Comments on yesterday's TE post pointed out that I was dissing Jeremy Shockey and Todd Heap. As I said in the comments, it's great when we're discussing fantasy tight ends and it's not even July yet. Both of these guys are clearly fantasy favorites, so here are my thoughts on their 2007 potential:
Jeremy Shockey (Giants) - Shockey has been amazingly consistent the past three years, providing 60+ catches for about 650 receiving yards and 6-7 touchdowns. This season the heart of the Giants offense is back with The Other Manning taking the snap, Burress/Toomer/The Other Steve Smith as the WRs and an offensive line with few personnel changes. The biggest change is the retirement of RB Tiki Barber and the introduction of a Brandon Jacobs/Reuben Droughns combination at RB. First of all, the loss of Barber's pass-catching ability out of the backfield should mean a few additional passes to the tight end. If the Jacobs/Droughns running game is ineffective, I would expect Shockey to see even more balls thrown his way as the Giants try to escape from third and long situations. His recurring injuries are the biggest concern, but as long as he stays healthy I think Shockey's fantasy value should be slightly higher than last season.
Todd Heap (Ravens) - Heap has been even more consistent, practically a lock for 70 catches, 800 yards and six touchdowns this season and without the injury worries. Just like Shockey, the biggest factor affecting his value will be the running game. One of the best blocking offensive lines in the league returns mostly intact. Out goes Jamal Lewis and in comes Willis McGahee, which I see as a net improvement of the running game. If McGahee really gets rolling it will mean to fewer passes for Heap. Further growth from 3rd year WR Mark Clayton could also take away opportunities.
Overall I project Shockey to be a little bit more valuable than last season and Heap a little bit less valuable than last season. They will both be solid and reliable top ten fantasy tight ends though so I'm giving them their props. I still wouldn't put them in the Gates/Gonzalez/Winslow top tier, but they're both right behind.