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Still got it?
Evan Moore had more than half of his career receptions last season (34-of-62) and averaged 9.5 yards per reception. He scored four touchdowns and achieved 19 first downs in limited action in 2011.
That all makes him sound poised to take over as the No. 1 TE. Ah, but in January, Mike Holmgren projected Moore as "a 30-play-a-game kind of guy"—which does not bode well for his stats.
Somewhat perplexedly, Jordan Cameron remains a fan favorite who many believe will shine in 2012. Upon closer examination, his stellar college and combine performances are now more than a year in the past, and in eight games played, Cameron totaled six receptions. See my confusion?
Unless Benjamin Watson gets hurt and Jordan has himself a spectacular preseason, the latter will still be a backup with low stats—because Watson remains the preeminent choice.
Yes, it's unreasonable to expect a 32-year-old player to return to the form he displayed two years ago (68 receptions and three TDs).
On the other hand, Watson had to wait an entire career to catch as many balls as he has recently. As a Patriot, Watson had 167 receptions in six years. In two seasons as a Brown, he pulled in 105 footballs.
Now that he has a taste for it, Watson is going to want the ball. If he is healthy, he will be the starting TE—unless/until Moore, Cameron or Smelley can supplant him, which won’t happen in the first part of the season, at the least.
It remains to be seen whether having a rookie quarterback doing checkdowns will increase tight end targets across the board. Offensive minds Pat Shurmur and Brad Childress will be taking both Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden out for a test drive with lots of short-yardage passes punctuated by power rushing and the occasional long bomb to Travis Benjamin.
Multiple red-zone targets will be the order of the day. That means two WRs, Richardson and at least one TE. Further, those two tight end sets that are going to sweep the NFL in 2012 will cut down on any one TE's stats.
Best to stick with (Rob) Gronkowski for your fantasy ball-catcher.