TE Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins
HT: 6-3, WT: 253, Born: 1-31-1984, College: Maryland, Drafted: Round 1, Pick 6
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Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]Overall: M Crabtree (45), F Gore (46), Vernon Davis (47), R Jennings (48), C Patterson (49)
Position: J Thomas (29-TE2), R Gronkowski (30-TE3), Vernon Davis (47 - TE4), J Cameron (54-TE5), J Witten (65-TE6)
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PPR Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]Overall: C Johnson (56), J Edelman (57), Vernon Davis (58), B Sankey (59), T Brady (60)
Position: J Thomas (29-TE3), J Cameron (51-TE4), Vernon Davis (58 - TE5), J Witten (66-TE6), J Reed (76-TE7)
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Vernon Davis has generally been a top-tier fantasy tight end over the past five years. The exception came two years ago when was kept in to block a fair amount of the time. The 49ers drafted Vance McDonald last season to fill the blocking-TE duties, and Davis returned to fantasy stardom, catching 13 touchdowns for the second time in his career. Davis has a rare combination of size and speed -- indeed, he is faster in a straight line than most wide receivers. If Jimmy Graham is in his own tier, and Rob Gronkowski and Julius Thomas form the next tier, Vernon Davis is in the following group -- a solid fantasy TE1 with sky-high upside potential.
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|1||at Houston Texans|
|3||at Philadelphia Eagles|
|4||New York Giants|
|6||at Arizona Cardinals|
|8||at Dallas Cowboys|
|9||at Minnesota Vikings|
|11||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|12||at San Francisco 49ers|
|13||at Indianapolis Colts|
|14||St. Louis Rams|
|15||at New York Giants|
2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - Much of the talk of the 49ersí preseason was how they planned on using Vernon Davis as a receiver following the Crabtree injury. Davis played often in the slot and proved that his size and speed were equally difficult to cover no matter where he lined up. On his first touchdown, Davis ran past the zone coverage and as soon as he approached the end zone, he cut towards the corner. Kaepernick was locked on to Davis and released the ball before the safety was able to break and catch up to the open tight end. The ball was thrown perfectly, landing in Davisí hands in the corner of the end zone. At the end of the 3rd quarter, Davis ran a great post route and was bracketed by defenders, but again Kaepernick threw a perfect ball, anticipating the gap where Davis would have space and delivering as the tight end held on to the catch as the safety laid a blow. Thatís not to say Davis didnít make mistakes, as he dropped a deep ball that hit him right in the hands, perhaps too concerned with the safety fast approaching. But he showed why his combination of excellent receiving and blocking ability is so dangerous. In the third quarter, Green Bay sold out to stop the run on the goal line. Davis initiated a block then slipped behind the defense, aided by play-action, and found himself wide open in the end zone. An accurate throw and a second touchdown for the tight end. With the emergence of Anquan Boldin as a primary option and solid pass blocking from the offensive line, Davis could find himself in more creative uses as he showed the ability to adjust and execute in the different positions he was asked to play against the Packers.
Week 2 - Davis had a rough day even before a hamstring injury sidelined him for the remainder of the 4th quarter. Targeted on two of Kaepernickís interceptions, the tight end was outplayed by a vastly superior secondary. In the first quarter, Davis ran a crossing route across the goal line. With a defender on his hip and a defender waiting to break on an incoming pass to the front, there was a small window for the pass to be thrown. When Kaepernick threw too far ahead of Davis the defender broke, slamming Davis and tipping the ball in to the air for an interception. With such a quick, limited opportunity Davis was unable to reach out and tear the ball away. When running down the sideline in the 4th quarter, matched against Richard Sherman, Davis had a step and body position on Sherman. The ball needed to be thrown ahead. At worst the pass would land incomplete, but Kaepernick threw right to Davis and the tight end turned to look the ball in while the Sherman leapt to get the ball. Maybe with a more aggressive attempt Davis would have been able to break up an interception, but the individual defensive play and the throw were the more vital aspects of the play. Davis found himself open only on short, underneath routes. One hook to the open space in the zone over the middle. A run in the flat that was wide open because Seattle played soft on 3rd and long. A slant where Davis was finally able to gain body position on the corner. But otherwise Davis suffered the same fate the rest of Kaepernickís passing options suffered: the complete inability to get away from a pressing and immensely talented secondary.
