Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Chad Javon Johnson officially changed his name to Chad Ochocinco on Aug. 29, 2008. Why is that significant to fantasy owners?
Well, before the name change, Johnson caught 559 passes for 8,365 yards and 49 touchdowns, averaging 77.45 yards per game over 108 games. With the Ochocinco moniker on his back, he's averaged 46 yards and scored 18 touchdowns over 58 games.
Quite a fall for a receiver who was a top-10 fantasy wideout from 2003-2007.
Was the name change the only reason for his reduced production?
Obviously not, but it has signaled when Ochocinco turned from a fantasy star to a fantasy non-factor.
During the 2008 season with Cincinnati, Ochocinco lost his two-time Pro-Bowl quarterback, Carson Palmer, to injury just four weeks into the campaign. But the mercurial wideout wasn't having a good season at the time of the injury (11 receptions for 116 yards and one touchdown in the team's first four games) and with young Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, the struggles continued all year long. His 53-catch, 540-yard, four touchdown campaign left him as the 50th-best fantasy wideout.
He returned to fantasy relevance for 2009 with a season that made him a top-15 receiver (72-1,047-9), but since that point he's been nothing but a mirage.
Come 2011, Ochocinco signed to play with one of the best quarterbacks in the game, New England's Tom Brady, giving fantasy owners renewed hope that he would help their rosters. He had a fantasyfootballcalculator.com ADP of 50, equaling an early fifth-round selection in a typical 12-team league.
The optimism was short-lived, however, as it became quickly apparent that Ochocinco couldn't get a grasp of the Patriots offense. He barely made it onto the field and over 15 games caught just 15 balls for 276 yards and one touchdown.
The Patriots released Ochocinco on Thursday and the likelihood that he ever becomes a significant fantasy wideout again is slim.
I'm sure he'll sign with an NFL team at some point this season and you will be tempted to add him to your roster, but don't. The receiver you knew and loved to start in your fantasy lineup has long been gone and will never return, just like his name.