[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="588" caption="Dallas Clark Looks Good in a Tampa Bay Uniform But Can He Stay Healthy."]
Dallas Clark was at one time a dominant fantasy football player. He was one of Peyton Manning's go-to-guys in the glory years of the Indianapolis Colts but he was released this offseason just as his start quarterback was. Yet, Clark has found a home with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, coming to terms on a one-year agreement with the team on Tuesday according to tampabay.com
It was not that long ago that Clark was an elite fantasy player. Back in 2009, Clark
caught 100 passes for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns. That was the peak of his fantasy value. But, injuries have taken their tole on Clark, limiting him to just 16 starts combined over the course of the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Thanks in large part to the injury issues, Clark's fantasy value has fallen off a cliff. He caught just 37 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns in 2010, followed by a 34-catch season that also included 352 receiving yards and two scores.
Decent numbers for a backup fantasy tight end and even that is a bit of a stretch.
The question facing fantasy football owners at this point is health. If Clark can somehow stay healthy enough to play 14-16 games, he should be a fairly productive player in 2012, if not, then he will not be worth having on your roster.
However, if we examine Clark's number a little closer, it reveals that on a game-per-game basis, his production has not been as bad as it appears.
Taking just his last 16 games played, he has 71 receptions for 699 yards (9.8 YPC) and five touchdowns. That is an average of roughly 10 fantasy points per game, something most owners would gladly take from the top tight end, let alone their backup.
It must also be mentioned that Clark was forced to play on a team with one of the worst quarterback situations in the NFL. Once Manning went down to injury, the Colts were forced to trot out the lackluster trio of Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky, who are insult to backup quarterbacks everywhere.
With all those factors figured in, the bottom line with Clark is that he is turning 33 years old next month, which makes him a much bigger risk for injuries.
But if he can somehow play in at least 14 games, there is no reason he can't still produce for fantasy owners. He will be playing with a good young quarterback in Josh Freeman, who targeted Kellen Winslow 121 times last season, so the opportunities will be there, it just comes down to his health.
While Clark is too much of an injury risk to draft as your starting tight end, he will definitely be worth a late-round flier, because if he does end up staying healthy, odds are he will produce. And who knows he may even rejuvenate his career in South Florida.
The key with Clark is drafting him in the right spot. Somewhere in the last couple of rounds will suffice. He can start out being a solid TE2 for fantasy owners with the potential to be a low-end TE1 if he can remain healthy.
Fantasy Football PPR Projection: 13 games, 53 receptions for 556 yards and four touchdowns.