Player Points - Brent Celek
By Chase Stuart
May 17th, 2010

Brent Celek had an outstanding season in 2009: he caught 76 passes for 971 yards and scored 8 touchdowns. In the 40 seasons since the merger, Celek's 183 fantasy points in 2009 were the 24th most by a tight end. Despite that, he was "only" the 4th best fantasy TE last season, as 2009 was the best season for tight ends since the merger.

The table below measures tight end production in four different ways. First, I calculated the amount of fantasy points scored by all tight ends in the NFL per team-game (to normalize for the different number of teams and games per season over the course of the study). Next, I calculated the average fantasy points per team game scored by the top-20, top-12 and top-5 tight ends in each season.

Year
All
Top 20
Top 12
Top 5
2009
9.2
8.9
10.4
12.3
2008
8.0
7.3
8.5
10.2
2007
8.3
7.7
9.3
11.7
2006
7.5
7.0
8.5
9.9
2005
7.4
7.4
8.8
10.6
2004
7.9
7.1
8.6
11.1
2003
6.8
5.8
6.7
8.2
2002
6.8
6.0
7.0
8.5
2001
6.5
6.1
7.3
8.5
2000
6.6
6.0
7.3
9.5
1999
6.5
5.8
7.1
9.1
1998
6.6
6.0
7.0
8.3
1997
6.9
6.1
7.3
9.2
1996
6.2
5.8
7.2
9.6
1995
6.8
6.3
7.5
8.7
1994
6.5
5.9
7.2
9.9
1993
6.4
6.0
7.4
9.2
1992
5.1
4.8
5.7
7.0
1991
5.4
4.8
6.0
7.6
1990
5.4
5.2
6.3
7.4
1989
5.5
4.6
5.5
6.7
1988
5.7
5.4
6.7
8.4
1987
6.7
4.9
5.8
7.4
1986
6.8
6.0
7.5
9.7
1985
8.5
7.0
8.1
9.6
1984
8.8
7.2
8.4
9.9
1983
8.3
6.9
8.3
11.5
1982
8.2
7.6
9.3
12.0
1981
7.2
7.1
8.7
10.9
1980
7.3
6.5
7.8
9.5
1979
6.7
6.3
7.4
8.7
1978
6.4
5.9
6.9
8.7
1977
5.8
5.6
6.8
8.1
1976
6.0
5.8
6.9
8.7
1975
6.0
5.8
6.7
7.6
1974
5.6
5.8
6.8
8.1
1973
5.8
5.8
7.1
9.2
1972
6.2
6.0
7.4
9.7
1971
6.0
5.7
6.8
8.2
1970
6.7
6.6
7.7
8.9

In case you didn't notice, 2009 was the highest scoring season by tight ends across the board. The table below presents the numbers above in a slightly different way. I divided the numbers for each category in each year by the the 2009 production. To illustrate: just ten years ago, the top-12 tight ends scored only 68% as many fantasy points as the Top 12 did last season. Passing numbers are improving across the board, of course, and tight ends are certainly becoming more dominant in the passing game.

Year
All
Top 20
Top 12
Top 5
2009
100
100
100
100
2008
86
82
81
83
2007
90
86
89
95
2006
81
78
82
80
2005
81
83
84
86
2004
86
79
82
90
2003
73
66
65
66
2002
74
67
67
69
2001
70
69
70
69
2000
72
68
70
77
1999
71
65
68
74
1998
72
68
67
68
1997
75
69
69
74
1996
67
66
69
78
1995
74
71
71
71
1994
70
66
69
80
1993
69
68
71
75
1992
55
54
54
56
1991
59
54
57
62
1990
59
59
60
60
1989
59
52
52
55
1988
62
60
64
68
1987
72
55
56
60
1986
74
68
72
79
1985
92
79
78
78
1984
96
81
80
80
1983
90
78
79
93
1982
89
85
90
98
1981
78
79
83
88
1980
79
73
75
77
1979
73
71
71
71
1978
69
66
66
70
1977
63
63
65
66
1976
65
65
66
71
1975
65
65
64
62
1974
61
65
65
66
1973
63
66
68
74
1972
67
68
71
78
1971
65
64
65
67
1970
73
74
73
72

But 2009 was a big improvement, even compared to recent pass-happy seasons. Production has risen by about 25% in just the last four seasons. With players like Dallas Clark, Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, Kellen Winslow, Vernon Davis, Bret Celek and a host of young, athletic tight ends, I think 2009 might not look like an outlier for long.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to stuart@footballguys.com.