NFL Fantasy Football Depth Chart Analysis: Washington Redskins Tight Ends

Eric StashinSenior Writer IJune 27, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13:  Chris Cooley #47 of the Washington Redskins tries to elude Chase Blackburn #57 of the New York Giants on September 13, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Just one year ago, Chris Cooley was regarded as one of the elite tight ends in the game.  He had a string of four consecutive years of at least 734 yards, having set a career high of 849 (as well as 83 receptions) in 2009.  Then, an injury to his ankle seven games into the 2009 season changed everything.

Second year player Fred Davis was given the chance to fill in the role and proved that he had the ability to perform just as well as Cooley.  Over the season’s final eight weeks he caught 31 passes for 360 yards and five TDs.

Now, with Donovan McNabb at the helm of the offense, the Redskins enter the season with both TEs in the mix and a whole slew of questions.  Will the team go with more two tight end sets?  Will they trade one of the two prior to the season?

Mike Shanahan likes to run the ball.  Just look at the names of the running backs who have generated 1,000 yard seasons under his supervision (outside of Terrell Davis and Clinton Portis):

Olandis Gary
Mike Gary
Reuben Droughns
Tatum Bell

    Was it the offensive line or the Broncos scheme that led to this type of success?  Either way, you have to believe that the Redskins will be looking to pound the football, which could actually be a good scenario for both tight ends on the roster.  If the opponents are looking for the run, and you line up in a power set, with two tight ends, you could have the opportunity to utilize the play action pass.

    With McNabb getting them the ball, both Cooley and Davis have the opportunity to perform.

    So, which of the two is more ownable for fantasy owners?  Cooley’s previous success will likely mean getting the first look in the offense, as it should.  If I had a choice between the two, he’s the one I would select, and it currently appears that you can get him at a significant discount.  Just a year ago you likely would have had to select him among the top four or five TE if you wanted him.  Now, he’s the 11th off the board.

    There’s certainly risk involved, with his injury recovery and the presence of Davis on the roster.  Still, it’s a risk worth taking at that point in the draft.  We all know that in any given week any tight end could step up and have a big game, so if he struggles he can be easily replaced.

    As for Davis, he too has the potential to be usable, but I wouldn’t draft him as my starting option.  If you want to grab a backup TE, I could see selecting him late.  Otherwise, watch how the offense unfolds in the preseason and the first few weeks.  If Davis appears to secure the top tight end duties, don’t hesitate to snatch him up.  If he’s getting significant looks, he has the ability to be a top 10 fantasy option.

    Of course, all of this changes if the Redskins trade one or the other, so consider this a fluid situation and stay tuned.

    What are your thoughts on the Redskins tight end situation?  Which of the two would you rather own?  How highly would you draft either?

    Make sure to view our other Depth Chart Analysis: