Week Six TE Rankings: Start Sit ~ The Vernon Davis Enigma

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Week Six TE Rankings: Start Sit ~ The Vernon Davis Enigma
(Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Fantasy experts and fantasy owners have been touting the promise of Vernon Davis and his immense promise…as yet unfulfilled. Based on his size and massive talent, Davis could, and perhaps should be the NFL’s best tight end.

Many, myself included, felt 2009 could finally be the year it puts it all together on the field. So far we’ve seen a rollercoaster performance through five games. None worse than what we witnessed Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

One might say his 51 yards was certainly no worse than the 50 or less he turned in in weeks one, two and four, but what stands out about his week five performance was his conversion ratio of targets to catches. Shaun Hill targeted Vernon Davis a dozen times, and he only caught five of them. That’s only about a 40 percent conversion rate.

In week two, he had six targets and only caught two, which is an even worse rate of return. However, in watching the game Sunday, one couldn’t help but notice how completely out of sync Davis was with Hill. Davis looked lost last week, when he should be getting into better sync.

Perhaps the 49ers bye week came just in time. After two consecutive weeks with touchdowns, Davis regressed in every aspect in week five, except how much the offense counts on him. His targets keep increasing, and so must his production. Despite his troubles, he’s still ranked in the top five at his position. No matter how this rollercoaster ride plays out, he still seems to get his roto fantasy owners points. But that won’t help in head-to-head leagues where weekly consistency matters.

–Week Five Review–

What I got right: I called last week’s column Miller Time, and Heath Miller did not disappoint. He had five receptions for 54 yards and a score. Likewise, Vinsanthe Shiancoe found the endzone as I predicted. All my Sits turned out to be solid calls, except one.

What I got wrong: The one sit I blew was Kellen Winslow. Somehow he defied the odds and scored twice. I suggested starting both Robert Royal and Dustin Keller, and neither even made the stat sheet. How that happened is beyond comprehension, but anomalies do occur.

This week the 49ers, Dolphins, Cowboys and Colts are on bye, so fantasy teams will be without leading tight end, Dallas Clark, as well as Anthony Fasano, Jason Witten, and of course, Vernon Davis.

–Week Six ~ TE Start ‘em–

Jermichael Finley, GBP—After a slow start, Finley picked it up against the Minnesota Vikings in week four. This week he gets to face the Detroit Lions who have already surrendered 6 touchdowns to tight ends. Finley is still available in 94 percent of ESPN and 88 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Todd Heap, BAL—Heap has had something of a career resurgence this season as the Ravens have become more of a passing team. He has to be excited about this week’s matchup with the Minnesota Vikings who have been the league’s worst in surrendering fantasy points to tight-ends so far. He’s still available in 61 percent of ESPN, and 40 percent of Yahoo leagues.

John Carlson, SEA—Carlson’s struggled a bit with his QB Matt Hasselbeck sidelined, but Matt’s back as the clawless Jaguars discovered on Sunday. Carlson wasn’t even a blip on the fantasy radar last week, but that should change when he faces the Arizona Cardinals in week six. The Cards are 5th worst at giving opposing TEs fantasy points. Carlson is due for another solid game. I think he’ll find the endzone this week.

Greg Olsen, CHI—Many owners have given up on Greg Olsen being a productive tight end this season. I like to call those owners short-sighted, or simply, fools. The Bears coaches have made more noise this weekend about making better use of their stud TE, and this week will be a good start against the Atlanta Falcons who gave up 12 targets to Vernon Davis last weekend. If Olsen gets a dozen targets this week, he won’t settle for five catches like Davis did. If you followed my advice when I said to get him on the cheap a couple of weeks ago, you’ll start reaping the rewards this week.

Ben Watson, NEP—Watson is one of those guys who always scares me. If you play him each week, you’re as likely to get a goose-egg as you are a TD. Tom Brady spreads the ball around so much, it’s hard to tell who will catch his eye after Moss and Welker. This week bodes well for one of those touchdown games though. The Patriots are going to be gunning for a team on the ropes, the Tennessee Titans. One of the weaknesses Brady will likely exploit is their tendency to give up yards (389, second only to the Vikings) to opposing tight ends. They have also given up three TDs to TE’s in five games. Watson is 72 percent and 54 percent unowned in ESPN and Yahoo leagues, respectively.

