Antonio Gates. Jason Witten. Tony Gonzalez.
The list of must-have dynasty TEs is a short one. The three above have all grossly transcended their fantasy TE positions to become true strategic and productive game-changers for their lucky, respective coaches. Whether an owner of one of these TEs or a team having to play against them, the advantage is obvious. Possess one of these threats, and you possess a significant positional fppg (Fantasy Points Per Game) advantage.
Vernon Davis (V.D.) erupted in 2009, amassing 78 receptions, nearly 1,000 yards and 13 TDs, nearly doubling his total production over the previous three years. What’s more, at 26 years of age, V.D. has been durable. And the 49ers offense has made great strides in that past 12 months which should allow Davis to continue producing at a torrid pace.
While it could be too soon to anoint him as “the next," there is nothing that I can find that realistically reduces his value going into the 2010 season. V.D. possesses tangible receiver qualities that are ridiculous for his position and simply can’t be covered by any linebacker. If you doubt this, understand that each opposing team knew exactly how their LBs would be beaten on the same skinny post, game after game, and yet still could not stop it.
A sufficient run game paired with a more diverse passing attack with Michael Crabtree and Ted Ginn Jr. will only make for more, or at least consistent, opportunities for Davis. I cannot project a great increase in receptions for Davis, and to expect much more production from any single statistical category would be expecting too much. After all, any fantasy coach receiving anything remotely similar to his 2009 production would be no less than ecstatic.
V.D. is one of those few TEs that can actually be drafted extremely early as a WR1 replacement in certain situations. If you are lucky enough in your draft situation to pull it off, an early selection of a WR1 followed by V.D.in the following round would be a huge advantage week-in and week-out. In short, with the slow decline underway of the three TEs mentioned at the beginning of this article, Davis now becomes THE coveted #1 TE in new or rebuilding dynasty drafts. Lofty heights for a TE with just one year of significant production, but heights that you should be comfortable with.
Projection: 82 Receptions, 1,049 Yards, 12 TDs