Tight ends: Who's this year's Vernon Davis? 

September, 16, 2010
9/16/10
12:13
PM ET
At this time last season, fantasy football owners viewed San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis as an afterthought. In fact, he might not have been a thought at all. It's hard to believe now, but Davis was ranked 22nd among tight ends for 2009 drafts, which means he not only wasn't selected in most standard leagues, but wasn't even in that next class of sleepers to watch either. Obviously, he's immensely popular now after leading all tight ends in fantasy scoring in 2009, with 78 receptions, 965 yards and 13 touchdowns, the last statistic tying the all-time mark for the position.

Davis is a star now, but I remain flabbergasted at how quickly his situation changed. Davis scored nine touchdowns in his first three seasons, and his questionable attitude/work ethic looked closer to unemployment than the Pro Bowl. His first two weeks last season were ordinary ... then he had 96 yards and two touchdowns in Week 3, three touchdowns against the Houston Texans in Week 6, a trio of 100-yard games in the middle of the season and, ultimately, the undrafted fellow beat out Antonio Gates and Dallas Clark for fantasy points.

The tight end position is rather deep this season. After top options Clark, Gates, Jermichael Finley and Davis, as well as Brent Celek, Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez, Kellen Winslow, Chris Cooley and touchdown machine Visanthe Shiancoe (did you know he's third in receiving touchdowns at any position since 2008?), there are other names fantasy owners should learn. Hey, they could, in theory, become this year's Vernon Davis.

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