With week 1 of the 2009 NFL pre-season games already in the record books there is not that much to really report of note (that is if we are talking about action that took place ON the field).
With teams using the pre-season to experiment, and to find out if their 4th string undrafted free agent quarterback is any good, its hardly the time to make final fantasy football draft decisions.
There are a few exceptions though, with some veteran players really wanting to prove a point, to use the pre-season to potentially come out from under the proverbial rock or to move out from under the shadow of a now departed colleague they backed up.
This is where Chris Henry has sparkled like a golden nugget in a prospectors pan (yes this analogy would have been far more impressive if Henry was a 49er).
The Cincinnati Bengals wideout is in his 5thseason now, having only caught 107 passes in his first four seasons, hardly figures that have anyone drooling at the mouth.
Henry had 7 catches for 100 yards and a score in the Bengals pre-season opening loss to the Saints.
It’s only pre-season but if Henry was to duplicate that little cameo on a consistent basis he could record 100 catches for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Huge figures that on the surface look ridiculously over inflated, but if we dig a bit deeper there are some big factors to consider.
1) TJ Houshmandzadeh is gone (now a Seahawk having cafe lattes with Fraiser Crane at Cafe Nervosa). Housh had a mindblowing 294 catches in the last three NFL seasons – someone has to replace them.
2) Reggie Kelly the TE is out for the season for the Bengals, and Ben Utecht is injured. Cincy will go into the season relying on a rookie TE – this again means Henry will get more looks.
3) If Chad Ocho Cinco De Mayo Johnson can get back to his old Pro Bowl self he will draw a lot of double teams coverage – again leaving Henry with a #2 CB.
4) At 6 ft 4 Henry has the height to out jump shorter corners and has the speed to out run gambling safeties like Troy Polamalu.
5) 107 catches in his career is poor, but 19 touchdowns from those few balls is a remarkable 17.7% touchdown per catch likelihood rate. This makes Henry a fantastic red zone target.
6) Carson Palmer missed most of 2008 so he will be determined to come back on fire and throw between 3,000 and 4,000 yards passing, meaning he will be looking to air the ball out where possible and he needs targets he can trust, and ones he has worked with before.
Henry has never had such an opportunity to turn his ‘potential’ into ‘performance’ – it may be now or never for Chris Henry – stay tuned, and if he becomes a fantasy stud remember NFL FAN IN ENGLAND told you so.