Mark Andrews Can Be the TE1 in 2020 (Fantasy Football)
In 2019, the Mark Andrews hype was real! The Fantasy Footballer’s host Jason Moore— loved him, our editor Kyle Borgognoni–loved him, my fellow writer Lauren Carpenter– loved him, and, most importantly, Lamar Jackson loved him. Andrews finished as the TE4, reeling in 64 balls for 852 yards and 10 TDs. At the TE position, he was top-10 in receptions, top-5 in yards, and those 10 TDs led the league.
Claiming that the TE4 is going to make the jump to TE1 isn’t exactly a stretch, except for the fact that Travis Kelce has locked the spot down as of late, and it isn’t that I think King Kelce is going to regress. Mark Andrews will dethrone him because what we saw in 2019 wasn’t even close to the best that we could see from Andrews. While others are talking about TD regression, let me tell you why Andrews is going to get better.
As mentioned, Andrews was the TE4 last year. Let’s start by taking a look at the top-5 overall:
|Player||Games Played||Receptions||Yards||TDs||Fantasy Points|
All in all, pretty similar stats. Kittle played fewer games and Andrews lagged in receptions but made up for it in TDs. With TDs being the hardest thing to predict in fantasy football, it’s understandable why regression is expected. However, there is another stat that Andrews is all but guaranteed to increase next year that is rarely talked about in terms of TEs: playing time. Kelce, Kittle, Waller, and Ertz all played over 800 snaps last year, with Kelce, Waller, Ertz logging almost 950 each. Mark Andrews played just 467. Andrews played fewer snaps than both Hayden Hurst and Nick Boyle…who both also played for the Ravens. With Hayden Hurst leaving town for Atlanta, Andrews’ snap count is about to positively regress, and that is going to mean a lot more opportunities for the best pass-catcher in Baltimore.
In 2019, Baltimore used all three of their TEs a lot. Boyle, the best run-blocker of the group led the way with 786 snaps played, followed by Hurst at 468, and Andrews at 467. Baltimore only ran 86 total plays with all three on the field, while running 384 two-TE sets. Let’s assume Boyle was on most of those sets and that Hurst and Andrews split time at the 2nd spot. At a minimum, that is 192 more snaps that Mark Andrews will play in 2020. It’s probably not a hard argument to make that as he improves as a blocker, he is also going to steal snaps from Boyle but right now we’ll just play with the 200 snap increase that is almost guaranteed.
In 2019, Andrews was targeted in the passing game on 21% of the downs he played. As his snaps increase, this number is sure to go down. No TE in the last five years has surpassed a 20% rate when playing over 600 snaps. The top guys are usually around 15-18% and I think it’s fair to call Andrews a top guy. At 660 snaps, Andrews could easily be looking at 120 targets, a 20 target increase when Hurst vacated 39 targets. That small increase in targets could mean a 25 point bump in fantasy production and that would put Andrews just five points behind Kelce’s 2019 TE1 finish. But I told you that Andrews could do it without Kelce regressing. Hayden Hurst scored two TDs last season, one in the red zone, where Andrews was targeted by Lamar Jackson more than any other Raven…there will be no TD regression here!
My favorite part of this theory is that it puts Andrews on top if he only takes half of Hurst’s vacated work. What if he takes more? What if he cuts into Boyle’s work? The sky is the limit for Mark Andrews in 2020 and the future. There were a lot of the numbers in this article so let me summarize succinctly: Mark Andrews played the 3rd most snaps on his own team and lost targets to less talented TEs in 2019. One of those TEs is gone and Andrews is set to improve as a player in his 3rd year in the league. He will play more, he will catch more, and he will score more. Mark Andrews can be the fantasy TE1 in 2020.