Good evening, fantasy football fans. Tonight we have the third installment in a series of guest posts from Cris at Fantasyomatic.com. To catch up on what he's doing here with the series, scope out the first paragraph - otherwise, skip to the meat of the guest post to find out which team TEs are ranked in the top 3 Fantasy Points Against Strength.
Fantasyomatic Fantasy Points Against
Welcome to part three in a series of draft prep articles leading up to training camp (read part one - WR here and part two - QB here). This week the focus is on fantasy TEs. We ranked all 32 teams based on their Fantasy Points Against Strength with a breakdown on each team and profile of each TE candidate. You will also find helpful information on 2009 Yards Per Attempt, 2010 Strength of Schedule and 2010 Fantasy Playoff schedules. Don't worry about Fantasy Points Against (FPA) data here being grabbed just from 2009; the algorithm used here at Fantasyomatic.com has been hard at work cranking out "defensive ranking against fantasy position" projections all spring. The FPA values you see here include 2010 adjustments for the draft additions, free agency additions, coaching changes in the offseason, defensive scheme updates, daily fantasy news updates and up to the day depth charts. In addition, the FPA values are also weighted against their strength of opponents in 2009 and then again against their strength of opponents in 2010.
What to look for: Players with high yards per pass attempt (YPA) and trends of low FPA ranks against especially during weeks 14-16 (fantasy playoffs). A good combination of low ADP and a high rank in FPA with a lot of involvement in the offense = value. Also watch for mentions of a high red zone score percentage (RZS%), which denotes a TE that's involved in a lot of red zone scoring.
For rankings beyond 1-3, see the full article here on Fantasyomatic.com.
1. Washington Redskins (FPA score: 81.9)
Chris Cooley (YPA 8.3) ADP: 113 - 42% of 46
Fred Davis (YPA 7.4) ADP: 215 - 42% of 46
The Redskins threw the 13th most yards to TEs in 2009, but now Mike and Kyle Shanahan are in town and they brought in a QB in Donovan McNabb who has made his living throwing to TEs. Last year McNabb threw 969 passing yards and 8 TDs to TEs, and WAS threw 850 yards and 11 TDs. Washington had the league's second highest TE RZS% (46% of all their Red Zone TDs went to TEs). Kyle Shanahan drew up enough plays to TEs in Houston last season to total 912 yds and 6 TDs. Mike Shanahan's last two Denver teams posted 38 passes: 24 runs and then 32 passes: 26 runs per game, which is a higher pass to rush ratio then most people may think. These certainly appear to be good indicators for McNabb and his pass catchers. Chris Cooley "may see an expanded role in the offense" according to the Washington Post. Cooley presents some risk, but Washington may have to rely heavily on him due to their thin WR situation. There is danger of a timeshare here since Fred Davis really took advantage of his opportunities when Cooley was out last year. Davis comes with a much cheaper 17th round price tag while Cooley is a 9th rounder. Cooley is much cheaper than your Clark (4th), Witten (5th), and Gates (4th) types so if you miss on one of those, feel good about taking Cooley as a low risk/high reward option. He has a stretch of 5 out of 6 games against bottom-end teams leading into your fantasy playoffs.
2. Minnesota Vikings (FPA score: 81.9)
Visanthe Shiancoe (YPA 7.4) ADP: 120 - 30% of 69
Visanthe Shiancoe was one of the NFL's leading red zone target TEs in 2009 while Minnesota tied for 1st in the NFL in TE TDs (13), of which Shiancoe had 11. He also scored 7 of those TDs inside the 10 yard line. Minnesota had the 6th highest TE RZS% (30% of all Red Zone TDs went to TEs). No reason to think that will change with Brett Favre coming back for another year, however, if Favre somehow decides not to come back, remember that Shiancoe scored the third most TDs of all TEs in 2008 (7 TDs) even without Favre. He has slightly less value in a PPR league as he was only 12th in TE targets in 2009 but TD leagues value him even higher. The biggest value for Shiancoe in 2010 is his stellar fantasy playoff matchups. MIN has the #1 fantasy schedule of all TEs in the NFL. They play the Giants, Bears and Eagles and those three franchises have been some of the consistently worst defenses against opposing TEs for the past two years. Shiancoe can be had in the 10th round so it's safe to say you could get a potential top-10 TE well after you already locked down your starters in all other positions. That's a great value for a red zone beast like Shiancoe.
3. Houston Texans (FPA score: 84.3)
Owen Daniels (YPA 10.0) ADP: 87 - 12% of 63
If Owen Daniels had been able to finish the 2009 season, he was on pace for a career-best 89 catches for 1,136 yards and 11 TDs. That would have been good enough to outscore Dallas Clark. Instead, a week 8 ACL injury sent him to the sidelines. Fantasyomatic.com had a chance to speak with Owen Daniels this offseason and he said everything went "very smoothly" with his surgery. Houston grabbed another TE from Wisconsin, Garrett Graham, in the NFL draft as a little insurance in case Daniels cannot come back fully from his torn ACL. If he does, he will be in a rare group of players who were able to overcome such an injury. Plus, Daniels' fantasy success has a lot to do with his ability to get downfield so he will need strong wheels to be the O.D. of old. Daniels had a YPA of 10.0 in 2009 and a 13.0 Yards Per Catch and had the third highest Yards After the Catch of all TEs last year. The old O.D. is worth being excited about. You've gotta love a red zone TE, and although HOU threw to the TE in only 12% of their 63 Red Zone possessions, Daniels saw more red zone targets in 2009 than in his entire 16 game 2008 season. If he can come back healthy, he has a great season to look forward to in 2010, plus Houston has the 3rd easiest schedule for TEs in 2010. He has a late-season run with 7 out of 8 games against bottom-half defenses against TEs. Thanks to his ACL issues, he's going in the early 7th round of summer drafts, and if you can get him there, you should have strong TE1 value if Daniels stays healthy.