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Dynasty: When will the field catch up to Gronk/Graham? (1 Viewer)

Concept Coop

Footballguy
At what point will field catch up to Gronk/Graham, in both usage and skillset?

It's a copy cat league. The number athletic "tweeners" coming out of college seems to be growing. At what point will the advantage that Graham and Gronk have be less because of this?

I don't mean Gronk and Graham as individual players - more so as a model. At what point does said model become the norm, or common enough for high end TE value to drop back to Atonio Gates/Jason Witten level, as opposed to the Gronk/Graham level?

 

Concept Coop

Footballguy
Cameron and Thomas are beastly. And unless Gronk starts playing again it's Graham all alone.
That wasn't my point, really. At what point do players like Cameron and Thomas become common enough for Graham and Gronk (2011) to be less valuable because of it?

20 PPG a game from a TE is worth more when the field is scoring 10 PPG, than it is when the field is scoring 14 PPG. Do you think the field is catching up, and if so, at what point will it affect the value of the 20 PPG guys?

 

EBF

Footballguy
Cameron is on pace for 1200+ yards, which would be in the same ballpark as the best seasons for those other two.

At the end of the day though, there just aren't that many guys like Jimmy Graham walking around. It's the same for any other position. Every team would love to have a Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, or Calvin Johnson, but they don't exist. Elite players wouldn't be elite if they weren't rare.

 
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elbowrm

Footballguy
wikipedia draft stats

Gronk: 6' 6" 260 4.68

Graham: 6' 6" 260 4.53

Thomas 6' 4" 246 4.64

Cameron 6' 5" 254 4.53

 

Concept Coop

Footballguy
Cameron is on pace for 1200+ yards, which would be in the same ballpark as the best seasons for those other two.

At the end of the day though, there just aren't that many guys like Jimmy Graham walking around. It's the same for any other position. Every team would love to have a Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, or Calvin Johnson, but they don't exist. Elite players wouldn't be elite if they weren't rare.
TE isn't the same as other positions, though. Or hasn't been at least, the last few years. Which is my point and question: when will it be?

The value over replacement has been very high, based on the advantage that Gronk/Graham have had over the rest of the position. There is no such advantage at any other position.

If Cameron and Julius are here to stay, and another 1-2 like players join them over the next season - all of the sudden, what was once 1 of 2, is 1 of 6. Thus, less valuable.

 
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bigmarc27

Footballguy
Cameron is on pace for 1200+ yards, which would be in the same ballpark as the best seasons for those other two.

At the end of the day though, there just aren't that many guys like Jimmy Graham walking around. It's the same for any other position. Every team would love to have a Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, or Calvin Johnson, but they don't exist. Elite players wouldn't be elite if they weren't rare.
TE isn't the same as other positions, though. Or hasn't been at least, the last few years. Which is my point and question: when will it be?

The value over replacement has been very high, based on the advantage that Gronk/Graham have had over the rest of the position. There is no such advantage at any other position.

If Cameron and Julius are here to stay, and another 1-2 like players join them over the next season - all of the sudden, what was once 1 of 2, is 1 of 6. Thus, less valuable.
Sooner rather than later. I don't think the difference is as big as it was 10 years ago when it was Tony Gonzalez and then everyone else. Guys like Marcus Pollard and his 600 yards annually were top 5 TEs then when Gonzalez was putting up 1200 yards. At least recently you can get a comparable player in Witten and others.

 

jwb

Footballguy
Cameron is on pace for 1200+ yards, which would be in the same ballpark as the best seasons for those other two.

At the end of the day though, there just aren't that many guys like Jimmy Graham walking around. It's the same for any other position. Every team would love to have a Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, or Calvin Johnson, but they don't exist. Elite players wouldn't be elite if they weren't rare.
Yes, but the advantage between Calvin and "good" wr's, (say Torrey Smith / Antonio Brown / Jordy Nelson) is not as big as the advantage between J Graham and Kyle Rudolph.

That's what I think he means. When will we have 12 good TE's (due to player types and schemes, both in copycat offense, and D's adjusting), with 2 or 3 elites being a little better, not miles and miles better (in a FF sense).

 

Concept Coop

Footballguy
Sooner rather than later. I don't think the difference is as big as it was 10 years ago when it was Tony Gonzalez and then everyone else. Guys like Marcus Pollard and his 600 yards annually were top 5 TEs then when Gonzalez was putting up 1200 yards. At least recently you can get a comparable player in Witten and others.
I agree. Would you let that alter the value you place in the top TE options, today (dynasty)?

 

EBF

Footballguy
Cameron is on pace for 1200+ yards, which would be in the same ballpark as the best seasons for those other two.

At the end of the day though, there just aren't that many guys like Jimmy Graham walking around. It's the same for any other position. Every team would love to have a Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, or Calvin Johnson, but they don't exist. Elite players wouldn't be elite if they weren't rare.
TE isn't the same as other positions, though. Or hasn't been at least, the last few years. Which is my point and question: when will it be?

The value over replacement has been very high, based on the advantage that Gronk/Graham have had over the rest of the position. There is no such advantage at any other position.

