5 Reasons to Draft Dustin Keller in Your Fantasy Football League

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IAugust 3, 2012

5 Reasons to Draft Dustin Keller in Your Fantasy Football League

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    For a guy playing on the ultra-hyped New York Jets, Dustin Keller is quite the underrated tight end. 

    A lot of that has to do with the majority of media attention being paid to Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez, the locker room feuds and now, Tim Tebow

    The emergence of Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham hasn't helped him become a household name either.

    But don't forget about Keller in 2012, especially when it's time for your fantasy football draft. 

He's Easily Mark Sanchez's Favorite Target

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    There's no questioning it—Dustin Keller is Mark Sanchez's favorite target.

    In 2009—the rookie years for both—Sanchez found Keller 45 times on 82 targets for 522 yards and two receiving touchdowns. The former Purdue tight end was second on the team in targets and receptions. 

    In 2010, Keller led the team with 55 grabs, was targeted an even 100 times and amassed 687 yards with five receiving scores. He continued as the team's go-to pass-catching option last year with 65 receptions on 116 targets for 815 yards and five more touchdowns. 

    Could a fantasy owner ask for anything more from a tight end than to be the team's primary receiving target?

He's Durable

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    There's nothing more frustrating as a fantasy owner than a player who can't stay on the field. 

    Ask the guys and gals who've owned Antonio Gates over the last two seasons. 

    Keller hasn't missed a game in his four-year career, something that undoubtedly increases his fantasy viability. 

His Reception Total Has Increased in Each of the Last Three Seasons

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    Keller's shown a steady progression from a production standpoint each season dating back to 2009. His reception and yard totals have increased every year, and most importantly, he's gone from 82 targets three years ago to 116 last year. 

    The 27-year-old is entering the prime of his career and has formulated a cerebral rapport with Mark Sanchez throughout the duration of their time with the Jets. 

    The numbers don't lie—Keller is undoubtedly trending upward. 

He Was One of Seven Tight Ends to Receive More Than 115 Targets in 2011

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    You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks Dustin Keller is an "elite" tight end, especially after the way Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham redefined that term in 2011. 

    However, Keller's targets, a notable statistic for fantasy owners, is up to par with the NFL's most esteemed tight ends. 

    He had the same number of targets as the legendary Tony Gonzalez and was only one of seven tight ends to receive more than 115 of them in 2011. 

He Had a Strong End to 2011

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    If Keller's entire 2011 season as a whole isn't encouraging enough for fantasy owners, take a gander at his last two games with Gang Green. 

    He caught 15 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown in games against the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins.

    Though New York fell short of the postseason last year, Keller looks poised to build off a stellar end to a season en route to what could be a true breakout campaign in 2012.