Week 4 - Still hobbled and coming off a very short week to recover, Davis played admirably in his limited capacity. His touchdown catch came off a great route to the corner of the end zone, as Davis was able to slip behind the defense and reach out for the perfectly located pass. Though he was able to gain separation in the end zone thanks to a well executed play-action, most of the game Davis found himself slowed and struggling to get open. His only other catch came on a short crossing route, and Davisí inability to escape the pursuit only further reiterated that more time will be necessary before Davis is his full self.
Week 5 - On third and 10, the 49ers first of the game, Davis came free over the middle of the field for a big gain. Davis went up high to get a slightly overthrown pass and willingly exposed himself to the defenders around him. On third and 5 a few plays later, Davis came free on an underneath crossing route for a first down. Kaepernick missed Davis wide open with his first throw of the third quarter. Davis was having a quiet game, but caught a 64 yard touchdown when he was wide open early in the fourth quarter. Davis easily swept past Ed Reed down the sideline in space.
Week 6 - Slowed by a hamstring issue earlier in the season, Davis looked not only completely healed, but at the peak of his abilities. Each catch, Davis took and dealt blows that had rattled him in the past. When he broke behind Arizonaís safeties, it was almost too good for Kaepernick. The quarterback threw the ball as soon as he saw the tight end with a step ahead, and without breaking stride Davis was able to reel the ball in and sprint through open grass for a 61-yard touchdown. Later, Arizonaís decision to leave him in one-on-one coverage on the outside was a dare that Colin Kaepernick was only too happy to take, and after Davis burned the linebacker he caught a perfect touch pass over his shoulder for his second touchdown. That on-switch that can sometimes be so elusive for Davis, when the tight end catches everything in his vicinity while sprinting through space and tacklers like only someone with his almost unthinkable physical abilities can, the question of why he can disappear so fully at times becomes even more maddening. On a day like this against Arizona, where Davis escaped coverage so quickly the confusion was visible, where Davis held on to catches while taking vicious body blows and running sharp routes that allowed Kaepernick to precisely anticipate the exact moment Davis would be open, the physical dominance of a player like Vernon Davis outperformed even what his previous accomplishments would seem to dictate.
Week 7 - Coming off a warpath against Arizona, Davisí numbers fell off a bit, yet he still remained an important part of the 49er passing game. On the first drive, Davis ran a corner route to the sideline and Kaepernick was able to float the ball right above Davisí shoulder for a very pretty completion. Needing a 1st down, Kaepernick ran a play-action rollout and Davis was wide open in the flat, beating the coverage at the line. The size and speed of Daivs was a constant struggle for the Tennessee secondary, and the only thing that prevented the tight end from going off were some shaky throws from Kaepernick. The most glaring came when Kaepernick floated a ball to Davis in the seam, slow enough to allow both safeties to converge on Davisí head before the tight end could make a catch, forcing Davis to play some defense to prevent an interception. But regardless, Davis found ways to beat the coverage to space and his timing with Kaepernick looked to be solid.
Week 8 - A healthy Vernon Davis menaced the Jacksonville defense, punishing them on run blocks and when they least expected it (though they probably should have expected it) Davis gave a lick to the linebacker, then released in to the corner of the end zone. The play-action was so successful no one followed Davis, and the tight end was able to catch the touchdown without a worry. Davis would have had another touchdown if not for a great play by Alan Ball. Cutting towards the corner of the end zone, Davis had his hands out, waiting for that football to land in his palms. Ball made a great instinctual play to twist around and leap at the exact right moment, meeting the ball at the highest point and deflecting it. Davis was also able to add a catch in which he lined up in the slot and ran a crossing route that was completely ignored by the defense. Kaepernick was able to hit the tight end for a 31-yard gain. Had San Francisco been forced to pass, Davis could have had a huge evening as the tight end was an impossible matchup for Jacksonville. However, with the game in hand for such a long stretch, San Francisco needed only to run the ball.