If Cameron and Julius are here to stay, and another 1-2 like players join them over the next season - all of the sudden, what was once 1 of 2, is 1 of 6. Thus, less valuable.
Even this year Graham has been playing at a different level from those guys.

Cameron is having a huge year and he's on pace for about 1200 yards. Thomas is on pace for 1016 yards.

Graham is on pace for 1581 yards. And that's with essentially missing an entire game.

That's the way sports work. At any given time in any major sport, there will always be somebody (like Messi in soccer, Bolt in the sprints, or Lebron in basketball) who is simply playing the game at another level from everybody else. These guys don't have to look over their shoulder because out of the millions of people participating in their sport, they are the ones with that rare level of talent that nobody else can match.

We're not going to see an influx of 6'6" TEs with low 4.5 speed and great overall athleticism because those humans don't exist.

 

Concept Coop

Footballguy
Cameron is on pace for 1200+ yards, which would be in the same ballpark as the best seasons for those other two.

At the end of the day though, there just aren't that many guys like Jimmy Graham walking around. It's the same for any other position. Every team would love to have a Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, or Calvin Johnson, but they don't exist. Elite players wouldn't be elite if they weren't rare.
TE isn't the same as other positions, though. Or hasn't been at least, the last few years. Which is my point and question: when will it be?

The value over replacement has been very high, based on the advantage that Gronk/Graham have had over the rest of the position. There is no such advantage at any other position.

If Cameron and Julius are here to stay, and another 1-2 like players join them over the next season - all of the sudden, what was once 1 of 2, is 1 of 6. Thus, less valuable.
Even this year Graham has been playing at a different level from those guys.

Cameron is having a huge year and he's on pace for about 1200 yards. Thomas is on pace for 1016 yards.

Graham is on pace for 1581 yards. And that's with essentially missing an entire game.

That's the way sports work. At any given time in any major sport, there will always be somebody (like Messi in soccer, Bolt in the sprints, or Lebron in basketball) who is simply playing the game at another level from everybody else. These guys don't have to look over their shoulder because out of the millions of people participating in their sport, they are the ones with that rare level of talent that nobody else can match.

We're not going to see an influx of 6'6" TEs with low 4.5 speed and great overall athleticism because those humans don't exist.
I don't think I'm getting my point accross effectively. I am not saying there are going to be more Jimmy Graham's, nessesarily.

It won't take another Jimmy Graham to affect real Jimmy Graham's value. Thomas affected Graham's value. Cameron affected Graham's value.

I am talking about value over replacement. Specifically, replacement value - which Jimmy Graham is not.

 
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Coeur de Lion

Footballguy
Cameron is on pace for 1200+ yards, which would be in the same ballpark as the best seasons for those other two.

At the end of the day though, there just aren't that many guys like Jimmy Graham walking around. It's the same for any other position. Every team would love to have a Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, or Calvin Johnson, but they don't exist. Elite players wouldn't be elite if they weren't rare.
TE isn't the same as other positions, though. Or hasn't been at least, the last few years. Which is my point and question: when will it be?

The value over replacement has been very high, based on the advantage that Gronk/Graham have had over the rest of the position. There is no such advantage at any other position.

If Cameron and Julius are here to stay, and another 1-2 like players join them over the next season - all of the sudden, what was once 1 of 2, is 1 of 6. Thus, less valuable.
IMO Cameron and Thomas (as long as Manning plays) are "here to stay" in that they're both elite TE1 options, but the statistical pace they are both currently on will surely cool significantly over a multiyear window. Cameron isn't catching 1200 yards and 14 TDs / year unless the Browns land an elite QB. Julius isn't catching 20 TDs / year period. I do think that the baselines at TE will trend upward over the next few years, but doubt it will be drastic enough to put a major dent in the value of the big two. They're both elite players with elite QBs -- unless GB trades for Cameron no one's catching Gronk or Graham.

 

Concept Coop

Footballguy
Yes, but the advantage between Calvin and "good" wr's, (say Torrey Smith / Antonio Brown / Jordy Nelson) is not as big as the advantage between J Graham and Kyle Rudolph.

That's what I think he means. When will we have 12 good TE's (due to player types and schemes, both in copycat offense, and D's adjusting), with 2 or 3 elites being a little better, not miles and miles better (in a FF sense).
Yes. This.

 

Concept Coop

Footballguy
IMO Cameron and Thomas (as long as Manning plays) are "here to stay" in that they're both elite TE1 options, but the statistical pace they are both currently on will surely cool significantly over a multiyear window. Cameron isn't catching 1200 yards and 14 TDs / year unless the Browns land an elite QB. Julius isn't catching 20 TDs / year period. I do think that the baselines at TE will trend upward over the next few years, but doubt it will be drastic enough to put a major dent in the value of the big two. They're both elite players with elite QBs -- unless GB trades for Cameron no one's catching Gronk or Graham.
I agree with much of this. I am just not so sure it won't affect the big two, at one point in their careers. Actually, I think it has already. I think Hernandez leaving the picture raised their value, and Cameron and Thomas hurt it.

