Will Bengals’ Henry be a fantasy sleeper in 2009?

The value of Chad Ochocinco will be one of the most discussed topics of conversation in fantasy football this summer.

He’s coming off a dreadful 2008 season that saw him finish with just 53 receptions, 540 yards and four touchdowns. Part of the reason his numbers fell so dramatically was the absence of Carson Palmer.

The veteran quarterback missed most of the season with elbow problems, but he’s back at 100 percent and will be under center for the Bengals once again. That was seen as a positive for Ochocinco’s value, at least it was before this week.

During an interview on Sirius NFL Radio, Palmer seemed to question his teammate.

“You know, I really don’t know,” Palmer said when asked about Ochocinco. “I haven’t talked to him, I haven’t talked to anybody who has talked to him. He wasn’t here last year, so I’m expecting him not to be here at all this year. I think he was here last year. I think he was here for the mandatory camp but didn’t participate in it. I’m planning on him not being here, just because he hasn’t been here yet.”

While he was non-committal about Ochocinco, Palmer praised Chris Henry.

“We got Chris Henry — another guy I left out, I can’t believe I left him out,” Palmer said. “He’s a guy that’s had a great offseason. Really, really turned his life around. I’m excited to watch him play. He’s a guy that, it seems like he catches a touchdown every other ball that gets thrown to him. He’s that explosive. He’s kind of taken over for Chad’s position and he’s a guy that does not want to give up that spot right now.”

No one has ever disputed Henry’s talents on the field, but his problems off it have been a huge factor in his risk-reward fantasy status. If he continues to make strides in offseason team activities and improves his rapport with Palmer, Henry could turn into a nice draft value.

Of course, Palmer’s comments could have been meant to be motivation for Ochocinco, who is expected to attend the Bengals’ mandatory minicamp in June. The wide receiver is working out in Los Angeles and isn’t expected to hold out of mandatory camps, so he’s still very much in the mix in the Bengals’ pass attack.

Whether or not he can re-establish himself as an elite wide receiver in fantasy football remains to be seen.

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