Andrew Hawkins: Is Bengals WR a Fantasy Football Must-Start in Week 4?

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 16:  Andrew Hawkins #16 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs in to the endzone to complete a 50-yard pass reception for a touchdown in the second half against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Cleveland 34-27.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals have found a diamond in the rough in second-year receiver Andrew Hawkins, and he is a must-start in Week 4 of the 2012 NFL season against the Jacksonville Jaguars

Some may not be sold on Hawkins' yet, but he has quickly managed to make a name for himself as the slot receiver in Cincinnati, and playing in offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's West Coast offense has vastly increased his fantasy value. 

Hawkins, in what is quickly becoming a recurring trend, could have a huge day this week and cement his status as a fantasy must-start. Let's breakdown Hawkins' potential for Week 4:



Hawkins is not a household name because he did not make much noise in his rookie campaign. In fact, he has already surpassed his production from a year ago only three games in this young 2012 NFL season. 

Entering the matchup with Jacksonville, Hawkins has caught 12 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns, including two catches for 20 or more yards. 

Hawkins is an outstanding selection in fantasy leagues as he is a reliable target for quarterback Andy Dalton on almost every down—especially considering the attention defenses give receiver A.J. Green. 

The best part about Hawkins? He can turn any play into a long touchdown.


Week 4 Matchup

The Bengals take on the Jaguars in Jacksonville with a 4:05 p.m. ET kickoff Sunday, which is nothing but good news for fantasy owners. 

Jacksonville touts a defense that is giving up 412 total yards a game so far in 2012 to go along with surrendering 258 yards a game through the air. 

Hawkins' quarterback has a hot hand so far, with more than 800 passing yards, six touchdowns to three interceptions and an outstanding 105 rating on the year so far.

It's is safe bet Dalton will dissect the Jaguars defense, and Hawkins will have a big role in the operation. 


Start or Sit Against Jacksonville?

If it weren't obvious enough already, Hawkins is a must-start against the Jaguars. He's due for a big game as Jacksonville does not have anyone in the secondary that can keep up with him when he starts to accelerate. 

To make things even easier for Hawkins, the best part of the Jacksonville defense is the stout pass-rushing defensive line, which means Hawkins will see more short passes as a safety outlet and receive opportunities on screens—which as we have seen, he can score on from any distance given the chance. 

Make sure to start Hawkins against the Jaguars, especially in PPR leagues. 


Projected stats: Four receptions, 110 yards, one touchdown.