Gut Feeling: WR Chris Henry Ready to Explode

Ryan BoniniContributor IJuly 26, 2009

As I mentioned recently, I have been paying close attention to the NFL&sheet=WR" target="_blank" title="Average Draft Position - ADP Charts">ADP reports on (powered by our buddies over at Mock Draft Central). I love going over the numbers and watching players move up and down as the season looms closer.

There are, at times, players I cannot believe are not being selected in almost every draft. I previously talked about New England Patriots WR Joey Galloway and why I believe he shouldn’t go undrafted.

Today I’m here to talk about another player in the same boat: Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry.

Maybe I’m too much of an optimistic person. Actually, that can’t be it because I rarely am. However, there’s a sinking feeling in my rather round gut this year that Henry explodes.

Then again, maybe I’m confusing that with indigestion from last night’s BBQ chicken pizza. It has happened before!

For Henry to succeed, he is going to need some help because the Bengals look like they’re in for a long year.

  • First, quarterback Carson Palmer’s elbow needs to be healthy and remain that way for the entire season
  • Second, Henry has to keep himself out of trouble off of the field… he has had more than his share of issues there
  • Third, the defense is going to have to be shaky again, forcing Cincinnati to throw a lot

If all three of those items play out, I see big potential out of Henry this year. Here is what my “gut feeling” is coming from:

  • He is entering a contract year
  • He has added about five pounds of muscle during the off-season, pushing his weight to 205 pounds
  • This is his fifth season in the league
  • He has shown big-play ability: In 2006, he had 36 receptions for 605 yards and nine touchdowns
  • He received valuable first-team reps most of the spring when Chad Ochocinco was away from the team
  • Ochocinco, by the way, may be too busy Tweeting to catch passes
  • He seems more mature after hitting rock bottom and being out of the league for a while

Henry, on average, isn’t being taken in 60 percent of fantasy football league drafts. When he is being selected, he is going about 190th overall (16th round in a standard 12-team league).

Palmer has spoken highly of him this year, noting how explosive Henry is. Henry isn’t getting into trouble (knock on wood) off the field and seems to be taking football seriously.

Sometimes that rock bottom thing can turn into a positive by forcing a player to refocus. He even noted that he has been working out very hard, and feels like he is currently at his best.

“It’s going to be a big year for me,” Henry said recently.

Ochocinco may be busy Tweeting

Ochocinco may be busy Tweeting

Henry, 26, will likely enter the year as the No. 3 receiver for the Bengals, with Ochocinco and newcomer Laveranues Coles ahead of him on the depth chart. As the third receiver, Henry will often play against a safety or nickel back.

His added muscle will help in shedding defenders, and allow him to be more physical going after the football. At 6-foot-4, he clearly has a size advantage over most defensive backs to begin with!

Coles, 31, is no stranger to lingering injury problems and doesn’t seem to have the same explosiveness he once had. While has high expectations for Ochocinco, 31, this year, he still seems more interested in entertaining through Twitter than he does producing on the field.

By taking Henry at the end of your draft as a No. 5 fantasy receiver, you have the chance to snag a potential high-reward option if everything works out. In doing so, you are not investing much in him and you can easily cast him aside early in the year if he doesn’t pan out.

I, for one, am more inclined to take a player like him as opposed to rolling the dice on an unproven rookie receiver that late in the draft.

Draft him, I will be. In the meantime, back to that leftover BBQ chicken pizza…