Week 10 - One of the reasons the passing game suffered was the loss of Davis to a head injury in the 2nd quarter. The injury occurred in the red zone, as Davis caught a ball in the flat and was immediately hit by the defender, knocking the ball out of his hands. Though the referees ruled the play incomplete, Davis had taken enough steps that the true call was a fumble. Davis did not return in the 2nd half. Davisí lone catch of the day came on a short throw in the flat that Kaepernick threw way too low, forcing Davis to dive to make the play.
Week 11 - The one passing target that was constantly double covered, New Orleans forced Kaepernick to throw outside instead of to his tight end. Bracketed on long routes, Davis was forced to catch the ball short and attempt to break tackles to get down field. Though he showed the same freakish athleticism to get past a tackler when he hurdled a safety that appeared to be standing straight, New Orleans successfully kept Davis in front of them. By playing one defender tight and one soft, Davisí struggle with the first man often slowed the tight end enough for the second defender to swoop in and finish the play off. Davisí catches on short curls and in the flat allowed San Francisco to move forward, but never truly take the top off the defense. The one occasion Davis was able to get behind the secondary was the result of a successful play-action. Showing block, Davis was able to thrash the defender before releasing free in to the end zone. Kaepernick delivered a perfect ball to Davisí breadbasket for the touchdown.
Week 12 - Washington appeared flabbergasted at the prospect of covering Vernon Davis, as the tight end often ran right past any and all coverage. On one fantastic route, Davis ran down the seam as the corner and safety attempted to bracket him. Instead, Davis ran right by both of them, a sure touchdown if Kaepernick hadnít overthrown Davis by a few yards. On one play, Washington scrambled to set up their defense and Kaepernick took a quick snap. Davis ran a wheel route to the sideline and with no one following, Kaepernick easily hit Davis for a 20-yard gain. On a post route in the second quarter, Davis ran right past the corner, the tight end much too fast for any half-hearted back-pedaling and Kaepernick hit Davis in the hands for a 40-yard gain. Lining up in a jumbo package on the 1-yard line, Washington committed to the run and Davis feinted to block, then released in to a wide open corner of the end zone. Kaepernick made the easy throw and Davis scored a touchdown for the second week in a row. The only negative on Davisí day was his fumble. Catching a short pass, Davis was tackled by multiple defenders but refused to go to ground. This struggle made him a stationary target, and a defender was able to launch himself at the ball and knock it out of Davisí hands.
Week 13 - Yet again, Vernon Davis ran wild through an opponentís secondary. On San Franciscoís first drive, Kaepernick rolled to the right on play-action and Davis crossed behind the committed secondary. Kaepernick hit the tight end easily as Davis turned up field and sprinted for a 23-yard gain. On a play that exhibited Davisí seemingly post-human physical abilities, Kaepernick was blitzed heavily from the right and the quarterback lofted the ball over the pass rushers, landing right in Davisí hands as the tight end sped through the flat. Davis then hurdled a defender at full height and absorbed a blow as he regained ground, only for Davis to continue his rumble downfield. The mixture of strength, speed, leaping ability, and balance to execute that run after the catch was astonishing. On his touchdown catch, Davis crossed to the right as Kaepernick rolled to the right, then made a quick cut back to the left. With the defense over pursuing, Davis was able to sprint past the falling defenders through the middle and again, leaped over (though more to the side) another tackler as he landed in the end zone. A great game from the tight end, as his only struggles came in run-blocking against Chris Long.
Week 14 - Though Davis had only two catches on the day, both were impressive in their own right. On a particularly cheeky play, Kaepernick rolled right along with most of the receivers and protection. This allowed Davis to sneak across the field in the opposite direction. Kaepernick threw across his body to the tight end open on the opposite side of the field, and Davis was able to grab the pass and cut up field for a 13-yard gain. In the red zone, Davis ran a slant across the middle and had tight coverage on his back. The ball Kaepernick threw was so hard and arrived so quickly that Davisí ability to stop the ball with his hands, snatch it and tumble in to the end zone for a touchdown was a feat in itself. For most of the game, Davis found himself blocking and his routes bracketed by the coverage.
