Chad Hansen Fantasy
After forgoing his senior year, Chad Hansen was rewarded by being selected in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. The wide receiver from the University of California has found himself in a very interesting situation indeed. He was selected by the New York Jets, the NFL team with arguably the biggest current questions to answer. This is, however, an opportunity for Hansen to firmly establish himself as a starting wideout during the team’s transition. He should get the chance and he has the ability to take it.
Hansen’s performances through his junior year were good enough to earn him a place on the second-team All-Pac 12. With 92 receptions, 1,249 yards and 11 touchdowns his statistics for 2016 support this selection and provide evidence for his decision to declare for the draft.
Joining the Jets allows Hansen the opportunity to ‘get in on the ground floor’ as the team looks to rebuild. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker have both left. This leaves Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson as the primary competition for Hansen, meaning he will enjoy his share of snaps. If he shows the skills evident in his junior year then he could quickly cement his name as a starter.
PFF’s scouting positively reported that Hansen was very physical at the catch point. This is a beneficial trait for all wide receivers; it is increasingly important when their service is likely to be lower in quality. The Jets current quarterback triumvirate of Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg, and Bryce Petty do not inspire confidence. If Hansen can assert dominance at the catch point his value to the team will rise as he partially mitigates the risk of interceptions. PFF also report that he is excellent at high-pointing the ball and winning contested catches over cornerbacks. Another excellent trait.
NFL.com predicted Hansen would be drafted in round 3 this year. Hansen fell to the bottom of the fourth, lower than people thought for a player who was receiving some buzz leading up to the draft. NFL.com also highlight further physical attributes which should serve Hansen well in the NFL. They spoke of his efforts as a blocker, and his powerful running to burst past defenders on vertical routes.
The evidence from his junior year and the reports of his physical prowess point to Hansen being a valuable addition to the Jets roster.
Hansen’s stat line for 2016 is good, but there is no other stat line of note in his college career. He spent 2014 on the sidelines after transferring from Idaho State to California and managed only 19 receptions in 10 games in 2015. The difference between his 2015 and 2016 year is stark.
There is a further concern in the statistics when you review how he played against elite cornerbacks. When facing Treston Decoud and Sidney Jones, two of the better cornerbacks in the Pac-12, all of a sudden the stats don’t favor Hansen. He was held scoreless whilst managing only 7 receptions for 61 yards from 20 targets. The jump in quality of NFL cornerbacks compared to those Hansen faced in college is significant. Although the table below is a small sample size it should serve as a warning to fantasy owners.
Chad Hansen vs Pac-12 Top CBs
Low quality in the Jets quarterbacks will have a big negative impact on Hansen’s fantasy value. McCown is the only one with anything like enough experience at this level. It is an unknown how the Jets transitional period will affect decisions on which quarterback they play. Even if McCown begins the season as their number one, the Jets could give enough playing time to both Hackenberg and Petty to be able to properly evaluate what they have.
The uncertainty doesn’t just end with the quarterbacks; the Jets are ‘clearing house’. David Harris and Nick Mangold being two notable names who have departed since the end of last season. Many experts consider the Jets as currently the worst team in the league. The Jets players will be affected by the lack of structure and a team so unsettled; rookies more than the veterans. As aforementioned, there are possibilities available to Hansen but they are difficult to obtain if the Jets’ season implodes.
The Jets are expected to have one of the worst records in the NFL in 2017. The new-looking offense must coordinate quickly to avoid spending larger periods of the game off the field. If they can’t do this, the 2017 season doesn’t bode well for Hansen.
It is worth re-stating that this lack of faith in Hansen is not due to his skills or abilities. He has the chance to carve himself a nice career in the NFL. The issue for him is the situation in which he has found himself.
There is a small chance that this situation could have one positive. It is not something to rely upon but there is this: if the Jets are behind, as expected, in a lot of their games they are more likely to abandon the running game and take to the air. With Hansen’s skills against cornerbacks and at the catch point he has the chance to snag himself some big yardage gains. He may even translate this into a touchdown or two. As I said, this can’t be relied upon, but stranger things have happened.