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Player Spotlight: Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers (1 Viewer)

Jason Wood

Zoo York
2013 Player Spotlight Series

One of Footballguys best assets is our message board community. The Shark Pool is, in our view, the best place on the internet to discuss, debate and analyze all things fantasy football. In what's become an annual tradition, the Player Spotlight series is a key part of the preseason efforts. As many of you know, we consider the Player Spotlight threads the permanent record for analyzing the fantasy prospects of the player in question. This year, we plan to publish more than 140 offensive spotlights covering the vast majority of expected skill position starters.

As always we will post a list of players to be discussed each week. Those threads will remain open for the entire preseason, and should be a central point to discuss expectations for the player in question. Importantly, analysis done in the first week of posting will be part of the permanent record in two ways. 1) At the end of the week, we will tally the projections into a consensus. 2) We will select a number of pull quotes from forum contributors who make a compelling statement or observation. Both the projections and pull quotes will be part of a published article on the main website.

Thread Topic: Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers

Player Page Link: Vernon Davis Player Page

Each article will include:

  • Detailed viewpoint from a Footballguys staff member
  • Highlighted member commentary from the message board threads
  • FBG Projections
  • Consensus Member Projections

The Rules

In order for this thread to provide maximum value, we ask that you follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Focus commentary on the player (or players) in question, and your expectations for said player (or players)
  • Back up your expectations in whatever manner you deem appropriate; avoid posts that simply say "I hate him" or "He's the best"
  • Avoid redundancies or ... this should be about incremental analysis or debate

While not a requirement, we strongly encourage you to provide your own projections for the player (players):

Projections should include:

  • For QBs: Attempts, Completions, Passing Yards, Passing TDs, Ints, Rush Attempts, Rush Yards, Rush TDs
  • For RBs: Rushes, Rushing Yards, Rush TDs, Receptions, Receiving Yards, Receiving TDs
  • For WRs & TEs: Receptions, Receiving Yards, Receiving TDs

Now let's get on with the conversation! We look forward to your contributions and let me offer a personal thanks in anticipation of the great debate and analysis.

 

Shutout

Footballguy
Almost impossible that he won't be bumped considerably up the draft charts now.

He CAN go on a monster tear because he has.

He CAN make you pull your hair out because he has done that too.

He's the guy you always want as a flex or 2nd guy but is always too expensive to get at that price so you are always forced to roll dice when it comes to Vernon. Because of that, I tend to pass more than roll with him because in fantasy today, if my team is right there in the hunt, I simply can't afford to put my hopes on him and try to match up with the Witten owners of the world.

 

moderated

Footballguy
Should have a huge year and be leaned on to stretch the field instead of blocking so much now that Crab is out. Will be used more like he was in 2009-2010.

65 receptions/950 yards/10 TD's

 

5Rings

Lurker
Vance was added to be the blocking TE, a role VD played more than he should have last year due to Delanies skillset.

Now you have an extra 180 targets to go around with crabs out.

Harbaugh got smart in the playoffs and split VD out more where he was a matchup nightmare. I see him being the focal point of the passing attack this year.

160 targets, 100 rec, 1200yds, 9 td.

MONSTER season

 

cheatsheetwarroom

Footballguy
Last year was a huge disappointment for Vernon. And the connection he had with Caepernick doesn't bode well for the future. But with Crabtree now out they may be forced to feature Davis once again in the passing attack. I can see a season where he puts up 900 yards and 7 TDs, similar to what he had in 2010

 

jesseasi

Footballguy
Owners who take a shot will be rewarded. Outside the big three - Graham, Gronk, Hernandez - what other TE in the league has a chance to crack the top 3? My money is going to be on Vernon Davis. He has all the physical tools and now with the injury to Crabtree - the door is wide open. We saw it the last two games of the season when Harbaugh started to split Vernon out wide as Vernon put up 11-210-1TD in the two biggest games of the year.

The 49ers also added Vance McDonald with the 55th pick overall. He will be used more as a blocker and the departure of Walker again re-asserts Vernon's position on the team as the #1 receiving threat.

So here we go. Career Numbers across the board.

89 rec, 1100 yards, 14TD! #1 TE in fantasy.

Teams will try to double him - but he is not cover-able!

 

fightingillini

Footballguy
Davis' value went up a lot with the injury to Crabtree. Can be maddening to own with his inconsistency, but we saw in 2009 how Davis can dominate. One of the few TEs that can challenge Graham and Gronkowski at the top. The issue is that his ADP should be expected to climb now that Crabtree is out.

It will be interesting to see how SF adjusts to Crabtree being out. I would suspect teams will double Davis more, since he's likely the #1 option. But Kaepernick can negate that by running the read option and forcing defenses to focus on the run.

68 rec, 900 yds, 8 TD

 

gandalas

Footballguy
Owners who take a shot will be rewarded. Outside the big three - Graham, Gronk, Hernandez - what other TE in the league has a chance to crack the top 3? My money is going to be on Vernon Davis.
How about Witten? Gonzalez? They were 1-2 last season. Kinda defeats your point, no?

I do think that Davis will do well, but expectations have to be tempered. I'll go around 60-80 catches, 700-1000 yards, 5-10 TDs. Such a large range because you never know what you will get with this guy. INCREDIBLE for a best-ball league, but frustrating in all other formats.

 

Shutout

Footballguy
Vance was added to be the blocking TE, a role VD played more than he should have last year due to Delanies skillset.Now you have an extra 180 targets to go around with crabs out.Harbaugh got smart in the playoffs and split VD out more where he was a matchup nightmare. I see him being the focal point of the passing attack this year.160 targets, 100 rec, 1200yds, 9 td.MONSTER season
Pretty lofty statline but I won't argue it because I think your other reasoning is dead on.

