The Player Profile series breaks down the 2012 performances of key players at each position in order to project where they should be drafted in 2013. Dig in, read up, and look ahead.
Owen Daniels, TE, Houston Texans
Last year was Daniels’ best since 2008. Since then, he had been hindered by injuries. Whether it kept him out of games (like much of 2009) or just slowed him down, it seems we keep waiting for him to take that next step. In 2012, Daniels tallied 716 yards on 62 catches and hauled in 6 scores (the most he’s had in any season.) He actually ended up being the 8th best tight end in fantasy last year, just ahead of Kyle Rudolph and Brandon Myers.
What stands out to me about Daniels is that he’s had a three-year upward trend of receptions, yards, yards per game, and touchdowns. To me, this speaks to Schaub’s trust in his tight end.
(Forgive me while I giggle ….Okay. I’m done. Moving on…)
With a rookie wideout expected to start opposite Andre Johnson, Schaub will need another veteran target he can trust outside of Johnson. I have seen many point to the presence of DeAndre Hopkins as reason to believe Daniels won’t be able to maintain fantasy relevance, and many also point to Arian Foster as another leech on Daniels’ targets. I still think, however, his experience is important.
Remember that in 2008, Kevin Walter was quite relevant as well in the Houston passing game and this didn’t slow Daniels consistent usage (though it may have had something to do with Daniels only getting two touchdowns that year). Walter himself had 60 catches for 899 yards and eight scores.
“But they didn’t have Arian Foster.”
Sure, but they did have Steve Slaton, who did rather well for himself, racking up 1,659 all-purpose yards and 10 total touchdowns. Even with all the other weapons Houston had in 2008, Daniels was still the 6th best tight end in fantasy.
I mention all that to say Daniels has shown before that he can be a fantasy asset in an offense full of options. While I’m not expecting him to threaten the big boys atop the tight end mountain, I do believe he is undervalued going into the season. And if you follow me on twitter, you’ll see me continue to pimp him out as an option after your league mates start to panic and go on a tight end run after the top guys start to go off the board. If he can stay on the field, he could prove to be quite the commodity in fantasy again in 2013.
According to fantasyfootballcalculator.com, his current ADP is sitting at 12.04. I believe this is a great value. I have taken him as early as the 10th depending on how the draft is going.
Jared Cook, TE, St. Louis Rams
“Big, bad, Jared Cook. The physical freak that is about to set the fantasy world ablaze…”
Sounds like a sentiment we’ve been hearing over and over for the past few years, huh? For anyone that went all-in on Cook last year saw several games of 2-3 catches for 30-50 yards with a couple quality games. He ended 2012 with a pedestrian 44 receptions, 523 yards and four touchdowns, leaving him ranked 20th at his position.
Now he has a new home in St. Louis, and is reunited with his former head coach, Jeff Fisher. He joins a very young and talented offense. But my problem here is just that…a very young offense.
There isn’t a whole lot of tangible history to go on. The wideout situation is in flux, and Bradford looks to have a lot of quality options to throw the ball to between Givens, Austin, Bailey, Quick, as well as fellow tight end, Lance Kendricks.
What we do know is that, when given the ball, Cook is able to something with it. He continually has impressive yards-per-catch numbers: 12.4 in 2010, 15.5 in 2011, and 11.9 in 2012.
Another quick, interesting point to ponder is that Brian Schottenheimer tends to like the big receiver with a large catch radius.
In short, it’s hard for me to take him as my TE1 before I see how this offense starts to come together during camp and the preseason. It is for this reason that I feel his 9.09 ADP is just a tad too high, if only by a round or two.
Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears
This 26 year old 6’6” 265lb tight end spent most of his career with the Cowboys, playing second fiddle to Jason Witten. He then played 2012 with the New York football Giants where he started off on fire. For the first three weeks, Bennett totaled 15 catches for 185 yards and three touchdowns. After hurting his knee in Week 5, he wasn’t nearly as effective. He ended 2012 with 55 receptions, 626 yards, and five touchdowns, landing him as the 13th tight end in fantasy for the year.
Like Jared Cook, Bennett has had a change of scenery. He now finds himself in Chicago under newly installed head coach, Marc Trestman. When looking at Trestman’s career, we see that he has improved the quarterback play at just about every stop along the way. This includes passers like Bernie Kosar, Steve Young, Jake Plummer and Rich Gannon.
There’s no question Trestman can help Cutler improve his game. The only question will be if Cutler will look to Bennett. With weapons like Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, and Alshon Jeffery, can Bennett find his niche in this offense? I think so. His size alone should make him a great target in the middle of the field for Cutler when he is under pressure. Hopefully the offensive line will be improved enough to keep Cutler upright. I currently view Bennett as a low-end starter to a high-end streaming option, depending on your league’s size.