Fantasy Football: Virgil Green Is a Lottery Ticket Worth Buying
A longstanding fantasy football cheat code has been erased for the 2016 season.
No longer can you take a chance on a Peyton Manning tight end and reap the benefits. But in that void, the starting tight end position in Denver, potentially sits a player who is receiving some offseason buzz for his own reasons.
Virgil Green, a 6'3", 249-pound tight end, is going undrafted, according to Fantasy Football Calculator, but Broncos beat writer Andrew Mason thinks that Green could "shatter" his career-highs this year.
You should be intrigued.
To be clear, Green's career highs came last year: 12 catches, 173 yards, and 1 touchdown. It's not going to be hard to shatter those marks. But Green's athletic profile makes him an enticing target, one that is free on draft day.
Per Player Profiler, Green's closest comparable is Adrien Robinson, which might not tell you much. Green boasts a 4.54-second 40-yard-dash along with a 130" broad jump and a 42.5" vertical leap, per Mock Draftable. Those burst drills place him in the 99th percentile among tight ends, and the 40 time places him in the 94th percentile.
When adjusting for height and weight, his broad jump and vertical leap are good for the 100th percentile, per Player Profiler, to go along with a catch radius that places him in the 96th percentile.
Don't forget to breathe.
Heuerman, a 6'5", 254-pounder, owns a burst score -- size-adjusted broad jump and vertical -- in the 65th percentile to go along with a 4.86-second 40-yard-dash. Even adjusting for his size, that straight-line speed places him in the 31st percentile, per Player Profiler.
It's clear who has the edge athletically, and Heuerman, a third-round pick, doesn't really project to be a big difference-maker, as rookie tight ends generally don't make a year-one impact.
Graham's athletic profile is a little better in some spots, as the 6'3", 243-pound tight end has a size-adjusted 40-yard-dash time placing him in the 50th percentile. However, his burst score is the worst of the three, grading out in the 46th percentile.
Green offers the Broncos the most athleticism by far, and his track record, while small, is promising.
Green has hauled in 33 catches on 45 career targets, including 2 touchdowns. In terms of our Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, which quantifies how many points a player adds to his team above expectation-level, Green has yielded a per-target Reception NEP of 0.73 in his career.
In 2015, the average mark among NFL tight ends was 0.59. And although it's far from a perfect measure, his career score of 0.73 would have ranked eighth among 37 tight ends with at least 40 targets last year, the same score that Jordan Reed maintained over 114 targets.
Per reception, his Reception NEP of 0.92 would have ranked a middling 20th, but 85.71% of his career catches added NEP to the Broncos' offense, which would have tied him with Greg Olsen for 11th last season.
He's got some promising results to go with that athletic potential.
A Deep-League Target
Green is going undrafted even in 14-team leagues, per Fantasy Football Calculator, and there isn't much need to make a case for an elite athlete with the potential to be a starter at a shallow position.
Sure, he'll be contending with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders for volume, he may have to fend off Heuerman and Graham for snaps, and he will have either Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian, or Paxton Lynch throwing him the ball, but for no cost, Green is a no-brainer pick whose athleticism could wind up making a difference this year.