The VBD between Gronk and, say, Calvin has been close (start 3 WR/start 1 TE). But Gronk's advantage (PPG) has been his advantage over TE3 - TE11; not just 12 (baseline). That advantage is smaller now. Perhaps not enough for it to matter yet. But even 1 or 2 more elite TE1 options and I think it will.

 
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EBF

Footballguy
In my leagues, Graham is still outscoring those guys by several ppg. If he hadn't been hurt this last week, the margin would be even bigger.

Cameron is really good and Thomas is on a hot run, but neither is on Graham's level.

I think as teams start to covet pure receiving TEs more, we might see the median level production rise a bit. And yes, that would marginalize the top dogs just a little bit. But there will still be guys running in front of the pack. Maybe even moreso at TE than the other positions. Remember that as you move up the height scale, humans become rarer. If I'm not mistaken, there are A LOT less 6'6" men on the planet than 5'10" or 5'11". As a result, it's going to be harder to find really good big athletes than really good small ones. So for a position that has a certain amount of height built in as a requirement like TE or OT, you're picking from a smaller selection of people. There's also the fact that 6'6"-6'7" is right around the height range where it starts to make more sense to focus on basketball than football if you're crazy athletic. So NFL TEs are drawn from a pretty narrow group of 6'3"-6'6" athletes with uncommon strength and explosiveness. Even with all the people walking around the country, it's going to be tough to find a lot of guys who meet the job description.

You see this problem in basketball to some extent. It is relatively easy to find a good shooting guard. There are lots of hyper athletic 6'3"-6'6" perimeter players. It's relatively hard to find a good center. There aren't as many 6'10"+ humans walking around the planet, so the supply of elite athletes at that size range is smaller. When a player like Olajuwon or Shaq comes along, he dominates. Every team would love to have a guy like that, but they just aren't available.

 
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Concept Coop

Footballguy
So NFL TEs are drawn from a pretty narrow group of 6'3"-6'6" athletes with uncommon strength and explosiveness. Even with all the people walking around the country, it's going to be tough to find a lot of guys who meet the job description.
I agree. But the group is growing. Perhaps not based on size - but based on the number within the group that are playing WR (essentially, at least) at the lower levels.

I liken it to the mobile QB. Athletes who would have been pushed to other positions 30 years ago, now make up the top 5 NFL prospects at the position. I think the same thing is happening to the TE spot.

 
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Coeur de Lion

Footballguy
IMO Cameron and Thomas (as long as Manning plays) are "here to stay" in that they're both elite TE1 options, but the statistical pace they are both currently on will surely cool significantly over a multiyear window. Cameron isn't catching 1200 yards and 14 TDs / year unless the Browns land an elite QB. Julius isn't catching 20 TDs / year period. I do think that the baselines at TE will trend upward over the next few years, but doubt it will be drastic enough to put a major dent in the value of the big two. They're both elite players with elite QBs -- unless GB trades for Cameron no one's catching Gronk or Graham.
I agree with much of this. I am just not so sure it won't affect the big two, at one point in their careers. Actually, I think it has already. I think Hernandez leaving the picture raised their value, and Cameron and Thomas hurt it.

The VBD between Gronk and, say, Calvin has been close (start 3 WR/start 1 TE). But Gronk's advantage (PPG) has been his advantage over TE3 - TE11; not just 12 (baseline). That advantage is smaller now. Perhaps not enough for it to matter yet. But even 1 or 2 more elite TE1 options and I think it will.
If everything else stays static, then yeah, probably. But maybe Gonzo and Gates will fall out / retire, maybe Witten loses a step, someone gets hurt, and maybe Manning retires killing Julius. Then we're right back to 2011 for the most part. I can see 700 - 800 yard guys growing a bit in number. The 1200+ guys are still going to be rare in the extreme. Maybe Gronk / Graham will be more in the 6 - 12 range in value overall as opposed to duking it out with Calvin for #1 -- but then again I wouldn't be surprised if Gronk gets close to 20 TDs next year or Graham goes for 1500 / 15 either -- and again, we're right back to 2011.

 

Concept Coop

Footballguy
If everything else stays static, then yeah, probably. But maybe Gonzo and Gates will fall out / retire, maybe Witten loses a step, someone gets hurt, and maybe Manning retires killing Julius. Then we're right back to 2011 for the most part. I can see 700 - 800 yard guys growing a bit in number. The 1200+ guys are still going to be rare in the extreme. Maybe Gronk / Graham will be more in the 6 - 12 range in value overall as opposed to duking it out with Calvin for #1 -- but then again I wouldn't be surprised if Gronk gets close to 20 TDs next year or Graham goes for 1500 / 15 either -- and again, we're right back to 2011.
Good point, and another way to look at it. I personally think there will be more Thomas level producers, rather than fewer, moving foward. Based mostly on the number of teams running an offense that allows for it, and the increase in "tweeners" for them to pick from.

As a very heavy Gronk owner, I hope I am wrong and simply overthinking it.

