SleepersNovember 28, 2010

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Sleeper Watch

By Josh Shepardson

Searching for a spark at the tight end position?  This week’s Sleeper Watch featured player tied for the Titans’ team lead in receptions Sunday and could emerge as the top pass catching target of new starting quarterback Rusty Smith. 

Jared Cook | TE | Tennessee | 0 percent Yahoo! ownership

Sunday’s four reception, 40 yard game marked a career best for second year tight end Jared Cook in both categories.  Both totals are modest but noteworthy, as they came with rookie sixth-round selection Rusty Smith leading the Titans offense at quarterback in his first career NFL start.  Cook, a former South Carolina Gamecock, is a 6′5″ and 248-pound 2009 third-round selection.  His college production was rather mediocre, but his raw skills and measurables stood out at the NFL Combine, where he ran a 4.50 forty-yard dash, the second fastest time for a tight end of the last decade trailing only Vernon Davis.  He may prove to be just another workout warrior incapable of translating raw measurables into on field production in the same vein as former Titans second round selection Chris Henry.  It is also possible that he’s still picking up the nuances of playing the tight end position, and he may be just beginning to realize how to best utilize his size and speed to beat mismatched defenders. 

Cook may prove to be a safety valve checkdown option for newly minted rookie starting quarterback Rusty Smith.  He also has a chance to develop rapport with Smith and develop into his primary receiving option.  Much remains to be seen in the coming weeks.  Cook should be owned in most dynasty leagues based on upside, and should be watched in yearly re-draft leagues.  The Titans’ schedule is just about as favorable as possible in the next three weeks, so deep leaguers hoping to connect on a hailmary should close their eyes and click the add button for Cook.  They face the league’s second worst pass defense coming into this past weekend, the Jacksonville Jaguars.  The following week’s matchup is against the middle of the pack pass defense of the Indianapolis Colts, followed by the leagues worst pass defense using either passer rating or yards per game, the Houston Texans.  Jared Cook is far from a sure thing, but sometimes it’s the bold moves that push a struggling team over the hump and onto a fantasy championship title run.

Josh Shepardson is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Josh in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of B-Chad.
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