Make Up or Break Up: Mark Andrews (Fantasy Football)
It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter to you today. I am conflicted and unsure about how to proceed with our future relationship in the 2021 season. I had high expectations last year after your amazing 2019 season, but I was… disappointed. I hope you will allow me the time to expound a bit on my confusion and work through some issues that have been plaguing my mind.
Numbers Are Misleading
I understand how this may come as a surprise. After all, you finished as the TE5 with an average of 10.1 points a game in half-PPR over 14 games. You had an excellent catch rate of 65.9% with over 700 yards and seven touchdowns. You even out-performed your 2019 season in the red zone with two more targets, three more receptions for four more yards, and added two additional touchdowns inside the 20-yard line.
Yet, the overall numbers don’t really give a good picture of the week-to-week heartache managers like myself had to go through. Even though your 2020 numbers were decent, especially for the tight end position, they weren’t up to par with 2019. You dazzled us that year with 64 receptions on 98 targets, for 852 yards, and 10 touchdowns in that year, and amassed a total of 175.2 points over the season. Sure, you had one less game in 2020, but you only logged 141.1 total points last year. Even the beleaguered Lions were able to make their tight end, T.J. Hockenson, more productive.
I’m sure you are already, Mark, but I want to suggest becoming a member of the Footclan if by some stretch of the imagination you are not. You could see your consistency throughout the year in what hosts Andy, Mike, and Jason call their Weekly Snapshot Tool. I only see the very pretty dark green color that indicates you were in the top-10 six times. By comparison, you were the TE8 or better in nine out of the 15 games in 2019.
You even had less competition this year with fellow TE Hayden Hurst off to the Falcons and vacating 39 tight end targets. Instead of adding to your target total, you lost 10 of them.
Who’s Really At Fault?
Obviously, it’s not entirely on your shoulders that you didn’t get the targets we expected. After all, you’re not the one in charge of passing.
In fact, if we look a little deeper into last year, we will see that your performance is tied directly to your quarterback. I know that may sound obvious, but it’s an important fact to remember.
You may have heard the rumblings of dissatisfied fantasy managers who drafted QB Lamar Jackson for most of the season. If managers were disappointed in your performance, they were downright livid with Jackson, especially between Weeks 1 through 11. He was still the QB9 over the course of those weeks but he bottomed out as badly as the QB23 six times. The only time Jackson was not ranked in the QB1 tier in 2019 was in Week 5 against their division rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers when he finished 17th.
If we look at how your 2020 season went, there is only one game that does not directly tie Jackson’s performance through the sixteen weeks of fantasy relevance. I included a chart to make it a little easier on the eye.
When Jackson plays better, you play better.
Still An Asset
When all is said and done, you are still a key piece in the Baltimore Ravens offense and that is very difficult to ignore. Only Marquise Brown was targeted more times than you with 100 compared to your 88, but you hauled in the same amount of receptions at 58. That led to only 68 more yards and one more touchdown than you had in 2020. Those looks may not have been as often as 2019, but as I noted earlier, your red zone targets actually increased.
Plus, your team targets the tight end position (a.k.a you with a sprinkle of Nick Boyle) 28% of the time. That’s the third-highest in the league.
As of today, your average draft position (ADP) is around 4.09. That is a little steep compared to other tight ends that I can draft much later such as Dallas Goedert in the 10th Round or Logan Thomas in the 9th Round. My head is saying that the best course of action is to split up and see other people. I hear there is a new TE in Atlanta that has the masses buzzing.
However, despite my head screaming at me to make the correct decision… I just can’t do it. Let’s make up one last time, Mark, and see how the 2021 season fares.
Yours for the 2021 season,