Jalin Hyatt 2023 Fantasy Forecast
The Giants surprised everyone in 2022 when they made a push for the playoffs and even took a game against the Vikings in the Wild Card round. They made this run with a roster that most seemed to agree was ‘mediocre’ at best, but new coach Brian Daboll was able to make the most out of the talent he had and elevate this offense higher than many analysts and experts projected. Now, following the NFL Draft, New York has a blazing rookie receiver out of Tennessee that could bring a new dimension to this offense in 2023: Jalin Hyatt.
Hyatt took quite the leap for the Tennessee Vols in his final year of college football. He went from catching 21 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns his sophomore year in 2021 to catching 67 passes for a whopping 1,267 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2022. He earned the Biletnikoff Award his junior season, which is an annual award given to the most prolific college wide receiver in a given year. His rise to stardom in the college football landscape was quick and short-lived, as he’s now a member of the New York Giants after they traded up to draft him at pick 73 in the third round.
Love this access:
*Giants wanted C John Michael Schmitz or WR Jalin Hyatt in the 2nd-round.
*Bears jumped in front, but passed on both players.
*Giants got Schmitz and then were aggressive to trade up for Hyatt.
They got both guys.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) May 18, 2023
It isn’t easy to dominate in the notoriously-difficult SEC Conference in college football, but Hyatt was able to because of one elite aspect of his game: speed. He played primarily out of the slot in college (88% of snaps), and the team loved to send him on deep fly or post routes to burn by defenders with his quick first step and great long speed. A common concern with him as a prospect is the fact that he had a very limited route tree in his time at Tennessee, but he really didn’t need to run more than a few different routes to be the nation’s most productive receiver.
Jalin Hyatt led the nation with 677 yards on 20+ yard targets in 2022, per @PFF.
He also had at least one reception of 45+ yards in 7 games in 2022.
Big Play MACHINE. 🔥🔥pic.twitter.com/RIfvOxQEY9
— Anthony Rivardo (@Anthony_Rivardo) May 21, 2023
The speed is certainly high-end for Hyatt, but there are a few reasons why he slipped all the way down into the third round despite being so productive in college. For starters, he still has a very slight frame. It’s possible that being smaller is part of the reason that he’s so fast, but playing at 6’0″/176 lbs is certainly less than ideal in pro football. Scouts also aren’t sure how he’s going to translate to the NFL. He played most of his time in the slot in college, and it remains to be seen if he will be able to hold up against press coverage at the next level. Tennessee also runs a weird offensive scheme that isn’t anything similar to what the Giants will run, so he will have to adjust to that as well.
His pre-draft testing at the NFL Combine and his Pro Day gave mixed results. On one end, he tested really well with a 40″ vertical and a 135″ broad jump. That’s better than was expected for him and spells good things for his ability to win in contested-catch scenarios in the NFL. On the other end, however, he came out with a 7.06-second three-cone drill and a 4.33-second short shuttle. Those numbers are both well below average, and that brings up some real concerns with his change of direction and overall agility. His official 40-yard dash time came out to 4.40 seconds, and while that’s lower than some had hoped it would be, he showed so much speed in real-game scenarios that there are really no question marks to be had in that category.
There is a difference between 40-yard dash speed and game speed.
Here Giants WR Jalin Hyatt(4.40) totally blows by Vanderbilt DB Jadais Richard(4.44) creating almost 4 yards of separation.
— Tommy (@TommyG105) May 24, 2023
I like the upside Hyatt has as a prospect, but I can’t buy in for fantasy purposes yet. At least in redraft leagues. A lot of the excitement around him comes from the fact that New York had nobody to throw the ball to last year. Since then, they’ve acquired TE Darren Waller and will be getting Sterling Shepard and Wan’Dale Robinson back from injury. Many of the receivers in the Giants’ core tend to play more out of the slot, which will clog things up on the depth chart in year one for Hyatt, especially considering that he has very little experience playing on the outside.
The case to be made for the Tennessee product from a fantasy perspective comes with his play style. He doesn’t necessarily need a ton of volume to put up numbers. He’s such a fast player and overall home-run hitter that he could end up having some very productive weeks from just a couple of big plays, and that does make him an intriguing option in Best Ball leagues. It’s certainly feasible that he outperforms his redraft ADP because of his ability to take any touch he gets to the house, but his third-round draft capital doesn’t offer a lot of confidence that he’ll be able to do that in year one.
In dynasty leagues, I have a different view. I still have plenty of concerns with his long-term outlook in the NFL, but his current ADP is 24.5 and he’s being taken as the WR10 in rookie drafts. That’s into the back of the second round or even into the third round in most leagues. That value is really good in my eyes. He has one of the highest upsides of any player in this draft class, and while the depth chart in New York isn’t super cohesive to fantasy success for him this year, it’s pretty underwhelming and he should be able to climb up it within the next few years. He’s got more potential and a better situation than players going above him like Marvin Mims, Jayden Reed, and Tyjae Spears, and I think any dynasty player should be happy to get a player of his caliber in the back of the second round, especially if they can afford to wait and let him develop for a couple of years before throwing him into the lineup.
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Leo Sells is a passionate fan for the Patriots and 76ers, and he has been playing fantasy sports for over five years. In addition to writing articles about sports and winning his fantasy football leagues, Leo likes to play sports and spend time with his family and friends doing outdoor activities, such as hiking or fishing.