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Jordan Cameron is currently coming off the draft board at around TE15, so he’s not likely to sink any fantasy teams if he doesn’t pan out like his fans hope he does. But, just so I don’t run the risk of accidentally putting Cameron on my Jihad List (my term for the list of guys that I hate on in more of a religious fashion than a logical one) let me just say that I really don’t have an opinion as to whether or not Cameron will breakout in 2013. He might, he might not. Only at the running back position do I typically gamble on guys that haven’t already shown a history of producing. That might mean that I miss out on the rare Zero to 60 breakout guy, but I’ll just take comfort in the fact for every 10 guys that get drafted on the hope of a wild breakout, about nine of them disappoint the owners that took them. So Jordan Cameron could put up a 900 yard season this year, which I will greet with a firm congratulations, and then next year I’ll be right back where I am today, requiring that fantasy players be close to studs before I expect them to be studs.

The irony with Cameron is that I think there’s a guy that has his upside, and is probably a little bit closer in terms of having already produced on the field, but that fantasy owners are essentially ignoring. That’s Rob Housler. Let’s compare the two receivers on a few measures:

HouslerCameron
Current ADPUndraftedTE15
40 Time4.464.53
Vertical3737.5
Weight248254
College Receiving Yards1228126
College Receiving TDs81
NFL Receiving Yards550259
NFL Receiving TDs01

Housler is basically on par with Cameron as an athlete, and Housler has more historical production as a TE. Oh yeah, he’s cheaper too. That’s nice.

I can think of two possible objections to the idea that Housler might be an equal, but cheaper, version of Cameron.

  1. The difference between Bruce Arians as a coordinator and Norv Turner as a coordinator will make all the difference for a tight end.
  2. Housler is in an offense with more mouths to feed than the offense that Cameron is in.

The first point might be true, but it’s also true that when Housler was coming out of college, Bruce Arians thought there was some chance that Housler could just play WR in the NFL. It’s possible that ARI could just throw him out there with Michael Floyd and Fitz and let defenses try to cover three monsters (they’re monsters physically anyway). If Carson Palmer puts up as many attempts as people think he will, there are going to be plenty of targets for everyone.

As to the 2nd point, it might be true that Cameron is in an offense with fewer guys, except that CLE traded to get Davone Bess, who presumably will consume some amount of the short area targets that TEs typically consume. I can’t remember a Norv or Chud offense prominently featuring a slot receiver, so it’s kind of tough to reconcile their acquisition of Bess. But you have to assume they have a plan for him. Also, the point as to “mouths to feed” was true for Cameron last year as well and I don’t remember him really lighting up the stat sheet then.

Like I said, I really don’t have an opinion on Jordan Cameron. But I do see a guy in Rob Housler that’s being essentially overlooked despite being an equal athlete and having more historical production to point to. The reality is that when you get to that point in a fantasy draft, price doesn’t really matter that much as you’re just taking the guy that you think has the best chance to really break out. So if you think that guy is Cameron, I wouldn’t even fault you for it. My point is more that progression in the NFL tends to be more gradual and I think Housler has the slightly better resume right now. He’s also cheaper, so there’s that.

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