 

Shawn

Footballguy
You say the group is growing, but how much longer will gates and Gonzales play, really... new stars come along all the time, just as old ones retire.

 

Coeur de Lion

Footballguy
If everything else stays static, then yeah, probably. But maybe Gonzo and Gates will fall out / retire, maybe Witten loses a step, someone gets hurt, and maybe Manning retires killing Julius. Then we're right back to 2011 for the most part. I can see 700 - 800 yard guys growing a bit in number. The 1200+ guys are still going to be rare in the extreme. Maybe Gronk / Graham will be more in the 6 - 12 range in value overall as opposed to duking it out with Calvin for #1 -- but then again I wouldn't be surprised if Gronk gets close to 20 TDs next year or Graham goes for 1500 / 15 either -- and again, we're right back to 2011.
Good point, and another way to look at it. I personally think there will be more Thomas level producers, rather than fewer, moving foward. Based mostly on the number of teams running an offense that allows for it, and the increase in "tweeners" for them to pick from.

As a very heavy Gronk owner, I hope I am wrong and simply overthinking it.
Depends on what you mean by "Thomas level producers," but I think Thomas represents a perfect storm of situational value as opposed to a true elite talent like a Gronk / Graham. What will he be moving forward if Denver wins the Super Bowl this year, Manning retires, and Decker leaves as a UFA? I have no idea, but I'd definitely take the under on a number far, far below what he's doing right now. The combination of truly elite QB, truly elite TE, and pass heavy system is still going to be limited to very few teams moving forward, IMO.

 

Concept Coop

Footballguy
You say the group is growing, but how much longer will gates and Gonzales play, really... new stars come along all the time, just as old ones retire.
But teams are sending the TE out in routes more than they ever have. They are lining them up in the slot more. They are lining them up at the X more.

This is about usage, in addition to talent.

I expect more teams to follow; not less.

 

Concept Coop

Footballguy
The combination of truly elite QB, truly elite TE, and pass heavy system is still going to be limited to very few teams moving forward, IMO.
It's not just pass heavy (whis is clearly happening). It's TE target heavy. More teams are going to use TEs as NE and NOS do; not less. Whether the results are the same doesn't matter. At least not enough to off-set the increase in targets.

An athletic TE is a matchup nightmare. NFL teams are going to do more to take advantage fo that.

Years ago the Steelers were brilliant in taking LBs and turning them into athletic pass-rushers. It's common practice now. I expect this model of the TE position to be common too.

 

superbigpimping420

Footballguy
You say the group is growing, but how much longer will gates and Gonzales play, really... new stars come along all the time, just as old ones retire.
Ladarious Green and Levine Toilolo are ready, they fit the mold physically, and honestly I think it won't be long before every team has at least one or two 6'4" or taller ex-basketball playing type TEs splitting time out wide.

 

Coeur de Lion

Footballguy
The combination of truly elite QB, truly elite TE, and pass heavy system is still going to be limited to very few teams moving forward, IMO.
It's not just pass heavy (whis is clearly happening). It's TE target heavy. More teams are going to use TEs as NE and NOS do; not less. Whether the results are the same doesn't matter. At least not enough to off-set the increase in targets.

An athletic TE is a matchup nightmare. NFL teams are going to do more to take advantage fo that.

Years ago the Steelers were brilliant in taking LBs and turning them into athletic pass-rushers. It's common practice now. I expect this model of the TE position to be common too.
Don't disagree with this happening really, but I'm definitely seeing it impacting average NFL TE production (ie the entire set of 100ish TEs in the NFL ) far more than it impacts FF TE production (a much smaller subset of the best 12 or so receivers at the position). A small shift in TE 3 - 12? Sure. Big enough to both offset the upcoming loss of three HOF level guys and significantly hurt the big two? Much less likely IMO. But YMMV.

 

doowain

Footballguy
In my leagues, Graham is still outscoring those guys by several ppg. If he hadn't been hurt this last week, the margin would be even bigger.
FWIW, Graham left the game injured in the middle of the 4th quarter. He was laying a big fat goose for over 85% of the game. To say that the "margin would be even bigger" is conjecture. The Pats may have given the entire league a blueprint on how to contain Graham (shadow him the entire game with a corner). Now, not every team has a Talib...but you get my point.

It's discussed in here that Graham is some other-worldy rare specimen at TE. I don't really see what makes him so much more special than other top end TEs? What about him is any better (measurables-wise) than Jordan Cameron or Vernon Davis? The only true advantage I see is Drew Brees. So, it's not as if Graham is the Lebron of TEs. He's not some physical freak without equal.

The OP's question has merit. Gates started the original trend towards the big, athletic TE who is not required to be a blocker. It had been slowly heading in that direction until recent years when that evolution was put into hyper-drive (Graham/Gronk/Hernandez/Cameron/Julius/VD/Eifert). It's the same situation as the mobile QB. Randall Cunningham started it, Vick furthered it, and now Kaep, Wilson, Cam and RGIII are revolutionizing the QB position in dynasty. If it weren't for the shift in the NFL (pass happy teams with QBs hitting 4500 yards/30 TDs seemingly with ease), these guys would be marginalizing nearly every QB1. Imagine four "better throwing Michael Vicks" 10 years ago.