Once they started splitting him out it was pretty obvious it created a nightmare scenario for the defense. If you drop the added guy to cover him, Gore and Kaepernick eat you up. If you assign him on a person, he is the classic "too big for the speedy secondary and too fast for the LBers". Playing against a team like the Ravens that can both control the tempo of a game AND had an exceptional run supporter-set is the only real achilles heal to the Niners. Most weeks, they will not face off against teams that can offer those matchups.

People will say he will be doubled now but I don't think that is as easy to do as you might first think just because you do have to give so much respect to the QB and running game and in the intermediate game, Boldin can still be a factor. I really think if Manningham gets healthy or if Patton or Jenkins can establish themselves, the Niners become an extremely difficult team to contend with.

 

jesseasi

Footballguy
Owners who take a shot will be rewarded. Outside the big three - Graham, Gronk, Hernandez - what other TE in the league has a chance to crack the top 3? My money is going to be on Vernon Davis.
How about Witten? Gonzalez? They were 1-2 last season. Kinda defeats your point, no?

I do think that Davis will do well, but expectations have to be tempered. I'll go around 60-80 catches, 700-1000 yards, 5-10 TDs. Such a large range because you never know what you will get with this guy. INCREDIBLE for a best-ball league, but frustrating in all other formats.
I come from dynasty format leagues. Hard to decode my brain for redraft leagues. Either way I like the "big three" over Witten and Gonzalez. And I really like Vernon this year.

 

Coeur de Lion

Footballguy
Wow, three separate projections calling for 100 catches, 1200 yards, and 14 TDs -- guess I won't be owning Vernon Davis this year. Which is a shame, because I'm a huge fan of his game. The problem is that as good as he is as a receiver, he's actually likely even better and more valuable to the 49ers offense as a blocker. The guy is a bulldog out there. I think the people just giving Davis Crabtree's numbers (evidently on top of his own LOL) are way oversimplifying things. Boldin was added and the young guys will be further along -- Crab's production is far more likely to be spread out among a pack of guys as opposed to funneled through one player who is arguably the best blocking TE in the NFL...

 

Shutout

Footballguy
Wow, three separate projections calling for 100 catches, 1200 yards, and 14 TDs -- guess I won't be owning Vernon Davis this year. Which is a shame, because I'm a huge fan of his game. The problem is that as good as he is as a receiver, he's actually likely even better and more valuable to the 49ers offense as a blocker. The guy is a bulldog out there. I think the people just giving Davis Crabtree's numbers (evidently on top of his own LOL) are way oversimplifying things. Boldin was added and the young guys will be further along -- Crab's production is far more likely to be spread out among a pack of guys as opposed to funneled through one player who is arguably the best blocking TE in the NFL...
The thing I like in re: to the blocking is that the guy they drafted is supposed to be a pretty good blocker. (McDonald). Maybe he will absorb a lot of that.

 

CentralPA

Footballguy
Been burned by Davis, last year. Could never understand how they had a guy with such immense physical ability and he wasn't utilize in the Red Zone offense more. I was selling but now with Crabtree hurt they're pulling me back in.

78/1000/10

I'm probably not going to draft him at his current ADP but this will probably be the second year I'll have regret with Davis, only it'll be because I DIDN'T draft him. Very frustrating player.

 

mjr

Footballguy
Wow, three separate projections calling for 100 catches, 1200 yards, and 14 TDs -- guess I won't be owning Vernon Davis this year. Which is a shame, because I'm a huge fan of his game. The problem is that as good as he is as a receiver, he's actually likely even better and more valuable to the 49ers offense as a blocker. The guy is a bulldog out there. I think the people just giving Davis Crabtree's numbers (evidently on top of his own LOL) are way oversimplifying things. Boldin was added and the young guys will be further along -- Crab's production is far more likely to be spread out among a pack of guys as opposed to funneled through one player who is arguably the best blocking TE in the NFL...
The thing I like in re: to the blocking is that the guy they drafted is supposed to be a pretty good blocker. (McDonald). Maybe he will absorb a lot of that.
I've wondered how quickly McDonald would settle into that blocking role, though. He might need some time to adjust at the NFL level, which could mean Vernon comes on slow at the start of the season until McDonald settles in.

It wouldn't surprise me if Vernon's first 4 weeks or so of the season end up being a disappointment to fantasy owners who have high expectations for him. It would make him a great buy low candidate, though.

 

5Rings

Lurker
Wow, three separate projections calling for 100 catches, 1200 yards, and 14 TDs -- guess I won't be owning Vernon Davis this year. Which is a shame, because I'm a huge fan of his game. The problem is that as good as he is as a receiver, he's actually likely even better and more valuable to the 49ers offense as a blocker. The guy is a bulldog out there. I think the people just giving Davis Crabtree's numbers (evidently on top of his own LOL) are way oversimplifying things. Boldin was added and the young guys will be further along -- Crab's production is far more likely to be spread out among a pack of guys as opposed to funneled through one player who is arguably the best blocking TE in the NFL...
The thing I like in re: to the blocking is that the guy they drafted is supposed to be a pretty good blocker. (McDonald). Maybe he will absorb a lot of that.
I've wondered how quickly McDonald would settle into that blocking role, though. He might need some time to adjust at the NFL level, which could mean Vernon comes on slow at the start of the season until McDonald settles in.

It wouldn't surprise me if Vernon's first 4 weeks or so of the season end up being a disappointment to fantasy owners who have high expectations for him. It would make him a great buy low candidate, though.
I respect the thinking but disagree for the simple fact that the team can't afford to have VD block. If you keep VD in, the targets are all mediocre.

