OK, everyone should be familiar with the gimmick by now: Two experts debate the relative merits of two
disgraced former Yahoo! cover athletes similarly useful fantasy options. Today we're considering a pair of wide receivers who used to occupy the top tier at their position, but are now lucky to be clinging to the third (or possibly fourth) tier. Chad Ochocinco and Br ylo Edw rds are both among...
Whoops, sorry. Somehow we dropped a bunch of letters from Braylon's name. Weird. Just dropped 'em. They were right there, but we couldn't hold on. Strange. Hmm.Pianowski says: It's not difficult to build a smear campaign against Braylon Edwards(notes). He dropped passes by the truckload in 2008, and the Browns offense couldn’t find the end zone with a GPS system. Chad Ochocinco’s quarterback has Pro Bowl upside, while Edwards has to deal with a journeyman (Derek Anderson(notes)) and an unproven kid (Brady Quinn(notes)).
That said, fantasy success is often tied to having a short memory. I’m happy to play the opportunity and talent card on Edwards, getting a tasty price after last year’s crash landing.
By picking Edwards you get a receiver who’s two inches taller, five years younger, and infinitely less likely to go AWOL. Cleveland’s passing game will feature Edwards no matter what – there’s no proven No. 2 receiver and Kellen Winslow(notes) is gone. Edwards is also playing for his next contract. And as ugly as the 2008 stats and pictures were, he is just two years removed from a game-changing season (1289 yards, 16 TDs).
Johnson, err, Ochocinco has to fight for his looks in Cincinnati, where Laveranues Coles(notes) and Chris Henry share the field. Carson Palmer(notes) is saying positive things about Chad now, but two months back he seemed fed up with the veteran wideout. Even in 85’s best days, he’s never been a dynamic touchdown guy – he hit double-digits just once. When you’re selecting that No. 2 or No. 3 receiver for your roster, it’s no time to play it safe. Edwards has the potential to win your league for you; that tag no longer applies to Sir Whines a Lot in Cincinnati.
Possibilities for our next Spin Doctors include "lethal injection vs. public stoning," "beets vs. radishes," and "fleas vs. ticks." Can't wait to write those.
Look, no one is asking you to like Ochocinco. But for fantasy purposes, you need to appreciate his skills and his situation. From 2003 to 2007, Ocho averaged 1374 yards, 92.4 receptions and 8.6 TDs per season. Yes, he's 31, but that's not the end of line for receivers. Two years ago, in Edwards' breakout campaign, Chad actually gained more yards (1440 to 1289) and caught more passes (93 to 80).
Edwards led the NFL in drops (officially 16) and passes-not-caught (83) in 2008. His catch-percentage was an atrocious 39.9. It was a disastrous season, and the Browns averaged just 14.5 points per game. If you think anyone on that team is approaching 16 TDs this year...well, I'll take that bet.
In fantasy, I'll also take the guy with the superior quarterback, a much greater history of success, and a renewed commitment.
"It's obvious that [Ocho's] hungry," said Carson Palmer. "It's obvious that he's embarrassed about last year and wants to make a change."
"He's in a lot better shape," said Marvin Lewis. "He worked at it."
The Bengals are more likely than the Browns to return to their '07 level of production (23.8 PPG, 250.8 pass yards), and Chad is a safer play than Braylon at their ADP (Rounds 5-7).
Photos via Getty Images