Where's the Love for Jason Witten in Fantasy Football?
Let's just get right to it: Jason Witten is already underrated in fantasy football this year.
I know, I know -- a lot of you haven't even thought about drafting a team yet, but drafts are happening. And by the look of things, the veteran tight end just isn't getting the love he deserves.
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According to FantasyFootballCalculator.com, Witten has an average draft position of 11.11 in standard leagues (11.08 in PPR ones) as the 13th tight end off the board.
This isn't just because folks drafting over there are doing so without any loot in the game. MyFantasyLeague.com's MFL10 best ball leagues -- which have money on the line -- see Witten drafted around the same spot, too.
I'm not exactly sure, to be honest. Last year, Witten finished with 90 targets, 64 receptions, 703 yards and 5 touchdowns, which ranked ninth among all tight ends in PPR leagues.
Maybe it has to do with age? If that's the case, I don't understand. According to our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, Witten's per target NEP of 0.82 last season was the best rate of his entire career. And he was 32 years old.
And his third best season came in 2013.
No, it can't be age. Well, it can be, but it shouldn't be, especially considering he's never really missed a game. The truth is, there's absolutely no reason for Jason Witten to have such a low ADP.
Take a look at his PPR finishes over the last five years, and tell my why he's the 13th tight end off the board in 2015.
|Year||PPR Points||Tight End Rank|
Oh, I see now. People must be trying to predict a drop-off in production considering he's slowly fallen in terms of fantasy points scored.
Not so fast. Take a look at what Witten's done in terms of fantasy points per target over this timeframe.
|Year||PPR Points||Per Target|
A key reason for Witten's low(er) output last year, really, was volume. And that's because the Cowboys finished as the third most run-heavy team in all of football. Here's how he's done from a percentage of team targets perspective over this five-year span.
|Year||Percentage of Team Targets|
It's true that Witten's share has slightly dropped, but you're also talking about the best fantasy tight end in the NFL (2010) to one being drafted as the 13th best. The fact is, securing 19.10% of your team's targets, as a tight end, is phenomenal. Last year, only five tight ends saw a higher share.
And when you factor in Tony Romo's ability to throw the ball and that the Cowboys are almost certain to be a more pass-friendly team without DeMarco Murray, this becomes a no-brainer: Jason Witten is a crazy-good value in fantasy football this year.