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Jason Witten???

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Re: Janson Witten???

Postby Timbathia » Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:01 pm

I think this is a better year than the last few for waiting on TEs. There are an excellent group of young TEs that could potentially put up big numbers that can be had after everyone else gets theirs (carlson, keller, z miller, celek, etc.). I would tend to wait until almost everyone has a TE and then take two of these guys. Scheff is a bit of a risk as no-one yet knows what Denver's offense will really look like (3 TE sets are getting talked about quite a bit), but he is also worth a risk if you take 2 of these guys.

This approach has bitten me in the a$$ the past two seasons as the drop off between the top 5 or 6 TEs and the 12th has been really huge, but this season it looks as if that gap will be much smaller. side note - I really dont want to have to trade away young RB prospects in my keeper league again to get a decent TE in the playoff run (though Gonzo for Hightower last year worked beautifully).
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Re: Janson Witten???

Postby Timbathia » Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:05 pm

mrblitz wrote:I never grab the top 4th or 5th TE. In a cafe league, i just nabbed Olsen (who I wanted) in round 9. I wAs quite happy about that.


Olsen in round 9????? That is great value. I have seen him going a full 2 rounds earlier than that. I guess I wouldnt bank on being able to get him that late.
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Re: Janson Witten???

Postby My team is injured » Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:32 pm

I'm not so sure the TE depth is much better this year than last year. Last year, there were guys like heap, vernon davis, owen daniels, heath miller, and sheffler who were around 8-12 and projected slightly higher, at least in my projections, than their counterparts from this year (shockey, zach miller, carlson, keller, sheffler). The TE pool may be slightly deeper this season with guys like celek and scaife behind them but overall, I don't see much of a difference.

While it's probably unlikely the TE bust rate is as high this year as last year, I think a replacement level TE will still be well below the production of Witten in particular as well as the next tier of guys like Gates and Gonzo. I suppose I could settle for grabbing 1 of the keller, carlson, zach miller types if need be, but if I can grab Witten, in say, the mid 4th, or Gates and Gonzo a round or 2 later, then I think the value is there to do so, again, at least in PPR leagues.
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Re: Janson Witten???

Postby Kensat30 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:56 pm

TE is usually not a big position of need due to scarcity, nor is it a high scoring position. That's why it doesn't make very much sense to grab the #1 TE off the board very early in a draft unless you absolutely KNOW that he is going to smash up the competition. Take QB for example. Year after year we see guys drop very early picks on these guys and similar players are available halfway through the draft. It can make sense to gamble on a QB early when you consider the advantage a true stud will give you and how important a solid QB can be to your weekly point totals, but many will disagree with an early pick at that position due to scarcity reasons. Good QBs hang around late into drafts. Even if you grab a guy like Drew Brees, if he doesn't throw for 4500 yards and 30 TDs like you believe he will, you are losing a lot of value on your early pick. The same rationale applies to TE, except they score a lot less than QBs and won't carry your team to victory or defeat by themselves either way. It is generally one of the least important positions IMO unless the scoring system favors them or you believe that one TE can gain you a decisive advantage.

Say for instance, you look at how much more production you are getting out of Jason Witten than Chris Cooley. Is Witten really that much better because he went for 1100 yards one season or that he caught 80 passes last year? Both of these guys have been consistently solid producers throughout their careers, yet Witten has one "elite" season to Cooley's zero and Witten's one massive season wasn't last year and it wasn't even that massive. You're looking at dropping an early 4th round pick on Witten compared to an ~8th+ round pick on Cooley. Witten better be giving you a BIG advantage at the spot, because you are losing a lot of value at other positions when you compare the cost difference 4th and an 8th round pick. The dropoff in value from round 4 to round 8 is similar to the dropoff from round 1 to round 3 IMO, it's a big difference. When you look at 4th round WRs compared to 8th round WRs for example, that might be the difference between proven producers like TJ Houshmanzadeh or Chad Ocho Cinco and total question marks like Bernard Berrian and Michael Crabtree. At RB you are looking at Ryan Grant versus Ray Rice. It just does not make sense to take an early TE in most cases, when the other positions are scoring more, and the comparable TEs are scoring similar if slightly lower numbers. Jason Witten only had 4 TDs last year and his career average is close to 6. Is that truly stud production? To me, drafting Jason Witten as TE1 in 2009 is comparable to someone drafting Tony Romo QB1 in 2008 in round1. It can be justified on some level, but I think you are giving up a lot of pick value by making that move. Witten is likely to do well in 2008, but he is not likely to justify his draft spot. A solid TE putting up good TE numbers is not worth a high pick IMO. A solid TE putting up good WR numbers is a different story. If anyone should be taking a TE high it is Antonio Gates IMO due to his multiple WR like finishes, but I even disagree with that pick due to his steady decline over the past several seasons.
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Re: Janson Witten???

Postby My team is injured » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:27 pm

Kensat, I disagree with your comparison between the QB and TE positions. I almost never draft QBs early as I feel they go ahead of where their value lies but I will frequently draft one of the top TEs. The difference being that there are usually good QBs to pick from in the 8-15 QBs off the board as well as the waiver wire for that matter and every year a couple of these guys produce top 5 numbers (Warner, Rogers, and Cutler last year; Roethlisburger and Romo the year before, etc.). You simply don't see that kind of production at the TE position later in the draft (Owen Daniels was probably the best value last year with Zach Miller and Bo Scaife being mediocre).

Secondly, at least in PPR formats, the difference in points between the top TEs and a replacement level TE is substantial. Factor in the low bust rate of the top TEs with them typically performing near projections (Witten, Gonzo, and Gates this year) and I think the TEs have good value where their ADP puts them (say, mid 4th for Witten and late 5th for Gonzo or Gates).

