Fantastic Case Against Mark Andrews: High Expectations

Summer is here, which means we’re getting closer to the start of the fantasy football draft. Success in these drafts will come from striking good deals in the mid and late rounds while avoiding players who may see their numbers dwindle compared to 2021. This last exercise is not easy, however, especially in the case elite players. to their position or have just had exceptional seasons in the stat sheets.

Case in point: In 2020, Robert Tonyan went absolutely crazy for the Packers and fantasy fans with 11 touchdowns and 176.6 fantasy points. Those totals tied him for first and fourth among tight ends, respectively, making Tonyan a more valuable asset in the 2021 draft. In fact, he was the ninth tight end selected at an 87.2 average draft position. on the basis of July information acquired on Fantasy Football Calculator.

Tonyan scored just two touchdowns in his first eight games before being out for the rest of 2021 with a knee injury. Even before going down, the veteran tight end had failed to score more than eight points in all but two of his eight games.

Thing is, some people didn’t see that statistical drop coming since Tonyan has been so productive in 2020 and has Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. That brings me to this series, aptly named “The Fantasy Case Against…” where I’ll do my due diligence looking at the players that most people in fantasy land seem to think are a safe bet to stay ultra-productive after finding a high level of success in past seasons.

The series shines a light on big-name players or those coming out of huge statistical years who could see a surprising drop in fantasy success. Like I always say, the one thing predictable about the NFL is that it’s often unpredictable. And while we love our fantasy heroes on the grill, no one is ever guaranteed success.

Next, I’ll examine the rising value of Ravens superstar tight end Mark Andrews.

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season 2021
Andrews is coming off a career season, posting 107 catches, 1,361 yards and nine touchdowns on 153 targets. His fantastic 301.1 points were good enough to rank him first in the position, toppling fantasy superstar Travis Kelce as the leader for the first time since 2016. That’s quite an achievement considering Kelce’s dominance. Andrews’ point total was also good enough to finish fourth among tight ends in a single season in the Super Bowl era, and he’s only the third player in position to record more than 300 points.

Did you know?
In his first 12 games last season, Andrews ranked second in fantasy points among tight ends. He averaged 8.2 targets, 5.3 catches, 67.6 yards and 14.9 points in those contests, during which time he was second in total points (179.1) only behind Kelce (189.2 ).

In his last five games (Weeks 14-18), however, Andrews has had something of an unreal, magical streak. During that span, he averaged 11 targets, 8.6 catches, 110 yards and 24.4 points. Andrews’ points total was 122, which was a total 48.4 more points than the second-best tight end, Kelce (73.6). He also averaged six more points per game than Kelce during that incredible streak, propelling him to the top of the position.

Historical trends
Andrews is one of four tight ends to score more than a fantastic 300 points in a season during the Super Bowl era, joining Rob Gronkowski (2011), Kelce (2020) and Jimmy Graham (2013). This trio all experienced a drop in production the following year. Gronkowski averaged 2.7 fewer points per game, Kelce was down 4.5 points per game, and Graham’s scoring average was down nearly five points based on PPR formats.

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If I extend the search to tight ends that scored 275 or more fantasy points, the results are no better. In fact, Kelce (2018), Graham (2012), Zach Ertz (2018), and Darren Waller (2020) all saw their points drop the following year. The average drop for tight ends who scored 275 or more points is 3.6, ranging from 5.3 (Waller) to 2.6 (Graham).

People, regression (on some level) is a virtual guarantee for Andrews this season.

Coaching and personnel changes
The Ravens coaching staff remains the same in terms of head coach (John Harbaugh) and offensive coordinator (Greg Roman). That means more or less the same for Andrews, who led the Ravens in targets in two of three seasons under Roman. The only season he didn’t finish first was in 2020, when he placed second to Marquise Brown. Hollywood was traded to the Arizona Cardinals in the offseason, so Andrews is the clear favorite to lead Baltimore’s offense in targets for the second straight year.

This is partly due to the absence of Brown, but also due to the lack of experienced and established wide players on the roster. We all love that Rashod Bateman is breaking out, but he’s only got 12 games (four starts) in the pros under his belt. The rest of the team’s top receivers include Devin Duvernay, James Proche II, Tylan Wallace and Jaylon Moore.

This is not a who’s who list of the best players in the National Football League.

Verdict
Andrews is ranked as one of the top two tight ends in fantasy football heading into this season, and for good reason. After a career year on offense that lacks good alternative options in the passing game, Andrews is in a great position to produce again. That said, the trend of tight ends scoring over 275 fantasy points is not to be ignored. andrew going to regress, how much remains to be seen.

That being said, it would probably take a long-term injury for Andrews to not finish in the top 10 fantasy tight end. Heck, any drop out of the top five would be considered a disappointment. After all, he hasn’t finished worse than sixth in three consecutive years.

In the two years leading up to his 2021 breakout, Andrews averaged 13.8 points and 12.2 points, respectively. The high end of those totals would have been fifth-best among tight ends in 2021 and would have resulted in a fantastic 234.6 points over a 17-game schedule. It’s solid, but it’s also nearly 70 fewer points than he produced last season.

As of July, Andrews’ ADP between Fantasy Football Calculator and NFFC is almost identical at around 24 in total. That means he is, on average, just around the corner from the second and third rounds of 12-team leagues. For those who like to get an elite tight end, Andrews remains a good bet to finish in that territory.

Just keep in mind that duplicating his 2021 banana totals is an unrealistic expectation. Even Kelce, the best fantasy tight end of the past five years, has seen his totals drop after his statistically best two seasons. If it was me, I’d wait a few more rounds and get a tight end like Kyle Pitts, Darren Waller, or George Kittle with a little less draft cost.

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Michael Fabien is awarded fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and instagram for your fantastic breaking news and the best analysis in the business!

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