And that's the point. Take any one of Graham, Gronk, Cameron, Julius, VD and stick them back 10-15 years ago. They are THE elite option. It's why Tony Gonzalez (and then Gates) were so ridiculously valuable. They gave you a big weekly advantage over your opponents. But the reality is that they exist at the same time. And they are going to cancel each other out to some degree. We all know it's a copy cat league. These "joker" and "move" TEs are here to stay. So, to answer the OPs question, I have no doubt that we are going to see a few more Graham/Cameron/Julius types in the next couple years. And that should devalue the upper half of TE1s.

 
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thriftyrocker

Footballguy
One of the reasons it was crazy when people were talking about Gronk as 1.1 in a startup. Just because there's two great ones today doesn't mean those are the only two great ones we'll have short term.

While 2013 Graham still provides a strong advantage over top 5 options, most of those top 5 options are comparable to Graham 2012. Basically all Graham, Thomas, and Cameron you have to treat as outliers to a certain degree and prepare for reversion to the norm. They started out so great, but it may not be sustainable.

It's hard to guess how the Talibization of defenses might affect his projection going forward even this year. Surprise, smart teams aren't afraid to put their #1 CB on the TE if it, you know, helps them win the game. Of course not every defense has a Talib. It's possible that Thomas or Cameron, or perhaps especially Gonzalez, might be comparable or better than Graham ROS. Even assuming health.

Not to say Cameron is a bad player, but if every team had two huge CB (like Seattle, who D will begin copying if they aren't already), and that 2nd CB was the one covering Cameron, not a LB or S, it's hard to trust him to maintain his current level. Offenses can become more TE target heavy, but they're not hiding anything. If they don't have a legit WR2, it's easy to adjust the defense. If Greg Little doesn't scare you there's no reason to put your 2nd best cover guy on him.

Projecting out years is hard and takes a lot of guessing. Yes, more TEs, and more athletic TEs, are coming and teams will try to copy copy copy. But defenses change too. It's hard to trust the mediocre offenses to continue to win a positional battle like TE. The 2013 TE outburst may be short lived.

 

Concept Coop

Footballguy
One of the reasons it was crazy when people were talking about Gronk as 1.1 in a startup. Just because there's two great ones today doesn't mean those are the only two great ones we'll have short term.
I still think that if he comes back healthy - that is a bigger question now, obviously - he's as valuable as anyone. He was scoring as much as anyone and is just 24 years old. I don't think it was crazy at all.

 

Coeur de Lion

Footballguy
One of the reasons it was crazy when people were talking about Gronk as 1.1 in a startup. Just because there's two great ones today doesn't mean those are the only two great ones we'll have short term.
I still think that if he comes back healthy - that is a bigger question now, obviously - he's as valuable as anyone. He was scoring as much as anyone and is just 24 years old. I don't think it was crazy at all.
Agreed that he was a reasonable 1.01 in a vacuum -- but still think trading down was generally the way to go unless TE premium was in play. The "but he's a TE" bias put him in the back half of round one 9 times out of 10, and the value of Gronk late in the first is a potential double birdie vs making par with him at 1.01.

 

thriftyrocker

Footballguy
One of the reasons it was crazy when people were talking about Gronk as 1.1 in a startup. Just because there's two great ones today doesn't mean those are the only two great ones we'll have short term.
I still think that if he comes back healthy - that is a bigger question now, obviously - he's as valuable as anyone. He was scoring as much as anyone and is just 24 years old. I don't think it was crazy at all.
Glad you could answer your own question. :shrug:

 

Coeur de Lion

Footballguy
One of the reasons it was crazy when people were talking about Gronk as 1.1 in a startup. Just because there's two great ones today doesn't mean those are the only two great ones we'll have short term.
I still think that if he comes back healthy - that is a bigger question now, obviously - he's as valuable as anyone. He was scoring as much as anyone and is just 24 years old. I don't think it was crazy at all.
Glad you could answer your own question. :shrug:
Trying to follow you -- is your position that in a 2013 startup, Gronk wasn't worth 1.01 d/t injury risk? Or that in any year's startup Gronk / Graham aren't worth 1.01 d/t other guys being likely to emerge at TE moving forward?

 

thriftyrocker

Footballguy
Trying to follow you -- is your position that in a 2013 startup, Gronk wasn't worth 1.01 d/t injury risk? Or that in any year's startup Gronk / Graham aren't worth 1.01 d/t other guys being likely to emerge at TE moving forward?
This particular thread is based on the latter. If Gronk is still "as valuable as anyone" assuming health then CC has answered his own question. There must be such a significant expected gap in production in his opinion between him and other TE to warrant taking him over players like Green/Calvin and McCoy/Charles. That's fine, doesn't mean it's not still a question worth asking.

Obv Gronk at 1.1 is an extreme view put out there by people in order to garner a reaction when no one would realistically follow that game plan. Silva admitted this with his redraft rankings too, right, when he said Graham is player 2 but you gotta be realistic and slot him closer to late 1st as a potential pick target.

