Housh Back in The Fold


By Vidur Malik


The Oakland Raiders once again made noise by signing a former Cincinnati Bengal, this time wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

There are a few ways you can analyze this acquisition, and you could make a case for it being both a good and bad decision.


Let’s start with why it could be good. The obvious reason is that Houshmandzadeh and new Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer played together with the Bengals. The chemistry they developed there should make Houshmandzadeh’s move easier and should also give Palmer – who is also learning his new team’s system – a dependable target to throw to. Also, the Raiders’ receiving corps is made up mostly of fast receivers who are downfield threats but might not have the greatest hands. Houshmandzadeh is a possession receiver who can give Palmer a target over the middle of the field while guys like Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore look to beat defenses with the deep ball.


If things go smoothly, Houshmandzadeh should fit in well with the Raiders, and might make a significant contribution in the season’s second half.


On the flipside, this pickup might make the Raiders’ issues on offense even more confusing. If both he and Palmer have to learn the offense, does that mean there are even more liabilities on the team? Will both players take time to get to full speed? In that case, Houshmandzadeh might not get many game reps, allowing critics to question his signing.


It could go either way. Just like skeptics asked whether Palmer would be effective after being away from the game for a while, the same questions could be brought up for Houshmandzadeh.


From a fantasy perspective, it’s probably best to hold off on picking up Houshmandzadeh for a while. More importantly than his own performance, look at Palmer’s play to see whether he is improving from the horrendous three-interception performance he had in his Raider debut against Kansas City in week 7. If Palmer plays well, or at least mediocre, that should give Houshmandzadeh some opportunities.


There are a lot of if’s when it comes to whether Houshmandzadeh will become the Raiders’ new weapon. You’ve got to factor in both his play and the play of his quarterback, so if you want to add him to your team, you should wait a few weeks. Because of his style, he could become a red zone threat or a key third-down guy, so the potential is there, but potential doesn’t get you fantasy points. Take a wait-and-see approach with Houshmandzadeh.


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