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Weekly Insights: Wk 8

Chad Johnson’s humorous pregame taunting is back. His play won’t be. After being quiet all year, Johnson let loose this week.

“Eighty-five is back. It’s going down this Sunday,” he said. “I’m celebrating. I’m going to score. I’m going to score more than once. I’m going to celebrate.”

He also referred to Atlanta cornerback DeAngelo Hall as DeAngelo “Fall.”

Too bad trash talking doesn’t get fantasy owners points, because that’s the only way Johnson will regain his status as an elite fantasy receiver. He should be counted on only as a No. 2 fantasy receiver and owners should look to trade him now while his value is as high is it likely will be.

Two weeks ago, I said fantasy players shouldn’t panic about Johnson’s slow start. I was wrong. Panic! By the end of the season, Johnson will be considered one of the year’s biggest busts. Here’s why:

The Emergence Of T.J. Houshmandzadeh: Comparing Johnson’s numbers to Houshmandzadeh’s and it appears that Houshmandzadeh is the Bengals’ No. 1 receiver. Houshmandzadeh has outperformed Johnson in every game he’s played, has the same number of receptions (30), 21 fewer yards (352 to 373) and three more touchdowns (four to one) than Johnson – in two fewer games. Quarterback Carson Palmer is throwing to Houshmandzadeh as often as Johnson, making the potential for Johnson to have the huge games slimmer than in past seasons when he clearly was Palmer’s favorite target.

Nightmare Schedule: After Johnson matches up against Pro Bowler Fall, err, Hall this week, he will have top-10 pass defenses thrown in his face every week through Week 16. That schedule means he will probably will have just as many stinker games as solid games.

Chris Henry Is Coming Back: Henry’s two-game suspension for violating NFL policies on conduct and substance abuse is over, so Palmer will have yet another weapon to throw to. In Henry’s last two games before his suspension, he had twice as many receiving yards (182 to 89) as Johnson. In the only game this season that Johnson, Houshmandzadeh and Henry played together in, Johnson was the least effective of the trio with just one catch for 11 yards in Cincinnati’s 28-20 win over Pittsburgh in Week 3.

Hot Read

Leon Washington, RB, N.Y. Jets: The rookie from Florida State appears to have grabbed the featured role in the Jets’ backfield over Kevan Barlow. Washington gained 129 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries last week. More importantly, the Jets looked to Washington when it needed a first down to run the clock out and earn a win over Detroit. The 5-foot-8, 202-pound running back has 110 more yards than Barlow this season on eight fewer carries.

Broken Play(er)

Jake Plummer, QB, Denver: He’s averaging just 164 yards per game and has four touchdowns and seven interceptions in six games. Did he jump in a time machine and his rookie self came back? Plummer hasn’t led the Broncos’ offense to more than 17 points in a game this season. Fantasy owners would be smart to drop him and take a chance on waiver-wire quarterback that has potential.

Off The Bench

Reuben Droughns, RB, Cleveland: Look for the running back to break out of his season-long slump when he faces the New York Jets and their marshmallow run defense. The Jets have allowed a league-high 12 rushing touchdowns and 142.4 rushing yards per game (28th).

Safe Bet

Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis: Don’t let Denver’s stingy pass defense scare you from starting Manning. The quarterback will match or exceed the number of touchdown passes the Broncos have allowed this season (two). Denver’s pass defense has been solid against mostly less-than-stellar quarterbacks. Manning is on a roll after throwing four TD passes last week against Washington and will find a way to get it done against the Broncos.

Extra Point

Having a tough time pulling off trades? Don’t by shy. Post what you want on your league’s message board stating exactly what you’re willing to trade and what you’re looking for. Another owner may offer you a trade you are interested in that you never would have thought of, making it easier for you to make trades.