The NFL.com FPA ratings are based on the strength of a player's schedule using the average fantasy points their opponents allowed against the six major fantasy positions the previous season. For example, the Buffalo Bills allowed an average of 11.72 fantasy points per game to tight ends in 2011. As a result, any tight end that faces them this season is rewarded 11.72 points. Since Rob Gronkowski faces them twice as an AFC East opponent, he receives 23.44 points. The bigger the point total, the easier the schedule. While these ratings are not the be all, end all in determining a player's stock, they can still be useful when picking between players with similar value and looking for those ever-elusive sleepers.
Did FPA work for tight ends in 2011?: All but three of the 32 NFL teams saw a 2.5-point decrease or increase in FPA from 2010-2011, so the theory was almost perfect when it came to tight ends. The biggest change came in Philadelphia, where the Eagles allowed 3.41 fewer fantasy points per game. The Texans were close, surrendering 2.98 fewer points to the position. On the flip side, the biggest increase in points allowed came in Green Bay, where the Packers gave up 2.71 more per game. That proves just how stagnant fantasy points allowed to tight ends were from 2010-2011. With that said, 75 percent of defenses still allowed more fantasy points to tight ends at some level.
Note: Favorable opponents allowed an average of eight or more fantasy points in 2011. Unfavorable opponents allowed an average of fewer than seven fantasy points.
18. Dustin Keller, Jets (119.85 points)
Favorable opponents - Bills (2), Dolphins (2), Jaguars, Titans, Chargers.
Unfavorable opponents - Patriots (2), Texans, 49ers, Cardinals, Rams, Steelers.
2012 Outlook: Keller has borderline No. 1 fantasy tight end value, but he's too inconsistent to be much more.
29. Kellen Winslow, Seahawks (115.36 points)
Favorable opponents - Bills, Dolphins, Bears, Packers, Cowboys, Panthers.
Unfavorable opponents - 49ers (2), Cardinals (2), Rams (2), Patriots, Lions.
2012 Outlook: Winslow's value all but disappeared last season, and he's not about to return to prominence in 2012.