Fantasy football became a surging phenomenon that experienced renewed growth at the start of the last decade. Now, football fans regularly opt to participate in fantasy leagues while still routing for their favorite teams. The most enjoyable part of the fantasy season is arguably the pre-draft process where owners evaluate superstars and search for hidden gems.
Tyreek Hill is one of the NFL’s premier wide receivers, and he’s a fantasy gold mine. The league’s top speedster made each of the past four Pro Bowls and should finish as one of the top fantasy receivers in 2020. Of course, catching passes from Patrick Mahomes doesn’t hurt Hill’s value.
However, the former return man is coming off the worst fantasy football season of his career.
2019 Fantasy Stats
After a tremendous 2018 season, Hill fell short of expectations this past year, both in fantasy football and reality. The West Alabama product suffered a shoulder injury in Week 1, which cost a quarter of the season. Hill missed Weeks 2-5 after only playing 12 offensive snaps in Week 1. He also suffered a hamstring injury in Week 11 that limited him to seven snaps.
Injuries also struck Mahomes, limiting the former MVP to 14 games. He missed Weeks 8 and 9, which meant Hill played those games with Matt Moore at quarterback.
According to FantasyPros, Hill finished 28th among wide receivers in standard fantasy football leagues with 130.3 points. However, his average of 10.9 points per game tied for ninth at the position. If Hill played the entire season, he would’ve amassed 173.73 points, the seventh most among all receivers. Hill ranked 32nd in PPR (points per reception) leagues with 188.3 points.
Hill performed admirably for a receiver who missed a quarter of the season and played two weeks with a backup quarterback. He caught 58 of his 89 targets for 860 yards and seven touchdowns. He saw substantially fewer carries than in previous seasons, only rushing eight times. The speedster also turned over punt return duties to rookie Mecole Hardman.
At face value, Hill put together a solid 2019 fantasy football season. However, it pales in comparison to his 2018 campaign. That year, Hill blew away the competition, finishing with a position-leading 241.0 points in standard leagues. Antonio Brown finished second with 219.7 points. Hill even amassed 328.0 points in PPR leagues, which only trailed Davante Adams (329.6) and DeAndre Hopkins (333.5).
2020 Fantasy Projections
The Kansas City Chiefs boast an arsenal of explosive weapons. Between Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Hardman, Hill, Travis Kelce, and Sammy Watkins, the team’s offense is almost unstoppable. While Hill is the team’s premier deep threat, the depth of pass catchers on Kansas City’s roster could prevent the speedster from posting All-Pro caliber numbers. However, that isn’t scaring people away from taking Hill early in fantasy drafts.
In a recent ten-team, non-PPR fantasy football mock draft, ESPN had Hill going at 15th overall. Michael Thomas (seventh), Adams (eighth), and Hopkins (13th) were the only wide receivers who went before Hill.
In terms of averages, Hill’s 2019 campaign paralleled his breakout season in 2017, not his All-Pro run in 2018. He should continue following that trend in 2020. In terms of fantasy football production, if Hill and Mahomes remain healthy, the wide receiver is good for at least 170.0 standard league points. That’s good enough to finish among the top-ten receivers most seasons.
Fantasy football fans should take Hill with a high pick cautiously. Playing with Mahomes makes the Cheetah a nightmare for defenses, but there’s no guarantee he’ll match his 2018 production. If Hill finishes with roughly 170.0 points, he’s worth a top-ten pick at his position, but not a top-five selection like ESPN projects.
Hill is a low-risk, high-reward case in 2020. At worst, he’ll produce 75 receptions for 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns. At best, he could make 90 receptions for 1,500 yards and 12 touchdowns. It all comes down to how Mahomes performs and Kansas City’s health.
Rank at Position
Earlier I mentioned that ESPN had Hill trailing three receivers in their fantasy football mock draft. Hill going at WR4 is a generous selection considering his issues this past season, but Hill scored the fourth-most points among wide receivers in 2017. However, several other receivers could surpass Hill this coming season.
First, let’s look at the players ESPN believes should go ahead of Hill. Thomas is a shoo-in considering he’s finished among the top ten receivers in standard league points since entering the NFL. Hopkins is another easy pick based on his three consecutive top-ten finishes. On the other hand, Adams is a controversial selection at WR2.
In 2018, Adams finished third among receivers in points, and he ranked seventh in 2016. However, Adams only has one 1,000-yard season under his belt and routinely battles injuries. The three-time Pro Bowler missed seven games over the past three years. With Aaron Rodgers no longer throwing 30 touchdowns a year, Adams is a gamble who might be worth taking over Hill in PPR leagues but not in standard.
That leads us to the NFL’s other elite fantasy football receivers. Even though he doesn’t score many touchdowns, Julio Jones is worth taking over Hill. The future Hall of Famer has five consecutive top-six finishes and seven top-ten finishes in his career.
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both put together elite seasons last year. Godwin scored the second-most points among wide receivers while Evans produced his third top-ten finish in the past four years. Depending on how fantasy football owners view Tom Brady, both Buccaneers receivers could jump Hill in the wide receiver rankings.
The only other wide receiver I’d consider drafting over Hill is Los Angeles’ Cooper Kupp. While his injury history remains a concern, Kupp flashed top-ten talent this past season when he amassed 176.5 points. He’s a gamble but could pay off big time.
Any way you slice it, Hill is at least a top-eight fantasy wide receiver. I’d rank him seventh behind Adams, Evans, Godwin, Hopkins, Jones, and Thomas. Keenan Allen, Amari Cooper, Kenny Golladay, and Kupp can battle for the remaining top spots.