Expect Repeat Numbers from Vernon Davis


By Vidur Malik

One of the biggest pleasant surprises on my fantasy team last year came in the form of Vernon Davis’s monster season. Honestly, I drafted him out of loyalty. He showed signs of being a big part of the offense, but his stats were sub-par, and everyone began to wonder whether he would live up to the expectations that come with being a high-first round pick. As a 49ers fan, I figured I would take him and hope that he could produce.

I didn’t expect him to grab 13 touchdowns and be a consistent source of points. While the quarterback position continued to be a source of controversy and inconsistency and Michael Crabtree held out and missed the beginning of the season, Davis became a reliable target for Shaun Hill and Alex Smith, and after seeing coach Mike Singletary banish him from the field and the sideline during a game in the 2008 season, it was good to see Davis post elite-level numbers.

Davis should put up similar numbers next year, and exceed them if the team can get a sense of consistency, and stay healthy. If the team puts some faith in Alex Smith and gives him control over the offense, that would accomplish a lot in terms of team chemistry and continuity. With offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye coming back, Smith can be coached by a familiar face, something he hasn’t been able to do his whole career. A boost in Smith’s production should also increase Davis’s numbers.

Added and returning weapons should also help the offense, and free up Davis for more looks. With Crabtree coming back for a second season, and his first full season with training camp, preseason, and a full 16 games, he should only improve upon his solid rookie season, in which he established himself as a target. Frank Gore has been a top-tier running back and pass catcher out of the backfield, and backup Glen Coffee shows promise. If rookies Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati can beef up the offensive line, Smith should have more time to look down the field, and Gore and Coffee should be able to run wild against the NFC West. On the other side of the football, Patrick Willis leads an up-and-coming defense with an improving secondary and consistent pass-rushers, which should produce more three-and-outs and turnovers to get the offense on the field.

Davis should be able to pick up where he left off in 2009, and continue to be a top-level fantasy tight end. If the quarterback question is finally answered, and players around him continue to improve, Davis should be a great pick. I wish I could say I drafted him last year because I knew he would have a big year, but any owner who uses a pick on Davis this summer should do it with the belief that he will gain 800+ yards and put up another double-digit touchdown year.


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