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Sleeper Spotlight: Chicago Bears

As part of the premium content package, we’re not only releasing exclusive team capsules (complete with commentary), but also focusing on one sleeper from all 32 teams in the NFL.

These sleepers all have varying levels of “sleeperness,” but all merit a little more talking about than we had room for in the dynasty capsules for each team. Some of these players are deep dynasty sleepers who could merit a spot on your bench in a deep league, while others are players who may contribute a little faster than the deep prospects, but deserve more attention than they may be getting. By definition, a sleeper could mean something a little different to everyone, but we’re simply doing the best job we can to unearth one player from each team who fits the category in some way, shape or form.

We’ll just never insult you with a comprehensive list of “sleepers” that includes such names as Demaryius Thomas, Ryan Mathews or even someone like Stevan Ridley. You’re all too good for that.

While many of these players will undoubtedly fizzle, we figure there’s value in looking more closely at these deeper prospects and players. We invite you to keep an open mind and even re-assess your value on those who may be rostered in your league. You may even consider adding a few of these deeper prospects we focus on this Summer who are free agents in your league – after all, some are destined to pan out, too.

Kellen Davis, TE CHI
Age: 26 (10/11/85)

Since the surprising departure of Greg Olsen, the Bears have yet to replace the production lost from the tight end position.  Could Kellen Davis be the answer in 2012?

The Bears have added new pieces to the offense in an attempt to bolster their 26th ranked passing offense.  It’s no secret that the run game, even without Matt Forte currently in camp, will continue to be relied upon and the addition of greater receiving threats will provide a more balanced offensive attack.  Even with the addition of Brandon Marshall and higher profile rookie Alshon Jeffery, we believe Kellen Davis may be the biggest beneficiary of this new focus.  Davis is capable in both phases of the tight end game, as an in-line blocker and as a receiver, and quarterback Jay Cutler has already shown a willingness to look Davis’ way when in the red zone.  It’s between the twenties where we feel Davis can expand his production.

The mammoth-sized Davis, 6’7″ and 267 pounds, re-signed in Chicago for two years and $6M after being courted by the Dallas Cowboys this past off-season.  The fifth year tight end hasn’t shown the athleticism expected thus far in his NFL career, but playing in Mike Martz’ invisible tight end system will squelch the production of the most of gifted athletes in the position.  Martz is now gone from Chicago, replaced by Mike Tice as offensive coordinator (a former tight end himself) and Jay Cutler’s old quarterback coach from Denver, Jeremy Bates.  In Denver’s systems during that period of time, the tight end was a productive receiving threat producing upwards of 70+ receptions.

For Davis, 2012 is a make or break year.  He sits easily alone atop the depth chart with blocking specialist Matt Spaeth, sophmore Kyle Adams and 2012 rookie addition Evan Rodriguez all well below him.  With the size and speed combination possessed by Davis, as well as a new contract, he’ll have few excuses not to significantly improve on his career best totals of 2011 that featured 18 receptions, 206 yards and five touchdowns.  To us, it’s not out of the question that Davis could increase his receptions by at least three-fold in 2012.

Forecasting tight end production is as difficult a proposition as any in fantasy.  Forecasting the emergence of a virtual unknown player with four years of near-meaningless fantasy production borders on madness.  But in the dynasty format, you have to find player circumstances that portends greater impact, whenever they happen to occur.  For Kellen Davis, the time is now.

Jeff Haverlack
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Jimmy Graham Cracker
10 years ago

Great article – uncertainty can be profitable.

MR ROURKE
10 years ago

I think K.Davis has a shot to give you more then you’ll pay for him, but you shouldn’t be paying that much for him and the low cost shouldn’t be that hard to out produce in reality. Long term, I believe E.Rodriguez might be a better pass catcher then K.Davis and could be an option for a long term stash in deeper leagues. E.Rodriguez is more of an h-back. H-back that can be a set back TE, FB, or WR. Much like the Bears used Olsen before Martz or how NE used A.Hernandez last year. When Tice was the head coach of the VIkings in 2004 and 2005 (years without Randy Moss), the main TE got about 70 catches a year. The HB position has changed from a position of getting an additional blocker (like the Vikings used Jimmy Kleinsasser at that time) to a position of creating a mismatch in the passing game. B.Marshall is much better then any WR the Vikings had for the two years after Moss left and the Bears also have much better RB’s then Tice had with the Vikings, so forcasting the TE’s production is pretty tough to do.

stolenmeat
10 years ago

can we get an updated rookie draft cheat sheet please? a lot of things have changed since April 29th.

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