Tight End Completions

Discussion in 'Thread Archive' started by Freakskull, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. Freakskull

    Freakskull Lobsters are mermaids to scorpions.

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    I went back three years in the NFL, and last year was the only year a TE was in the top ten "pass receptions."

    In our league, number one, two and three in receptions are TEs.

    Its not the end of the world, but lets keep an eye on it. We should see more completions to the WRs.




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  2. RFF

    RFF Walk On

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    I'd like to tackle this one in more detail. TEs being "overpowered" is something Madden players take for granted, but I wonder whether that's something leftover from years ago. Full disclosure of bias: my 94 OVR is on pace for 70-something receptions. He's 32nd in our league at the moment. In the NFL, 9 TEs caught 70+ passes--all were top 33 in the league (Source: http://www.nfl.com/stats/categoryst...nference=null&d-447263-s=RECEIVING_RECEPTIONS) -- I think that qualifies me as reasonably unbiased toward TE usage as I don't have one of the top 6-7 in receptions, but the reader can judge that for themselves.


    So, our TE reception #s are skewed high and too top-heavy, but it does make sense that ~9 TEs should be in the top 32-33 for receptions. I don't think there's any one reason, but among the factors I believe a key reason is our league's defense:
    • Man Coverage. We play on All-Pro, which is very difficult to balance defensively in a mature H2H league (more on that in a later post). One of the reasons is that Man Coverage is pretty bad. In any given game, minus a couple of exceptions by teams who are fortunate enough to have veteran superstud man CBs, you see a vast majority zone coverage vs passes. There are like 2-3 teams in the NFL whose base coverage scheme is Zone. In HAW there are probably only 4-5 teams whose base scheme for defending the pass is Man. Interestingly, Man easily covers up a number of common TE routes--flats, seams, hitches. Meanwhile, a lot of zone beaters involve TEs: seams/posts vs C2, curl/flat & slants vs C3, flats & drags vs C4 & many zone blitzes.
      • Users in our league typically cover TEs with LBs, and the Man-beating TE route that demolishes LBs on top of the inherent Man Coverage shortcoming is the post route. We all know it. In the NFL, teams avoid covering TEs with LBs whenever possible for virtually this exact reason. It's a constant trade-off and the main reason why TEs have become so great in the NFL: except for a select couple of superstars, LBs cannot cover good receiving TEs, and CBs/Safeties can't get off blocks vs them. In other words, most teams can't just out-scheme a good TE. The offense forces the defense into an unfavorable matchup decision. Well, in our league, line up with 2 WRs and you're nearly guaranteed to see LBs covering your TEs. Nearly every advice thread on reddit tells you so. But a decent CB or even a FS with decent MCV will fare much, much better vs a TE on post/drag routes than a LB. What some may call TEs being OP I would say in part is due to Madden players not being as tactically smart as NFL defensive coordinators (go figure?) and then blaming the game.
    I'm not discounting outright the inherent "Madden-y" factor of TEs being overused. I'm just throwing this out as a "be thoughtful" warning. It's rough to tell teams they can't use a major tool they have to beat the defenses they're seeing. This could just be me being an idealist & optimist, but I feel like when Man Coverage is a truly viable option (meaning: on its own, even without superstud CBs, viable as a base coverage for most teams), then TE performance becomes that personnel chess match it is in the NFL: do you cover them with a CB/FS and risk being steamrolled in the run game (also gives even more valuable to receiving TEs who can block!), or do you cover them with a LB and blame Madden for having OP TEs?

    Again: at the very top of the charts, there's almost certainly some TE abuse going on like any single player can be overly targeted, not arguing otherwise. There are 1-2 newer teams who seem to look for their TE as the first & second option on virtually every passing play. But:

    tldr; I believe league-wide TE play is at least as fundamentally a result of how the league defends as it is a result of "abusing" TEs.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  3. akutozo

    akutozo Baby, I'm a Brown.

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    I don't disagree with this, but I'd also say a lot of people get in the habit of having their "go to guy" and start reading the TE first instead of looking for their WR. The top 3 in catches at this moment are all tight ends:

    1. Eric Ebron (49)
    2. Travid Kelce (45)
    3. Jace Amaro (44)


    So let's look at the teams top 3 receiving leaders after the Tight End, by amount and position.

    Detroit: WR (36); TE (22); WR (16)
    KC: WR (27); HB (20); WR (15)
    NYJ: WR (28); HB (27); WR (20)

    In the case of Detroit, there is a clear focus on TE utilization, where of the top 4 pass catches 71 receptions went to TEs compared to 52 to WRs, who would typically be there majority. For KC and NYJ, we see the extra TE replaced by the HB position, probably through screen routes.

    Now, i can only speak from experience so I'll compare to my team (my TE is 11th overall in catches, 4th among TEs.

    11. Coby Fleener (36)

    Browns: WR (39); WR (33); WR (22)

    In this case, you don't see my number 2 TE (despite being 81 OVR) creeping into my top 4 in receptions, or my HB and there is a clear, intentional focus to make WRs the primary weapon for my team. Granted, Fleener is still playing a large role in the offense, but it's as a complimentary piece.

