Welcome to another edition of the Monday Morning Sleeper. Last week, I profiled a wide receiver named Breshad Perriman, who has a combination of skill and opportunity that should help catapult him into top tier fantasy wide receiver conversations.
A Fantasy Football Sleeper is a player that is in a position to play beyond their rankings or expectations, and who may provide you with some value at their draft position.
The player I will be profiling this week is Tyreek Hill, who is a sophomore wide receiver on the Kansas City Chiefs. Hill is looking to improve on his breakout season, where he was named to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, albeit as a return specialist.
Hill was selected in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL entry draft, at 165th overall. This pick wasn’t without controversy, however, as Hill had pleaded guilty prior to the draft to assault charges involving his ex-girlfriend, who was pregnant at the time of the incident in 2014. This incident resulted in his draft stock plummeting, and the Chiefs were able to secure arguably a first round talent in the fifth round. As long as he can stay out of trouble, the Chiefs will be the clear winners with this selection.
While Hill was on his way to a Pro Bowl selection in his rookie season, he put up some pretty impressive numbers. He averaged 9.7 yards per reception on 61 catches, for 593 yards and 6 touchdowns. The versatile receiver also added an additional three rushing touchdowns on 24 rushes, and three special teams touchdowns and 976 return yards. These numbers, while impressive, are just the beginning of a potential career filled with plenty of highlight reel catches and Pro Bowl selections.
GLASS HALF FULL
Recently, the Chiefs released veteran wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. While his release shocked the football world, as well as his teammates, we can view this release with optimism for Hill. Maclin’s release indicates that the coaching staff has confidence in its young receivers, which include Travis Kelce and Chris Conley, in addition to Hill. More importantly, this opens up a ton of targets to get distributed among the top three options for Alex Smith. Maclin was targeted 76 times in twelve games last season, which averages out to 6.3 targets per game. With Hill likely assuming the top of the depth chart, it wouldn’t be surprising to see his targets increase by 3-4 per game. In 2016, Hill was targeted 83 times in 16 games, for an average of 5.2 targets per game. It is realistic to expect that Hill will receive an increase in targets to approximately 8- 9 per game. He caught 75 percent of his targets in 2016, 61 receptions on 83 targets, and if he maintains his average of 9.7 yards per reception with his catch rate, Hill should finish the season with approximately 110 catches and over 1,000 yards. If he can improve on his yards per reception, we could see an even bigger increase. When you include Hill’s potential for rushing yards and touchdowns, and his special teams numbers, Hill should be a valuable asset in all 2017 fantasy football leagues.
FantasyPros has Tyreek Hill ranked 36th at wide receiver, and 70th overall. There are a number of receivers I will pass on in my draft in order to have Hill on my roster including:
Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina (34th);
Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia (28th);
Corey Coleman, Cleveland (22nd);
Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis (21st);
and Davante Adams, Green Bay (18th).
I have Hill ranked in my top 20 at wide receiver, and top 45 overall. Don’t sleep on him, he could be the difference maker you need to help you take down your fantasy championship.
Thank you for reading The Monday Morning Sleeper, and follow me on Twitter, @HaehnelJames
Have an opinion? Let me know in the comments below.