Week 15 - Vernon Davis continued to prove that he is nigh uncoverable, as on numerous plays he simply blew by his initial coverage. With a combination of top end power and speed, Davis was able to beat any jams immediately and get behind the defender. When Davis beat his man on an inside post in the second quarter, Kaepernick had enough time in the pocket to step in to his throw and deliver a ball so accurate it fell in to the tight endís hands 52-yards down the field for a touchdown. Davis had been running so fast that he was unable to pull up after catching the touchdown, instead barreling in to the wall behind the end zone. On another deep route in the second quarter, Davis again badly beat his man down the field and would have scored another long touchdown had Kaepernick not overthrown the tight end. Davis also worked well underneath, beating his man at the line and catching a slant, breaking up the middle for a 15-yard gain. At every level Tampa Bay struggled to contain Davis, and their only successful stops against him came when the defense played soft, allowed Davis to catch underneath and quickly swarm the large tight end.
Week 16 - Spending a lot of time on the bench, there was clearly some physical issue with Vernon Davis for most of the game. He dropped a wobbly pass that hit him right in the gut and was unable to locate a pass that went right through his hands. Admittedly, he did make a great catch on the sideline, but his second foot just scraped the sideline for an incomplete catch.
Week 17 - Davis had a quiet game, as the tight end was (mostly) well covered by a defense that seemed to focus on taking him away as an option. However, the defense lost Davis at the worst possible moment in the first quarter. San Francisco ran a play-action in a heavy set, with Davis running the same route he almost always runs when San Francisco is at the goal line. Even though Arizona must have seen the play many, many times on film, no one bothered to cover Davis as the tight end ran behind the defense to wide open space in the end zone, catching an easy touchdown from Kaepernick. Davis almost had another touchdown on the first drive of the game, as he broke towards the end zone and got his hands on a fast throw. The corner was in perfect position to get his arm in between Davis and the ball, prying it free to prevent the touchdown. There was a perplexing play in the fourth quarter where the corner ran with Davis down the sideline, but when Davis stopped and turned, the corner kept running. Wide open, Davis caught the pass and sprinted through open space for a 26-yard gain.
Week 18 - Davis was the target on Colin Kaepernickís interception, but very easily could have been the target for two. On his very first target, Davis was open along the right side of the goal line, but Kaepernick waited too long. By the time he threw the ball, Davis was at the back of the end zone, but pretty well covered by Tramon Williams. Kaepernick probably thought Williams could catch up in time, but Williamsí long body allowed him to get a hand up and nearly intercept the ball. Williams came down with the ball on the next target. Davis had run his route between two defenders and Kaepernick tried to thread the ball between them, but Williams read what he was doing and leaped in front of Davis for the catch. Davis finally hit paydirt in the fourth quarter when the Packers lined up linebacker A.J. Hawk on Davis. Safety Morgan Burnett was too slow coming over to help and even though both players were there in time to make a play, Burnett went for the pick and missed while Hawk couldnít tackle Davis in time.
Week 19 - Carolina made a distinct effort to take Vernon Davis out of the passing game. Using the linebackers to bracket Davis in coverage, the tight end was unable to get the separation he needed to make a play. Fortunately for Davis, whenever San Francisco runs a play-action rollout from the goal line he never seems to get covered. Though Davis didnít have a free release from the line, Luke Kuechly fell down as he pursued tight end, leaving Davis wide open in the corner of the end zone. Kaepernick delivered the ball to the outside and Davis showed incredibly body control to catch the ball and drag both feet inbounds.
Week 20 - Davis was very quiet in a game that also saw the 49ers wide receivers mostly held down. Davis had a drop after a big Kam Chancellor hit, although he did have a catch over the middle to set up the 49ers chance to win late.