For those who owned and started Vernon Davis as their regular starter last year at the tight end position each week in Fantasy Football had an interesting season. When Alex Smith was the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback, those owners were happy as he was Smith’s preferred No. 1 target.
When Colin Kaepernick too over as the the starting quarterback, the number of targets and receptions for Davis dropped dramatically, and therefore, his fantasy football value for the upcoming 2013 season appeared to be very low as Michael Crabtree was the newly established preferred target.
That said, two factors have gone a long way to reestablish Davis as a valuable option for fantasy owners to draft for the tight end position. The first is that during the 2012 Playoffs, Davis was once again a legitimate target as he and Kaepernick connected on 12 receptions for 254 yards and one touchdown reception. Second, Michael Crabtree’s torn Achilles tendon injury means that Davis, once again, becomes Kaepernick’s first option, or at the very least option 1A.
Coming into the the offseason, I would have argued that Davis was and should be ranked at best as either the eight or ninth ranked tight end for fantasy football drafts. But after Crabtree’s injury, Davis should be considered as either the fourth or fifth ranked tight end for drafting purposes.
Currently on ESPN’s 2013 Fantasy Football rankings for tight ends, Davis is ranked fifth. Having Davis ranked at No. 5 is fair and accurate. He will not be targeted as much or potentially get as many receptions like Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez or Jason Witten. That said, I do expect for Davis to end up with about 65-75 receptions and about 800-900 yards with eight touchdowns.
The reason to expect good things from Davis is because he will have had time to develop a rapport with Kaepernick. As the 2012 playoff run demonstrated, as teams began to double or bracket Crabtree, Davis found himself targeted more.
While Crabtree will not be there, the fact that Anquan Boldin and the other 49ers wide receivers look set to set up and fill some of the void from Crabtree’s injury, this should not deter anybody from drafting Davis. If anything, this will mean that those who draft Davis to are set to get good value drafting a top-five tight end.