–Week Six ~ TE Sit ‘em–


Can you make a vaild argument for sitting the league's best tight end?

Antonio Gates, SDC—Two of the league’s best at stopping opposing TE’s, the Colts and 49ers, are off this week, but the best, the Broncos, are facing the league’s best TE, Gates. So who will win this battle? The Bronco’s defense has only surrendered 21 yards a game to tight ends so far. So this “sit” is conditional. If you have another solid starting option at tight end, this may be a week to consider using your back up player, otherwise, take your chances with your big gun. My best guess is Gates gets five to six receptions for 40-50 yards, and no score. But he could be the guy to defy the odds.

Vinsanthe Shiancoe, MIN—While Shiancoe has been a favorite go to guy for Favre in the redzone, the Ravens, have been very solid against tight ends so far, allowing only 32 yards a game. They have only given up one TD in five weeks. Shiancoe is generally not a big yardage guy anyway, so you’re betting you bank on a TD catch. It could happen, but the odds say no. Sit him if you have a better option.

Kevin Boss, NYG—Boss has been a complete disappointment so far for the Giants this year. That’s not likely to change this week, even with a shoot out against the Saints. The Saints defense if for real this year and no tight end has scored on them yet.

Brent Celek, PHI—This is one of those risky calls, but if I only made the safe calls, what would be the point of reading fantasy columns? Celek is a top three TE so far this season, despite a quiet week against the Bucs. But here’s why I think he’ll have another quiet week, this week. Celek scored almost all his fantasy points with Kevin Kolb throwing the ball. So far he and Donovan McNabb have not made the same love connection. In week six, the Eagles get to gnaw on the Oakland Raiders. Yes, those whipping boys of the league. This should be a good thing for Celek owners, but for all the yardage and points the Raiders defense have surrendered, not one touchdown has gone to a tight end, and only about 48 yards receiving a game have gone to opposing TEs. As I say every week, if you have another quality option, maybe one of the FAs listed in my Start section, play one of them this week. If not, go with your guy, and hope he’s the one to break through.

–Current Statistical Top 30 TE Rankings through Week Five (Actual stats)–

Player

Team

G

Targets

Rec

Yards

TD

Fantasy Points

1. Dallas Clark

IND

5

42

35

441

2

56.1

2. Kellen Winslow

TB

5

42

26

257

4

49.7

3. Antonio Gates

SD

4

35

24

349

2

46.9

4. Vernon Davis

SF

5

39

22

262

3

44.2

5. Brent Celek

PHI

4

32

26

303

2

42.3

6. Owen Daniels

HOU

5

38

25

296

2

41.6

7. Heath Miller

PIT

5

33

29

235

3

41.5

8. Chris Cooley

WAS

5

32

22

254

2

37.4

9. Ben Watson

NE

5

19

14

187

3

36.7

10. John Carlson

SEA

5

35

22

239

2

35.9

11. Tony Gonzalez

ATL

4

28

19

215

2

33.5

12. Todd Heap

BAL

5

31

21

211

2

33.1

13. Jason Witten

DAL

5

33

28

259

1

31.9

14. Marcedes Lewis

JAC

5

26

14

192

2

31.2

15. Visanthe Shiancoe

MIN

5

18

13

116

3

29.6

16. Jeremy Shockey

NO

4

24

18

162

2

28.2

17. Jermichael Finley

GB

4

15

11

190

1

25.0

18. Sean Ryan

KC

5

22

13

124

2

24.4

19. Dustin Keller

NYJ

5

22

12

171

1

23.1

20. Dante Rosario

CAR

4

11

7

111

2

23.1

21. Daniel Fells

STL

5

15

9

106

2

22.6

22. Zach Miller

OAK

5

24

15

215

0

21.5

23. Greg Olsen

CHI

4

25

10

94

2

21.4

24. Kellen Davis

CHI

4

8

7

58

2

17.8

25. Tony Scheffler

DEN

5

13

10

116

1

17.6

26. Will Heller

DET

5

13

8

109

1

16.9

27. Brandon Pettigrew

DET

5

25

13

158

0

15.8

28. Robert Royal

CLE

5

19

8

93

1

15.3

29. Jeff King

CAR

4

9

7

87

1

14.7

30. Daniel Graham

DEN

5

13

12

146

0

14.6

 

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