💔 A Potential Break Up in New York

Will he stay? Or will he retire?

Fantasy Life Newsletter sponsored by BetMGM

Just waiting for the ‘Spencer Rattler could go in the first round’ reports…

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by BetMGM:

  • Giants TE Debates Retirement: Is it because of his QB situation?

  • Happy ‘The Beast ‘ release day to all who observe

  • Rookie TE Super Model Tiers 1 and 2: Brock Bowers is a DAWG

  • It’s 4/10. Take it away, Chris Allen…

There’s a heightened sense of uncertainty at this point in the draft cycle.

We’ve exhausted all of the practical uses of the data we’ve been given regarding the rookies. Now, we’re nitpicking. At the same time, front office personnel have turned into ninjas from the Foot Clan with the constant smokescreens to keep us all guessing about their draft plans.

Plus, we still have the veterans looking for new deals to consider. As a Bengals fan, I’ve seen more trades involving Tee Higgins than I’d like. Regardless, from Higgins to Brandon Aiyuk, any certainty about how the night of the 25th will go instantly gets tossed out the window.

But that’s (somewhat) expected. Remove the player names, and this is the annual circus getting us to the first-overall selection. However, the 2024 season gave us its own added spice on examples of uncertainty before resetting rosters for the upcoming season.

On the one hand, Darren Waller’s hesitancy isn’t without merit. The soon-to-be 32-year-old TE has dealt with lower-leg injuries every year since 2019. He hasn’t played a full season since ‘20. But in the midst of his on-field setbacks, Waller has strived to help folks off the field. With one Pro Bowl to his resume and an albeit short-lived playoff run, hanging ‘em up at this point would be commendable.

On the other hand, it’d be objectively funny if Waller is waiting to see if he’ll be playing with another QB this season.

Admittedly, Giants GM Joe Schoen already indicated the ‘team has other needs’. But Jerry Jones said Dallas was ‘all-in’ and splurged on…*checks notes*…Eric Kendricks. According to Jim Harbaugh, J.J. McCarthy will be the first QB off the board. People say things.

Regardless, the fantasy implications (with Daniel Jones or McCarthy under center) are intriguing. Waller’s ADP sits at TE32 on Underdog. Folks have more confidence in Chig Okonkwo (TE25) playing behind Calvin Ridley, DeAndre Hopkins and (maybe?) Treylon Burks than Waller competing with…*again checks notes*…Isaiah McKenzie (I’m kind of kidding). Lest we forget, when healthy, at least Waller functioned as a top option in their passing game:

  • Air Yard Share: 23.0%, 2nd (amongst all TEs)

  • Target Share: 21.0%, 2nd

  • TPRR: 20.3%, 12th

Did Waller meet expectations in 2023? No.

But maybe when you have a midseason QB battle between Tyrod Taylor and Tommy DeVito, a lot of things didn’t go the way you thought they would. So while many might dismiss Waller’s decision, drafters with 3-TE builds on their minds should look to the Giants’ TE as a value option for 2024.

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Watercooler

📺 Is the next Travis Kelce on the way? Dwain and Marcas break it down.

✊ Former Patriots CB calls it a career. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him coaching soon.

👑 400 scouting reports. Test data for 2000 prospects. The Beast is loose!

🌮 Packers’ president hints at their season opener location. What a way to kick off 2024. 

🤗 Former MVP plays catch with kids while on vacation. That arm still looks good.

😢 Justin Jefferson is jealous of his old LSU teammates. It’s all love, though.

NFL adds more helmet designs for the upcoming season. Anything to keep our guys safe.

👀 Panthers eyeing multiple WRs in the draft. Get Bryce Young some help!

💰 The Jaguars strike a deal with their star pass rusher. Now, fix the offense. Please?

024 TE Rookie Super Model: Tiers 1 & 2 - The Best TEs In The NFL Draft by Dwain McFarland

We let Dwain McFarland out of the lab to watch the eclipse and then immediately sent him back inside to evaluate the incoming class of rookie TEs. Of course, he came up with a model so great it couldn’t just be called a ‘TE model.’

Presenting: Fantasy Life’s new Rookie TE Super Model.

🥇 Tier 1 – Superstar Traits With High-End TE1 Upside

💪 Brock Bowers | Georgia

  • TE Super Model: 83rd percentile

  • Age: 21.7

  • Height: 6’3”

  • Weight: 243

📜 Pedigree

  • Program Quality Index: 55th percentile

  • NFL Mock Drafts: Pick 10, Round 1

  • 247 Recruit Player Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bowers has slipped a few spots in mock drafts over the past month, but he has a chance to become the third TE taken inside the top-10 picks since the 2018 NFL Draft. This would put him in the company of Kyle Pitts and T.J. Hockenson

😤 Production and Athleticism

  • Adjusted Career RYPTPA Index: 100th percentile

  • Career Targeted QB Rating Index: 92nd percentile

  • Speed Score Index: 44th percentile*

Adjusted Career receiving yards per team pass attempt (RYPTPA) is the strongest predictor in the model, with a 0.51 correlation to fantasy points per game over a TE’s first two seasons–only behind NFL Draft pick at 0.58. Bowers has the top prospect score in the Super Model database.

Bowers erupted as a true freshman with a 2.16 RYPTPA–the highest mark on record. He followed that up in each of the next two seasons to earn an age-adjusted RYPTPA of 2.03 (96th percentile).

But that wasn’t all. Bowers delivered a top-three all-time finish in every component of Adjusted Career RYPTPA:

  • Career RYPTPA Over Expected for aDOT: +1.21

  • Career RYPTPA Over Expected for team passer rating: +1.18

  • Career RYPTPA Over Expected for Teammate Competition: +1.18

When his QBs looked his way, Bowers rewarded them with a 141.9 QB rating–the second-best mark in our database. He was equally impactful against man and zone coverages, outpacing his collegiate peers with at least 250 routes in all categories:

  • Man TPRR: 20% (+3 percentage points)

  • Man YPRR: 1.90 (+0.58 yards)

  • Zone TPRR: 25% (+10)

  • Zone YPRR: 2.92 (+1.60)

🔮 Fantasy Outlook: Hit Rates

Hitting on an early-career breakout from the TE position isn’t easy. However, if Bowers lands on a roster without much competition, I wouldn’t bet against a top-six season out of the gate. 

FF Hit Rates

🥈 Tier 2 – Role Traits With Room to Grow Into A Low-End TE1

🏋️‍♀️ Ja’Tavion Sanders | Texas

  • TE Super Model: 48th percentile

  • Age: 21.4

  • Height: 6’4”

  • Weight: 245

📜 Pedigree

  • Program Quality Index: 0th percentile

  • NFL Mock Drafts: Pick 40, Round 2

  • 247 Recruit Player Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sanders was a wide receiver in high school but, at 235 pounds, was classified as an athlete (ATH) prospect. In 2021, he was the No. 30 prospect overall and the No. 1 ATH prospect in the country.

😤 Production and Athleticism

  • Adjusted Career RYPTPA Index: 62nd percentile

  • Career Targeted QB Rating Index: 69th percentile

  • Speed Score Index: 40th percentile

Despite a non-existent role as a freshman, Sanders scored above average in the production model, where Years 2 and 3 are the most important RYPTPA years for TEs. Here are the correlations to future fantasy points for each year:

  • Year 1: 0.18

  • Year 2: 0.40

  • Year 3: 0.43

  • Year 4: 0.13

  • Year 5: -0.04

How well the prospect scores in age-weighted RYPTPA accounts for almost half of their Adjusted Career RYPTPA.

Sanders gets a bump from the Super Model for playing with Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell. His career teammate-adjusted RYPTPA was 0.57 over expectation–the second-best mark in the 2024 TE draft class. That score makes sense in the context of his targeted QB rating. Sanders capitalized when his opportunities came, delivering a 111.0 Career Targeted QB Rating (69th percentile).

🔮 Fantasy Outlook: Hit Rates

  • Underdog ADP: TE27, Final Rounds

  • Rookie Dynasty ADP: TE2, Pick 25

The most significant risk for Sanders is finding an offense that won’t pigeonhole him in a part-time role. However, in the right spot, Sanders could develop into a No. 2 or 3 passing-game option and offer fantasy value.

FF Hit Rates
Fantasy Life Newsletter sponsored by BetMGM