In 2008, with Chad Pennington at quarterback, the Dolphins’ two primary Tight Ends, Anthony Fasano and David Martin, caught a combined 65 passes for 904 yards and 10 touchdowns — half of the team’s total receiving TDs. In 2009, Martin missed the entire season with a knee injury, and Fasano and backup Joey Haynos had 50 receptions for just 504 yards and four TDs between them. Will any of the Dolphins Tight Ends regain fantasy relevance with Chad Henne under center, or is no player worth a roster spot?
Anthony Fasano, TE - Fasano’s drop in production last season was largely due to a different role in the offense, as he was asked to provide more pass protection at the expense of running routes. While he was the second-best run-blocker in the league, his yards per catch dropped from 13.4 to 10.9, he had only two scores a year after catching seven, and he led all TEs in fumbles (3), including two in the season opener.
Ah, memories. Fasano runs into the end zone in a 38-13 Dolphins victory over the New England Patriots in Foxborough on Sept. 21, 2008.
Although he doesn’t possess the downfield receiving ability of the elite TEs, with an improved offensive line and the addition of star wide receiver Brandon Marshall, Fasano should see more opportunities to work the middle of the field and get open in the end zone. He’s being drafted in only 2.7% of ESPN leagues as the 25th player at his position, but makes for a solid second TE who should be in for a nice bounce-back season in 2010.
2009 Statistics: 31 catches, 339 yards, 2 TDs
2010 Prediction: 33 catches, 414 yards, 5 TDs
Joey Haynos, TE - After catching only two passes in seven games in 2008, Haynos was used in more two tight end sets and played 51 percent of Miami’s offensive snaps in 2009. But while the 6’8, 270-pound TE showed flashes of future potential, he was far too inconsistent and had only three total receptions for 17 yards in the two games that Fasano missed with a hip injury. Although he’s an intregral cog in the Dolphins’ offense, Haynos isn’t likely to see a significantly increased pass-catching role or threaten Fasano for the starting job anytime soon, making him largely irrelevant in all but the deepest of fantasy leagues.
2009 Statistics: 19 catches, 162 yards, 2 TDs
2010 Prediction: 24 catches, 203 yards, 2 TDs
Does the addition of Martin mean the end of the Kory Sperry Era?
David Martin, TE -Martin, an eight-year veteran who’s familiar with the Dolphins’ system after spending two seasons in Miami, was unexpectedly re-signed last Friday. While he averaged 14.5 yards per catch in 2008, it’s hard to imagine the 31-year-old has much left after spending last year on Injured Reserve. If he’s fully healthy, Martin would allow Fasano to catch more passes by taking over some blocking duties, and could prove to be an effective situational downfield threat. His signing means very little in fantasy cirticles, but certainly signals the coaching staff’s unhappines with the progress of their young Tight Ends.
2009 Statistics: None – missed season (knee injury)
2010 Prediction: 12 catches, 180 yards, 1 TD
John Nalbone / Kory Sperry, TE - Both Nalbone, a fifth-round pick in 2009, and Sperry, who was signed as an undrafted free agent after attending the San Diego Chargers’ training camp, spent most of the 2009 season on the practice squad. While Nalbone didn’t play a single snap in the regular season, Sperry made the most of his lone start, catching three passes for 31 yards and a TD in a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The more-experienced Martin likely has the inside track on the third (and perhaps final) TE spot, and barring an injury, Nablone and Sperry would only provide blocking and special teams help.