Fantasy Football

2017 Fantasy Football Trials: Jack Doyle v Coby Fleener

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Spending a significant amount of my professional and educational life in the legal realm, as well as in Fantasy Sports, leads to some inevitable cross-over between the two. Hence, this is the third case in “The Fantasy Football Trials” the case of Jack Doyle v Coby Fleener. Feel free to check out previous trials, Demaryius Thomas v Terrelle Pryor and Golden Tate v Jarvis Landry, to get some more background on this series.

In this series, I break down certain criteria for two players and analyze the cases for each, ultimately taking over the role of the Judge and Trier of Fact in order to come to a conclusion and release a verdict. I use several, eye-witness, sources including PlayerProfiler.com, FantasyPros.com, and Pro-Football-Reference.com.

Throughout these articles, I will mostly hear cases about players of the same position with similar or controversial Average Draft Positions (ADPs). I will also post twitter polls involving the players in future trials so that you, the reader, can participate as a member of “The Jury.” Just remember to follow me @AlexBHamrick and be on the lookout for these polls. With that being said, the third trial taking place in this “Court of Law” is the case of Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts v. Coby Fleener, TE, New Orleans Saints.

Jack Doyle v Coby Fleener

“The Jury”

Judgement For: Jack Doyle

The Public has spoken in favor of Doyle, but for now, this is a “bench trial”, in which the Judge is the true finder of fact, and a jury will only be needed to break any potential ties.

“Expert Testimony”

The Fantasy Football Trials: Jack Doyle v Coby Fleener

FantasyPros.com

Reference the FantasyPros.com screenshot to the right.

Judgement for: Jack Doyle

The Expert Consensus using FantasyPros Consensus Rankings shows that 80% of industry experts have Jack Doyle as the preferred Fantasy Football Tight End in PPR leagues. In Standard Leagues Jack Doyle remains the preferred tight end with a 75% consensus vote.

Targets

For examining targets, statistics from the most recent season (2016) will be used because both players were in new roles in 2016. Historical usage of number one tight ends on each players’ respective team will also be a determinant.

Jack Doyle

Doyle saw 75 targets in 2016 as the backup tight end to Dwayne Allen who is now playing for the New England Patriots. These 75 targets resulted in a 13.1% target share and 13 red zone targets. As the backup, Doyle still managed to be on the field for 75.6% of the Colts’ offensive snaps because of the team’s tendency to use two tight end sets, as well as, missed time from Dwayne Allen.

Over the past five years, the number one tight end on the Colts has seen over 65 targets every year, with the highest target total coincidentally belonging to Coby Fleener, who received 92 targets in 2014.

Coby Fleener

In Fleener’s first year with the Saints he saw a respectable 82 targets. With how much the Saints pass the ball, these 82 targets only translated into a 12.3% target share. He did command 18 red zone targets and had a 16.7% red zone target share. Fleener struggled learning and acclimating to the Saints’ offense in his first year with the team. He knew he was struggling and the coaching staff clearly noticed. As a result, his usage was lower than expected, as he was only on the field for 61.8% of the team’s offensive snaps.

Over the past five years, number one tight ends for the Saints have been very heavily used. Jimmy Graham led the Saints in targets from 2012 to 2014 with target totals of 135, 142, and 125 respectively. In 2015, Ben Watson garnered 110 targets. Fleener represents the low point for tight end targets in the Saints’ offense, over the past five years, being the only number one tight end to not receive over 100 targets in a year. Fleener’s struggles in the offense likely support this outlier.

Judgement for: Coby Fleener

Though both players saw similar target totals in 2016, history is on Fleener’s side with massive volume upside in the Saints’ offense.

Situation

Jack Doyle

The Indianapolis Colts were the 5th best passing offense in the NFL in 2016 and 22nd in 2015. In 2016, the Colts scored 25.7 points per game, had a 63.4% passing percentage with 584 passing attempts and 370 completed passes, and 4,202 passing yards. The Colts also had 263 passing yards per game, and 32 passing touchdowns. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis’s quarterback, threw the ball 545 times (16th in the NFL) with a 63.5% completion rate (18th), in 15 games. Luck threw for 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and had the 7th best Quarterback Rating (QBR) at 71.0.

Andrew Luck is currently injured, and with no timetable set for his return, Doyle could see passes from Colts’ backup Scott Tolzien, further clouding the situation for Doyle in Indianapolis.

