Despite his breakout performance in Week 1, it’s hard to fully get behind Leonard Hankerson as a full-fledged fantasy football star.
Like in Denver, the Washington Redskins have a plethora of talented wide receivers for their quarterback to utilize—albeit not nearly as talented as Peyton Manning’s arsenal.
Hankerson’s five-catch, 80-yard and two-score performance was certainly compelling, but don’t go crazy if he gets outplayed by Josh Morgan or Aldrick Robinson next week. However, the third-year receiver did receive a healthy share of playing time Monday night, per NFL Network’s Adam Caplan:
Redskins had 75 snaps on offense: Garcon-53, F. Davis-48, Moss-46, Hankerson-40, Helu-39, Morris-37. Helu is their hurry-up back.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) September 10, 2013
And we do know the third year of a receiver’s career usually yields big dividends for the player on the field—and for fantasy owners waiting intently for the next breakout player—but don’t get ahead of yourself just yet.
Philadelphia’s secondary is void of talent outside of Cary Williams, and Hankerson exploited some pretty favorable matchups against the likes of Jordan Poyer, Nate Allen and Patrick Chung. Secondaries he’ll face from here on out will have more competent cover men than what he saw while Williams was locking down whoever he was manned-up on.
Plus, Hankerson is clearly third, possibly fourth, on Robert Griffin III’s priority list. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) listed him with six targets, tied with rookie tight end Jordan Reed for the third-most on the team, behind Pierre Garcon (11) and Santana Moss (nine). His performance against Philadelphia could certainly change that, though.
Then there's the game situation to take into account. Due to their large deficit for much of the game, the Skins were forced to throw often Monday night. As a result they uncharacteristically threw on 73 percent of their offensive plays while throwing on just 46 percent of their snaps last season, per Pro Football Focus’ Pat Thorman:
WAS: 16 more O snaps than their ‘12 avg & threw on 73% snaps vs 46% in ‘12 “@4for4_Josh: anyone buying Leonard Hankerson’s W1 performance?”— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) September 10, 2013
It’s really too soon to draw any conclusions that make Hankerson more than he was prior to his big game. He’s a talented receiver, but the Redskins aren't going to throw that much every week, and his position in the Skins' pecking order makes him a WR4 at best for fantasy owners until he can consistently garner more looks from RGIII.
If you’re toward the end of your waiver wire list, feel free to pick him up if you need a potential contributor. But if you’re one of the teams that lost and you’re near the top of the order, there are better options to look at with your first waiver acquisition this week.
Give him a shot in the second round and see what happens, though. You never know.