Faceoff - WR Joe Horn, New Orleans Saints
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Upside - by Jason Wood
Just when you thought Joe Horn had peaked, he comes up with his best season yet — 94 receptions for 1,399 yards and 11 TDs on route to his best fantasy finish ever (3rd ranked WR)
Horn may be known for showboating, but like most boisterous WRs, he backs up his smack talk to the Nth degree. You won’t find many receivers that run better routes, nor are there many with better hands. And with each passing year his rapport with QB Aaron Brooks gets more refined.
Horn deserves early draft consideration on his own merits, but when you consider the uncertainties surrounding Terrell Owens (hold out?), Randy Moss (new team) and Javon Walker (hold out?), it makes him all the more appealing.
About the only reason one could argue against Joe Horn being a superb fantasy performer would be worries about his age; he turned 33 in January. Yet, we’ve seen countless receivers in recent years be productive into their mid- to late-30s; including Rod Smith, Jerry Rice, Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Isaac Bruce. Horn is coming off a career year, where he finished as the 3rd best fantasy receiver. He’s healthy, committed and has been remarkably injury resistant (only one game missed in the last seven years).
There’s no reason Joe Horn should be anything less than a top 10 WR in any league format, and I would personally see him as one of the surer bets to finish among the top five or six at his position.
Downside - by Andy Hicks
Last year I wrote this about Joe Horn:
Last year (2003) saw the first signs of Horn's decline, this year that will continue……Definitely not good enough to be your #1.
The 2005 season rolls around and here I am again. Stubborn? Maybe, but is Joe Horn worth using an early pick on?
Without wishing to regurgitate last years argument, 33 year old (or older) non Hall of Famers do not often reach Fantasy WR1 status. In the last 10 years only 2 players fit the bill (Keenan McCardell in 2003 & Irving Fryar in 1996 & 1997). I have seen few arguments made that Joe Horn is Hall of Fame worthy. Last year you could get him as a WR2. This year you’ll HAVE to get him as your No.1 and use a late second, early third round pick.
Joe Horn is obviously a vital part of the New Orleans offense, but the Saints reliance on him last year was absurd. Of all the Receivers in the NFL, no player contributed a larger percentage of his teams receiving yards than Joe Horn (36.72%). Only Larry Fitzgerald and Muhsin Muhammad provided a higher ratio of receiving touchdowns for their clubs (Horn caught 52% of his teams 21 receiving touchdowns)
Mike Sheppard steps in as the new offensive coordinator and all indications are that the Saints will run the ball more frequently in a streamlined offense. The Saints will also put Devery Henderson on the field this year and the recent signing of Az Hakim mean that Jerome Pathon has been more than adequately replaced. The Saints also plan to use the Tight End position more.
Joe Horn posted career bests across the board last year, if you draft him expecting him to go close to last years numbers prepare to be disappointed.