Also, I think you're underestimating Witten. Prior to his injury last year he was a beast and well worth a pick in the 3rd round in PPR formats, let alone the 4th or wherever he was typically drafted. His worst week over his first 7 games prior to leaving with an injury week 8 was 4 catches for 55 yards (probably nearly an average week for Cooley for instance). And after he got healthy again and Romo returned from his injury, Witten was great again the last 5 weeks of the season with his worst week being 5 catches for 44 yards. If he and Romo stayed healthy, you're looking at a stat-line of about 100 catches for 1200 yards and 5 TDs. Certainly would be worth a pick in the 4th round for those numbers.

Also, in regards to Witten's outlook this year, I expect him to again put up great numbers on a weekly basis. Romo loves going to the guy and I see no reason why Witten won't see about say, 10 targets per week. I think he'll remain heavily involved in the passing game irregardless of how things turn out with Roy Williams and Miles Austin or if Garrett shifts more to a running attack (which I don't think he will, at least not as much as he should).
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Re: Janson Witten???

Postby Azrael » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:18 pm

My money's still on Gates as the best TE. He was hurt all last year and was still the second best TE I believe.
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Re: Janson Witten???

Postby Dan Lambskin » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:01 am

to chime in on the TE debate, while there isnt often a huge disparity in EOY stats between the top TE's and middle TE's (and again between the mid and low TE's), i value the week to week consistency a top TE gives. if i can count on 5-15 (or more in PPR) points a week from a Witten, Gates, Gonzo etc, rather than the 0-2 point game 1 week and an 8 point game the next i might get from a Cooley or guys who's value is more tied to scoring a TD, to me that's pretty valuable

how early i'm willing to draft a guy like that really depends on the league, draft position, etc
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Re: Janson Witten???

Postby Kensat30 » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:25 pm

My team is injured wrote:
Also, I think you're underestimating Witten. Prior to his injury last year he was a beast and well worth a pick in the 3rd round in PPR formats, let alone the 4th or wherever he was typically drafted. His worst week over his first 7 games prior to leaving with an injury week 8 was 4 catches for 55 yards (probably nearly an average week for Cooley for instance). And after he got healthy again and Romo returned from his injury, Witten was great again the last 5 weeks of the season with his worst week being 5 catches for 44 yards. If he and Romo stayed healthy, you're looking at a stat-line of about 100 catches for 1200 yards and 5 TDs. Certainly would be worth a pick in the 4th round for those numbers.

Also, in regards to Witten's outlook this year, I expect him to again put up great numbers on a weekly basis. Romo loves going to the guy and I see no reason why Witten won't see about say, 10 targets per week. I think he'll remain heavily involved in the passing game irregardless of how things turn out with Roy Williams and Miles Austin or if Garrett shifts more to a running attack (which I don't think he will, at least not as much as he should).


2008:
Jason Witten - 81/952/4, worst games 1/8/0, 1/11/0, career averages excluding rookie year 79/918/5
Chris Cooley - 83/849/1, worst games 1/7/0, 1/12/0, career averages excluding rookie year 69/786/6

Where is the big difference? Where is the consistent stud production? I don't see it. Witten performed almost exactly at his career averages last season. Cooley is overlooked this year due to his 1 TD anomaly last year. For all this talk of how far a guy like Cooley puts you behind Witten, even in a PPR league Cooley was barely 1.5 points a game behind Witten in production last year and that was with only 1 TD. On average Cooley has been about 1 point a game behind Witten. One point a game margins are miniscule and not worth sacrificing massive draft pick value.
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Re: Janson Witten???

Postby My team is injured » Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:03 pm

Kensat30 wrote:2008:
Jason Witten - 81/952/4, worst games 1/8/0, 1/11/0, career averages excluding rookie year 79/918/5
Chris Cooley - 83/849/1, worst games 1/7/0, 1/12/0, career averages excluding rookie year 69/786/6

Where is the big difference? Where is the consistent stud production? I don't see it. Witten performed almost exactly at his career averages last season. Cooley is overlooked this year due to his 1 TD anomaly last year. For all this talk of how far a guy like Cooley puts you behind Witten, even in a PPR league Cooley was barely 1.5 points a game behind Witten in production last year and that was with only 1 TD. On average Cooley has been about 1 point a game behind Witten. One point a game margins are miniscule and not worth sacrificing massive draft pick value.


The key difference from last season that you're overlooking is that Witten was injured midseason (combined with Romo getting hurt for that matter), which accounted for his very poor 4 game stretch. Prior to his injury, he was averaging 6.4 catches for 77 yards and 0.3 TDs over a span of 7 games. And post injury from week 13 on, he averaged 6.4 catches for 72 yards and 0.4 TDs over a span of 5 games.

Cooley on the other hand was healthy the entire season (as was Campbell) and Cooley still fell 100 yards and 3 TDs short of Witten's numbers. While I agree with you that Cooley's 1 TD was an anomoly, I don't think Cooley will be all that close to Witten's production this year in PPR leagues if both of them stay healthy.

I currently have Witten projected for 96 catches for 1104 yards and 6 TDs versus 74 catches for 814 yards and 5 TDs for Cooley. This is certainly enough of a difference in PPR leagues to warrant say, a mid 4th round pick on Witten.
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Re: Janson Witten???

Postby justinj312 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:27 am

I think I'll go with B Celek in rd 13. He'll be the starting TE for the eagles and is coming off a good run in the playoffs last year (now taking over for the departed LJ Smith). He'll be starting on Philly's pass friendly offense. If that doesn't work out then around week 3-with the TE depth that is out there-there should be a promising waiver TE to pick up.
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