Friday, the former Tennessee star made owners who took the leap of faith on him proud as he hauled in three receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns—before halftime.
He finished with four catches for 111 yards. His first score came from starter Jake Locker, while rookie Zach Mettenberger hit him on a crossing route later in the game—which Hunter took 64 yards for a touchdown.
More than anything, Hunter's average draft position of 56—on a list of 65 wideouts—tells the whole story. He scored in double digits just twice a season ago while lost on the depth chart and struggling with a hodgepodge of names under center.
But the potential for a fantasy breakout star was clearly there, as his ESPN fantasy profile explains:
A 4.44 burner, Hunter showed off his big-play ability in Weeks 12 and 14, when he combined for 223 yards and 2 TDs. All told, he averaged an absurd 19.7 yards per catch and scored 4.64 fantasy points per game on vertical throws, 25th among wide receivers.
Hunter himself has made it known he expects a massive second-year leap. He told 102.5 The Game's SportsNight as much, per Terry McCormick of 247Sports:
“My biggest goal it to have a lot more catches this year. If I could catch 60 balls, that would be great. It would really help out the team,” the former University of Tennessee star said.
For those skeptical owners, Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean pointed out during the game why Hunter can overcome iffy quarterback play:
Justin Hunter is a heck of a weapon in the red zone. If he stays healthy, he's going to do what Kenny Britt was supposed to #Titans— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) August 16, 2014
All things considered, Hunter's ADP is about to surge up the charts. For those fortunate enough to catch his performance Friday, now is the time to grab him a bit early and reap the benefits.
Locker is still under center in Tennessee and Chis Johnson is no longer in the backfield, but it was only a matter of time before his natural physical traits gave him more looks on a depth chart that includes Kendall Wright and Nate Washington.