VD is the best receiving threat on the roster right now. He will be the downfield threat as well as the guy grabbing the digs and crosses. I see ol' Boldin playing more a traditional TE role and VD being the WR1.

 

We Tigers

Footballguy
Vernon Davis is about to break out. Harbaugh totally changed how he used him in the playoffs--the guy went from being a low-usage blocking TE to a superstar, putting up 292 yards and 4 TDs.

Wait a second--that was 2011.

In 2011, VD suddenly came alive as the 49ers' monster playoff playmaker, going from 11.8 YPC to 29 YPC. In 2012, VD suddenly came alive as the 49ers' monster playoff playmaker, going from 13.4 YPC to 21.2 YPC. Harbaugh seems content to unleash Davis in the playoffs and use him a key part of a conservative, run-heavy gameplan in the regular season. Vernon Davis had only 61 targets last season, and people are talking about taking him as TE5 or 6. I think he has a chance to improve back to 2011 regular season numbers with Walker gone, but that's about it. This isn't a system that uses VD like he was used in 2009, or even 2010 when he put up a very nice season of 914/7.

I can buy the optimism that with Crabtree out, Davis's prospects for 2013 have improved, but I'd have to see him splitting out wide all preseason to consider him worth his ADP. I don't think any 49ers receiver/TE will top 900 yards.

58 recs, 720 yds, 6 TDs. Perfectly fine, but nothing worth reaching for when you'll probably get very similar numbers from Olsen, Daniels, Pitta, Miller, etc. I'd start considering him at around the 10th TE off the board, much more like a 9th or 10th round pick than a 5th or 6th.

 

msudaisy26

Footballguy
Vernon Davis is about to break out. Harbaugh totally changed how he used him in the playoffs--the guy went from being a low-usage blocking TE to a superstar, putting up 292 yards and 4 TDs.

Wait a second--that was 2011.

In 2011, VD suddenly came alive as the 49ers' monster playoff playmaker, going from 11.8 YPC to 29 YPC. In 2012, VD suddenly came alive as the 49ers' monster playoff playmaker, going from 13.4 YPC to 21.2 YPC. Harbaugh seems content to unleash Davis in the playoffs and use him a key part of a conservative, run-heavy gameplan in the regular season. Vernon Davis had only 61 targets last season, and people are talking about taking him as TE5 or 6. I think he has a chance to improve back to 2011 regular season numbers with Walker gone, but that's about it. This isn't a system that uses VD like he was used in 2009, or even 2010 when he put up a very nice season of 914/7.

I can buy the optimism that with Crabtree out, Davis's prospects for 2013 have improved, but I'd have to see him splitting out wide all preseason to consider him worth his ADP. I don't think any 49ers receiver/TE will top 900 yards.

58 recs, 720 yds, 6 TDs. Perfectly fine, but nothing worth reaching for when you'll probably get very similar numbers from Olsen, Daniels, Pitta, Miller, etc. I'd start considering him at around the 10th TE off the board, much more like a 9th or 10th round pick than a 5th or 6th.
Barring injury, you will not be owning Davis in any league this year.

 

We Tigers

Footballguy
Well, yeah. In addition to putting my projection in context, that was kind of my point.

 
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JPeso

Footballguy
Hating that I don't own Davis in any leagues right now. The short-term boost is enough for me to bump him back to TE4 in dynasty.

80 catches / 1100 yards / 10 TD = 250 PPR / 15.6 PPR PPG

 

5Rings

Lurker
Vance was added to be the blocking TE, a role VD played more than he should have last year due to Delanies skillset.
Vance Mcdonald played slot WR in college. He was not added to be a blocking specialist.
From .com,McDonald will have to earn his stripes as a blocker. He is a big, broad specimen with the frame to add more size and become a potent blocker. That, coupled with his long arms (34.5”), is what drew the Niners to him as a complete tight end.
 

thecatch

Footballguy
Vance was added to be the blocking TE, a role VD played more than he should have last year due to Delanies skillset.
Vance Mcdonald played slot WR in college. He was not added to be a blocking specialist.
From .com,McDonald will have to earn his stripes as a blocker. He is a big, broad specimen with the frame to add more size and become a potent blocker. That, coupled with his long arms (34.5”), is what drew the Niners to him as a complete tight end.
All that says is that he needs to learn how to block. He's more ready to contribute as a WR at this point.

 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
It was good to see him getting targets in the playoffs (5, 6, 8) but it has to be concerning that SF just doesn't throw the ball very much and they seem to ignore him. When Kaepernick took over, I think Crabtree's targets jumped to like 11 per game while VD went down to 2.2 in the regular season. I thought people would notice this and he'd becomes cheap in 2013. Obviously that didn't work out. Now I think he's valued about right. He has to see more targets this year. My guess is somewhere around 100, but they could change their game plan up and feature him. Even at 100 targets, he's valued about right. In the past two years, only 16 TEs have seen 100+ targets. He's got the skillset to finish around TE6 with 100 targets. The only reason to call for a bump down in his ranking would be if you think he'll get less than that. 120 targets would put him in top 3 territory.

He is a guy that I won't be targeting, but he'll be on my radar. His ADP is 76, so he's going around the 7th round. If there's no one that I'm specifically targeting available (that I don't think will be around in the 8th) then I could see myself snagging him there. I wouldn't mind waiting a couple rounds to grab Olson or a couple more rounds to grab Finley. I think they'll both flirt with 100 targets as well. They just don't have the upside that he does.

