Steelers Weak Against Tight Ends?

I, like many, like to play the Daily Fantasy Sports games. While perusing the many articles I come across while researching who goes in my lineup, I came across this Jim from ESPN’s Matthew Berry:

Antonio Gates, Chargers: Off suspension and now home on Monday night? That’ll work.

Pittsburgh has given up the second-most receiving touchdowns and the fourth-most targets to opposing TEs this season. They also get crushed in the red zone, where they have allowed the most catches and targets to opposing TEs this season.

I had to pause and think about that for a second: is this true?

To the fact-searching I went and came up with this conclusion: stats guys really need to lay off the black-and-white charts sometimes.

While the Fantasy Football crowd may be plenty pleased to see that data, they’ll be disappointed to find out Berry’s analysis doesn’t relate to 4 weeks of football. It doesn’t relate to 3 weeks or even 2 weeks. It basically means Rob Gronkowski, the New England Patriots and one week of football.

To explain: it’s pretty much a stretch skewed by a very bad defensive game against a team who has rolled over every opponent this year. And yes, the numbers are especially skewed when considering one of, if not the most, dominant tight end in the game today.

To illustrate, Rob Gronkowski caught 5 balls for 94 yards and 3 TDs. Another Patriot TE, Scott Chandler, had 1 catch: it was for 1 yard, but also went for a touchdown.

That’s 4 touchdowns to tight ends in 1 game.

Against San Francisco, TE Vernon Davis accumulated 5 receptions for 62 yards. Davis was held to a single catch in the first half, while 43 of his receiving yards came from another lone catch in the closing seconds of the 3rd quarter. The other Niners TE, Garrett Celek, was held to 2 catches for 10 yards.

Hardly statistics that will win your fantasy game.

Tight ends did even worse in the following two weeks: Rams TEs Lance Kendricks and Jared Cook were held to a combined 3 catches for 19 yards and no scores. (Granted Kendricks dropped a deep pass that would’ve made this article a moot point, but you still have to make the plays…)

Baltimore Ravens TEs Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle combined for 5 catches and 29 yards the following week: 2 more catches and 10 more yards than the Rams.

In all, tight ends have combined for 15 catches, 120 yards and no touchdowns since the Patriots tandem of Gronk and Chandler scorched the defense for 6 catches, 95 yards and 4 touchdowns. Take away Davis’ big catch and that’s 14 for 77: 5.5 yards on average.

Furthermore,  the Steelers have only given up 3 passing touchdowns in the 3 games played since New England. Two of those were in garbage time against the 49ers, who piled up 15 4th quarter points after trailing 29-3. And of the 3 total touchdown passes, only 2 were in the red zone (one against San Fran.)

That’s 2 red zone passing touchdowns, in 3 games, against what is considered a bad secondary.

In other words, don’t believe everything you read. And maybe don’t bet the farm on a player, returning from suspension, magically doing what 6 others couldn’t: score touchdowns in the red zone.

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