easiest tight end schedule in both PPR and standard formats.
Ertz’s softest stretch will come from Week 7-12. If he runs around 25 pass routes a game, I think Ertz could be a preeminent late-round tight end with lots of upside. We're currently ranking him at TE13, just outside the top 12. There's potential for more.