If we're to take it seriously, though, you have to take into account the market changing. In WR, the market is relatively stable. In TE, TE producing at elite WR level is a new phenomenon and expecting it circa June only to occur for 1 or 2 guys we know is short sighted.

Conversely expecting that trend of TEs as WR1s to last forever, or at least as long as a money league's life cycle, is also optimistic. Defenses also adjust. If there's anything to take from 2013, it's that every move by OC is met by DC, and in quick order.

 
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Concept Coop

Footballguy
One of the reasons it was crazy when people were talking about Gronk as 1.1 in a startup. Just because there's two great ones today doesn't mean those are the only two great ones we'll have short term.
I still think that if he comes back healthy - that is a bigger question now, obviously - he's as valuable as anyone. He was scoring as much as anyone and is just 24 years old. I don't think it was crazy at all.
Glad you could answer your own question. :shrug:
That wasn't my question.

I'm obviously very open to the idea that Gronk's (and Graham's) value could be sliding very soon. I'm arguing for it, actually. That doesn't mean I think he was a crazy 1.01 option when the injury outlook was a bit rosier. He was still scoring on par with other, non-TE options. Remove the positional value and he's still a candidate, if we expect that to continue, at only 24 years old. It only means that VBD is a more accurate measure, and he still has the VBD to measure up.

 
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buck naked

Footballguy
Cameron is on pace for 1200+ yards, which would be in the same ballpark as the best seasons for those other two.

At the end of the day though, there just aren't that many guys like Jimmy Graham walking around. It's the same for any other position. Every team would love to have a Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, or Calvin Johnson, but they don't exist. Elite players wouldn't be elite if they weren't rare.
It is much easier to find 6'6" athletic basketball players with some muscle and turn them into good football players than it is to find anyone who could be turned into a great QB.

 

EBF

Footballguy
It's discussed in here that Graham is some other-worldy rare specimen at TE. I don't really see what makes him so much more special than other top end TEs? What about him is any better (measurables-wise) than Jordan Cameron or Vernon Davis? The only true advantage I see is Drew Brees. So, it's not as if Graham is the Lebron of TEs. He's not some physical freak without equal.
Cameron is really close to Graham from a measurables standpoint. Just a little bit shorter.

Davis is faster and more explosive. Also three inches shorter.

There's a little more to football than combine numbers though. If workouts were all that mattered, Jerome Simpson would be better than AJ Green. I think Davis has always been a better athlete than receiver. 7 full seasons in the NFL and he's never broken 1000 yards. I don't think that's all because he had bad QBs.

Graham had 1310 yards in his second NFL season. 980 in his third. Outpacing all NFL TEs again with 593 yards this season. The reason why he's considered the best TE isn't just because he has very rare speed for someone who's 6'6" 260, but also because he produces at an unrivaled clip.

 
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EBF

Footballguy
Cameron is on pace for 1200+ yards, which would be in the same ballpark as the best seasons for those other two.

At the end of the day though, there just aren't that many guys like Jimmy Graham walking around. It's the same for any other position. Every team would love to have a Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, or Calvin Johnson, but they don't exist. Elite players wouldn't be elite if they weren't rare.
It is much easier to find 6'6" athletic basketball players with some muscle and turn them into good football players than it is to find anyone who could be turned into a great QB.
Maybe, but teams have been trying to do it since Gates (and maybe before that). Obviously there have been a couple big success stories, but by and large we're not seeing an influx of monster TEs every year. Maybe 1-2 good TEs per draft class on average, which is roughly on par with any other position.

 

cstu

Footballguy
Conversely expecting that trend of TEs as WR1s to last forever, or at least as long as a money league's life cycle, is also optimistic. Defenses also adjust. If there's anything to take from 2013, it's that every move by OC is met by DC, and in quick order.
I tend to disagree with this. A 6-5, 250 lb. guy with sub-4.6 speed is near impossible to defend. Look at how long Gonzo has been able to do it with no one stopping him. Luckily for defenses there just aren't that many of them, but I don't think they are going away.

 

Coeur de Lion

Footballguy
It's discussed in here that Graham is some other-worldy rare specimen at TE. I don't really see what makes him so much more special than other top end TEs? What about him is any better (measurables-wise) than Jordan Cameron or Vernon Davis? The only true advantage I see is Drew Brees. So, it's not as if Graham is the Lebron of TEs. He's not some physical freak without equal.
Cameron is really close to Graham from a measurables standpoint. Just a little bit shorter.

Davis is faster and more explosive. Also three inches shorter.

There's a little more to football than combine numbers though. If workouts were all that mattered, Jerome Simpson would be better than AJ Green. I think Davis has always been a better athlete than receiver. 7 full seasons in the NFL and he's never broken 1000 yards. I don't think that's all because he had bad QBs.

