On March 3, long-time Bengal T.J. Houshmandzadeh signed with the Seattle Seahawks. Having finally had enough of the Bengal Circus, he ran as far west as possible without falling into the Pacific Ocean! “Seattle, this is T.J… T.J., this is the end of the line.” The effect on both Bengals and Seahawks will be noticeable.
Whilst his bank value gets a huge boost (to the tune of $40 million!), his fantasy value takes a trip in the other direction. There is still some uncertainty where Housh will line up, but wherever it is, he won’t be as productive as he was in Cincinnati. He does get the huge benefit of six games facing the Rams, Niners and Cardinals instead of four against the Steelers and Ravens, but defenses will be able to focus on him much more than they previously did. I’ve always viewed him as more of an elite WR2 than a WR1, and anyone expecting elite production is gonna be disappointed. I’ll say he posts 80 receptions, 1,000 yards, and 9 TDs.
Palmer may never again be the top-tier option he briefly was a few years ago, and I can’t see any way that losing Housh helps his cause. Signing Coles reduces the loss, but he and last year’s draft picks (the unready Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell) will be a noticeable downgrade, especially as Housh was Carson’s safety blanket. Nurse Palmer has to carefully manage inmates Ocho Cinco and Henry; if he can do so, the loss of Housh can be overcome. Expect another 3,800 yards with 25-30 TDs.
Chad Ocho Cinco
After losing Palmer four games into the season, I’m giving the Bengals a mulligan for 2008 fantasy purposes. After a summer of discontent and an eventual truce, Ocho Cinco kept his part of the bargain and stayed committed to the team. His injuries and the loss of Palmer were beyond his control, and his season was a disaster. I think he’ll stay in Cincinnati. The return of Palmer will be a huge boost to his numbers, and the loss of Housh as the red-zone target could boost Chad’s TD numbers. 2009 numbers: 85/1325/10
A low-budget, poor man’s Houshmanzadeh, Coles is a semi-logical signing by the Cincy front office, which by their paltry standards is exceptional work! Chatman is ‘meh’ and ‘08 draftees Simpson and Caldwell won’t be ready for another year. Despite being a lesser part of the offense in Cincinnati than in New York, Coles may actually benefit slightly as he will have a far stronger QB passing to him. He’s also now playing on a more pass-happy (and weaker!) team than he would be had he remained with the Jets. Projections: 900 yards, 7 TDs
More of a Ocho Cinco-type than a Housh-type, Henry will certainly see more opportunities than many teams’ WR3s despite the Coles addition. He’s extremely talented, something that has never been in question, and if all goes well, he could rival Steve Breaston as the league’s premier WR3, but will it be for the Bengals or for the Ohio State Penitentiary Bubbas! I think he’ll step up and be solid, but will temper my projection for now. 700 yards, 6 TDs.
The addition of Housh simply has to help Hasselbeck. He’s never had the greatest WR corps but generally proved serviceable as a QB1. He won’t ever approach the 4,000-yard mark like in 2007, which was due to Shaun Alexander’s spontaneous fantasy combustion rather than the Seahawk’s passing prowess. If (and it’s a big if) he can stay healthy, I think he can return to top-ten QB status. He went in the 13th round of the recent Cafe Mock, and I’d be all over that! Projections: 3,300 yards, 25 TDs.
Surprisingly retained by Seattle, Branch could benefit from Housh’s arrival and the attention defenses will afford him. Branch is talented, and if he holds up, there’s plenty of reason to expect 1,000 yards and 6 TDs this season. Branch’s health remains far more of a factor in his 2009 productivity than Housh’s arrival. The bigger affect will be felt by the next player:
2008’s 55 receptions, 5 TDs, and a team-leading 627 yards were a sweet surprise, but those expecting similar production in 2009 with Housh in Seattle will get a equally unpleasant surprise, as Housh is a red-zone monster.
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