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2014 Draft Prep: Golden Tate will be a Fantasy star

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Prior to the start of preseason action, many Fantasy owners were skeptical of Golden Tate. They likely weren't expecting a big statistical leap despite his move from Seattle to Detroit.

It will be interesting to see how things change now that we've seen Tate on the field.

He's has come out and played well through two games, especially the second outing against Oakland when he had three catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. We never doubted Tate would shine with the Lions and the prediction here is Tate will be a Fantasy star this season.

Before the preseason started, Tate's Average Draft Position was No. 77 overall, which is Round 7 in a 12-team league. He was being drafted after guys like DeSean Jackson, Emmanuel Sanders and Julian Edelman, among others. I'd gladly take Tate over those receivers, and I would draft him as early as Round 5.

Now, to be fair, Tate has never had a big season before. His best finish as a Fantasy option was last year when he was the No. 28 receiver in standard leagues with 64 catches for 898 yards and five touchdowns in Seattle.

But moving from the run-oriented Seahawks to the pass-happy Lions is the equivalent of taking off training wheels. It's time for Tate to fly.

What we like about Tate is he's among the most reliable receivers in the NFL with only five drops since 2011. He has caught 144 of 149 catchable passes thrown his way over that span, according to Pro Football Focus.

His hands are going to be tested because Matthew Stafford has attempted at least 630 passes in three consecutive years. By comparison, Russell Wilson has combined for 800 passes the past two seasons.

Tate had just 98 targets last season, but that number should rise significantly. He will be in single coverage on nearly every play because of Calvin Johnson drawing constant attention. And Stafford has had plenty of time to develop a rapport with Tate since Johnson has missed the first two preseason games.

Stafford must have been dying for a receiver like Tate. The players who have finished No. 2 in receptions behind Johnson the past three years have been Reggie Bush in 2013 with 54 catches, Brandon Pettigrew in 2012 with 59 catches and Pettigrew again in 2011 with 83 grabs.

The receivers who have played opposite Johnson over that time have been Nate Burleson, Titus Young, Ryan Broyles, Kris Durham and Kevin Ogletree. No offense to those players, but that screams mediocrity.

Tate will make Stafford better, he will make the Lions better and he will enhance Fantasy lineups with his ability in a high-powered offense. You should plan on drafting Tate as a No. 2 Fantasy receiver and he has the chance to help you win championships this season.

This is going to be a career year for Tate and he's ready to become a Fantasy star.

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