Though it may have taken place last Friday, Tennessee Titans WR Justin Hunter‘s preseason performance against the New Orleans Saints is certainly to take note of. The reason I write late about it, is because you don’t want to hyper-analyze his dazzling two-touchdown performance. But after days gone by, it still remains a feat that I’m looking forward to seeing repeated in the regular season.
Hunter’s coming off his rookie season in which he almost saw 400 yards and topped it off with four touchdowns. As a rookie backup on a run-first team, that’s a respectable figure. His season was filled with down moments – as he was unable to see a reception in six of his fourteen games played. But consider that he was backup before taking that figure with a grain of salt.
What his percentage of games seeing a reception (57%) says about Hunter is – not that he doesn’t produce in certain cases – that he produces very well when given the chance. Now that he’s up the totem pole as the WR3 (and potential to be the WR2) in Tennessee, he’ll be seeing those targets that he only watched along the bench to his teammates.
In the eight games that Hunter caught a ball, he put up 59 points. On average, he scored just over seven points in those games. If he were not to improve this season, and only continue at that pace, Hunter would be in store for a season of 115 points. At that figure, he’d be a top 30 WR this season. But it appears Hunter is only getting better.
At 6-foot-4, Hunter provides mismatch problems against smaller defensive backs and is showing great vertical talent. He’s an obvious threat in the end zone, and his two scores against the Saints last week prove that. But it’s the numbers between the lines that make his case as a fantasy threat a serious possibility.
On Hunter’s first score, Jake Locker connected four yards with Hunter for a touchdown. That shows he’s being worked in as a red zone target, which is a good sign. But it’s his next 64-yard connection from Zach Mettenberger that should really grabs my attention. It showcases his versatility as a deep threat and someone that can extend the play.
Though Nate Washington and Kendall Wright are above Hunter on the depth chart, Hunter may be the Titans’ greatest receiving option for fantasy GMs. If you can land him in the fourteenth round as he’s been drafted at, you aren’t taking too much risk. Drafting Hunter will only be an investment that could lift your team to victory.