Spotlight - TE Bubba Franks, Green Bay Packers
Posted 8/25 by Jason Wood and Bob Henry,
Exclusive to Footballguys.com
Jason Wood's Thoughts
Bubba Franks had been on a downward spiral statistically. His YPR had plummeted from 10.7 as a rookie to 8.9 (2001) to 8.2 (2002) to 8.0 (2003) and in the process his scoring fell off (9 TDs to 7 TDs to 4 TDs). Since he's never been a particularly prolific pass catcher (less than 40 receptions in all but one season) or yardage maker (less than 400 yards in all but one season), it really sounded warning bells to avoid overpaying for Bubba in 2004.
Well, sometimes the statistics can lie. Because last season, Franks rebounded across the board. He caught 34 passes (+4) for 361 yards (+120) and scored 7 TDs (+3). As importantly, Franks YPR went from 8.0 to a solid 10.6. Somehow, some way, Franks got his explosiveness back.
Armed with a new 7-year, $28 million deal, Franks is happy and ready to help Brett Favre defy the critics for another year and contend in the NFC North. So how should you look at him in terms of fantasy productivity?
He finished 10th last year using FBG scoring, but would've been worth far less in leagues that reward points per reception. In those leagues, Franks remains little more than a backup. But in leagues that don't give points per reception, Franks should safely figure into the mix as a lower tier starter or top tier backup.
- Franks is an every down tight end, because he's an excellent blocker in addition to his obvious offensive talents
- He re-established himself as one of Favre's key red zone targets last year
- He's been a top 10 fantasy TE in three of the last four seasons
- Franks value is rather one dimensional...if he doesn't convert red zone targets into TDs, he's not worth much
- Armed with a big new contract, will his motivation wane?
- If the Packers offensive line struggles to find replacements for OGs Wahle and Rivera, Franks may be kept in to block more often
Bubba Franks is an above average option as your backup fantasy tight end, provided you're not in a league that rewards points per reception. In such leagues (e.g., WCOFF), I wouldn't be apt to draft him as he's caught less than 40 passes in four of five seasons, and only gone over the 400 yard mark once.
Bob Henry's Thoughts
At 27 years old Bubba Franks remains one of the leagueís best overall tight ends. Heís strong at the point of attack and a trusted receiver on third downs. Heís also one of the most consistently used tight ends in the league inside the red zone. The Packers quirky playbook features a ton of play-action bootlegs near the goal line that yield about a half dozen easy TDs for Franks every year. Itís easier than having fun in Las Vegas. If you play in a TD only league Franks is a solid top 5 tight end given his reliability and consistency. Heís caught 28 TDs in five years, scoring 7 or more in three of the last four years. Heís caught no less than 30 receptions in any one year.
Consistency is great year over year, but itís not great if it doesnít come week to week. While Franks might catch a TD almost every other game, all too frequently heís just not utilized enough. Some games heíll hurt you if he doesnít catch a TD. Franks is a training camp holdout and has a disappointing 9.2 yds/catch average for his career. Thatís partially due to the catches he gets near the goal line but also because heís simply not very fleet of foot. He caught 2 passes or less in 11 out of 16 games last year.
Franks was given the transition player tag by the Packers this off-season and didnít report to camp until the last week in August, after coming to terms on a 7-year, $28 million extension. Now that his risk of missing game time is abated, heís a sure bet for 5 to 8 scores. Heís not a worthwhile player as a fantasy starter, but isnít a bad 2nd option if you donít mind going all in for either a TD or bust when you do play him. Heís the type who will score twice when you donít start him and drop a goose egg in your lineup when you do.
- Averages almost 7 TDs a year for the past four years
- Caught 30 or more passes every year heís played (five)
- One of Favreís most reliable targets on third down and in the red zone
- Developed into one of the better blocking tight ends in the league
- Lacks speed and wonít make many big plays vertically
- Training camp holdout puts his availability in question
- Averaged less than 9 yards per catch in three of the last four years
- His lack of consistency week to week stings when he doesnít catch a TD
Franks can be a great fantasy tight end in leagues that are heavily weighed towards touchdowns and not yardage or receptions. In leagues that score points for receptions Franks can be a liability as often as he helps. If he continues holding out of training camp looking for a long-term contract the likelihood of him staying healthy or matching his production from previous years goes down significantly. Heís on a great team that utilizes him frequently in clutch situations, but unfortunately heís just not targeted enough at other times to be a top ranked fantasy tight end or consistent starter.
Quotations from the Message Board Thread
To view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there),
Nothing more than a backup TE in any league under 16 teams. No upside and frustratingly inconsistent production.
Ministry of Pain:
His blocking is mightily needed after 2 OL already took off.
Bubba Franks Projections
|Message Board Consensus||35||400||7|