Daily Fantasy Football Basic Strategy: Part 7
We are at the halfway point for our look at positions in our NFL Building Blocks series. It’s now time to take a look at perhaps the least fun offensive position to deal with: the tight end. We’re going to notice that tight ends have a lot less to consider than with, say, running backs or wide receivers because of the minimal differences between cash games and GPPs. We’ll be taking a look at all the similarities and differences in this article.
One thing to keep in mind about tight ends is that it is an extremely high variance position. When it comes to daily fantasy football, the position is almost completely touchdown dependent, which can make it difficult to accurately predict on a week-to-week basis. We should also keep in mind that the floor and upside on tight ends is significantly lower than the other skill positions.
All Types of Games
Red Zone Targets
It’s important to note when doing your research for tight ends where the targets are spread out when a team is in the red zone. Tight ends aren’t going to be breaking off big gains after a catch too often, so it’s red zone targets that will help predict their chances of scoring big.
In 2014, players like Antonio Gates, Greg Olsen and Martellus Bennett were all great choices for high upside tight ends because all three received a large portion of their teams red zone targets. Of the three examples just listed, Gates had the lowest red zone target percentage of 26.8.
There are other factors that made Gates a great pick for tight end last year. He averaged 4.3 catches and 51.3 yards per game last season. On FanDuel that would get you around 7.3 points, on DraftKings around 9.4. This gave him a good floor, along with the potential for a huge ceiling because of his red zone targets.
A site like Rotowire will let you look at comprehensive red zone statistics which will help you weed through prospective tight ends.
High Scoring Games
Because tight end production is so dependent on touchdowns, we need to make sure that we are picking our tight ends from games projected to get high scores. As specified in our Daily Fantasy Research article, we can use Pinnacle Sports for this.
Defense of the Opposition
Some teams do very poorly versus tight ends. If you choose tight ends playing these teams, your lineups will have more upside and lower variance. To see how teams do versus the position, you can look up the number of fantasy points each team allows per game on NFL.com. Filter according to tight end to get an idea of which teams to target.
Cash games (50/50s and head-to-head)
A reoccurring theme in cash games in our Building Blocks series has been consistency, and we have to say it again here for tight ends. Tight end is, by nature, a very inconsistent position. But we have to try to pick the most consistent out of the bunch.
We’re pretty much always going with the popular plays at tight end for cash games. It’s not exciting, but we’re going with the crowd pretty much every time. If there’s a tight end option that is affordable and receives a consistent number of red zone targets, we are probably going to go with him, even if we know everyone else is also doing the same thing.
Generally speaking, we’re looking to spend a middling amount on our tight ends. We don’t want to spend a large amount of salary because, as stated several times, tight ends are high variance and putting a large amount of money on a high variance player isn’t something we want to do in cash games.
We also don’t want to spend too little on tight ends in cash games because we’re not looking for punt plays. We still want to choose players that yield a certain number of points on a fairly regular basis.
Because tight ends don’t have the same upside that quarterbacks, running backs, or wide receivers have, we are often going to go with punt plays for the position. That is, we will spend as little as possible on our GPP tight ends, often going with a pick that costs the minimum. Occasionally we can roster top tier guys that cost more if match up or game script calls for it, but generally speaking our money is better spent on other positions with more multi-touchdown upside.
We’re not as concerned with weather when it comes to tight ends. We might choose to avoid a tight end playing in a game with very windy, rainy, or snowy conditions, but it’s not as critical to avoid them as it is with quarterbacks or wide receivers. This is because the majority of passes being thrown to a tight end are 10 yards or under, which are less affected by subpar conditions than longer passes.
That’s all for our look at the tight end position in NFL DFS. If you have any questions or topic of interest regarding this article, please post in our Building Blocks: Tight End discussion topic. General questions, comments, or ideas for future articles in this series should be posted in our daily fantasy football forum.
In This Series: NFL Building Blocks