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Second Year Tight End Fantasy Prospects
Shawn Zobel
August 12, 2009
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Other 2nd Year Players: Running Backs  |  Wide Receivers  |  Tight Ends

The tight ends in the 2008, while talented, also lacked the true playmakers like the receiver position did. Both Dustin Keller and John Carlson were the most productive tight ends for fantasy purposes last season and appear to be on track to have another good year in 2009. Here are the players that appear to have good careers in their future.

Dustin Keller (No. 30 overall) – New York Jets

Dustin Keller emerged as quarterback Brett Favre’s safety net in 2008, and while Favre is gone and quarterback Mark Sanchez enters the mix, there is always one thing that a rookie quarterback loves to have, and that’s a reliable option in the middle of the field. Keller caught 48 passes for 535 yards and three touchdowns last year. While having a rookie quarterback could take result in lower stats this season, investing in Keller and his combination with Sanchez could be something worth looking into for fantasy owners. An extremely athletic player who lit up the Combine before the 2008 draft, Keller is New York’s most consistent and reliable option in passing game despite being a second-year tight end. Keller’s career has a bright future, no matter who is at the quarterback position.

John Carlson (No. 38 overall) – Seattle Seahawks

With the injury-prone receiving core of the Seattle Seahawks in 2008, John Carlson was forced to develop more quickly than expected and he ended up being the team’s most reliable option in the middle of the field. With 55 receptions for 627 yards and five touchdowns, Carlson proved that he had no trouble making the jump from college to the pros. With a healthy offense in 2009, the Seahawks appear ready to challenge the Cardinals in the NFC West. With the receiving core healthy, and with T.J. Houshmandzadeh on one side of the field, the coverage should be drawn more towards the Pro Bowl receiver than towards the second-year tight end. Like Keller, Carlson’s career has a good looking future.

Fred Davis (No. 48 overall) – Washington Redskins

In 2008 the Redskins invested three second-round picks in receiving options for the passing game, and thus far, only one of them has panned out. While Malcolm Kelly can blame injuries, Davis wasn’t able to emerge from behind Chris Cooley last season. He caught just three passes for 27 yards this past season. He played in 11 games and started two of them, which makes you question if the Redskins haven’t used Davis the right way, or whether he just hasn’t figured out how to the next level yet. Either way, Davis has high upside and his potential is large. If he can develop, the Redskins could have something with him; it just may take a few years to find it.

Martellus Bennett (No. 61 overall) – Dallas Cowboys

The athletic specimen from Texas A&M, Martellus Bennett’s upside may be the highest among all of the tight ends from 2008. The Cowboys have seen the potential that Bennett has, and they plan to feature him in more packages and formations in 2009. While he caught just 20 passes for 283 yards and four touchdowns last season, Dallas has said that they want to get Bennett on the field in hopes that he can show off his playmaking ability and give the Cowboys the top 1-2 punch of tight ends in the league. Bennett is the future at the tight end position for the Cowboys. His development may be slower than some would like, but with how high his upside is, it’ll be worth the wait.

Martin Rucker (No. 111 overall) – Cleveland Browns

This offseason the Browns unloaded tight end Kellen Winslow to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Having drafted Martin Rucker in the fourth round in 2008, the Browns knew that they had a young player who could develop and become the future at the tight end position for them. Rucker was a very productive player with the Tigers, and while he only caught two passes for 17 yards last year, he didn’t have much of an opportunity between his knee injury, and being stuck behind Winslow on the depth chart. Rucker has the talent to play, it’s just a question of how fast he’s been able to adapt from the spread offense that he played in college to the pro-style offense he’s playing in now with the Browns. If he gets a chance, Rucker could be a nice player for Cleveland.

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