Welcome to another installment of Bounce-Back Fantasy Players for 2012 where today we will be focusing on the Tight Ends. The TE position is gaining more and more fantasy value as the years go by for two specific reasons:
1. The "Hybrid TE": Instead of being primary pass blockers these new versions of TEs are complete pass catching machines that create all sorts of coverage problems.
2. The Double TE Set: This formation isn't anything new to the NFL, and can be ran in a multitude of ways including the "Tight-Wing", "ACE" and "double slot". The Double TE set is particularly difficult to defend because it erases the usage of eight man defensive fronts and traditional defensive pre-snap assignments. This formation mismatch allows fantasy owners of the right players to reap better than average fantasy points from their TEs.
New England and Baltimore are huge proponents of this system already, and Indianapolis, Cincinnati, San Diego, Kansas City, Chicago, Denver and Seattle all plan to introduce their own versions this year.
Betcha didn't know that did ya? Just call it the Year of the Two-TE.
Let's take a look at which TEs could bounce-back and let' see how many of them wind up being a part of the two-TE system. For additional Bounce-Back coverage see below:
Kellen Davis, Chicago Bears
Kellen Davis didn't have much opportunity to show fantasy owners what he is truly capable of in 2011. Playing in Mike Martz's system, Davis was rarely utilized and it showed in his 18 catch, 206 yard 5 TD line.
This year Davis is being projected to see a significant increase in his role within new offensive coordinator Mike Tice's scheme. Davis has already begun seeing that increase in camp as he is seeing a lot of first and second looks off the snap.
I've already explained why Davis is a genuine sleeper candidate, and fantasy owners can fully expect a bounce-back season from Davis—a TE who isn't even projected in most Top 200s yet, so there's plenty of value left as well.
Fred Davis, Washington Redskins
Davis was well on his way towards a remarkable 2011 season with 54 catches, 796 yards and 3 TD's after just 12 games. But a violation of the league's substance abuse policy caused Davis to serve the remainder of last year on suspension.
This year Davis enters with a clean slate, an exciting new QB in RGIII and he'll also be competing for a new contract; a perfect situation for a fantasy TE out of the 8th round of most fantasy football drafts.
Davis' 6'4'' 258 pound frame is the perfect security blanket for a new QB and Davis is projected to be the primary TE for Washington. Davis has a lot to prove and should bounce back nicely from a embarrassing end to the 2011 season.
Jacob Tamme, Denver Broncos
In 2010 Tamme turned a lot of heads catching 67 balls for 631 yards and 4 TD's, but last year, Tamme regressed in a huge way catching just 19 balls for 177 yards and 1 TD all thanks to Indy's major melt-down.
Don't let that scare you this year.
The Denver Broncos are yet another team that plan on using more double TE sets, and according to the Broncos team website, Jacob Tamme (along with teammate Joel Dreessen) have been "very involved" in the team's new offensive look.
The two are getting the majority of looks and work in team drills and 7 on 7's and given the fact that Tamme already has history with QB Peyton Manning, you'd be a fool to NOT think he's gonna bounce back.
Tamme is projecting to go between the 7th and 8th round.
Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
Last year Vernon Davis caught 67 balls for 729 yards and 6TD's. Many will look at that line and say Davis had a pretty good season, but in actuality he did not.
Davis' TD production was erratic at best and he only produced two 100+ yard games. In fact, Davis had a whopping 6 games where he only caught 3 or fewer balls last year.
Prior to last season, Davis' two-year average was roughly 70 catches for 939 yards and10 TD's- a line many expected in 2011, but Davis struggled to pick up Jim Harbaugh's system.
This year Harbaugh has singled out Davis as having the best off-season of anyone on the team. He's running his routes better and is displaying a much better grasp of the offense.
The 49ers wide-outs (Randy Moss, Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham) are gonna command a lot of defensive attention, and Harbaugh plans on trimming back the workload out of the back field, in other words, Davis is going to have a ton of opportunities to take advantage of and I wouldn't be surprised if he captures a 70 catch season with a potential for 900 yards and 10 TDs.
And for Davis, those are bounce-back numbers!
Martellus Bennett, New York Giants
There are only a few players who have above average bounce-back appeal and Martellus Bennett is one of them. The former 2008 second round draft choice (Dallas) has spent his entire career in Jason Witten's shadow so he never truly had the chance to shine.
That all changes in 2012!
Now a member of division rival New York, Bennett is penciled in as the primary pass-catching TE. Bennett has shown solid hands whenever he was on the field for Dallas, so there is little worry about his abilities.
The biggest bonus here is actually his QB Eli Manning because not many QBs' target their TEs more than Manning. Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard were elevated in the fantasy ranks thanks to Manning and you can expect the same for Bennett.
It's amazing how overlooked this guy currently is since he's already TE 2 material, and I believe be the end of the year, he'll be one very hot topic.
Just miss candidate: Tony Moeaki, Kansas City (figured to see more blocking assignments than catch opportunities)