    Bottom Line:

    Every offense runs differently, and it's not for me to tell anyone how to run their own. Some people don't have good WRs, and some people have offensive playbooks that are meant to rely on Tight Ends. I have a heavy TE playbook and make a choice to feature Fleener less, and typically keep him as a 2nd or 3rd read depending on the match up. I encourage everyone to think about how they are reading the HB/TE positions and consider if they're calling plays with the intention to give them the ball more often than they are their WRs. If so, maybe tweak your approach a little bit.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
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  4. Freakskull

    Freakskull Lobsters are mermaids to scorpions.

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    Full disclosure, I LOVE Ryan Bars my TE. My stats, i hope are respectable:

    1. WR Brown 30 for 497
    2. TE Bars 27 for 403
    3. WR Bryant 23 for 287
    4. WR Coates 14 for 321
    5. HB Bell 14 for 45
     
  5. RFF

    RFF Walk On

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    I don't disagree with any of that. My TE Vaughan actually just became my leading receiver, but as a group, they make up just over 25% of my completions (and, I would bet, far less as a % of my attempts)... and I run what I would consider a heavily TE-centric offense. I even run some 3-TE sets every game. And yet even Vaughan is "only" on pace for what would, by NFL stat standards, be considered a "top 10 but not top 5" year for a TE, has only notched one 100-yard game so far this year, and my #2 & #3 TEs (despite being on the field some) have just 4 catches apiece.

    I can't put numbers behind this, but anecdotally I face a ton of C3/C4, and for a decent chunk of Vaughan's catches, he is the 2nd or 3rd option on plays where my first option(s) are WRs who get blanketed by zone coverage.

    So the only minor issue I'd have, and it probably doesn't apply to the top 3-4 TEs where it's clear their users are just looking for them first, second & always, but I want to bring it up anyway: whether you realize it or not, you are using % of completions as a proxy for how a user is prioritizing their TEs. Touching on my earlier point about coverages, this isn't always fair. If a user is facing a ton of C3/C4 and having trouble getting the ball to their wideouts, they might be, hypothetically, 60-of-140 when targeting WRs... and 60-of-80 targeting TEs. In this hypothetical, their TEs make up 50% of their offense (bad)... but only 36% of their attempted offense (more justifiable). That's probably an extreme example, but then again, this thread is about examining the extremes.
     
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  6. ZCar352

    ZCar352 Keep Pounding...Go Panthers!!!

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    My receiving stats:

    1. WR Dobbins 32 Rec 783 Yards 8 TD
    2. TE Thomas 19 Rec 235 Yards 0 TD
    3. WR Moncrief 15 Rec 200 Yards 0 TD
    4. TE Roberts 13 Rec 180 Yards 4 TD

    In my case after Moncrief at WR I don't have that great of options and the Carolina playbook and my style of play limits my use of the 3rd receiver. Thomas and Roberts combined tie Dobbins in receptions but its just more info for RFF to look at but all in all its comes down to receiving talent on the team to be honest...Thomas and Roberts overall wise are my best receivers and the stats reflect my usage of them. Hope this helps if not.... RaiderRed90 can keep on missing Thomas and crying himself to sleep at night for letting him leave lol
     
  7. Mattraq1

    Mattraq1 Walk On

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    I dont see the big deal. At this point in the season if during your research of an opponent you see they heavily favor the TE over WR its really easy to take the TE out of the game and force them to throw out of their comfort zone. In the case of the Lions look at his recievers. His best 2 are his TEs. I think it's perfectly reasonable for an nfl team to create an offense focused on ace formations featuring 2 tight ends. Again to use Detroit as an example his leading WR is like 68 ovr (bag on memory). Seems pretty easy in pre game prep to know how the game is going to go.

    In the real nfl plenty of teams have had TE as their first option. Look at KC the year when not a single WR caught a td pass. Or olsen on the panthers without benjamin this year. I dont think we should tell ppl how to game plan their offense simply because everybody doesn't know how to stop it

    I'm not sure how many people other than me actually research their opponents before a game but it's no different than studying film in the real nfl.
     
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  8. Freakskull

    Freakskull Lobsters are mermaids to scorpions.

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    Good discussion, I feel compelled to add: We are talking about completions. When I had a different team in TMFL, my TE was the only one to catch the damn ball. lol
     
  9. bjbdahitman

    bjbdahitman Andy Reid to KC... Finally a real coach...

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    All I have to say is this. I just took over the Chiefs this year. Prior to this season I owned the Colts. While owning the Colts I don't believe my TE was even close to my WR stats. With the new team, my TE is by far the best pass catcher I have. That's why I've utilized my TE so much this year. All of my WR'S suck, lol.
     
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  10. RFF

    RFF Walk On

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    Anytime your TE is on pace for 2,000 yards and 19 TDs, you're going to (deservedly) get some flak. There are fair arguments on both sides, and I personally prefer combating the root cause of an issue rather than artificially ordering someone to "keep the #s down," but let's be very specific about this:

    The greatest season ever by a TE, by Gronk who will almost certainly go down as the most dominant TE ever to play the game, was as follows:
    1,327 yards
    17 TDs

    Kelce is on pace to absolutely SHATTER this. It's worth bringing up.
     
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  11. akutozo

    akutozo Baby, I'm a Brown.

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    I mean, Maclin is decent my man.
     
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