Before the 2014 season, the Cleveland Browns signed Andrew Hawkins away from division rival Cincinnati. It was largely panned as another poor personnel move by the Browns, as many felt the slot receiver was getting too much money for his services. In the end, the acquisition of Hawkins was a positive, as he led Cleveland in receptions and receiving yards. Can the Hawk continue to soar in his second season on the shores of Lake Erie?
Fantasy owners value stability, and in many ways Hawkins is the safest receiver on the Browns roster. Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline were discarded by their previous teams after down seasons in 2014. Draftee Vince Mayle is considered a dicey prospect with drop issues. Taylor Gabriel has generated some positive publicity, but largely remains an unproven commodity. Tight end Rob Housler is essentially in the same boat and Travis Benjamin is a spare part. Hawkins lacks upside, but his role as Cleveland’s slot receiver looks secure. Fantasy owners do not have to question his competency. The Browns will probably be playing from behind quite a bit and their offensive line looks respectable, which is not always the case for bad teams. A good line will give new starting quarterback Josh McCown a fighting chance.
Yes, Hawkins led Cleveland in receiving, but he averaged an unremarkable 4.2 receptions and 54.9 yards per game. Those are the numbers of a fantasy reserve, especially considering all he could muster was two touchdowns. And while you know what you are getting with Andrew, the Browns will be bound and determined to make sure their new acquisitions are highly involved in the offense, which means his reign atop the Cleveland receiving ranks may be over. McCown was a disaster with Tampa Bay last year and it remains to see if Hawkins will click with him in the same manner he clicked with Brian Hoyer. Even though we are in the year 2015 and the modern NFL is a passing league, the Browns have three talented running backs and will operate with an old school run, run, and then run some more philosophy.
Hawkins might produce a few decent games on occasion, which puts him on the radar as a cheap option in daily leagues. Unfortunately, if you have to rely on the Hawk in yearly, head-to-head formats, you are going to be in trouble.