110 targets x 62% = 68 rec x 13 ypr = 884 yds 8 TDs

 

meyerj31

Footballguy
Hating that I don't own Davis in any leagues right now. The short-term boost is enough for me to bump him back to TE4 in dynasty.80 catches / 1100 yards / 10 TD = 250 PPR / 15.6 PPR PPG
Feel free to share how you think he is going to get 128 targets in that offense...

... when he had 61 last year and only one of his seven seasons above 95.

.... and because Kaep's pro-rated attempts comes out to 418 per year, so 128 of those targets would be an absurd 31% target ratio (nobody was higher than 25% in the NFL in targets last year). In order for Vernon to be at the NFL max of 25% and get 128 targets, Kaep would have to throw it 500+ plus times, which is just not happening.

There is no logical basis for this post. I award you no points, and may god have mercy on your soul.

 
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FF Ninja

Footballguy
Hating that I don't own Davis in any leagues right now. The short-term boost is enough for me to bump him back to TE4 in dynasty.80 catches / 1100 yards / 10 TD = 250 PPR / 15.6 PPR PPG
Feel free to share how you think he is going to get 128 targets in that offense...

... when he had 61 last year and only one of his seven seasons above 95.

.... and because Kaep's pro-rated attempts comes out to 418 per year, so 128 of those targets would be an absurd 31% target ratio (nobody was higher than 25% in the NFL in targets last year). In order for Vernon to be at the NFL max of 25% and get 128 targets, Kaep would have to throw it 500+ plus times, which is just not happening.

There is no logical basis for this post. I award you no points, and may god have mercy on your soul.
Haha, I like that last line. While I generally agree with your sentiment here, it should be noted that Brandon Marshall got more than 25% although that is a pretty rare instance. To me what is notable is that Kaepernick kind of locked onto Crabtree when he took over. The Crabman saw his targets spike and VD saw his targets dwindle even more. If Davis can gain some chemistry with Kaepernick this year, it's possible that he locks into Davis this year. That being said, 128 targets would be the absolute peak I could imagine in this offense. I think they throw the ball around 450 times next year. Max 500. They don't have a lot of established targets here. Davis is by far the best option. But 80 rec @ 13.75 ypr and 10 TD is a pretty silly projection. Not saying it can't happen, but I'd give it a 2% chance.

 

Shutout

Footballguy
Hating that I don't own Davis in any leagues right now. The short-term boost is enough for me to bump him back to TE4 in dynasty.80 catches / 1100 yards / 10 TD = 250 PPR / 15.6 PPR PPG
Feel free to share how you think he is going to get 128 targets in that offense...

... when he had 61 last year and only one of his seven seasons above 95.

.... and because Kaep's pro-rated attempts comes out to 418 per year, so 128 of those targets would be an absurd 31% target ratio (nobody was higher than 25% in the NFL in targets last year). In order for Vernon to be at the NFL max of 25% and get 128 targets, Kaep would have to throw it 500+ plus times, which is just not happening.

There is no logical basis for this post. I award you no points, and may god have mercy on your soul.
Haha, I like that last line. While I generally agree with your sentiment here, it should be noted that Brandon Marshall got more than 25% although that is a pretty rare instance. To me what is notable is that Kaepernick kind of locked onto Crabtree when he took over. The Crabman saw his targets spike and VD saw his targets dwindle even more. If Davis can gain some chemistry with Kaepernick this year, it's possible that he locks into Davis this year. That being said, 128 targets would be the absolute peak I could imagine in this offense. I think they throw the ball around 450 times next year. Max 500. They don't have a lot of established targets here. Davis is by far the best option. But 80 rec @ 13.75 ypr and 10 TD is a pretty silly projection. Not saying it can't happen, but I'd give it a 2% chance.
I think what also makes the projection feasible is we did see, at the beginning of the year last year, that little streak where Davis looked like he was going to be a lock for top 3-4 TE and then all the change came around, etc. So, we know, obvuiously, the talent is there and we have seen that the Niners clearly CAN develop plans that revolve around him. With the injury coming so early, the Niners have plenty of time to decide whether or not they want to pursue that.

If they do decide to go that route, Vernon's ability is such that he could hit those projections in the yardage and TD lines easily even if he lowers the targets and catches by a noticeable number because he is one of those few TEs that can destroy poor or mismatched coverage and peel off a 50-60 yard TD. And when he does have those games, its usually something that comes in bunches, like when they just have one of those games where the opponents is woefully prepared for the matchup and the Niners just keep dialing his number.

As a compilation, I have to think he is almost a top 8 guarantee but wouldn't be surprised if he is top 4.

 

johnadams

Footballguy
A bit too much rosey glasses here where VD is concerned. Forget McDonald. He matters for dynasty, but for 2013 production or impact, he's a bit player at best. The one thing I saw with Harbaugh, Roman and company is they constantly adjust their gameplans to create match-up issues, even within games. I think VD is going to be a feast or famine player and finish with top 10ish numbers, but leaving anyone who overdrafted him upset (just like every year).

70 catches, 800 yds, 8 TDs.

 

KrazyKyle

Footballguy
I am quite surprised that Vernon Davis is being valued as high as he is. Depending on what site you look at, he is still the consensus TE6. While he does have a skill set that is unquestionably a top talent in the NFL, this always does not translate to fantasy production. I hear everyone’s arguments about how he will benefit greatly due to Crabtree’s injury, and obviously someone is going to have to pick up those targets. The acquisition of Anquan Boldin is a perfect replacement of Crabtree. They have a very similar skill set, neither is a burner that stretches the field, more possession guys. Anyways… back to the topic. I wanted to look into how Davis faired as Kap took over and stormed the league. For fantasy purposes I am looking at weeks 10-16, the playoffs are another story, which I will not overlook and talk about later. Davis’ production once Kap took over needs to be looked at and cannot be ignored.

Weeks 10-16 Davis had 15 receptions on 23 targets. One touchdown and 169 yards. In those weeks, he averaged 3.2 fantasy points per game. The last 5 weeks of the regular season he finished as, wait for it, TE#49! This is dead last out of tight ends who played in the last 5 weeks. Finishing behind guys named, Leonard Pope, Luke Stocker, Lee Smith, and my favorite Michael Hoomanawanui! Once again, do not ignore these stats.

I understand he was awesome during the playoffs, for 2 games anyway. We also saw that in 2011 playoffs. He does have a great opportunity if Kap decides to go his way more often, but what if he doesn’t? SanFran is still a run orientated offense in a division that is a known for defense, not shootouts with super high scoring. While there are many different tangents to go off on, my main believe is that Vernon Davis’ value is way way too high. At the draft position he is going right now, I guarantee he will not be owned on a single one of my teams.

Projected 55/620/4

 

jesseasi

Footballguy
I am quite surprised that Vernon Davis is being valued as high as he is. Depending on what site you look at, he is still the consensus TE6. While he does have a skill set that is unquestionably a top talent in the NFL, this always does not translate to fantasy production. I hear everyone’s arguments about how he will benefit greatly due to Crabtree’s injury, and obviously someone is going to have to pick up those targets. The acquisition of Anquan Boldin is a perfect replacement of Crabtree. They have a very similar skill set, neither is a burner that stretches the field, more possession guys. Anyways… back to the topic. I wanted to look into how Davis faired as Kap took over and stormed the league. For fantasy purposes I am looking at weeks 10-16, the playoffs are another story, which I will not overlook and talk about later. Davis’ production once Kap took over needs to be looked at and cannot be ignored.

Weeks 10-16 Davis had 15 receptions on 23 targets. One touchdown and 169 yards. In those weeks, he averaged 3.2 fantasy points per game. The last 5 weeks of the regular season he finished as, wait for it, TE#49! This is dead last out of tight ends who played in the last 5 weeks. Finishing behind guys named, Leonard Pope, Luke Stocker, Lee Smith, and my favorite Michael Hoomanawanui! Once again, do not ignore these stats.

I understand he was awesome during the playoffs, for 2 games anyway. We also saw that in 2011 playoffs. He does have a great opportunity if Kap decides to go his way more often, but what if he doesn’t? SanFran is still a run orientated offense in a division that is a known for defense, not shootouts with super high scoring. While there are many different tangents to go off on, my main believe is that Vernon Davis’ value is way way too high. At the draft position he is going right now, I guarantee he will not be owned on a single one of my teams.

Projected 55/620/4
Just my two cents - but that projection is silly low. Before Kapernick came in to be the starting QB - Davis was off to a good start on the year. As a first time starter - it is not unreasonable to think that Kapernick focused in on Crabtree and turned a total disappointment into a super star.

With Davis we already have a history of potential performance.

2009 - #1 TE

2010 - #3 TE

2011 - #8 TE

2012 - #15 TE with that horrible 7 game streak

I don't think it is taking any leap of faith to predict Vernon can return as a top 3 TE in fantasy. If I can't get my hands on Gronk / Graham / Hernandez - I think it is even money to bet on Vernon over the likes of Gonzalez, Witten, Pitta, etc.

The upside of Vernon is to be the #1 TE in football this year. The down side is no worse than top 10. That is my opinion. I am very happy to take Vernon and start him with confidence. The stars are aligned.

 

Coeur de Lion

Footballguy
The projection you're referencing might be low, but it's nowhere near as ridiculous as a top-3 projection or saying VD can be TE1 in 2013. Davis is a great NFL player, no doubt. But he's vastly underperformed as a fantasy TE. His yardage and TDs have both declined three years in a row. That's really bad re: his chance at elite numbers in 2013. He plays in one of the most run heavy offenses in the NFL and his team likely has the best defense in the league. That's worse. He was TE40 (!!!) in PPG with Kaepernick under center last year. That's not just bad -- it's abominable. He has a much greater chance of not finishing as a TE1 than he does of finishing in the top 3. The chances of him beating out Gronk or Graham to finish TE1 are laughably bad. He might have the talent to do so, but not the team, system, or QB to even come close.

 
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Tanner9919

Footballguy
Owners who take a shot will be rewarded. Outside the big three - Graham, Gronk, Hernandez - what other TE in the league has a chance to crack the top 3? My money is going to be on Vernon Davis. He has all the physical tools and now with the injury to Crabtree - the door is wide open. We saw it the last two games of the season when Harbaugh started to split Vernon out wide as Vernon put up 11-210-1TD in the two biggest games of the year.

The 49ers also added Vance McDonald with the 55th pick overall. He will be used more as a blocker and the departure of Walker again re-asserts Vernon's position on the team as the #1 receiving threat.

So here we go. Career Numbers across the board.

89 rec, 1100 yards, 14TD! #1 TE in fantasy.

Teams will try to double him - but he is not cover-able!
Hernandez is nowhere near 'the Big Two'..he's not even on the next tier below..he's career a middle of the road TE..i.e., nothing special.

Witten,Graham, Gonzalez - Gronk is out till mid-september, at best..

I agree with others, Davis is in for a huge year..the way he was used in the post season , 12/254/1 - an eyepopping 21.2 ypc, bodes well for him this season...

 

Clutchfanatic

Footballguy
This is worth noting in my opinion.

"Vernon Davis practiced exclusively with the wide receivers during 49ers minicamp.

With Michael Crabtree (Achilles') out, Anquan Boldin only capable of playing the slot and a host of question marks battling for the X receiver spot, we knew Davis was going to have a big role in the passing game. By learning the wide receiver positions, he'll have more scheme versatility come Sundays. Davis can line up as an in-line tight end, a move tight end, in the slot and out wide. The 49ers' dominant offensive line frees him from too many blocking responsibilities. They're going to be a run-heavy team, but when they pass we expect Davis to be featured heavily."

 

Shutout

Footballguy
The stars certainly seem to be aligning. It seems as if the Niners immediately reacted to the Crabtree injury by saying "forget trying to trade for a guy or wait for a body to be cut in camp, etc...we are going to start right now, in June, and start practicing what we are going to do."

I agree completely with the above mentioning that Boldin is slot material and little else. That little tear he went on at the tail-end of last year was like a star going super nova before it fizzles; it happens in fantasy sometimes. The perfect alignment of scenarios and for a 4-6 week stretch, you see guys look unstoppable. Boldin has been better over his career than most guys that have fit that scenario in the past, but in watching him throughout the vast majority of the season, he really looked like a guy that Father Time had caught up to.

If I were speculating, I would lean more towards the idea that Boldin was one of those guys that just found that BRIEF second wind last year, as an aging player that saw he had a small, small window of opportunity left in him to get a ring and he went all out.. Maybe he got caught up in Ray Ray or whatever but the point is I don't see him being able to even pretend to sustain that stretch this year. I think the Ravens letting him go, despite having obvious needs, justifies that statement and I think the Niners are correct to already be pushing him into the slot and placing Vernon anywhere and everywhere.

This will be a big, big year for Davis. Gronk and Graham are the studs of the world. Witten, Gonzo and Hernandez are the guys that can breathe the Super 2's air if everything falls right. But Davis against the rest of the field, is easily the one TE you can get and say "With just a little luck, the talent is there to where Davis can be a top 3-4 difference maker for me." I think he does that this year because if the Niners live up to what I think we all expect them to be and are a top 3-4 NFL team, there almost has to be at least 2-3 games where it will be Davis posting some gaudy stat lines (like 8-146-2 kind of days). They are going to need that at times and he has the talent that suggests that, against the right opponents, there are certain opponents that have no answer for him.

 

5Rings

Lurker
The projection you're referencing might be low, but it's nowhere near as ridiculous as a top-3 projection or saying VD can be TE1 in 2013. Davis is a great NFL player, no doubt. But he's vastly underperformed as a fantasy TE. His yardage and TDs have both declined three years in a row. That's really bad re: his chance at elite numbers in 2013. He plays in one of the most run heavy offenses in the NFL and his team likely has the best defense in the league. That's worse. He was TE40 (!!!) in PPG with Kaepernick under center last year. That's not just bad -- it's abominable. He has a much greater chance of not finishing as a TE1 than he does of finishing in the top 3. The chances of him beating out Gronk or Graham to finish TE1 are laughably bad. He might have the talent to do so, but not the team, system, or QB to even come close.
I think you are one of the sharper posters here. However, I think your post shows a lack of understanding of the 49er offense and lack of knowledge how historically Harbaugh has played to the talents of his players. It will be fun to revisit this topic at a later date. :hifive:

 
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drummer

Footballguy
The projection you're referencing might be low, but it's nowhere near as ridiculous as a top-3 projection or saying VD can be TE1 in 2013. Davis is a great NFL player, no doubt. But he's vastly underperformed as a fantasy TE. His yardage and TDs have both declined three years in a row. That's really bad re: his chance at elite numbers in 2013. He plays in one of the most run heavy offenses in the NFL and his team likely has the best defense in the league. That's worse. He was TE40 (!!!) in PPG with Kaepernick under center last year. That's not just bad -- it's abominable. He has a much greater chance of not finishing as a TE1 than he does of finishing in the top 3. The chances of him beating out Gronk or Graham to finish TE1 are laughably bad. He might have the talent to do so, but not the team, system, or QB to even come close.
I think you are one of the sharper posters here. However, I think your post shows a lack of understanding of the 49er offense and lack of knowledge how historically Harbaugh has played to the talents of his players. It will be fun to revisit this topic at a later date. :hifive:
I dunno, it's hard to figure Davis every season because even in this offense, he still isn't utilized to his potential. Some games he is a decoy, some games he has a big one. But it's still inconsistent as far as he being a primary target, and with the lack of real studs in the WR corp, he could be focused on more from the opposing defenses to shut him out of plays.

 

5Rings

Lurker
The projection you're referencing might be low, but it's nowhere near as ridiculous as a top-3 projection or saying VD can be TE1 in 2013. Davis is a great NFL player, no doubt. But he's vastly underperformed as a fantasy TE. His yardage and TDs have both declined three years in a row. That's really bad re: his chance at elite numbers in 2013. He plays in one of the most run heavy offenses in the NFL and his team likely has the best defense in the league. That's worse. He was TE40 (!!!) in PPG with Kaepernick under center last year. That's not just bad -- it's abominable. He has a much greater chance of not finishing as a TE1 than he does of finishing in the top 3. The chances of him beating out Gronk or Graham to finish TE1 are laughably bad. He might have the talent to do so, but not the team, system, or QB to even come close.
I think you are one of the sharper posters here. However, I think your post shows a lack of understanding of the 49er offense and lack of knowledge how historically Harbaugh has played to the talents of his players. It will be fun to revisit this topic at a later date. :hifive:
I dunno, it's hard to figure Davis every season because even in this offense, he still isn't utilized to his potential. Some games he is a decoy, some games he has a big one. But it's still inconsistent as far as he being a primary target, and with the lack of real studs in the WR corp, he could be focused on more from the opposing defenses to shut him out of plays.
I could be wrong and CDL is spot on....and that is the beauty of this, but Harbaugh knows VD is the best receiving threat and IMO will highlight him this year as the focal point of the offense. VD spent all of last camp with the WRs. :shrug: We shall see.

 

Coeur de Lion

Footballguy
The projection you're referencing might be low, but it's nowhere near as ridiculous as a top-3 projection or saying VD can be TE1 in 2013. Davis is a great NFL player, no doubt. But he's vastly underperformed as a fantasy TE. His yardage and TDs have both declined three years in a row. That's really bad re: his chance at elite numbers in 2013. He plays in one of the most run heavy offenses in the NFL and his team likely has the best defense in the league. That's worse. He was TE40 (!!!) in PPG with Kaepernick under center last year. That's not just bad -- it's abominable. He has a much greater chance of not finishing as a TE1 than he does of finishing in the top 3. The chances of him beating out Gronk or Graham to finish TE1 are laughably bad. He might have the talent to do so, but not the team, system, or QB to even come close.
I think you are one of the sharper posters here. However, I think your post shows a lack of understanding of the 49er offense and lack of knowledge how historically Harbaugh has played to the talents of his players. It will be fun to revisit this topic at a later date. :hifive:
The 49ers have made the final four and the final two the past two years by taking the air out of the ball and playing fantastic defense (bottom 2 in pass attempts in 2011 & 2012). If it ain't broke...

As I said earlier, I love Vernon Davis as an NFL player. I just don't see him competing FF-wise with the guys who are featured in top passing offenses and catching passes from HOF level QBs. Even if VD gets a bigger piece of the SF pie this year, that pie is so much smaller than the ones in NO or NE.

 

SaintsInDome2006

Footballguy
What are the 9ers practically looking at at WR?

Boldin

Kyle Williams

Patton

Manningham (?)

Jenkins

Is Davis going to be a WR this year for all intents and purposes?

 
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3optic

Footballguy
Important to note (apologies if this was already touched upon) Davis is primarily used in the running game due to his superior blocking. Secondly, Kaepernick showed an inability to progress through his reads (He was effectively a rookie last year) leading to a tendency to focus on Crabtree.

Davis could very well be Kaepernick's first read this season, and furthermore he may well improve at going through his progressions. The coaching staff is most likely having him work on this and he has shown to be a quick study in some respects.

9ers offense this year will be fluid in it's game plan I believe, depending on the matchup. It's how Greg Roman rolls and could never be more true now that Mangini has been brought in to help scout opposing Ds.

I'm guessing Davis will have a strong, possibly even top 5 year but that it may be maddeningly hard to predict when he goes off.

 
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TheDirtyWord

Footballguy
Davis might be the most perplexing player in the NFL to try and figure. This is no secret – blessed with an unmatched physical skillset that also comes along with fantastic intangibles, Davis is so incredibly well respected in the amongst his peers that despite piddling statistical production, NFL players still rated him in the Top 40 if all NFL players.

Year after year, FF owners fall in love with Davis’s situation and skillset enough for him to become a disappointment come October/November because he didn’t provide corresponding draft position value. Now, presented with yet another situation in which Davis should be earmarked for a huge jump in production due to 1) an injury to Michael Crabtree and 2) what seemed to be a clicking between Davis and Colin Kaepernick in the 2012 playoffs, should owners buy-in…again?

I’m going to go with a soft yes and not a HELLYEAH!

What I think is important in evaluating Davis’ 2013 prospects is to regard him with as much of a fresh slate as you can but recognize that only recently has he held the title of disappointing FF contributor. In 2009-2010, Davis emerged as a significant force at TE averaging 67/934/10, numbers that look similar to Jimmy Graham’s 2012 production (85/982/9). While Graham obviously showed greater in the reception department, it goes to show you that Davis’ ability to be a downfield threat during that timeframe was significant (13.9 YPR). The interesting thing about Davis is that while his YPR declined 1.5 yards to 12.4 over that last 2 years the 49ers have been coached by Harbaugh, take a look at these Yards/Target numbers.

2009-2010: 8.46
2011-2012: 8.58


It stands to reason that while Davis was perhaps underutilized and not leveraged in a prolific manner, he still was a very efficient weapon for the 49ers when he was used. Does this include his time with a QB no longer on the roster? Yes. While many are pointing to Kaepernick’s difficulty getting on the same page as Davis, it’s interesting to note that Davis’ YPT once Kaepernick was the starter (starting @ the Bears game) was 10.47.

I get it…small sample size and also a sample size that neglects to show that Davis was largely unproductive during this time (until the playoffs). But here is what you need to understand about the 49ers passing game with Kaepernick at the controls in 2012. 36.6% of Kaepernick’s passing yards came via completions to Crabtree. To give you an idea of the tunnel vision there, 38.2% of the Lions passing yardage came via completion to Megatron.

So without that weapon (Crabtree) in the line-up for what amounts to the entire FF season, it’s fair to say that the Niners passing game is going to have to transition accordingly. I don’t expect Davis to account for that high a percentage of yardage, but I also know that the 49ers WR depth chart reads Anquan Boldin and then a host of unproven options.

The one thing Crabtree’s injury does do is to ensure the Niners stay a run-first team. With Crabtree, a subliminal shift to a more passing centric approach, or at least QB centric approach, could have taken hold. Despite Kaepernick’s meteoric rise to stardom, he averaged 17 completions/game. A prorated 16 game number of 272 would have placed Kaepernick 23rd in the NFL in 2012.

