Tyler Eifert's 2016 Fantasy Football Outlook
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You’ll hear a lot of folks talk this summer about Eifert’s inevitable TD regression. And they’re probably right. But that doesn’t mean he can’t improve his total fantasy production in 2016.
Let’s start with the TDs, though. Eifert scored an NFL-high 13 of them last year. They came in just 13 games and on 52 catches. That 25% TD rate easily led all 23 TEs who caught 40+ balls last year. #2 in that group was Rob Gronkowski with a 15.3% TD rate. Only 4 of the 23 reached 11%.
Eifert only ranked 6th among TEs with 15 red-zone targets, but he caught 12 of those. And 11 of them turned into TDs. Only WR Allen Robinson scored more red-zone TDs last year. Among TEs, Gronkowski and Reed scored 10 apiece. But they came on 25 and 24 red-zone targets, respectively.
So yeah — Eifert’s TD rate is coming down. Probably significantly. But the rest of his numbers have a strong chance to go up.
Eifert’s 74 targets last year ranked just 20th among TEs. He missed 3 games, but even his 5.7 targets per game ranked 15th.
That was partly due to Cincinnati attempting only 505 passes — 26th in the league. But Eifert also finished with an 18.0% target share. That’s a number that should rise in 2016 based on Eifert’s talent and the departures of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu. Those 2 WRs combined for 153 targets last year (30.3% of the team total). Tyler Boyd and Brandon LaFell will take some of those, while A.J. Green and Gio Bernard could also see an increase. But Eifert should assume a nice chunk of what’s left behind.
He certainly deserves more action after an efficient 2015. His 70.3% catch rate ranked 6th among that group of 23 TEs with 40+ receptions. Eifert also ranked 6th with 11.8 yards per catch and 8.3 yards per target. Still only 25 and with another year of experience with QB Andy Dalton, all of those marks could climb in 2016.
The only real concern with Eifert is durability. He missed all but 3 snaps over the final 2 games of his 2013 rookie season with a shoulder injury. His 2014 ended in Week 1 with a dislocated elbow, and he underwent shoulder surgery in December of that year to address an issue that had been bothering him for at least a year. This past season, Eifert missed 1 game with a shoulder/neck stinger and 2 more with a concussion. He also sprained his ankle in the Pro Bowl.
None of these injuries should be an issue in 2016, but it’s fair to question Eifert’s ability to play a full 16-game slate.
Draft Sharks Bottom Line:
Eifert is an extreme long shot to match last year’s 13 TDs. But don’t let that scare you away from him in 2016 fantasy drafts — especially if your league mates overrate the impact of his TD regression.
Eifert is an ascending 25-year-old who figures to see a spike in targets this season after the Bengals lost Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu in free agency. The increased volume should at least make up for the drop in TDs.
Eifert finished 5th among TEs in PPR points per game and 3rd in non-PPR last year. He’s capable of matching or exceeding those rankings in 2016.