Reeding Between the Lines
Say what you want about the title of this article. It's Monday, and quite honestly, the title is probably better than anything else that popped into my throbbing brain. You work with what you can get on Monday mornings. And with my mental state hovering around 11 percent capacity, I love that title. Alright?
With that out of the way, let's dive into a little fantasy football, because we all know it's our main escape on Mondays anyway. If you're like me, you're probably dealing with substantial injury causalities, unavoidable looming bye week hell, and a massive headache. But let's move past that and look at something good that happened on Sunday; something that doesn't have to do with torn ACLs and groins.
Let's talk about Jordan Reed.
Reed has been a favorite of ours here at numberFire for a while. We've liked talent, and we love the efficiency. Reed didn't disappoint Sunday when he produced a monster 9-134-1 line for his fantasy owners. The biggest problem was that most fantasy owners didn't even own him, let alone play him. But if you read Matt Grasso's TE streaming article, you would have been ahead of the curve this past Sunday. (Spoiler alert: He had Jordan Reed as a streamer this week). Just sayin'.
Let's dig a little deeper here. Let's look at Reed's Week 7 performance, and see whether or not this was just the product of a good tight end matchup. Let's see what the numbers have to say.
Opportunity to be "The Guy"
Believe it or not, Reed was recruited as a quarterback out of college. As a dual-threat quarterback he was considered “4 star” talent by many recruiting services. The Connecticut native received a scholarship to play for the Florida Gators from then head coach Urban Meyer. New head coach Will Muschamp then made a positional change for Reed by moving him to the tight end position.
Reed proceeded to have a decent three-year career for the Gators as he racked up 938 yards on 78 career receptions. At 6’2, 236 pounds Reeds measurable don’t jump out at you. What does jump out at you is his short area explosion and fantastic “wiggle.” Reed is constantly being compared to Aaron Hernandez - the football Hernandez. When I first heard the comparison, my initial reaction was, “well that’s a pretty lazy comparable.” considering their Gator roots, but after further review it looks like it’s a fair one. I’m not sure Reed has the route running chops that Hernandez had, but he absolutely possesses similar athleticism.
The Redskins took Reed in the third round - 85th overall - of last years draft, and since then, Reed has clearly taken over the tight end position from veteran Fred Davis. He played 56 of 79 offensives snaps last week against Dallas, and the Redskins made Fred Davis a healthy scratch this past Sunday, making it very clear that Reed is "the guy." This Redskins team is in need of a second receiving option behind Garcon, and Reed is just what the doctor ordered.
Just to show you some of the awesome predictability of our expected point data, below is where Reed ranked going into Week 7 among tight ends with 15 or more catches.
He ranks third among 15-plus reception tight ends in reception net expected points per target, a metric that shows how many points a player is adding for his team with each target. Vernon Davis and Julius Thomas are the only tight end peers that rank ahead of him so far this year. He also boasts the best catch rate among tight ends. When Reed get's his targets, he's productive with them.
Below is a table showing the remaining schedule for Reed. The defensive ranks are from our analytics here at numberFire. The stat line numbers are tight end averages per game against each team, and the final column shows the where the teams rank against the tight end position in fantasy points within standard leagues. 1st being the best team defense against tight ends with 32nd being the worst.
|Team||Total Defense||Receptions||Yardage||TDs||TE Fantasy Ranks|
Reed will face six defenses that rank 21st or worse defending tight ends in the coming weeks, with two bouts against the 26th-ranked Giants. One of Reed's more "difficult" matchups includes the Eagles. Diving further into the numbers shows that they have given up plenty of receptions and yardage to the tight end position, but simply haven't yet allowed a touchdown. Given their overall defensive deficiencies, it's fair to wonder if that isn't anything other than a fluke.
Kansas City, Reed's Week 14 opponent, is a tough defense, and there isn't any way around it. They rank first in both overall defense and at defending the tight end position. Other than Kansas City though there isn't one game that should scare you away from getting Reed.
At the end of the day tough, everyone's goal should be to win the fantasy championship - I've never understood the satisfaction of "getting to the playoffs". It's going to be tough to find a juicier playoff schedule than Reed's. Outside of the Chiefs in Week 14 (if your playoffs start then), Reed will face the Falcons (25th), Cowboys (29th) and Giants (26th) from Weeks 15 through 17. Everything about the upcoming schedule shows that Reed's Week 7 shouldn't be viewed as a "sell high." There are many more productive weeks ahead for the impressive rookie.
Add Jordan ReedIs Jordan Reed a priority add? If you are someone looking for tight end production, absolutely. I'd take him over the likes of Coby Fleener, Kyle Rudolph, Brandon Myers, and many other high-end TE2's and low-end TE1's.
As I noted in this article singing the praises of Roy Helu, Washington's defensive prowess is just going to add to the value of Reed moving forward. There are going to be plenty of "come from behind" and "garbage time" situations for this Redskins team. If I were looking for tight end production and need help for the upcoming bye week hurricane, I would be running, not walking, to add Jordan Reed.