Graham had 1310 yards in his second NFL season. 980 in his second. Outpacing all NFL TEs again with 593 yards this season. The reason why he's considered the best TE isn't just because he has very rare speed for someone who's 6'6" 260, but also because he produces at an unrivaled clip.
I agree with you on Graham's elite status, but to play devil's advocate, the NO offense, Graham's role in that offense, and Drew Brees play a HUGE role in that production. I'm not sure exactly what would happen if Graham and Vernon Davis switched places, but I suspect we'd have Davis up near the top of the rankings. VD is a stud in-line blocker who has spent his career in a very run heavy system, while Graham is basically used as the Saints' WR1. Above and beyond the QB issues, the play very different offensive roles, and IMO Davis is All Pro level as a two way NFL TE -- it just gets overlooked by the fantasy community because his blocking adds value to someone else's individual stats, not his.

 

Concept Coop

Footballguy
There must be such a significant expected gap in production in his opinion between him and other TE to warrant taking him over players like Green/Calvin and McCoy/Charles. That's fine, doesn't mean it's not still a question worth asking.
That's not accurate. Going into last week, Graham was the highest scoring non-QB by 2PPG. If he's scoring on par with the guys you mention, he's just as valuable, even if and when the TE field catches up to the RB/WRs (which hasn't happened yet).

 
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EBF

Footballguy
It's discussed in here that Graham is some other-worldy rare specimen at TE. I don't really see what makes him so much more special than other top end TEs? What about him is any better (measurables-wise) than Jordan Cameron or Vernon Davis? The only true advantage I see is Drew Brees. So, it's not as if Graham is the Lebron of TEs. He's not some physical freak without equal.
Cameron is really close to Graham from a measurables standpoint. Just a little bit shorter.

Davis is faster and more explosive. Also three inches shorter.

There's a little more to football than combine numbers though. If workouts were all that mattered, Jerome Simpson would be better than AJ Green. I think Davis has always been a better athlete than receiver. 7 full seasons in the NFL and he's never broken 1000 yards. I don't think that's all because he had bad QBs.

Graham had 1310 yards in his second NFL season. 980 in his second. Outpacing all NFL TEs again with 593 yards this season. The reason why he's considered the best TE isn't just because he has very rare speed for someone who's 6'6" 260, but also because he produces at an unrivaled clip.
I agree with you on Graham's elite status, but to play devil's advocate, the NO offense, Graham's role in that offense, and Drew Brees play a HUGE role in that production. I'm not sure exactly what would happen if Graham and Vernon Davis switched places, but I suspect we'd have Davis up near the top of the rankings. VD is a stud in-line blocker who has spent his career in a very run heavy system, while Graham is basically used as the Saints' WR1. Above and beyond the QB issues, the play very different offensive roles, and IMO Davis is All Pro level as a two way NFL TE -- it just gets overlooked by the fantasy community because his blocking adds value to someone else's individual stats, not his.
There's probably a lot of truth in that. Davis has never gotten the targets that Gronk/Graham get. In the one year when he did get a lot of targets, he had the best yardage total of his career. He's a legitimate freak athlete and might be the best TE in the league on seam routes because he's so fast.

As an all-around receiving talent, I still rate him well behind Graham. I think Graham combines many of the best aspects of Vernon Davis and Jason Witten. He isn't quite as fast or explosive as Davis, but still possesses rare ability in those areas for someone with his height/weight. Like Witten, he's a big target who's also an effective route runner and possession target. He's like a slightly bigger and faster Tony Gonzalez, which is about the highest praise you can give a receiving TE.

Davis doesn't have that power forward element to his game.

 

Don Quixote

Footballguy
Maybe, but teams have been trying to do it since Gates (and maybe before that). Obviously there have been a couple big success stories, but by and large we're not seeing an influx of monster TEs every year. Maybe 1-2 good TEs per draft class on average, which is roughly on par with any other position.
I think that is starting to change a bit. I don't think it would be a huge surprise if Ebron, ASJ, and Lyerla all went in the first round. Lyerla might be the biggest question mark because he has not quite the productivity of other two, and leaving school early is a knock against him. Amaro's probably staying, but he would be in the same group if he came out too.

 

EBF

Footballguy
Maybe, but teams have been trying to do it since Gates (and maybe before that). Obviously there have been a couple big success stories, but by and large we're not seeing an influx of monster TEs every year. Maybe 1-2 good TEs per draft class on average, which is roughly on par with any other position.
I think that is starting to change a bit. I don't think it would be a huge surprise if Ebron, ASJ, and Lyerla all went in the first round. Lyerla might be the biggest question mark because he has not quite the productivity of other two, and leaving school early is a knock against him. Amaro's probably staying, but he would be in the same group if he came out too.
ASJ is slow. Lyerla is a mental case. He will drop like a stone in the draft.

I like Ebron a lot. Amaro I haven't seen enough of to have an opinion about.

The thing is, there is a big difference between getting drafted high and producing like a top 2-3 player at your position in the NFL. Greg Olsen, Dustin Keller, Marcedes Lewis, and Jermaine Gresham were high picks. You don't see them putting up 1300 yards in a season.

