On Second Thought: Tight End and D/ST
After the big three positions in fantasy football, tight end is next in importance. Since you only play one tight end, though, we'll also fill this entry out by discussing some fantasy defenses as well.
Guys We Didn't Like Enough
Chris Cooley, Redskins - He's gotta be top-5, because the yardage and catches will be there and the touchdown totals are sure to return to the level he was accustomed in years past. Last year's single-touchdown season was a complete aberration.
Tony Scheffler, Broncos - While switching quarterbacks from Jay Cutler to Kyle Orton hurts deep-threat receivers, it really, really helps tight ends. Orton loves throwing to tight ends and running backs, because his arm isn't near as accurate down field as it is in the short range. Expect a huge increase in catches and touchdowns for Scheffler.
Vernon Davis, 49ers - No one's ever questioned his talent, but we've all sat around waiting for Davis' breakout season and been disappointed too many times. Unfortunately, that disappointment turns into Davis being stigmatized by fantasy owners and he ends up plummeting way too far down draft boards. Last season, the offensive coordinator was Mike Martz and we all know he doesn't use the tight end frequently in the passing game. This year, Jimmy Raye -- formerly a coach with the Chiefs ... you know, the team Tony Gonzalez played for? -- takes over. Davis will put up respectable TE2 numbers at worst.
Guys We Liked Too Much
Jeremy Shockey, Saints - I'd honestly rather have Davis. Shockey doesn't ever seem to be motivated anymore, nor does he even appear to care. I'm expecting an injury-riddling campaign from someone the Saints frankly don't even need. His name routinely gets him drafted too high.
Todd Heap, Ravens - He used to be a great receiving tight end, but those times are past. He's got extra competition at the position now, as the Ravens plan on using three tight ends for double-tight-end sets. He's going to be blocking a lot, and receiving minimally. His name, like Shockey's, just carries too much weight.
Teams We Liked Too Much
Vikings - Considering the two Williams boys are going to miss the first four games, I can't justify why we put them second. This is a strong unit worth being a D/ST1, but not a top-5 group. There aren't many teams that could overcome losing their two starting tackles, especially when they are perennial pro bowlers.
Patriots - They've gotten a lot younger and still have Bill Belichick to ensure they are a strong unit. Still, there aren't enough proven play-makers on this defense to justify that lofty ranking in my mind. They are a better real defense than fantasy group.
Teams We Didn't Like Enough
Giants - They'll definitely be a better option than the Vikings. I like them pretty equally with the Titans and possibly a small step behind the Ravens. Losing Michael Boley to injury hurts, because he was a solid addition. Getting Osi Umenyiora back is akin to adding a pro bowler via free agency. The Steelers are easily first, but the next echelon is the Giants, Ravens and Titans.
Texans - They've had a great offseason, adding parts via the draft (Brian Cushing, Connor Barwin) and free agency (Cato June, Antonio Smith). They will still probably allow their fair share of points, but I love the potential for sacks and takeaways. They are a very solid D/ST2.