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Is Rob Housler the Next Breakout Tight End?


The great thing about data is that it allows you to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.  When I was running my tight end projection model for this year’s draft class, I decided to run it back on past years draft classes and see if there are any tight ends already on rosters that would score highly.  I found a few names that I’ll be covering in the days ahead, but one name really stood out to me and that was ARI’s Rob Housler.  I think Housler is probably going to safely fly under the radar because nothing about his career to-date stands out.  Here is Housler’s 2012 stat summary pulled from the TE Similarity Score App:

Rob Housler 2012 24 250 13 5.23 3.46 32.08 0 -0.49 6.13

Housler was below average in terms of fantasy points/target if we adjust for field position (that’s FPOP).  He didn’t score any touchdowns on over 65 targets.  That’s not good.  But… remember that Housler was playing in Arizona and it was pretty much a grease fire last year.  To illustrate this fact, consider Larry Fitz’s stat summary:

Larry Fitzgerald 2012 29 218 15 10.07 4.47 51.73 0.27 -0.66 5.14

Fitz averaged even fewer yards per target than Housler did.  I’m not saying Housler is better than Fitz.  I’m saying we can give Housler a pass for not being any good last year.

Here’s what made me sit up in my seat while considering Housler’s prospects: 6’5”, 248 pounds, 4.46 40 yard dash.  That’s outstanding.  He’s basically as fast as teammate Michael Floyd and he weighs 25 pounds more than Floyd does.  I looked around the web for video of Housler from college and saw him basically running by defensive secondaries on some plays.  It wasn’t just Housler’s 40 time that made him stick out in the TE model I have though.  He also caught 50 yards per game in college, which shows that he can produce.

One thing that might temper my enthusiasm on Housler is that Bruce Arians might be a wide receiver whisperer, but he’s been less of a tight end whisperer.  But maybe that won’t matter as much as Arians will still have to call plays to the strengths of Carson Palmer, who has been Captain Checkdown lately.  Palmer was probably personally responsible for the career year that Brandon Myers had last year.

I don’t know that I have a really good story to tell myself in terms of how Housler is going to get all of the targets needed to be really valuable in fantasy, but he’s on my radar to pay attention to going into the fall.

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