Coby Fleener

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The New Orleans Saints, on the other hand, were the 1st best passing offense in 2016 and in 2015. In fact, the team is consistently at the top of the list for quality passing offenses. In 2016, the Saints scored 29.3 points per game, had 70% passing percentage (1st) with 674 attempts and 472 completed passes, and 5,074 passing yards. New Orleans also had 317 passing yards per game and 38 touchdowns through the air. Drew Brees threw the ball 673 times (1st) with the second-best completion rate at 70%. He threw for 37 touchdowns and 15 interceptions and had a 72.1 QBR.

Judgement for: Coby Fleener

Fleener is on a more pass heavy offense, if not the most pass heavy offense in the NFL, with significantly more targets, touchdowns, and yardage to go around. Fleener also has a better quarterback, while Andrew Luck’s health will be paramount to Doyle’s success.

Competition

Fantasy Football Trials: Doyle v Fleener

Jack Doyle

Fantasy Football Trials: Doyle v Fleener

In 2016, the Colts had one receiver with over 100 targets and five with over 50 targets, out of the 573 registered targets. The Colts also had one receiver with over 585 yards, three with over 500 yards, and four with over four touchdowns, including Doyle. In 2015, five players had over 50 targets, and two had over 100 targets. Two players had over 730 receiving yards for the Colts in 2015. What’s more interesting is that in 2016 the Colts had two tight ends with over 50 targets and five touchdowns. This is a result of the Colts’ tendency to use two tight end sets.

Coby Fleener

Fantasy Football Trials: Doyle v Fleener

In 2016, the Saints had three receivers with over 100 targets and six players with over 50 targets, out of 664 registered targets. The Saints had two players with over 1000 yards, four players with over 630 receiving yards, and only two players with over four receiving touchdowns. In 2015, three players had over 100 targets, five had over 60 targets, one had over 1000 yards, four had over 500 yards, and two had over four touchdowns. On the other hand, over the past two years only one tight end on the Saints has seen over 30 targets each year, showing the Saints tendency to focus on utilizing only one tight end heavily in the pass game.

Judgement for: Jack Doyle

Though there are more targets, touchdowns, and yards to go around in New Orleans, there is also more competition with Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr., Willie Snead, Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara, and Adrian Peterson in line to compete with Fleener for Targets. This competition category is much closer than it seems though because Fleener has little competition from any other tight end, while Doyle will face competition for tight end targets from Erik Swoope. It wouldn’t be surprising if Doyle ends up with more competition for targets at the end of the year.

Physical Attributes

Jack Doyle
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  • Doyle is 6’5” and 254 lbs.
  • He runs a 4.91 40-yard dash (13th percentile) and has an 88.1 speed score (13th percentile) which measures a player’s speed in relation to his body weight and height.
  • Doyle has a below average burst score, agility score, and catch radius.
  • Doyle also has a 32.125” wing span (17th percentile).

Coby Fleener

  • Fleener is 6’6” and 247 lbs.
  • He runs a 4.56 40-yard dash (93rd percentile) and has a 116.6 speed score (92nd percentile).
  • Fleener also has a burst score of 122.8 (74th percentile), an agility score of 11.32 (79th percentile), and a 10.32 catch radius (93rd percentile).
  • He has a 33.375” wing span (58th percentile).

Judgement for: Coby Fleener

This one is not even close. Fleener is taller, faster, and all around more athletic than Doyle. Fleener is one of the more athletic tight ends in the NFL, outpacing Doyle in all aforementioned categories.

Productivity & Efficiency

Jack Doyle

In 2016, Doyle had 59 receptions on 75 targets for a 78.7% catch rate. This translated into 584 receiving yards. He also had a 76.9% red zone catch rate with 10 red zone receptions. Doyle posted a 66.7% contested catch rate, and averaged 9.9 yards per reception. He had a positive production premium of 13.4, which compares the results of all targets to the league-average results in identical game scenarios. A positive number indicates that Doyle was more efficient than his tight end contemporaries in similar situations. Doyle had a 4% drop rate, with 3 drops (23rd), but generated the 11th most yards after the catch (YAC) with 246 YAC.

This all led to the 18th best Fantasy points per game average for tight ends, at 9.2 PPR points per game and 1.95 Fantasy points per target (14th).

