Nate Burleson is going to be a stud WR this season.
Forget grabbing this guy off the waiver wire, trade for this guy immediately. Not only was Burleson the #1 WR for Seattle in week 1, he was making plays on the ball every time it got thrown his way. Looking at the stats, Burleson was one of the most targeted WRs in week 1. And after watching the shortcut replay last night, it was clear to me that Burleson was the number 1 read for Hasselbeck on most plays. Burleson was the WR getting the most seperation on the field, he was the WR getting the most yardage after the catch, and he was the most consistent WR catching the ball. Houshmanzadeh was used almost exclusively on 8 yards curls and stop routes, and while he looked good, he appeared to be slotted into his same role as he was on the Bengals. The guy might still turn out to be a redzone monster as the season progresses, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Burleson will be effected in any way. Chad Johnson wasn't. Burleson was used on a variety of different routes ranging from screens to fly routes and was by far the most targeted WR on the field.
And his statline could have been better. Hasselbeck underthrew a couple of balls that could have resulted in another 20+ yards. Burleson consistently beat his man in 1v1 situations, made tough catches in traffic, even made near plays on the ball when the CB was on him like a glove. Burleson "fell forward" and ran for yards after every catch for an additional 3-10 yards on every play. The development in this guy has been extraordinary ever since his first year in Seattle. The guy was making the same type of play we see out of Steve Smith when he gets his hands on the ball. And just like Steve Smith, Burleson was the target of a couple screen passes and even called an audible at the line of scrimmage for a quick slant when the CB was giving him room (which was nearly intercepted as the CB jumped the route). Burleson may not have superstar talent, but his situation is very good and to me he looked like an above average WR competent enough to post 80+ catches and double digit TDs. He made his TD catch look easy beating the man + zone on a 15 yard post route. It looked like backyard pass and catch out there for most of the game with Burleson. Granted it was the Rams, but sometimes you need to look past the matchup and evaluate the QB and the throws. The Rams suck, but I think the CB play on Burleson was not necessarily bad so much as Burleson's play at WR was outstanding. Everything I saw pointed to long term success and a sneaky upside for Burleson. Everyone talked up Houshmanzadeh as the next big thing in Seattle, but like Cincinnati with Chad Johnson, I think we are looking at a two headed beast here. And Matt Hasselbeck's last full healthy season he posted PEYTON MANNING-like numbers.....
How much of Burleson's activity was due to Branch being out and Houshmanzadeh's back problems, I don't know. Time will tell. Carleson had the biggest day statistically, and I think this guy is very very good at TE, but Burleson was the clear #1 target all day long. I saw a pure #1 NFL WR and with a QB that was delivering crisp and accurate passes. Hasselbeck could have easily had a 4 or 5 TD day with only 1 INT if not got a couple bad breaks or slightly sharper play. Good thing for anyone trying to acquire Burleson that did not happen. Most publications are looking at Burleson as a one week wonder for the most part, some still calling this guy a WR4, at most he is a WR3 for most people. Personally, I see him already as an every week starter at this point. I think the guy alraedy holds WR2 value in 12 team leagues and with continued strong performances should have a good chance at reaching the top10 WR this season.
Larry Fitzgerald - 11 targets, 6/71/1
Nate Burleson - 11 targets, 7/74/1
Edit: Forgot to mention one of the most important points. Burleson only played about 2.5 quarters. The game was so lopsided they didn't even need him in the 4th. Carleson was getting wide open in basically their only offensive possession in the 3rd. (Jones had his long TD run on the other 3rd quarter possession on 1st down).
Last edited by Kensat30 on Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.