Player Round Table (TJ Houshmandzadeh)
By FBG Staff; Hosted by Maurile Tremblay
August 6th, 2010

Here at Footballguys.com, we have Spotlights and Faceoffs. Those features are fairly comprehensive, but they are limited to viewpoints from either one or two writers. Some players need a little more commentary. We have opened up the dialog and asked our staff to leave their thoughts on these players and what is expected from them in 2010. Here, discussion centers around WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

Sigmund Bloom: Housh seems to be on a steep decline. He is coming off hernia surgery and last year he was exposed as a player who feasted on his situation in Cincinnati instead of being one who created his own production. The Seahawks are going to look to the future at WR with players like Golden Tate and Deon Butler, and their offense (heck their whole team) is in transition. Similar players like Hines Ward, Derrick Mason, and Donald Driver are almost as cheap, if not cheaper in most cases. They all play in better offenses, they all looked better than Housh last year, and they all deserve to be your "veteran WR2/WR3 pick in the mid-rounds" more than Housh does.

Maurile Tremblay: I agree with Bloom. I know a bunch of Charger fans who want to do some version of a Vincent-Jackson-for-T.J.-Houshmandzadeh trade, and I think they are nuts.

Houshmandzadeh was a very good receiver a few years ago. He still has great hands, and I'll never question his toughness in traffic. But he really struggled to get open last year on anything but short routes underneath. He ended up with decent stats, but if you watched him run any intermediate routes, he got no separation. I think he's basically done as a solid starting NFL WR, which should also make him done as a decent fantasy option.

Jeff Tefertiller: Houshmandzadeh is exposed in Seattle without Chad Ochocinco lining up across from him. His paltry yards-per-reception average illustrates that the veteran wideout cannot make plays after the catch. It is odd that he is being drafted higher than where he finished last season (WR32). Can Houshmandzadeh amass 900+ yards and three touchdowns again this season? Sure, but he offers no upside and is not a reliable fantasy starter that you pay full price for.

Will Grant: The Seattle offense seems like a fantasy train wreck to me this season. All the hype about Charlie Whitehurst makes drafting Matt Hasselbeck a liability. The three-headed monster at RB - Justin Forsett, Leon Washington, and Julius Jones - limits the upside of each of them. The WR corps is also full of questions. Drafting T.J. Houshmandzadeh has that "someone has to catch the ball" type of feel to it more than targeting a guy who people think is really going to have a great season.

TJ is also 33 this season. Last year, there were only four receivers over the age of 33 that posted more than 100 fantasy points: Hines Ward, Derrick Mason, Donald Driver and Terrell Owens. Housh has the skills to be in that group but it's clearly not easy to put up those kind of numbers at this point in his career.

Mark Wimer: Most fantasy owners are down on Houshmandzadeh this year due to his uninspiring performance during 2009. But there were several factors in play that contributed to his off year. Matt Hasselbeck was banged up and ineffective for much of the season, and Houshmandzadeh was 'gutting it out' to play through a sports hernia - an injury that wasn't revealed until offseason surgery to repair the problem.

There are some reasons for optimism regarding Houshmandzadeh this year. His yards-per-reception average was higher in 2009 than it had been in either of the two previous seasons, and that was while playing in his first season in a new offense. He should be much more comfortable with his teammates in 2010.

Also, Houshmandzadeh is the only reliable, proven veteran receiver on the squad, and he entered training camp fully healthy. With rookie Golden Tate, Deon Butler, and Deion Branch the next three players on the depth chart, Houshmandzadeh is secure in his starting position, and should see a lot of targets in each and every game. I think he'll prove to have enough gas in the tank to land solidly among fantasy WR2 range this season, and should be on the cusp of top-12 numbers. You'll likely be able to land him with a WR3/WR4 pick, which should lead to plenty of upside for your fantasy team, in my opinion.

Jeff Haseley: I agree with Mark. I think Houshmandzadeh will rebound this year. He told reporters that he had a series of injuries that he dealt with most of last season but never talked about publicly. He broke three ribs in the preseason and yet he still played the first five or six games and didn't say anything. Then he hurt his groin/stomach and it never went away - until he had sports hernia surgery in April. Interestingly enough, after ten years in the NFL, that was the first time he went under the knife in his life. Despite all the pain, trauma, and stress of learning a new offense, he still managed to catch 79 passes. It's no wonder he believes he'll catch 100 balls in 2010. Put me in the camp that thinks he will embrace the role this year and be a productive force for a WR corps with question marks.

Andy Hicks: I agree with Mark and Jeff H. The Seahawks offense can hardly be worse than it was last season, and Houshmandzadeh has now had a chance to settle into his role in Seattle. I hate the uncertainty surrounding the QB position, but the status of Houshmandzadeh as WR1 is clear. The guy with the 2nd most receptions last year, Nate Burleson, is gone and No.3 Deion Branch will be passed by the younger generation of Deon Butler & Golden Tate. Houshmandzadeh will be head-and-shoulders above the rest of the crew in number of targets. Finally healthy, I expect him to slot in comfortably as a fantasy WR2, for the price of a WR3. That's good value.

Jeff Pasquino: I side more with the detractors. Houshmandzadeh has been losing yards per reception since 2004 and has been under 12 yards per catch for the last 3 years, not just his one year in Seattle. The difference is all about the touchdowns, since Housh is still getting 130+ targets in Seattle which allowed him to rack up 79 catches and 911 yards but only three scoring grabs. From 2005-2007 he had 28 touchdowns, but he's had just seven over the past two years. Unless he starts scoring with better regularity, his value will solely be in PPR leagues and even then just as a WR3. Seattle's a mess but if he can put up similar numbers as last year with a few more touchdowns then he could be a solid WR3. Still, I'd likely look for better upside and a higher floor.

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