It is very hard to find great players. That will always be the case. Maybe the gap between the absolute top tier and the middle tier will shrink a little bit. I don't think we're going to wake up one day and have 15 TEs eclipsing 1000+ yards every year. There aren't that many guys out there with the right traits.

 

thriftyrocker

Footballguy
There must be such a significant expected gap in production in his opinion between him and other TE to warrant taking him over players like Green/Calvin and McCoy/Charles. That's fine, doesn't mean it's not still a question worth asking.
That's not accurate. Going into last week, Graham was the highest scoring non-QB by 2PPG. If he's scoring on par with the guys you mention, he's just as valuable, even if and when the TE field catches up to the RB/WRs (which hasn't happened yet).
His first 5 weeks of domination don't get you anything in the future. He needs Colston to re-emerge to continue that pace, really. Not that he won't still be great assuming health, but just whoaaa. Gates had a similar start in 2010, highest scoring nonqb, 7 tds in first 5 games, averaged 20++ ppg in ppr, wasn't that long ago.

 

thriftyrocker

Footballguy
Conversely expecting that trend of TEs as WR1s to last forever, or at least as long as a money league's life cycle, is also optimistic. Defenses also adjust. If there's anything to take from 2013, it's that every move by OC is met by DC, and in quick order.
I tend to disagree with this. A 6-5, 250 lb. guy with sub-4.6 speed is near impossible to defend. Look at how long Gonzo has been able to do it with no one stopping him. Luckily for defenses there just aren't that many of them, but I don't think they are going away.
A lot of the freak athletes turn into Cook. The question is what happens when we have 10 more Camerons or 10 more VDs.

No one said they are going away just don't take a 6 game sample that has Cameron, Thomas, and Graham at WR1 levels and project forward. It could be 5 or 6 guys putting up 15 ppg not 20.

 

Concept Coop

Footballguy
There must be such a significant expected gap in production in his opinion between him and other TE to warrant taking him over players like Green/Calvin and McCoy/Charles. That's fine, doesn't mean it's not still a question worth asking.
That's not accurate. Going into last week, Graham was the highest scoring non-QB by 2PPG. If he's scoring on par with the guys you mention, he's just as valuable, even if and when the TE field catches up to the RB/WRs (which hasn't happened yet).
His first 5 weeks of domination don't get you anything in the future. He needs Colston to re-emerge to continue that pace, really. Not that he won't still be great assuming health, but just whoaaa. Gates had a similar start in 2010, highest scoring nonqb, 7 tds in first 5 games, averaged 20++ ppg in ppr, wasn't that long ago.
My point was: if he scores as many points, he's as valuable, even if the positional advantage isn't as vast. And I personally don't think that's too far-fetched.

 

cstu

Footballguy
Conversely expecting that trend of TEs as WR1s to last forever, or at least as long as a money league's life cycle, is also optimistic. Defenses also adjust. If there's anything to take from 2013, it's that every move by OC is met by DC, and in quick order.
I tend to disagree with this. A 6-5, 250 lb. guy with sub-4.6 speed is near impossible to defend. Look at how long Gonzo has been able to do it with no one stopping him. Luckily for defenses there just aren't that many of them, but I don't think they are going away.
A lot of the freak athletes turn into Cook. The question is what happens when we have 10 more Camerons or 10 more VDs.

No one said they are going away just don't take a 6 game sample that has Cameron, Thomas, and Graham at WR1 levels and project forward. It could be 5 or 6 guys putting up 15 ppg not 20.
What we're seeing with Graham and Gronk are completely out of the ordinary. They are a elite talents playing with elite QB's. I see a lot of TE's in the future putting up points 15 PPG range but it takes a special situation to produce 20 PPG like those guys.

 

cstu

Footballguy
Maybe, but teams have been trying to do it since Gates (and maybe before that). Obviously there have been a couple big success stories, but by and large we're not seeing an influx of monster TEs every year. Maybe 1-2 good TEs per draft class on average, which is roughly on par with any other position.
I think that is starting to change a bit. I don't think it would be a huge surprise if Ebron, ASJ, and Lyerla all went in the first round. Lyerla might be the biggest question mark because he has not quite the productivity of other two, and leaving school early is a knock against him. Amaro's probably staying, but he would be in the same group if he came out too.
ASJ is slow. Lyerla is a mental case. He will drop like a stone in the draft.

I like Ebron a lot. Amaro I haven't seen enough of to have an opinion about.

The thing is, there is a big difference between getting drafted high and producing like a top 2-3 player at your position in the NFL. Greg Olsen, Dustin Keller, Marcedes Lewis, and Jermaine Gresham were high picks. You don't see them putting up 1300 yards in a season.

It is very hard to find great players. That will always be the case. Maybe the gap between the absolute top tier and the middle tier will shrink a little bit. I don't think we're going to wake up one day and have 15 TEs eclipsing 1000+ yards every year. There aren't that many guys out there with the right traits.
Guys like Charles Clay are approaching 1000 yards now. There's still a massive gap between the top tier and the middle tier but it's possible that without Brady and Brees that gap becomes smaller. The time where we have 10 TE's reaching 1000 yards doesn't seem that far off.

 

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