While “the” Tony Gonzalez was quietly traded this offseason to be the new security blanket for Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, “The” Ohio State product, Tony Gonzalez, is gearing up for his third full season as a WR in the NFL. I think the “3rd year” breakout rule might be a bit dogmatic, but in Gonzalez’s case I believe it’s merited. At age 24 and blessed with exceptional hands, Gonzalez should become a prolific receiver for Peyton Manning and the Colts, a la Brandon Stokely whom Manning highly regarded. Last season Gonzalez showed marked improvement from his rookie season, and he proved to be a more than capable pass catcher by catching over 70% of balls thrown his way. The departure of Marvin Harrison should only increase his fantasy value, and with Reggie Wayne drawing the attention of defenses, Gonzalez is primed for a breakout season.
Look for Gonzalez to return top 25 WR value and be a solid #3 WR with #2 potential. The sure-handed WR product disappointed some owners last season, but that should play to the savvy owner’s advantage in 2009, as Gonzalez will likely be overlooked in some drafts. If you’re targeting players like Eddie Royal or Wes Welker, Gonzalez should be another solid option if you miss out, and don’t be surprised if he matches their production this season.
Current ESPN ADP: 84.3 or Round 7.025
Current Fantasy Football Calculater ADP: 60.48 or Round 5.04