There was no doubt that the biggest NFL news of the offseason was Peyton Manning's decision to sign in Denver instead of a few early favorites like the Dolphins and the Titans. Not only did Manning's decision to play for the Broncos change the landscape of the AFC West, but it also put Peyton back on the fantasy football map as a possible QB1 after missing all of the 2011 season with neck problems.
After the signing, John Elway added a couple more familiar pieces to the offense, including Brandon Stokley and Jacob Tamme. The addition of Stokley didn't really excite me all that much as the move was more for depth purposes. Stokley is expected to split time with Andre Caldwell in the slot. Not much fantasy value there. But Tamme being reunited with Manning could put him back on the map as a possible lower-tier TE1 by midseason.
When the Colts placed Dallas Clark on injured reserve in 2010 after he suffered a wrist injury against the Redskins in mid-October, Tamme stepped right in and garnered career highs in receptions (67), receiving yards (631) and touchdowns (4) in only eight games started. Not only was Tamme one of the bigger waiver-wire pickups for that year, but he finished the season as the 15th-ranked fantasy tight end. An amazing feat considering he only started half a season.
With Tamme and Manning in Denver, Tamme could easily get back most of that value he lost last year after the Colts found out, too late I might add, that relying solely on Manning and not adding a legitimate backup was a horrible mistake. Be aware that the Broncos also added former Texan Joel Dreessen and they still have Julius Thomas, but Thomas is expected to struggle for playing time. And from what I saw of Dreesen when he played in the absense of Owen Daniels, I do think he will get a decent amount of looks. But his role should be more as a pass blocker than as another receiver. Tamme's familiarity with the way Peyton plays gives him the edge.
Right now, Tamme is being drafted as the 14th-overall fantasy tight end, behind guys like Coby Fleener, Jared Cook and Jermaine Gresham. If you wind up taking someone like Rob Gronkowski early, then Tamme would be nothing more than a one-week fillin, or a starter in two tight end leagues. But if you're daring and would rather fill out your other positions, putting off the tight end spot until the later rounds, Tamme just might be that one surprise your roster needs. Especially if he and Peyton take up where they left off from two years ago.