Studs and Duds 2022 – Volume 1 – Mark Andrews and Rondale Moore

by Jackson Sparks · Strategy

We all have them. The players we attach ourselves to over the course of the pre-draft process. The ones we try our damnedest to draft or acquire in fantasy football. For better or worse, these are the players we end up attaching our reputations to as fantasy players and/or analysts. Studs and Duds 2022 will focus on both sides of that particular coin.

This is Underworld’s first 2022 addition of Studs and Duds, where we will talk about one player we planted our proverbial flag on that was a hit and one that was a bust. Along the way, we’ll be using PlayerProfiler’s advanced stats, metrics, and analytics to analyze the process, figure out how and why these players hit/busted, and decide whether we want to target/fade said players next season.

Volume 1 – Jackson Sparks

Stud: Mark Andrews

Mark Andrews’ situation was cloudy heading into 2021, and his range of outcomes was wide in Baltimore’s traditionally run-first offense. He wasn’t an established stud yet, but he also wasn’t cheap enough to be considered a late-round bargain. We now know his production was elite, but that was far from a certainty before the season kicked off.

How Many Leagues Did You Have Him In?

Unfortunately, I could only land Mark Andrews in one traditional redraft league and one best ball league. Before last year’s drafts, I’d adopted the popular strategy of waiting until the late rounds to snag a tight end, unless you land Travis Kelce. However, drafting Andrews went against that strategy in a sense. He went on to produce a nuclear fantasy season, but leading up to drafts, there wasn’t much difference between him and Mike Gesicki, Logan Thomas, Dallas Goedert, and T.J. Hockenson. I questioned if I made a mistake drafting him in the “good but not elite” range of tight ends.

When Did You Know He Was One of Your Guys?

When the Ravens drafted Rashod Bateman, Mark Andrews became discounted enough to take a flyer on. Could Bateman eat into his targets in an already low-volume passing offense? Sure, but when everyone else is fading Andrews because of Bateman’s presence, it’s easy to press the button on him a round or two later than he was going before. I knew he was one of the top talents at the tight end position, so eventually, the free-fall in drafts must stop.

Why Did You Like Him So Much?

I didn’t expect Rashod Bateman to erase Mark Andrews, who sat near the top of the key metrics I value. Many thought the addition of Bateman meant the Lamar Jackson and the Ravens were finally ready to open the offense up. However, I didn’t want to count on just a narrative, so I dove into the stats. 

Mark Andrews Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

The first box a pass-catcher must check is the ability to command targets. Andrews posted a 25.4-percent (No. 3 among qualified tight ends) Target Share, 26.6-percent (No. 5) Target Rate, and a 15.2-percent (No. 5) Hog Rate. Then, I wanted to know if he had the down-the-field prowess to unlock elite tight end upside. His 28.0-percent (No. 1) Air Yards Share and 10.4 (No. 5) ADOT confirmed that for me. I couldn’t disregard efficiency either, so his 2.12 (No. 5) Yards Per Route Run was the icing on top. He was also coming off of a top-five season in Fantasy Points Per Game (12.2), so that didn’t hurt his case, either.

Mark Andrews 2020 Advanced Stats and Metrics

In summary, I saw him as an efficient target hog who operates down the field with a top-five fantasy finish already on his resume. Looking back, I regret not pounding the table for him more. However, we can’t simply ignore the effects of preseason injuries to J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards that certainly influenced Baltimore to air out the football more often.

What Did You Learn?

The biggest learning lesson here is to trust the talent. If a player is efficient and checks all of the key boxes, he’s likely going to survive key additions or subtractions around him in an offense. Go for the guys who operate down the field, and chase the upside. Too many fantasy gamers want to embrace the “certainty” and take players who have safe floors, without a lick of upside. Especially at the garbage position that tight end is in fantasy, takes shots on players with week-winning and league-winning upside, whether that be in the first or last round of drafts. In dynasty leagues, situations change every year, so again, count on the talent and trust the metrics.

As Mark Andrews entered into his super prime, his 2021 production profile dwarfed his 2020 campaign that enamored me in the first place. In Weeks 14-16, he averaged 30.2 Fantasy Points Per Game and ultimately finished as the TE1 overall. A league-winning tight end not named Travis Kelce doesn’t come often, but it fell right into my lap.

Where Would You Be Comfortable Drafting Him in 2021?

After all Mark Andrews did for my fantasy teams, I can’t justify drafting him at his current Underdog Fantasy ADP of 16.9. Sure, he provides leverage at the position, but I’ll take D’Andre Swift, who is one spot behind him in ADP, over him ten out of ten times.

