Jonathan Bales is the founder of TheDCTimes.com
and writes for the New York Times and Dallas Cowboys. He’s
the author of Fantasy
Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.
In my last article at FF Today,
I projected tight end yards using a regression of yards-per-catch.
One of the big winners in those projections was Detroit Lions tight
end Brandon Pettigrew. Pettigrew soared in the rankings for two
First, I projected Pettigrew to haul in 90 receptions. That number
is so high because I anticipate defenses playing a whole lot of
Cover 2 to halt Calvin Johnson, leaving Pettigrew open underneath.
Pettigrew garnered 126 targets last year. That’s a lot, but
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect him to match
that figure or even surpass it in 2012. Plus, Pettigrew’s
catch rate of 65.9% is definitely repeatable.
Second, Pettigrew’s YPC will almost assuredly be higher than
the 9.4 number he posted in 2011. Using his career YPC totals as
a baseline, I projected Pettigrew to post 10.4 YPC in 2012. The
guys here at FF Today are thinking something similar, projecting
him at 10.6 YPC. If the Lions send Pettigrew vertical to combat
the major weakness in Cover 2—the middle of the field—he’ll
generate even greater YPC.
I didn’t get into touchdowns in my tight end article, but there’s
a lot of room for improvement for Pettigrew in that area. He posted
a career-high five scores last year. Megatron is obviously Detroit’s
top red zone threat, but who is second? Running back Mikel
Leshoure might get some looks, but its unlikely Pettigrew will
lose many red zone targets to Titus
Young or Jahvid
Best. Thus, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect at least
six, and possibly eight or nine touchdowns from Pettigrew.
The top reason Pettigrew offers so much value in 2012 is his low
average draft position. Take a look at this. . .
You can see Pettigrew is getting taken around the ninth round—a
full round behind Jacob Tamme. That’s ludicrous. Pettigrew
is currently being drafted as the 10th tight end in 2012 when he
should really be closer to fifth.
If you miss out on one of the top-tier tight ends early in the draft,
hold your horses and pull the trigger on Pettigrew in the eighth
round. He’s a surefire No. 1 tight end and has top five overall
potential. He’s one of the rare mid-round picks that offers
intriguing upside without a dramatically low floor.