Niners TE Davis could be a sleeper in 2009

(Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images)

49ers tight end Vernon Davis had two touchdowns last season. (Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images)

The term “sleeper” has been used to describe 49ers tight end Vernon Davis more than once during his NFL career.

Unfortunately, that horrible four-letter word (you know, the one that begins with a “b”) has been a better way to define his level of production.

But with Mike Martz out of the mix and Jimmy Raye in as the new offensive coordinator in San Francisco, is Davis now ready to make good on his long-awaited sleeper potential?

In a recent report from the San Francisco Chronicle, he expressed optimism for the 2009 season.

“He (Raye) told me the tight end is the focal point,” Davis told the newspaper. “I’m looking forward it. He said he wants to get his playmakers involved.”

Davis, an athletic tight end out of Maryland, was virtually invisible in Martz’s offense last season.

He went from catching 52 passes in 2007 to a mere 31 last year, due in large part to Martz’s dependence on running backs and wide receivers to make plays in the passing game.

That will change under Raye, who was important in the development of future Hall-of-Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez while in Kansas City.

“I talked to Tony all the time,” Davis told The Chronicle. “He said Jimmy would take of me and make sure I would get the ball and stuff like that. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity.”

Davis has slimmed down and has looked tremendous in offseason practices, so he could be primed for his best statistical season. Of course, that’s been said about him before with little result.

Still, fantasy leaguers should consider Davis in the late rounds as a No. 2 tight end who has the potential to finally make an impact.

Michael Fabiano will be posting updates on everything fantasy football on Twitter at

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