Yes, I went on and on about betting on the talent and he’s largely viewed as the dynasty TE1, but an early-to-middle second-round pick is a little rich for me, especially when Kyle Pitts is going 15 slots later. Expect Baltimore to get back to more of its offensive identity with Lamar Jackson, J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards all healthy. If we’re going to accept the notion that Rashod Bateman‘s arrival signaled a more pass-happy attack, shouldn’t we think Marquise Brown‘s departure would have the opposite effect? There’s  also a case for taking Darren Waller (40.7 ADP) and George Kittle (45.4 ADP) at value more, rather than pay up for Andrews. That said, there’s a great chance I don’t have any Andrews in 2022 redraft formats.

Dud: Rondale Moore

Rondale Moore‘s college profile had the fantasy community clamoring, despite him playing just seven games in his final two years at Purdue. However, he finished his rookie year as just the WR66.

How Many Leagues Did You Have Him In?

I smashed the button on Rondale Moore in all three of my dynasty leagues in rookie drafts and took him in a few best ball drafts for good measure. Full transparency, I’m a full-blown Rondale truther, and I don’t care who knows it. In the early second round of rookie drafts and a decent bargain in traditional redraft leagues and best ball drafts, I was comfortable taking him anywhere and everywhere.

When Did You Know He Was One of Your Guys?

I couldn’t stop drafting him. To be fair, I never reached for him, but he kept falling into my lap exactly where I valued him. Most Rondale Moore truthers were sold on him the moment he got round-two draft capital in the 2021 NFL draft. Sure, there aren’t many examples of 5-7, 180-pound fantasy studs, but his 4.37 (95th-percentile) 40-Yard Dash, 153.7 (97th-percentile) Burst Score, and 10.78 (93rd-percentile) Agility Score combined with a 18.2 (98th-percentile) Breakout Age was enough to convince me he would defy the odds.

Why Did You Like Him So Much?

Rondale Moore was barely old enough to vote and produced 1,471 yards of offense. I’m far from a film grinder, but his freshman tape is beyond impressive. He might’ve been the smallest and youngest player on the field, but he looked like he was playing against junior varsity guys, and produced like it too in a Power 5 conference. The cherry on top? He landed with Kyler Murray and “supposedly” a forward-thinking offensive mind in Kliff Kingsbury. On top of that, we knew the NFC West was going to produce shootouts.

Rondale Moore Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

As I laid out above, I was comfortable enough with his metrics and draft capital to push the button on him over the Kadarius Toney‘s and Terrace Marshall’s of the world. After Week 2 against the Vikings, I thought he was going to smash.

What Did You Learn?

First, I learned not to buy into purely the landing spot and especially not to obsess over coach-centric analysis. I already knew better than that, but I fell into the trap anyway. I’m embarrassed I thought Kliff Kingsbury was a coach to fall in love with, too. I assumed Rondale Moore would immediately surpass Christian Kirk and A.J. Green in target share, without much evidence. I also didn’t doubt he’d be able to win down the field, and although he didn’t have much opportunity to do so, that was probably for a reason. His 3.3 ADOT ranked No. 98 among qualified wide receivers, and he was ultimately used as a gadget player, just like the Moore skeptics said he would be. He commanded just four Deep Targets on the season and produced just one WR1 week. In fact, finished outside the top 50 in fantasy points on ten occasions.

No matter what I believed about Moore, his 9.4 (1st-percentile) College Yards Per Reception should’ve been a red flag. In rookie, drafts I don’t regret taking him where I did, but to expect a big rookie year was a mistake, and one I could’ve avoided if I’d done more digging.

Where Would You Be Comfortable Drafting Him in 2021?

In best ball, I’m comfortable drafting Rondale Moore if his ADP slips into the 10th or 11th round. There is a chance he could see an increased role, and hopefully a changed role, and could produce big weeks for best ball. But even then, the odds are stacked against him.

In start ‘em, sit ‘em leagues, I’d rather roster Alexander Mattison, Rachaad White, and Isaiah Spiller. The high upside “must-start in case of injury” backup running backs are more valuable in a league where we have to sweat out start, sit decisions. Those types of players have league-winning upside, and it’s hard to envision a scenario where Moore has anywhere close to that ceiling outcome. 

There was a small window of hope for Moore when DeAndre Hopkins‘ six-game suspension was announced. That window closed when Arizona sent their 2022 first-round pick in exchange for Marquise Brown. I’m not a fan of Brown, but he has established production and was an expensive trade asset, so we can assume he’s going to outproduce Moore. When Hopkins does come back, I don’t foresee Moore being a top-three option in the Arizona passing game. There’s even a scenario where Zach Ertz is more productive, too.

For dynasty, he’s a hold. Wait and see what he does, because there’s little trade market for him. We all have that player we refuse to give up on, and it’s too early to for me to do so, even if his chance of breaking out is low.