Dallas Clark done for the year: Fantasy Implications

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After visiting three surgeons, Dallas Clark finally conceded that he needed wrist surgery and will be on the shelf for the rest of the year.  After Clark was recently put on IR, we delve into the fantasy implications:

These guys will gain from the loss of Clark:

­        ?Pierre Garcon, WR- With Austin Collie and now Clark gone, Manning will rely on Pierre Garcon more, especially on Third and obvious passing downs.

­        ?Blair White, WR- White isn’t worth a roster spot in many leagues, but he is likely to gain significant playing time in Collie’s absence, and Clark’s injury only improves White’s chances of success.

­        ?Anthony Gonzalez, WR- Gonzalez is still nursing a bad ankle, but, when he returns, he will gain the most from the rash of injuries.  The oft-injured Ohio State grad will assume the no. 3 WR role, a position that should be utilized more now that there isn’t a viable Tight End on the team.  If you’ve got the space and guts, stash Gonzalez and see if he comes through.  As a receiver in a Peyton offense, the ceiling is high, very high.

­        ?Donald Brown, RB- Colts Running Backs never get too many touches, but Donald Brown has the chance to play a role in the running and passing games, making him an interesting fantasy option. Brown has been able to gain plenty of yards-after-catches and will be utilized in short dump-offs when receivers go deep.  The 2nd year player was a popular sleeper in August and he may be about to come through for faithful owners

­        ?Mike Hart, RB- If Donald Brown doesn’t come through, the job will be Hart’s.  With the passing game literally crippled, the Colts may finally turn to the run, making Hart worth a look in deeper leagues.

With all of these guys gaining, someone has to lose, right?  Well, this time, that player is you, especially if you owned Dallas Clark.  The veteran was having a stellar year and producing in PPR leagues by leading the NFL in receptions.  If you now find yourself without a healthy TE, here are some guys to look for on the wire:

  • Aaron Hernandez (NE) – Hernandez has consistently received 4 or 5 balls a game and has produced, averaging over 60 yards a game.  The rookie has already been taken in many leagues, but see if he’s available.
  • Brandon Pettigrew (DET) – Pettigrew was out most of last year, but has looked good thus far in 2010.  In his 2nd season, he has amassed several big games and I expect his numbers to jump when fellow 2009 draftee Matt Stafford returns after the Lions’ bye this week.
  • Benjamin Watson (CLE) – In Colt McCoy’s first start, he targeted Watson often, and the veteran Tight End totaled six receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown.  With Mohamed Massaquoi out this week, McCoy should target Benjamin Watson even more, and I really like his fantasy prospects moving forward.
  • Jacob Tamme (Ind) - The 2008 4th round draft pick by the Colts could end up filling the void left by Clark however temper your expectations with this unproven backup that hasn't taken a snap all year.

If none of these guys are available in your league, please comment with a couple top FA Tight Ends in your league and I’ll be happy to help you through the stressful transition.