Coby Fleener

Fleener had 50 receptions on 82 targets for a 61% catch rate. This translated into 631 receiving yards. He also had a 55.6% red zone catch rate, with 10 red zone receptions. Fleener only garnered two contested targets and caught both of them, for a 100% contested catch rate. He averaged 12.6 yards per reception and had 221 yards after the catch (15th). He also had a negative 6.4 production premium. Fleener had three drops, with a 4% drop rate.

This all resulted in 8.6 PPR points per game (23rd) and 1.67 Fantasy points per target.

Judgement for: Jack Doyle

Fleener may have had more total receiving yards and averaged more yards per reception, but Doyle was more efficient in every other category, which ultimately led to better fantasy production in 2016.

Strength of Schedule (SOS)

Fantasy Football Trials: Doyle v Fleener

Credit: TheHuddle.com and David Dorey; Screenshot by Alex Hamrick

Jack Doyle

FantasyPros has the Colts with the 27th most difficult schedule for tight ends. The Colts play seven games against defenses in the top-10 for the least amount of Fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends last year, and an additional game against another top-15 defense. The Colts play only two games against teams in the bottom-10. Doyle’s fantasy playoff schedule (weeks 14-16) consists of a matchup against the Bills who allowed the 5th least amount of points to opposing tight ends last year, and two other strong defenses, the Ravens and the Broncos.

Coby Fleener

FantasyPros has the Saints with the 4th easiest schedule for tight ends. The Saints play only three games against defenses in the top-10 for the least amount of Fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends last year, and only two more of their games are against teams in the top-15. The rest of their matchups are against teams in the bottom half for Fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends, including eight games against teams in the bottom-10 and three games against teams in the bottom-5. Fleener’s fantasy playoff schedule (weeks 14-16) consists of three matchups against teams in the bottom-10, two of which are against the Falcons, a team that allowed the 26th most fantasy points to opposing tight ends in 2016.

Judgement for: Coby Fleener

If I were to draft solely on SOS, which you should never do, Fleener would be the clear-cut choice. Doyle has a brutal schedule and Fleener has a ridiculously favorable schedule all around.

ADP

Jack Doyle

Current FantasyPros ADP is 128

Coby Fleener

Current FantasyPros ADP is 159

Judgement for: Coby Fleener

ADPs will continue to fluctuate as we approach the start of the NFL season, so this will be a factor worth monitoring. For now, Doyle is being drafted as the 12th tight end, while Fleener is being drafted three rounds later as the 17th tight end. This significant difference makes Fleener the better value in Fantasy drafts.

Projectiions

Jack Doyle

  • Targets: 80
  • Receptions: 63
  • Receiving yards: 630
  • Touchdowns: 8
  • Standard Fantasy Points: 111
  • PPR Fantasy Points: 174

Coby Fleener

  • Targets: 98
  • Receptions: 64
  • Receiving Yards: 806
  • Touchdowns: 6
  • Standard Fantasy Points: 116.6
  • PPR Fantasy Points: 180.6

Judgement for: Coby Fleener

After using historical data including; target share, catch rate, yards per reception, passing attempts, etc., it appears that Coby Fleener will score more Fantasy Football points in both PPR and Standard formats this year.

Final Judgment: Coby Fleener

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This proved to be a very close case, further demonstrating why these two players should be compared to each other. In the end, Fleener’s argument was more convincing in six of the factors. Compare this to Doyle’s four. The evidence shows that Fleener has a better opportunity, situation, strength of schedule, draft value, and physical body of work. Doyle may be more efficient, but efficiency does not always make the better Fantasy Football asset. Fleener could take a major step forward in his second year in the offense, an offense that heavily features the tight end.

Fleener was a TE1 in standard scoring leagues last year, a year in which he did not fully understand the Saints’ offense. Last year might represent his floor as a Saint, and if so, Fleener could turn out to be one of the better Fantasy options at the tight end position.

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Though this case was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt, the evidence does support a verdict for Coby Fleener. At the very least, there should not be such a wide gap between these players’ ADPs.


2017 Fantasy Football Position Previews
QuarterbacksRunning BacksWide ReceiversTight Ends

For more F6P preseason coverage please visit our 2017 Draft Kit section.

About Alex Hamrick

Alex is an avid fantasy football enthusiast and writer for Fantasy Six Pack. With a background in quantitative methods and analysis, Alex enjoys using statistics and data analytics to develop detailed fantasy football analysis. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @AlexBHamrick

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