What’s Eating Ochocinco?

By MattDotRich

Roughly two weeks ago I wrote  a column requesting for you to be patient with Chad Ochocinco , and with time he’ll show to be an exceptionally good number two Fantasy option.

On Monday Night the New England Patriots threw for 517 yards through the air: Ochocinco accumulated for 14 yards of that. I’m no math wiz, but that’s not a big piece of the pie.

So, with next to no production have I changed my mind about the fantasy value of Ochocinco?

Yes and No.

It is clear that Chad doesn’t have a firm grip on the Patriots complex offense. He left a simplistic Bengals offense to the complex, heavy improvisational offense of the Patriots that relies on familiarity and chemistry. In lame man’s terms: He quit Nickelback to join a Jazz quartet.

On top of this, there are two other things that are hurting Ochocinco’s progress:

    1. Tom Brady has this offense operating at a breakneck speed. It’s not that it’s just a no-huddle offense, it’s a no-wait offense. It’s get to the line of scrimmage and it’s go-time.  On Monday, the Patriots put up 38 points and didn’t have a single drive that exceeded four and a half minutes. That’s nothing short of incredible, but it also reemphasizes why someone whose trying to learn the offense would have trouble keeping up.
    2. Ochocinco is the only non-returning player on the Patriots offense.
Obviously the first part is the biggest issue for him, but let’s not completely discount the second either. He’s struggling with something literally no one else on the entire team is having difficulty with. Every player on this team has at the very least been around the team for over a year.
Now there’s two ways of looking at that – The first is to complain that he’s a million dollar athlete and he shouldn’t be acting like a bay. The second is understanding that no amount of money is going to off-set the human component of a player, particularly for a player like Ochocinco whose always came off as hypersensitive.
But, these are all excuses and there’s an alternate reality –
Yes, there was a shortened preseason but we’re in week one and he’s still so lost  on offense that he’s only on the field for 18 of the 80 offensive plays. For reference, that’s 3 less snaps than Dan Gronkowski. And while Brady, Bellicheck and the rest of the Patriots offense would love to have Ochocinco on the field more, they showed on Monday that they don’t need him to be. If he can’t get a grip on this offense, they’re not going to force him on.
Fantasy wise I think the question you have to ask yourself is obvious: Do you think Ochocinco can learn this offense? Because if he can, surely he can exceed the type of numbers Deion Branch averaged last season (64 yards, .45 TD’s per game) and become a valuable asset.
My suggestion to Ochocinco owners would be to play things by what your roster allows you to afford. If you’ve got a roster and/or bench spots that’ll allow you to ‘wait on’ Ocho I think you’ve got to give him time. He’s got the upside of a valuable #2 receiver, and chances are the type of receiver you’re looking at on your waiver wire will be there in 4 weeks.
At the same time, if you’ve got limited roster spots and a need for a receiver you’re probably going to want to drop him. I think it’s going to take him a few more weeks to give you any real production, and I don’t think you can bank on him fulfilling his potential

2 thoughts on “What’s Eating Ochocinco?

    1. Michelle, I believe they ended up scoring on that drive anyways . But that being said, despite me being an eternal optimist, even I’ve grown a bit sour on Ochocinco. While he was in for a lot more snaps – showing an increased understanding of the offense – he still appears to be a little lost. He’s noticeably slow off the line, and a lot of cases doesn’t appear to be in a standard receiver stance (I’m assuming from trying to remember the play being called).

      The only silver lining is that I think Bellicheck made a conscious effort to attack the seams which could help explain some of the lack of production: Welker and Gronkowski combined for 326 of the 386 yards gained in the air (Branch was actually held without a catch).

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