Dallas Clark is a veteran and team player who understands what a new coaching staff needs in making a successful transition from an old regime to a new one. Clark replaces Kellen Winslow, who was traded to the Seahawks following the Clark signing. (Here's the fantasy spin on Winslow.)
However, Clark’s signing should not give fantasy owners hope that he will be a late-round flier who makes a quality fantasy tight end. After nine seasons, his best days are behind him, and the Bucs will be patterned offensively after the Giants. Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan spent the last eight years with the Giants, and current Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has never had a tight end friendly scheme.
The Bucs are building a team around a strong rushing attack with a pass-receiving back (Doug Martin) and two quality starters at receiver with depth at the position. Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams will anchor the passing attack with Arrelious Benn, Preston Parker and Sammie Stroughter providing depth. That doesn’t leave much room for Clark, who turns 33 years old in June. Clark's numbers that have been in decline, and he's been hampered by injuries the last two seasons. He only caught 34-352-2 on 65 targets in 2011 and is no longer an elite tight end. His last successful fantasy season was in 2009, when he had a career year with 100-1106-10 on 133 targets.
The team also has TE Luke Stocker, who they traded up for in the fourth round in the 2011 draft. Stocker played in a pro-style offense for the Volunteers, and at 6-5, 255 pounds, he is what the team wants as an in-line blocker who also has solid pass-receiving ability. Former Bucs head coach Raheem Morris once said that Stocker, who got his feet wet last season, could have been graded as an early second-round or late first-round player.
While Clark will be the primary receiving tight end, don’t assume it's going to be the Josh Freeman-to- Clark connection. Don’t let name recognition fool you. Let someone else take Clark on draft day. If anything, keep an eye on Stocker in dynasty and keeper leagues to see if he warrants a pickup later in the season.
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