Fantasy Breakdown: Is Tyreek Hill the Real Deal?

Tyreek Hill Fantasy 2017

Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill has been one of the most polarizing players in this off-season’s discussions. Many people seem to either love or hate him, with very few on the fence. Hill finished as the WR18 in standard scoring leagues last season, even after only accumulating 593 receiving yards. He was so much fun to watch, as he seemed capable of taking any touch to the end zone. Even after the success, he had last season, I’m skeptical that he will be able to deliver on lofty expectations some are placing on him going into next season. Below are some of the reasons why I believe Tyreek Hill will not live up to his offseason hype.

TD Regression

A lot of Hill’s fantasy points came from touchdowns last year. He scored a total of twelve TDs, including three on Special Teams. Touchdowns are very fickle from year to year, especially those scored on Special Teams. Hill could very well score twelve TDs again this year, but the odds are against him. One example is Cordarrelle Patterson, who scored nine total TDs his rookie season but only scored two his second season. I’m not saying Hill is the next Patterson. I’m just merely pointing out that similar speedsters have struggled in their second years in the NFL.

After being burnt by numerous “one-year wonders” in the past, I’m very hesitant to anoint a player after only one successful season in the NFL. Teams are exceptional at making adjustments from year-to-year and game-planning against players’ strengths. I’m curious to see how they account for Hill’s blazing speed in year two.

Is Hill Ready to be a True WR1?

The Chiefs might believe in Hill as a WR1, but I’m not sure if I do quite yet. For starters, he doesn’t possess prototypical WR1 size. He only stands at 5’10” and weighs 185 pounds. This will make it very tough to win contested catches on the outside against bigger cornerbacks. Furthermore, Hill didn’t even lead his team in receiving at the University of West Alabama. How can someone who couldn’t do so in Division II be expected to be able to in the NFL?

Alex Smith Doesn’t Produce Fantasy WR1s

Tyreek Hill might always be limited as long as Alex Smith remains his Quarterback. The table below illustrates the statistics of Smith’s leading receiver each season, excluding tight ends and running backs.KC WR Season-by-Season Stats

Year Player Tgts Rec Yds TD
2016 Tyreek Hill 83 61 593 6
2015 Jeremy Maclin 124 87 1088 8
2014 Dwayne Bowe 96 60 754 0
2013 Dwayne Bowe 105 57 673 5

Even Maclin’s impressive season in 2015 was still a WR2 finish that year. A WR2 finish would still be a great year for Tyreek Hill in 2017, but it seems like that might be his fantasy ceiling.

Check out the play below where Hill breaks free at the bottom of the screen while Smith scrambles out of a clean pocket and completely misses him.

Here’s another example from that same game. Hill gets open across the middle of the field and Smith once again fails to deliver him the ball.

The pocket was pretty clean on this play as well. Smith’s lack of anticipation and unwillingness to deliver strikes really cost the Chiefs chances for two huge plays in this critical 2016 Divisional Playoff game.

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His Style of Play is Difficult to Sustain

While Tyreek’s talents are unique, other players have displayed his quick style of play in the past. Some that come to mind include Devin Hester, Tavon Austin, and the aforementioned Cordarrelle Patterson. All three have had their ups and downs, for various reasons.

Hester started off his career strong. He garnered five total TDs in his rookie season and followed it up with eight total TDs in his second. However, as the Bears and Falcons tried to incorporate him more into their offenses, he only averaged 3.83 TDs/game over his next six seasons. The Chiefs reportedly want Tyreek Hill to be more involved in their passing offense as well. While this is potentially good news for his receiving stats, his rushing and special teams stats might suffer.

Patterson has struggled to even find the field after poor play ever since his outstanding rookie season. He scored nine total TDs in his rookie season but has averaged only 3.5 per year in the three seasons after.

Tavon Austin’s touchdown totals from year to year have emulated a roller coaster ride. In his first four seasons in the NFL, he has scored 6, 3, 10, and 4 total TDs respectively.

As seen in the table below, Hester, Austin, and Hill each have very similar size measurements. Patterson is actually significantly bigger than the other three.

Player Height Weight
Devin Hester 5’11” 190 lbs
Cordarrelle Patterson 6’2” 220 lbs
Tavon Austin 5’9” 174 lbs
Tyreek Hill 5’10” 185 lbs

I’m not saying Tyreek Hill is going to follow the same career arcs as these three players. Rather, I’m pointing out that players with similar playing styles have had difficulty sustaining the success they displayed early in their careers.


Tyreek Hill’s ADP is currently WR20 and the 44th player overall in standard leagues, according to Fantasy Football Calculator. I find that ranking closer to his ceiling than his floor after factoring in the probability of touchdown regression. I ran a quick poll on Twitter and a majority of people believe Hill will finish as a WR3.

I can get on board with that, but in that case, I won’t be taking him as the WR20 off the board. Some receivers with a lower ADP that I would gladly take before Hill include Keenan Allen and Michael Crabtree. I’m staying away from Tyreek in most of my drafts this year.  I’ll let someone else take on the risk.


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