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Repeatability - Tight Ends
David Dorey
July 22, 2005

Repeatability, if it exists at all, is critical for tight ends because simply enough there are never more than a dozen of them with any real fantasy significance. Look at the numbers from every season - it is only the top six that really matter and have any appreciable "per game" difference from the rest.

All player listings to follow were created using the standard performance scoring as seen on The Huddle statistics. For tight ends, that entails 1/10 yardage points and six point touchdowns.

  2000 Pts 2001 Pts 2002 Pts 2003 Pts 2004 Pts
1 T Gonzalez 167 T Gonzalez 124 T Heap 120 T Gonzalez 144 A Gates 169
2 S Sharpe 105 M Pollard 117 T Gonzalez 111 S Sharpe 119 T Gonzalez 161
3 F Jones 100 S Sharpe 86 J Shockey 94 T Heap 90 J Witten 128
4 K Brady 87 D Clark 86 S Sharpe 82 B Williams 68 A Crumpler 106
5 C Lewis 86 F Wycheck 83 B Franks 82 M Pollard 67 R McMichael 97
6 F Wycheck 85 B Chamberlain 79 M Pollard 77 A Crumpler 67 J Shockey 97
 
7 K Dilger 64 B Franks 79 B Miller 73 I Mili 66 J Wiggins 87
8 J Riemersma 62 D Sloan 78 A Crumpler 68 R McMichael 64 E Johnson 86
9 D Carswell 61 W Walls 70 R McMichael 67 F Jones 64 D Graham 74
10 M Pollard 58 E Conwell 70 K Brady 65 J Shockey 62 B Franks 70
11 J Harris 56 C Lewis 70 C Fauria 62 D Graham 59 D Clark 66
12 S Alexander 53 J Riemersma 69 E Conwell 59 J Kleinsasser 58 L Smith 64
 
13 R Dudley 52 F Jones 58 I Mili 58 A Becht 58 C Cooley 63
14 W Walls 50 A Becht 56 C Lewis 56 E Kinney 50 J Putzier 63
15 A Glover 46 D Carswell 52 S Alexander 52 D Clark 48 M Pollard 61
16 D Clark 46 E Johnson 51 A Becht 50 M Ricks 48 S Heiden 56
17 D Sloan 45 D Moore 47 D Jolley 48 B Miller 47 K Dilger 48
18 I Mili 44 A Crumpler 45 M Ricks 43 B Franks 47 J Stevens 48
19 R Kelly 41 K Brady 42 W Walls 42 A Gates 46 M Campbell 47
20 D Moore 41 K Dilger 41 J Kleinsasser 42 J Weaver 41 F Jones 47
21 G Clark 41 R Williams 41 F Wycheck 41 M Schobel 40 T Heap 45
22 B Franks 38 C Cleeland 35 K Dilger 39 E Conwell 37 K Mangum 45
23 A Shea 36 E Williams 34 J Stevens 38 D Clark 36 A Shea 43
24 J Thomason 32 J Wiggins 33 F Jones 36 J Witten 35 B Williams 42
The Following season: Remained Top 6 Became 7-12 Became 13-24 Not in next Top 24

Top 6 became Avg. 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
Top 6 3 3 3 3 4 2
7 to 12 0 0 1 0 1 0
13 - 24 2 3 1 1 1 2
Duds 1 0 1 2 0 2
7 to 12 became Avg. 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
Top 6 1 0 1 1 1 2
7 to 12 1 3 1 0 1 1
13 - 24 1 0 2 2 2 1
Duds 3 3 2 3 2 2
Top 6 was: Avg. 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Top 6 2 3 2 3 3 2
7 to 12 3 0 2 1 1 2
13 - 24 0 1 1 0 0 2
24+ 1 2 0 2 2 0

Each season has seen typically two or three tight ends rule the position with a handful more only moderately important. The rest are meaningless in fantasy terms. Tony Gonzalez and Shannon Sharpe were the two top dogs for several years and since Sharpe retired, a replacement was needed. Enter Antonio Gates who outscored Sharpe's career best season. Gates who scored more touchdowns than anyone in the position had ever. Last year was different too in that there were other tight ends of note - Jason Witten, Alge Crumpler, Randy McMichael and Jeremy Shockey chimed in and gave us the highest scoring Top 6 in the history of the NFL.

This season should be interesting for repeats. In the past, the Top 12 each year only gave up five or six players to the next season's best dozen players. We've never had such a strong crew entering a next season though. In the last five years, only twice has the Top 6 given up more than three players to repeat the next year and last year was actually the worst season for that with only Gonzalez and Crumpler remaining in the highest tier.

Looking backwards, it is still only the top 6 that contributes heavily to the next season simply because they are already the few tight ends that have dominant receiving roles for their team. There is just not a lot of variation that happens in this position.

  Repeat Reliability 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
1 Gonzalez, T 1 1 2 1 2
2 Pollard, M 10 2 6 5 15
3 Sharpe, S 2 3 4 2  
4 Jones, F 3 13 24 9 17
5 Crumpler, A   18 8 6 4
6 Franks, B 22 7 5 18 10
7 Shockey, J     3 10 6
8 McMichael, R     9 8 5
9 Brady, K 4 19 10    
10 Heap, T     1 3 23
11 Clark, D       23 11
12 Dilger, K 7 20 22   18
13 Lewis, C 5 11 14   24
14 Mili, I 18   13 7  
15 Conwell, E   10 12 22  
16 Gates, A       19 1
17 Graham, D       11 9
18 Johnson, E   16     7
19 Miller, B     7 17  
20 Williams, B       4 22
21 Witten, J       24 3
22 Kleinsasser, J     20 12  
23 Wiggins, J   24     8
24 Fauria, C     11    
25 Ricks, M     18 16  
26 Putzier, J         12
27 Cooley, C         13
28 Kinney, E       14  
Finishes that were 25th or deeper each year were not listed.

The table to the right shows the year end ranking for each of the listed players and is sorted in a manner to suggest the most reliable "repeaters" in fantasy drafts over the last five years. It's obvious that Gonzalez is in a class of his own and in the last five seasons, has been the best "repeater" in the entire league across any position. The shakeup last year of the Top 12 introduced several new players and this year will show how well defenses will adjust against them.

Tight End Repeatability
50% - 17%

For tight ends, the top 6 are all that really matter and of that group, almost exactly three repeat each season. When you remove Gonzalez, the retired Sharpe and the aging and displaced Pollard, recent history shows that no tight end repeats in the Top 6 other than Crumpler once. It doesn't really matter in this position though - you can be certain that the top dozen from last year and highly likely to remain Top 12 and perhaps half of them shift forward or backwards from their tiers of six players because the others simply do not get enough passes to make any real leap. Players that are new to the Top 12 are far more likely to be ones that have never been there before like Troupe, Watson or Teyo Johnson. It almost has to be someone that will be new to the offensive scheme and featured in a way that he has never been used before.