Why Golden Tate Is Undervalued in Fantasy Football

Golden Tate's efficiency has been evident the past two seasons, but can that translate into fantasy football consistency?

Golden Tate can be just a wee bit polarizing. Some people hate the guy because of the Fail Mary. Others adore him because he helped bring a championship to Seattle. Then there's the whole, "Ima waive at you 25 yards from the end zone" thing, which could really go either way. There's not a lot of middle ground on how individuals feel about him.

One area where there should be more unanimity is in fantasy football. Tate is one of those sneaky-productive dudes that brings a consistent volume of targets and efficiency with those targets. Yet, brudduh still can't buy love. Why is this?

Let's look at the numbers behind Mr. Tate to show you why you should buy into this show-boating, mouth-yapping hunk of love.

Tate's Metrical Supremacy

Back when Tate first signed with the Lions, I wrote about how Tate excelled in numberFire's Net Expected Points (NEP) stat. NEP tracks the expected points added or subtracted on each play in which the player is involved.

The first metric we can look at with receivers is Reception NEP per target. This is the player's NEP on each reception they made divided by the number of targets. As I wrote back then, Tate finished 30th among receivers with at least 35 targets last year with a Reception NEP per Target of 0.76. That's certainly good enough for a guy that is being used as a clear second option behind Calvin Johnson, a luxury Johnson has never had in his pro career.

That production for Tate has carried over into this year. Below is a chart of various metrics for Tate. The rank is based on receivers that have been targeted 10 times or more this year (Tate has 13 targets). There were 61 total receivers that qualified.

PlayerRec. NEPRankTarget NEPRankRec. NEP/TargetRank
Golden Tate10.1628th7.1415th0.7314th

The message is quite clear and quite Keyshawn-Johnson-esque after seeing those numbers: Just give Golden Tate the damn ball! His efficiency when the ball has been thrown his way both this year and last year is very good, considering how he is regarded by the masses.

Once again, these aren't numbers that you'd associate with an unquestioned top option, but that's not Tate's role. He's there to pop in when Megatron is covered (does that happen?) and/or when Matthew Stafford gets bored. And Tate fits that role to perfection.

Can He Get the Volume?

One of the big concerns with Tate heading into the year was whether he'd disappear behind Johnson. That hasn't happened yet, and he hasn't been one to disappear in the past, either.

Since the start of the 2013 season, Tate has seen fewer than five targets only four times in 18 games. This gives him a higher floor than you generally see with players in his area of the realm of fake football.

In the first two games of 2014, Tate has seen six targets in Week 1 and seven targets in Week 2. Only two of those have resulted in incompletions. If he can keep up these looks, Tate is a solid option that can definitely start games for you when you're in need.

Tate's Value in Daily Leagues

Here's where Tate's true value lies: daily leagues, where his price is right now ridiculously affordable.

This week on FanDuel, Tate is valued at $5,000. Other receivers you can purchase at that price include Donte Moncrief (two receptions, 25 yards this year), Allen Robinson (makes far more sense than Moncrief, but still only has five career receptions) and Donnie Avery, who has the worst Target NEP (-5.50) of any player that has received at least 10 targets this year. It's really a no-brainer to pencil in Tate.

Tate's $5,000 salary on DraftKings is a bit more realistic, but it's still a great value.

Again, I'm not calling Tate one of the best receivers in the league. I'm saying that he's far better than he is currently valued at, despite proving time and time again that he will exceed his expected production. If you can buy low on him in season-long leagues, that's not a bad idea. With defenses (rightfully) assigning all assets to Megatron, who will reap the benefits but the guy with the overly-active mouth and the overly-efficient hands?