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Spotlight: Dallas Clark

posted by Mark Wimer on Aug 15th

Mark Wimer's thoughts

Dallas Clark was placed on IR in October of last year due to a wrist injury that required corrective surgery. Fast forward to training camp, and Clark has been cleared for full participation and - save for having to wear a wrist brace during games - appears to be healthy and ready to resume his role as one of the Colts top receiving options. Clark starts the season at 32 years old, so there are some worries that he is wearing down after 104 NFL games during his eight years in the league. However, the wrist is not a weight-bearing joint, so this injury is less likely to become a chronic issue than a knee or ankle that had to be surgically corrected or reconstructed. As injuries go in the NFL, Clark's is not among the most worrisome.

All that said, remember that Clark plays in one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL. Peyton Manning has thrown for over 4,000 yards passing during 11 of his 13 NFL seasons. Last year, Indianapolis led the league with Manning's league-record 450 pass completions for 4,700 passing yards, and the team was second in the NFL with 33 passing TDs. Before his injury Clark was one of the most heavily-targeted players on the team. He saw 53 targets for 37/347/3 receiving over six games last season, compared to 65 targets for 45/602/2 receiving flowing to Reggie Wayne during the same six-game period (and Wayne had a monster 19 targets for 15/196/0 receiving at Jacksonville in week four last year tilting the early-season totals in Wayne's direction).

Over the past three years, Clark played in 16 games during 2009 and 15 games during 2008, with 132 targets for 100/1,106/10 receiving during 2009 and 107 targets for 77/848/6 receiving during 2008. Since 2007 he's claimed an ever-increasing share of targets (he had 101 targets to go over 100 in a season for the first time during 2007), and during 2009 saw 132, as noted above. Clark's seen 581 targets for 393/4,535/44 during his eight years in Indianapolis. The comfort level that Clark and Manning have established over the years may be especially critical during 2011due to Manning's offseason neck surgery, which has prevented Manning from throwing the football at all during the offseason.


  • Clark is a savvy NFL veteran with a high degree of trust built up between himself and his quarterback
  • Clark finished among the top five fantasy tight ends from 2007-2009, and has an established record of high productivity in the Colts' offense
  • Clark is one of the few NFL tight ends with a legitimate shot at 100+ receptions in a season, making him a PPR-league star


  • Clark is coming off a wrist injury that required surgery, and Jacob Tamme proved a capable alternative that the Colts won't hesitate to utilize if need be
  • Clark is on the wrong side of 30, with a lot of wear-and-tear on his body after 104 NFL games
  • September while the players get their timing back. If Manning can't go early in the year, there is a huge gap of talent between him and backup Curtis Painter (or whoever else the Colts sign to back up Manning)

Final thoughts

Dallas Clark appears positioned to once again claim a big chunk of the 550+ passes that Manning generally throws in a given season. A 100-reception season is a legitimate possibility for Clark in my opinion, and that is why I am one of only two Footballguys who have Clark at #1 on their redraft ranking board. I expect to see Clark come roaring back this year and believe Jacob Tamme will return to a tried and true backup role (some speculate that both TEs would be used liberally). Clark is a player I'm targeting.

Quotations from the message board thread

To view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there), click here.

Iwannabeacowboybaby! said:

He's least for now. Dallas Clark is an awesome fantasy TE but the facts are he's aging to keep him healthy for the season, I think we can expect more split time between Clark and Tamme with Clark still being the starter and getting the majority of playing time. I think Clark is a high risk for selecting in the top 5 TE's this year, especially if you have to take him in the top 3 rounds. Still, he'll play well for Indy and come up with some big catches when Peyton Manning needs him to, glad he's back.

fightingillini said:

One question I have will IND use Clark and Tamme? Tamme certainly showed that he's a very good pass-catching TE, so I wouldn't be shocked to see Tamme cut into Clark's production. IND also has a lot of targets with Wayne, Garcon, Collie and the backs, so projecting Clark to have a huge year is somewhat risky.

Late225 said:

They're a 3WR set team and this will only change at the goalline. The colts won't utilize 2TE sets with Collie, Garcon, Wayne, Addai/Brown/Carter and Dallas Clark in the game. I wouldn't be surprised to see them attempt to trade Tamme based on what he showed last year. Dallas Clark will go back to his old ways.

Dallas Clark projections

Mark Wimer1001120900
Message board consensus73889800