Why We Like Him
What makes Witten such a great fantasy tight end is that quarterback Tony Romo absolutely loves to thrown him the football. Witten finished 2008 ranked third amongst tight ends in receptions (81), second in yards (952) and second in targets (121). His numbers would have been even more impressive if he wasn’t battling a busted rib for multiple weeks during the middle of the season. He’s got exceptional hands and is very good at using his body to get into position.
The key to Witten’s success in 2009 will be the play of the Dallas wide receivers (Williams, Crayton, Austin). If they can get up the field and force the opposing defenses to roll coverage, Witten will once again be free to take advantage of personnel mismatches.
Why We Don’t Like Him
As we’ve mentioned time and time again, the key to the Cowboys’ success on offense this season rests on the shoulders of wide receiver Roy Williams. Despite Terrell Owens’ decline in production last year, he still forced defenses to game plan around him each week, opening up the rest of the field for guys like Witten.
If Williams is unable to create separation and cause matchup problems, the entire offense is going to suffer. Additionally, second year tight end Martellus Bennett will likely steal a few targets this season.
While a lot depends on Roy Williams’ performance, Witten is still going to see a healthy dose of targets in 2009. He’s a consistent fantasy producer (five plus receptions in 11 games last year) and can play at a very high level when healthy.
Witten’s production resembles that of a wide receiver instead of a tight end, so he’s likely to start flying off the boards between the fourth and fifth rounds. Be prepared to pull the trigger early if you value high-level production from the tight end position.
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh