We all know the story of TEs. There are the 3-4 studs which are quite expensive due to their upper echelon in both consistent production and potential ceiling. After that, the tight end landscape is really ugly. It’s hard to decide between a potential break out like Trey Burton, an elder statesman like a Greg Olsen, and an often-unreliable Jordan Reed. There is a lot of love for a breakout candidate like Burton and deservedly so. He’s on a Matt Nagy offense that has featured tight end Travis Kelce for the past couple of season making him a top tier guy and at the moment likely the first tight end off the board in start-ups according to ADP data. There are many forgotten guys, while they do not have stud projections they can be a valuable asset to your team as a potential depth piece for a team that doesn’t have a stud TE. I personally have been doing some digging as I often punt tight end and fill out the position with low-end tight end 1’s. The guy I always find myself going back to is Vernon Davis.
Vernon Davis is not a breakout candidate. He’s not a stud anymore. He’s old and unappealing in the eyes of fantasy owners. I feel this is a negative approach when looking at Davis. He is not for everyone, and with Jordan Reed still, on the team, he does not have the highest of upside. The most appealing part, he’s virtually free right now. He is a guy who will be added/dropped in a lot of leagues this offseason with Jordan reed coming off a year in which he only played in 6 total games.
The first variable to consider is how much do you believe in the health of Reed. Jordan Reed has only played in 18 games over the past 2 years. He has been burning fantasy owners after the stellar 2015 when he caught 87 balls for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. This has led to a lot of people looking to acquire Vernon Davis mid-season because he’s been a pretty serviceable backup. Let’s compare the stats of the two over the past 2 seasons.
Now it clearly doesn’t take a genius to tell you that Jordan Reed is the higher upside guy. He has nearly the exact same number of fantasy points as Davis over the past 2 seasons averaging roughly 5 PPG more over that same span. When he is healthy he’s an absolute monster, but its no longer something you can bank on.
The other factor that I have not heard much about is Davis being reunited with his former quarterback Alex Smith. Smith is not a sexy QB who is going to make a ton of plays but has shown to be a viable NFL quarterback. People are going to say it was the offense but Alex Smith liking tight ends is not new. His first best friend at TE was one Vernon Davis. The two had a lot of success in San Francisco and I wouldn’t mind taking a shot on that continuing in Washington. Davis has already expressed that he is excited to be back with Smith and that he has taken note of the quarterbacks’ improvements since they were last playing together. Smith is coming to a new team, with a good number of young weapons and the addition of Derrius Guice. If I were a Jordan reed owner or even an owner who has Gronk at tight end where health is a question. I would be looking to acquire Vernon Davis for a back of the roster guy because his value is so low right now. If in training camp or pre-season something happens to Jordan Reed his price is going to go way up. He’s the perfect Jordan Reed insurance and that’s the exact reason why Washington brought him in and has actually out-produced Reed since joining the Redskins.
To me, it is a no-brainer guy to stash with Reed trending in the wrong direction as far as games played over the past few seasons. If you don’t really have a need for him you could always flip him for a draft pick mid-season to get some return for virtually nothing. Smith is going to need to gain chemistry with all of these new players in Washington, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he felt very comfortable throwing to an old friend in Davis once the games start to matter. I would put out some inquiries, to at least test the waters. Check waivers and see what owners will be looking for in return. Reed is great, when and if he plays, but I personally would rather buy his backup because you never know what might happen. With an ADP on MFL of 262, it’s an absolute no-brainer to take him because he can still produce decent numbers. It is really just whether he gets the touchdowns. My bold prediction is 6 touchdowns with Alex Smith this year. what’s yours?