Don’t Ever, Ever, Ever Buy Clive Walford, Ever

by Karl safchick, April 6, 2016

Somewhere between the beginning of the off-season and the time I’m typing this, Clive Walford has seen a dynasty ADP jump of nearly two rounds.  Walford began the off-season as the TE14 and in just a few short months is now being drafted as the TE9.  There’s a good chance by the time you’re reading this, Walford will have been nominated Vice President under Donald Trump and, oh my God, there’s a glitch in the matrix!  Walford is everywhere!

This wouldn’t be a PlayerProfiler article, and I wouldn’t be much of a guest writer without looking at players’ athleticism, so I’ll dive deep into Agent Smith himself.  Clive Walford has a height adjusted speed score in the 39th-percentile. For comparison, Julius Thomas, an underrated athlete which most dynasty owners are overlooking and can be had for much cheaper, has a height adjusted speed score in the 69th-percentile.  Walford has an advantage in this category since he is a bit shorter than the prototypical tight ends in the league, yet with a 4.79-40 yard dash, you can understand why he can’t make up the difference. He’s simply too slow to produce a respectable grade in this metric.

I can see the hypothetical internet comments now. “OK, Clive Walford is obviously not fast.  Maybe he’s one of those ‘quick in a phone booth’ type guys?”  No.  If you thought Walford’s speed score was bad, it gets worse.  His Agility Score is a imperial walkerian 11.89 (15th-percentile).  Because of this, Walford’s best comparable player is Andrew Quarless, and even Quarless is more agile than Walford as he post’s an 11.86.  Essentially Walford has the short area quickness of a tired sloth on tranquilizer.

clive-walford-raiders-tightend

Clive Walford Advanced Metrics Profile

“OK, Karl.  He’s not fast.  He’s not quick, but surely Clive Walford can catch.”  No, Miss Teen South Carolina.  He can not catch. Walford actually has a catch radius in the 37th percentile.  This was made evident in 2015 when he caught just over half his targets (56-percent).  It is rare for a tight end with catch percentage as low as Walford’s to make a fantasy impact.  In fact, very rare.  Only four tight ends over the last five years have been top-24 with a 56-percent or lower catch rate.  At this point, even Lloyd Christmas doesn’t think there’s much of a chance for Walford.

We haven’t analyzed the raw stats, though.  Clive Walford could have, hypothetically, had a good season based on volume. Well, he didn’t. Walford finished the year with 28 catches, 329 yards and three touchdowns.  That’s good for a PPR finish of WR31.  Walford finished one tenth of a point about Austin Seferien-Jenkins, who played in only seven games, and took less than half as many snaps as Walford.  Seferian-Jenkins is only ranked two spots above Walford at their position according to DLF ADP.  Despite “ASJ” being in the league longer than Walford, he’s actually almost a full year younger.

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Austin Seferian-Jenkins Advanced Metrics Profile

Clive Walford entered the league during his age 24 season.  Which means the whole “tight ends take longer to progress” narrative, while true, shouldn’t be the case for the relatively old Walford.  There are plenty of young, late round draft picks who play the tight end position who had more statistical success than Walford, yet players like Crockett Gillmore, Will Tye, and Vance McDonald aren’t getting undue publicity.

“We get it, Karl. Clive Walford is non-athletic, relatively old sophomore who didn’t put up bulk stats. Surely the internet talking heads like him for a specific reason.  He must have been very efficient.”  No, Kanye West, he was not efficient.  While averaging less than two catches per game, Walford posted a negative Production Premium, a negative Target Premium and was No. 51 in red zone catch rate among NFL tight ends.

Add all these reasons to the fact that Clive Walford is competing for targets with one of the league’s best wide receiver duos in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree and there’s just not much to like.  If Walford ever sees fantasy relevance, he will have to overcome more obstacles than most at his position have to.  If you’re stuck with him on your roster, I have good news, apparently others think Walford can overcome them all and are pricing him above his ceiling.