Five months before David Tyree made his famous catch in Super Bowl XLII, he was fighting for his roster spot.
Between training camp practices at the University of Albany that preseason, quarterbacks coach Chris Palmer asked the QBs to write down our top four wide receivers, and he would do the same. Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer and Steve Smith were unanimous across the board in the first three spots. That fourth spot was where the disagreement began.
Eli Manning and I both named Tyree as the No. 4 receiver, while the other two QBs and Palmer had other guys as the No. 4 wideout. That started a debate about Tyree, who they said couldn't run, couldn't get separation and had suspect hands. Truthfully, we couldn't dispute that description of him as a player. In fact, he was having a horrible camp catching the football.
I described him as a "gamer," which brought a chuckle out of Palmer. But it was Eli who said, "I trust him, he can play every WR position and I know that he will be where he is supposed to be."
You can time 40-yard dashes and measure vertical jumps, but the most important thing a wide receiver or a tight end can have is the trust of his quarterback. Here are four WRs and a TE whom you should trust in fantasy the way Eli trusted Tyree.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Current ESPN ADP: 33.4
I finished my playing career with the Cardinals, and was able to see first-hand how dominant Larry could be when given the opportunity to go up and fight for the ball. No matter what the play call was -- run plays included -- once we were inside the 20-yard line, if there was ever any single coverage on Larry, Kurt Warner had the green light to throw him a jump ball in the end zone.
Larry has an unbelievable ability to track the ball, use his body to shield the defender and then fight for the ball. Not to mention he probably has the best hands in the league. He is a touchdown machine, and the chemistry and trust built up between him and Kurt was unreal to witness.
Bruce Arians will most likely give Carson Palmer the same green light in the red zone, and I believe Fitz will have yet another season where he has at least eight TD receptions. I've heard some people say that TD totals are unpredictable for WRs. I get that, but I think Fitz is the exception to the rule.