49ers Davis will be busy, but TD total will be tough to match

Does Vernon Davis have a legitimate chance to duplicate his 2009 totals?

Davis is an accomplished artist who spent part of his offseason spreading the message of art appreciation to Bay Area kids. If the 49ers' tight end was to paint a picture of himself, though, would it be Impressionism or Realism?

Or, to put it in fantasy football terms, was Davis' breakout season in 2009 an illusion or the real thing?

Davis was ticketed for stardom ever since San Francisco selected him with the sixth overall pick in the 2006 draft. He caught 52 passes for 509 yards and four touchdowns the following year, but then took a step back in 2008.

Often left in to block in the not-so-tight-end-friendly offense of coordinator Mike Martz, Davis caught only 31 passes for 358 yards and two scores.

So Davis pretty much was an afterthought in fantasy drafts in 2009. But he bounced back in a big way, catching 78 passes for 965 yards and 13 touchdowns. That TD total was the most by a tight end since… well… ever. Which begs the question: Can he do it again?

The short answer: Not likely.

Given that it took 90 NFL seasons for a tight end to catch 13 touchdown passes (okay, we know tight ends didn't really exist in 1920), it's not unreasonable to expect that it might be a while before anyone does it again.

That does not discount Davis' value to the 49ers' offense, or to your fantasy team. Even with Michael Crabtree available from the get-go this year, Davis will continue to get his targets.

But when San Francisco gets in close, the team is more likely to pound it in with running back Frank Gore than throw over the top to Davis.

Bottom line: Davis could very well exceed the reception and yardage totals he logged in 2009. Just don't expect 13 touchdowns.

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