Last season, Tyler Eifert was one of fantasy football’s great breakout stories. He had an astonishing thirteen touchdowns last year and was one of the elite at the position. A foot injury in the Pro Bowl raveled out of control and cost Eifert the first six weeks of the season. Practice reports out of Cincinnati show that he is back practicing and is ramping up to suit up for the first time this weekend as the Bengals take on the Browns in a juicy tight end matchup (the Browns are The Worst against tight ends). While it is very likely that Eifert finds the end zone this weekend, it is not the type of thing you would want to gamble on for your tight end. You could just as easily have zero points as you could twelve.
Eifert’s 2015 overall production in fantasy football overshadowed how little he was targeted, and how little he did other than score last year. As previously stated, he hauled in 13 touchdowns, but those 13 touchdowns were exactly one-of-every-four catches for Eifert. That rate is incredibly unsustainable and was due for a massive regression even before Eifert’s injury. His touchdowns outperformed his catches and yards. You can do all kinds of analysis to show how out of line his season was with his opportunity, but knowing that Eifert went for 52 catches, 615 yards, and 13 TDs, I can give you four facts that show how out of line his season was with what it should have been:
- Every player with between 47 and 57 catches (+/- 5 from Eifert) excepting Eifert averaged 4.12 touchdowns last year.
- Every player with between 565 and 665 yards (+/- 50 from Eifert) excepting Eifert averaged 3.44 touchdowns last year.
- Only Eifert and Jordan Reed had double-digit receiving touchdowns and fewer than 1000 yards.
- Only Eifert and Ted Ginn had double-digit receiving touchdowns and fewer than 60 receptions.
All this is to tell you that Tyler Eifert is set for a massive touchdown regression this season, and that was pretty much all he gave you last season, and that’s not even taking the game Sunday into account.
Eifert is barely making his way back from injury, and Marvin Lewis said that he would be on a snap count Sunday. If this is giving you flashbacks, it’s the exact thing we heard would happen to Rob Gronkowski when he came back from injury and had one target for zero yards on Thursday Night Football. Eifert may get you two scores, but it would be a perfect storm for this to happen. He could end up with two scores, and he could end up with nothing, tanking your week. It’s not worth it until you see what 2016 Eifert is like this season. Don’t slot him into your lineup and keep on with who you’ve been playing unless you need a home run to take down your week.