Your 2011-12 Fantasy Football MVP

Your 2012 Fantasy Football MVP: Rob Gronkowski

As the NFL playoffs begin, The ErwiNation  has decided it’s the right time to crown the 2011-12 Fantasy Football MVP: Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots.

A Tight End as the Fantasy Football MVP you ask?  Not one of the QB’s like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady? Or stud RB’s like Ray Rice or LeSean McCoy? Maybe Megatron himself, Calvin Johnson?

No, friends. Rob Gronkowski is this season’s Fantasy Football MVP and here is why (using ESPN.com’s Fantasy Scoring parameters):

1) 8 of the top 10 Point Getters are Quarterbacks (including the top 5), and the remaining 2 are Running Backs (#6 and #8). The first WR shows up at #11 (Calvin Johnson), the next one at #18 and the next one after at #21. Gronkowski is at #15, and is the only TE in the top 25. In fact, the next TE does not show up until #29 (Jimmy Graham).

If you look at the top two scoring players in each position and figure out the differential in rankings, you’ll see how much valuable Gronkowski is to his position compared to the next guy:

- The differential in QB is +1 (#1 and #2 most points)

- For Running Backs it’s +2 (#6 and #8).

- For Wide Receivers it’s +7 (#11 and #18)

- For Tight Ends it’s +14 (#15 and #29)

Add the fact that Tight End is a position of scarcity compared to the other three, it just adds more weight in Gronk’s favor.

2) Let’s go one step further: what’s the differential in points between the #1 and #2 guys in each position?

-  QB: Aaron Rodgers (385) vs. Drew Brees (380): +5

- RB: Ray Rice (283) vs. LeSean McCoy (270):  +13

- WR: Calvin Johnson (254) vs. Jordy Nelson (210): +44

- TE: Rob Gronkowski (233) vs. Jimmy Graham (187): +46

Most Fantasy Teams only start one Tight End, while multiple starting wideouts are a standard feature. While the differential between Johnson and Nelson is almost equal to Gronkowski and Graham’s, the fact that you usually start only one TE makes Gronk more valuable to your team than Megatron. You or your opponent have more opportunities to make up the difference in wide receiver points every week simply because each of you have 2 or 3 players starting in that position week in and week out. On the other hand, you have Gronk on your team as the TE, you pretty much have that position won every time.

3) Gronkowski was targeted 124 times (16th overall) and had 90 catches (5th overall). Not only was he getting a ton of looks, but he was catching a vast majority of those (73%). Amongst WR, RB and TE, Gronk was #9 in catch/target %. The rest of the Top 10 were all Running Backs, the majority of whose catches are dump, swing and screen passes. Those are a lot easier than the ones you would ask a TE or WR to catch. In fact, of the top 20 in that ratio, 13 are RB’s, 5 are WR’s, and 2 are TE’s.  You have to love it as a a fantasy owner that Gronk was maximizing the looks he received from his pretty boy QB.

4) And forget the points, Gronkowski was 6th in the league in Receiving Yards while leading the league in Touchdown Receptions. Those are elite production numbers regardless of position.

5) And finally, Gronk was my TE in my two fantasy football teams this past season. And he was pretty much the best thing I had going. So there.

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