Over the next few weeks we will examine several dazzling preseason performances to help fantasy followers decipher the meaningful from the meaningless. As we learned from Adrian Peterson last season, some exhibition efforts are very relevant. Oh, and for those concerned about indecent behavior, all players featured will be
partially fully clothed.
Similar to his canine counterpart, the LSU product is keen-eyed, compact, quick, ultra-versatile and blessed with acute olfactory senses.
Hester displayed those eye-opening characteristics Saturday against Dallas totaling 52 yards on 15 touches. More impressively, he punched in two short-yardage scores (NFL.com highlights here). The rookie was pleased with his initial effort telling the Associated Press:
"It felt good. The first (touchdown) felt good because the (first team) was in there against their (first-team)."
First detailed in July's Handcuff Hierarchy, Hester is a prime late-round Rip Van Winkle. Engaged in a backup battle with the diminutive Darren Sproles, the Chargers third-round pick has wowed San Diego coaches with his tenacity, fortitude and flexibility. As Norv Turner told NFL.com July 22:
"He is a talented guy. He catches well and is a good runner. He can block. We'll just see the kind of progress he makes through the preseason."
Based on his sensational exhibition debut, it appears the lively youngster has taken a sizable early lead over Sproles.
Yes, LaDainian Tomlinson has been remarkably durable in his legendary seven-year career, suiting up in 111 of 112 games. But inching his way toward 30, the 29-year-old icon, who is coming off an MCL injury, is more susceptible to injury entering this season than at any other point in his professional career. Any back that averages over 400 touches per season will eventually breakdown. Just ask Shaun Alexander.
This is why Hester, who is currently rostered in just seven percent of Y! leagues, deserves to be drafted in 12-team formats, whether you're an ardent supporter of handcuffing or not. If the unthinkable happened to LT, he would likely flourish playing behind one of the NFL's most inflexible offensive lines. He's one knee twist away from becoming this year's Earnest Graham.
Another fantastic preseason effort against St. Louis, one of the league's most pliable rush defenses last year, Saturday and Hester will cement the No. 2 job behind LT.
Photo via AP