Redskins Sign Jason Hatcher

Washington signed interior lineman Jason Hatcher, who was one of the surprise IDP breakouts last season. Does Hatcher retain fantasy value?

| 3 years ago
Jason Hatcher

Redskins Sign Jason Hatcher


Jason HatcherWashington took a big step toward solidifying a defense that surrenderd the second most points in the NFL with their signing of lineman Jason Hatcher. The former Dallas Cowboy, who will be 32 years old in July, landed a four-year deal worth $27.5 million.

The 6’6″, 300-pound Hatcher is surprisingly athletic for his size, and in 2013 he parlayed those assets into 41 tackles and an impressive 11 sacks. A former 3-4 defensive end, he capitalized on his move to defensive tackle when the Cowboys switched to a 4-3 alignment last season. In Jim Haslett’s 3-4 scheme, Hatcher will almost certainly move back to end.

The signing was part of a flurry of agreements reached with defensive players. Also moving to the nation’s capital are former Texans’ linebacker Darryl Sharpton, ex-Raider cornerback Tracy Porter, and defensive end Clifton Geathers, formerly of the Eagles. Yet Hatcher is clearly the prize of that free agent haul.

His departure from Dallas leaves yet another gaping hole in their woeful defense. With the salary-cap-driven release of defensive end DeMarcus Ware, and the anticipated defection of end Anthony Spencer, a questionable front seven has become an outright dumpster fire. George Selvie, a rare savvy addition by owner/GM Jerry Jones, stands out as the only current member of their defensive line who holds much value. He finished 2013 ranked 25th in IDP scoring among defensive linemen, driven by a surprising eight sacks. Betting on similar production is a dubious expectation, given that he will not have anyone of Ware or Hatcher’s caliber playing alongside him. It is a situation to avoid in IDP leagues, and to take advantage of when playing matchups.

Projecting how the Hatcher of 2013 will perform while flanked by bookend pass-rushing linebackers, Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, is tempting. Yet 2012 is a better snapshot since he was playing a more comparable role to what he will in Washington. The sack numbers do not match up since he only took the quarterback down on five occasions, versus the 11 times he did it in 2013. However, when he was last a 3-4 end, Hatcher ranked fourth in hurries at his position (29). That is not far off his total of 33 from last season (also ranked fourth at his position) when he was playing defensive tackle in Dallas’ 4-3 scheme.

No matter his role, Hatcher has been a pocket pusher, and that will aid those around him in getting heat on the quarterback. IDP leaguers should note that an uptick in sack totals is a safe assumption for both Kerrigan and the now-healthy Orakpo. Last season Washington did not have a defensive end register more than 15 quarterback hurries, or higher than a tie for 24th at the position (Kedric Golston).

When Hatcher last played defensive end, he made more tackles than he did during last season’s big contract push. He tallied 51 in 2012, which coincided with a big jump in his snap percentage from the year before, to 73.8 from 50.4 percent. That is actually good news for his fantasy value, as he scored more points in tackle-heavy IDP leagues during the 2012 season than in 2013. He also finished as the 28th-best scoring defensive lineman, versus the 40th last year. That is decent IDP production for a DL3, assuming the contract buzz surrounding him does not drive his ADP too high.

Hatcher peaked last season when it comes to his fantasy value, and really only in leagues that separate defensive tackles from defensive ends. In all other leagues, which are most other leagues, he has never been a remarkable IDP asset and, with his move back to 3-4 end, he likely never will be. Washington’s signing of Hatcher is clearly more impactful for real football than fantasy football, and the most noteworthy IDP value boosts go to Orakpo and Kerrigan.

 

Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out our new Mock and Companion Draft Tool! Utilizing our updated player projections, run a quick mock draft and see where this year’s crop of free agents are coming off the board in early fantasy football drafts.



Pat Thorman is a lead writer for PFF Fantasy and a Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner.

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