I am 2-for-2 in snagging Antonio Gates as my back-up TE to Todd Heap in two redraft leagues so far this year. Let's separate hype from potential and see what we learned from last year in the latter half of the season.
In 2003, Antonio Gates really didn't exist in the NFL until the 2nd half of the season. However, if you would have projected his target stats
over a full season, he would have been right there with Gonzalez as perhaps the 2nd or 3rd most targetted TE all year long. In addition, his redzone targetting would have finished Top 5 based on the same method of extrapolation.
So here is how I project Antonio Gates in 2004:
110 passing targets [3rd behind Heap (1) and Gonzo (2)]
50% conversion of targets
715 yards (13 ypc)
6 TD's (4 will be redzone, 2 will be 30+ breakaways)
Those numbers look a lot like a Shannon Sharpe type of season and a Top 5 TE rating. I think he's a good looking prospect this year to go off in a big way.