NFL fantasy 2012 TE injury report (cont.)
Brandon Myers gets the job by default after Kevin Boss exited. The TE isn't a big focus in this offense, although Myers has the size to get some red zone looks. Keep your eye on David Ausberry, a project pick with great athleticism.
Antonio Gates has missed much of the last two campaigns to foot injuries, diminished even when he was on the field. Even so, he was still more productive than most TEs because of his red zone skills. If he can stay healthy, he's still a top-tier option. If he can't, you've seen the downside. With age and injuries like these, you have to expect him to miss games no matter how healthy he says he is right now.
Jason Witten has become the model for TEs today -- big and strong -- rather than Dallas Clark, as some thought a couple years ago. His size and durability help him, though the spleen injury he's dealing with this preseason remind us that one big hit can take down anyone. It might drop his value in drafts -- and if so, grab him. Witten is still durable, even after a bruised spleen.
The Giants seemed to sacrifice TEs for a Super Bowl win, which most fans would say was a fair deal. They were able to grab Martellus Bennett, who never pushed Jason Witten, but still has upside. He'll have a chance to establish himself as Travis Beckum rehabs from ACL surgery. That could be enough in an offense where Eli Manning likes tall targets. Don't be fooled by Bear Pascoe's name at the top of some depth charts. He'll play, but he's a blocker.
Ignore the minor knee sprain. Brent Celek knows this offense, works well with Michael Vick's scrambles and is generally durable. Generally means his knee injury comes on top of hip and leg problems that put him on a surgeon's table at the end of last season. He probably has peaked, but could put up good numbers in a good offense this season. Celek's the guy you look to if you miss out on the top TEs.
The only knock on Fred Davis was his drug suspension last season. He's big, durable and productive. With a new mobile QB, Davis figures to get even more looks. The Mike Shanahan offense used a lot of rollouts last season with Davis coming across. Imagine what that will be like when defenses have to choose between covering a deep WR, a running Griffin and Davis. If you miss on Graham and Gronkowski, Davis is as good an option as will exist.
Mike Martz doesn't like TEs, but the 6-7 Kellen Davis got five TDs anyway. That size isn't changing, but the offense is. Davis isn't going to get tons of targets, but he's as solid a red zone target as Jay Cutler will have. The five TDs are downside. Think of Davis as a more durable Scott Chandler.
Brandon Pettigrew got a ton of targets, but wasn't that efficient. He has shown he can stay on the field, which was a worry. He's good on opportunity and there's still some upside, but last season was probably near peak for him.
Jermichael Finley played all 16 games last season and his numbers landed about where we expected they would if he could stay on the field. Finley has been banged up in the preseason, reminding us of the downside.
The Vikings brought in John Carlson to replace Visanthe Shiancoe, but Carlson's fragility is already showing itself. Kyle Rudolph looked pretty comfortable down the stretch with Christian Ponder. Rudolph's size and durability is his advantage if he doesn't lose too many targets to Carlson, who's also a big red zone target.
Tony Gonzalez may be 36, but he's still able to get to the end zone and post up. His basketball playing days have rewarded him well in that regard. He may lose some looks because of all the options, but trying to single cover Gonzalez is going to lead to mismatches.
Greg Olsen won't have to share targets with Jeremy Shockey this season, but he's always been on the edge of something without ever getting there. Olsen's speed and size combo should be perfect for Cam Newton. He's very durable, so if you believe in the Panthers, Olsen's potential to be their real WR2 has to excite you.
It's hard to remember that Jimmy Graham was a project pick by the Saints. He played one season of football at Miami, but had clear size and physical gifts. He's been far quicker than the Saints ever expected and is the first TE coming off the boards in most fantasy formats. His durability seems solid, with his athleticism helping there as well. That should be what makes you pick him over Rob Gronkowski.
Dallas Clark has missed significant parts of the last two seasons with injuries. His broken leg is healed and he still offers mismatch issues due to his speed and precision. If he's healthy -- and that's admittedly a huge risk -- he can do exactly what Kellen Winslow did in Tampa, maybe more.
Todd Heap remains talented, but fragile. He's shown bursts, and in this offense, should be a nice safety valve. The numbers don't show that as he's just not targeted that much. There's no backup here worth mentioning, meaning the TE remains irrelevant in Arizona.
Lance Kendricks had his rookie season crushed by injuries and dropped balls. He's talented enough that people see room for upside, but he'll need Sam Bradford to stay upright and his own healthy to take a big upswing.
Vernon Davis has every tool you want in a TE, including durability. His numbers were a bit off last year, but it looks like a fluke.
The Seahawks buried Zach Miller last season. The worry is that they'll do the same with Kellen Winslow. Even with a new QB, the offense is the same. Winslow doesn't need huge target numbers to be effective. It might even help. He just needs to find seams and be in the red zone mix. It's hard to think it will be any different for Winslow, though his durability has gone up, playing in 16 games the last three years despite a lot of maintenance issues.
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