So from my vantage point, there is a ceiling for Davis that isn’t in the Jimmy Graham category. But I think his floor is fairly high…I don’t think there is much of a chance that Davis falls outside the Top 5 TE’s in 2013 unless an injury hits either Davis or Kaepernick. Because of Davis’ unique downfield ability he doesn’t need 90-100 receptions to hit 1000 yards, but because of the Niners reliance on the run, even with Crabtree out, those reception numbers are off the table as well.

For those owners hoping to scoop up some value in the 5th round with Davis and thinking that Davis could enter into a holy trinity of TE production with Graham/Gronk…I feel that is unlikely. But with other TE options like Gonzo/Witten going around the same timeframe as Davis, the specter of disappointment so long as appropriate expectations are attached to his 2013 season, should be eliminated as well.

Prediction: 74 Receptions, 1010 Receiving Yards, 10 TD’s

 

We Tigers

Footballguy
TheDirtyWord said:
Prediction: 74 Receptions, 1010 Receiving Yards, 10 TDs
That projection was quite a shocker at the end of your write up. It read more like a 65/850/7 than Unquestioned TE2 easily worth a 3rd round pick by VBD. Those would be good for TE1 three of the past five years, and TE2 and TE3 the other two...
 
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TheDirtyWord

Footballguy
TheDirtyWord said:
Prediction: 74 Receptions, 1010 Receiving Yards, 10 TDs
That projection was quite a shocker at the end of your write up. It read more like a 65/850/7 than Unquestioned TE2 easily worth a 3rd round pick by VBD. Those would be good for TE1 three of the past five years, and TE2 and TE3 the other two...
Graham & Gronk when healthy are certain 2nd rounders. There are circumstances around each currently that explain there respective draft values.

Graham: Payton gone and dealt with injury. Top line production can be 1200-1300/10.

Gronk: Injury concerns and Week 1 availability but per game production is astronomical.

Both have HOF caliber QB's throwing them the ball and are clearly centerpices of their respective offenses.

So with Davis, there are some variables that have people questioning if he's worth a higher draft value. Currently he's sliding in between Witten & Gonzo. Those two TE's combined averaged a 101/985/5 line. It's debatable as to whether folks believe they can equal these numbers, but from a yardage perspective they seem similar. The difference obviously is in the TD projection.

In projecting Davis as a Top 5 TE, his draft position at this time still seems to be a reflection of the recent FF Community distrust of Davis given his anemic production with Kaepernick once he took over and an overall perception that even with his prodigious skillset, Davis has been an underwhelming performer for the most part. Both are valid concerns.

In putting a projection out there of 74/1010/10 out there, what we don't put out there is a degree of confidence. As I mentioned earlier in the projection, I gave Davis a soft yes. There are guys I'm high where I would use a 3rd round pick and I'm more confident in taking them there (Lamar Miller for instance)

In looking at the raw data, my projection seems reasonable. But if these numbers project to 3rd round value...would I draft Davis before Roddy White? Larry Fitzgerald? Randall Cobb? Even guys like Darren Sproles and David Wilson seem like surer bets given their situation. Davis has seemed to have a great situation previous years and it hasn't panned out. While I think SF doesn't have an option other than to make Davis the centerpiece of their passing game, his talent would seem to suggest that could have been the case every year up until now as well to varying degrees.

Now with that said, at his current draft position, I don't think there is a much of a chance he underperforms it so there does seem to exist some safety with Davis this year.

 

We Tigers

Footballguy
Fair enough. I read your soft yes as something that would be reflected in the stat projection, but understanding it as more of a confidence level puts it in the appropriate context.

 

5Rings

Lurker
Vernon Davis continues to take reps with the wide receivers during 49ers camp.
Davis exclusively practiced with the wideouts at June minicamp. It wasn't a one-week experiment, as he's been splitting time between receiver and tight end over the past few days. With Michael Crabtree (Achilles') down, Davis' role in the passing game is going to increase. "I see a lot of improvement, in his ability as a football player, his route-running," coach Jim Harbaugh said. "He looks really good, in the prime of his career." Davis will play all over the field and is a good bet to lead San Francisco in receiving this season.

 

Grahamburn

Footballguy
Are we still feeling giddy about Vernon? He seems like the one guy who could challenge Jimmy Graham for TE1 status if the speculation on his usage is accurate. He could be the centerpiece of a dominant fantasy roster if he pans out this season. All he needs is the targets.

I'd like to see him actually lining up at WR or in the slot this week.

 

silentcoach

Footballguy
it's all speculation. He has the talent, but will he be given the opportunity?

Opportunity being defined as targets.

His last 6 regular season game targets (not counting week 17) - 1, 3 ,2 ,3, 1, 8.

Yeah, that won't cut it.

The loss of Crabtree should help Crabtree but we do not yet know how, specifically, that will translate in terms of targets, etc.

 
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JustinHawkins

Footballguy
He should have hs career year based on qb play and need in he passing game. Just traded for him in a PPR dynasty for Jon Baldwin and a VERY LATE 2014 1st rounder.

 

tsarc888

Footballguy
CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco describes Colin Kaepernick's training camp chemistry with Vernon Davis as "seemingly unstoppable."
We've read reports of Davis and Kaepernick's impressive rapport throughout August, carrying over from January's playoffs. "Last year when he first got the starting job, we'd be at practice and he'd keep overthrowing me," Davis described. "I'd be running as fast as I possibly could and Colin just kept overthrowing me. Now we get out there and it's night and day. He puts the ball right there. Man, he's come a long way. I'm very impressed."
 

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