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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fantasy football: Assessing Houshmandzadeh's value as a Raven

You don't expect a player who had 79 catches the season before to be released by a 5-11 team.

That fate was realized by T.J. Houshmandzadeh -- the subject of one of the best fantasy football commercials we've seen -- in Seattle.

The player with the long locks and extended last name is now a Raven, causing a big drop in his fantasy value and leaving us with questions about how much he'll produce in an offense that already features Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, Ray Rice and Todd Heap as targets for Joe Flacco.

Houshmandzadeh was considered a low-end No. 2 fantasy receiver prior to getting cut, but he's no better than a No. 4 with the Ravens. The last two seasons, he's averaged 86 receptions for 908 yards and 3.5 touchdowns -- down considerably from his 2006 and '07 averages of 101 catches for 1,112 yards and 10.5 scores.

There's also the likelihood he'll be Baltimore's No. 3 receiver, behind Boldin and Mason. The latter, as we wrote in a column for Saturday's print and online editions, is undervalued this season, despite averaging 85 catches for 1,051 yards and six TDs the last three years.

Boldin was drafted, on average, in the early fourth round, which seems about right for a player who has had only one season with double-digit touchdowns (2008), and Joe Flacco is no Kurt Warner.

I'd consider Boldin an upper-echelon No. 2 receiver in fantasy, Mason a No. 3 and Houshmandzadeh a high-level No. 4.

And you should consider checking back with us this weekend. Saturday, we'll have the aforementioned column on the N-H's online sports section, and there will be another blog in this space.

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