Analyzing Fred Davis’ Fantasy Value For 2012
Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis had the best season of his career in 2011, with 59 receptions for 796 yards and three touchdowns. That is even more impressive when you consider he played just 12 games, due to a four-game suspension to end the season after reportedly violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
The Redskins upgraded their offense this offseason, at least in theory, by drafting quarterback Robert Griffin III and signing wide receivers Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan in free agency. That should benefit everyone involved, and Davis could himself be a valuable security blanket for RG3 as he gets his feet wet in the NFL. Chris Cooley does present some competition to be Washington’s starting tight end, but his injury history stands to give Davis the inside track to a significant role this season.
Davis should also be motivated to prove he is worthy of a multi-year contract this season, as Washington placed the franchise tag on him this offseason and he has signed his one-year tender for $5.4 million. The Redskins’ hesitancy, despite some recent reports they have reached out to him, to give Davis a long-term deal reflects the risk fantasy owners need to be aware of, as another positive drug test would lead to a one-year suspension.
Despite the potential downside if he has another off the field indiscretion, Davis still is worth considering as a low-end TE1 with upside in most fantasy formats. Fantasy owners certainly want him to score more touchdowns since he has just six scores over the past two seasons, but more red zone looks along with a nice catch total is definitely possible if Washington’s offense shows improvement this season.
It’s dangerous to just blindly project Davis’ 2011 numbers over 16 games when attempting to predict his 2012 production, but I still project him to have 70 receptions for 880 yards and at least a handful of touchdowns with some room for bigger numbers if things break right. That is more than enough to make him a nice draft day target for owners who don’t want to spend a high draft pick or a lot of auction dollars on one of the top tier tight ends.