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The Seahawks couldn't trade T.J. Houshmandzadeh's $7 million-guaranteed contract before Saturday, so they've decided to eat his salary and release him.
Housh was a huge fantasy disappointment his first year in Seattle in an offensive system that never suited his receiving style; he finished with 911 receiving yards and just three touchdowns. He often looked frustrated and disinterested with the Seahawks, though at age 32 (he turns 33 on Sept. 26), it would be a stretch to say that Houshmandzadeh is completely done. He was never much of a runner and has been even slower lately, but he's known for toughness and good hands, something that could serve him well wherever he lands. (Imagine, say, if the Rams signed him; wouldn't he be a starter on that team?) For the moment, I bumped Housh down from No. 42 in my wide receiver rankings (which was significantly lower than most folks to begin with) to No. 57, which reflects the fact he could have some value, depending on where he lands.Amazingly, for the moment, this seems to leave Mike Williams -- the former Matt Millen-related bust with the Lions -- as the Seahawks' most attractive fantasy wideout. I have Williams at No. 40 on my wideout list right now, because despite the fact he wasn't always playing with the "ones" during preseason games, Williams did consistently make plays (he sat out the fourth preseason game). Of course, there's still rampant speculation that the Seahawks might be adding someone else, so it's a fluid situation. (Vincent Jackson's name has been bandied about, and Jackson will never be more valuable as trade bait to the Chargers than he is on Saturday, because if he signs a new contract Saturday he'll miss only three games. If he doesn't, he'll miss at least six.) Oft-injured Deion Branch appears to be the starting flanker at the moment, but I can't get worked up about him fantasy-wise. In fact, I'd still rather draft Golden Tate or Deon Butler. Tate has fallen down the depth chart to the point where he doesn't appear likely to get much action at the beginning of the season, but my logic in still ranking him as the No. 2 Seahawks fantasy receiver (at No. 69 on my wideout list) is that he still has upside later in the season, if the game starts to slow down for him. I have Butler next, at No. 89 on my list. He's small, but he's a very interesting speedster with good quicks (he was one of my super-deep sleepers earlier this week), and finally I have Branch at No. 95. Maybe that will wind up looking foolish, but better men than I have gone broke betting on Branch the past few years.
|Two running backs that Keiland Williams was battling on the Skins' depth chart have been released.|
The Seahawks did do some roster shuffling Sunday afternoon. They claimed Michael Robinson off waivers from the 49ers, and, it was reported, released veteran running back Julius Jones. Except they didn't. Jones came back and agreed to take a paycut so that he can remain a Seahawk.Nobody really expected Jones to be a fantasy factor this season, not after he accounted for all of 663 yards rushing and four total touchdowns in '09, the third straight season in which he failed to eclipse 700 yards on the ground. But Jones was enough of a nuisance last year to cause Justin Forsett owners to tear out their hair in frustration, so it was widely accepted that Jones would stick around the Pacific Northwest this season and perform the same frustrating function in '10. Though he will stick around Seattle, he won't play that role. We're looking at a clear backup, if not distant No. 3 back. The Seahawks signed Robinson to be a special teams maven, and will turn their backfield over to two similar players: Forsett and Leon Washington. Forsett is the starter and probably deserves to be higher in the fantasy rankings, but I believe Washington is actually a better weapon if he's healthy (remember, he suffered a broken leg with the Jets last year). Washington will be Seattle's kick and punt returner but likely will alternate freely at halfback with Forsett, stealing some of the value Jones nabbed in '09. In other words: I'm not ready to bump Forsett way up on this news. I have him No. 33 among running backs, and Washington No. 41. The Seahawks offensive line still looks mighty shaky, and it doesn't help that much-revered line coach Alex Gibbs retired before the season even started. But it would be wrong to proclaim that Jones' "demotion" doesn't produce some clarity in the Seattle backfield, so those who are high on Forsett just found another reason to like him.
Fantasy kickers are nuisances, and no more so than when they get cut after you draft them. Shayne Graham and Dave Rayner were released by the Ravens and Bengals, respectively, on Saturday. Graham in particular is a surprise, considering we had him listed in our top 15 kickers for the 2010 season. Billy Cundiff (Ravens) and Mike Nugent (Bengals) each should start for their respective clubs, though I wouldn't make either a top-10 guy right now. Then again, they're kickers. I don't really have any idea.Other skill-position names you might know who were cut (or placed on IR) Saturday: Michael Clayton, Buccaneers (signed with Rams)