NFL Fantasy Football
Saturday October 20th,
2007 - Page updated at 8:00 am
Fantasy Football: That's Tight
NFL Fantasy Football
Who the hell is Owen Daniels?
That was the question I asked myself three weeks ago. Sure, I'd heard that the Houston Texans had a tight end who was quietly turning into Matt Schaub's favorite target. But, it was only after some serious statistical research that I realized how much Schaub liked the guy.
The Daniels File
(ranking amongst TEs in parentheses)
Those are fairly big numbers for an unheralded 4th-rounder
from Wisconsin who started his Badger career as a
redshirt QB. But after making Pro Football Weekly's
2006 NFL All-Rookie Team last season, Daniels has
quietly emerged as one of the elite fantasy TEs for
Consider the following:
- He's had more catches than Dallas Clark, Jeremy
Shockey and Todd Heap
- He's averaging more yards per game than Heath
Miller, Ben Watson and Alge Crumpler
- His 75.9 first-down percentage (22 of his 29
catches moved the chains) is higher than that of
Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez and
Daniels has survived the dreaded sophomore slump
and a QB change (he spent last season dealing with
the David Carr-Sage Rosenfels experience) to emerge
as the Texans' leading receiver. And, he's on pace
for a staggering 77 receptions for 992 yards.
"We have a good connection there," Schaub
told HoustonTexans.com after Houston's Week 5 win
over Miami. "Owen always runs great routes.
I'm very confident in getting the ball to Owen."
While his lack of touchdowns (he hasn't found the
end zone in 2007) is somewhat troublesome, fantasy
players in points-per-receptions leagues should be
thrilled if Daniels is still available on the waiver
wire. He's caught at least five passes over the last
five games and has blossomed while receivers Andre
Johnson and Jacoby Jones remained shelved with knee
and shoulder injuries respectively.
Given the strong connection he's made with Schaub,
there's no reason to think that his touches will
decrease when the pair gets healthy.
So, who are some of the other sleeper tight ends
making noise this year?
Jeff King, Carolina
King has emerged as the Panthers' second-leading
receiver behind Steve Smith.
While he's now viewed as a somewhat dicey play due
to Carolina's lack of stability at QB, King was still
targeted a few times by Vinny Testaverde and caught
two passes. Not huge numbers by any stretch, but
a good indication he won't be forgotten in the Panthers'
His numbers thus far - 18 receptions for 189 yards
- are more than enough evidence to suggest he'll
remain a target, regardless of who's behind center.
Greg Olsen, Chicago
An early-season knee injury and a possible timeshare
with incumbent starter Desmond Clark scared away
many potential Olsen owners, so if he's still available,
grab him now.
In his first meaningful action last weekend, Olsen
caught four passes for 57 yards, including a 19-yard
He's got a remarkable blend of speed and athleticism
(being 6 feet 5 inches amd 252 pounds doesn't hurt
either) and has the ability to line up as a receiver
in various offensive sets.
Eric Johnson, New Orleans
After the emergence of Vernon Davis last year, Johnson
was junked by the 49ers, who apparently forgot his
82-catch, 825-yard campaign in 2004.
While injuries will probably keep him from ever
hitting those totals again, Johnson has looked much
like his old self in New Orleans.
He's become a reliable target for Drew Brees, catching
23 passes (tied for seventh with Jeremy Shockey)
including his first TD of the season on Sunday against
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