Fantasy Fallout: Tyreek Hill

After spending much of the off-season debating not if, but how many games Tyreek Hill would be suspended for, it appears as though he will not be suspended at all this season.

Per Ian Rapoport on Twitter, “Sources: The NFL is not planning to suspend #Chiefs star WR Tyreek Hill following its thorough investigation into allegations of child abuse, per @JamesPalmerTV and me.” From a purely fantasy football perspective this news does a lot to affect the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019. Let’s examine the ripple effect this decision has on Hill and his teammates.

Tyreek Hill

Last season, Hill was the WR1 in standard scoring and ranked 3rd in PPR scoring totaling nearly 1,500 yards and 12 TDs. While some regression is possible, these numbers are certainly within the realm of possibility again this year. We are talking about the same WR who put up nearly 1,200 yards and 7 TDs in 2017 with Alex Smith as his QB.

Tier 1 Wide Receiver Rankings

For this season I would rank him as my WR5 overall in Tier 1. He provides a strong mix of upside and safety. Hill should be in the 1,200-1,500 yard range again this season and approach, if not exceed, double-digit TDs.

Patrick Mahomes

Besides Hill, Patrick Mahomes is the biggest winner from today’s news. I wrote earlier this off-season about the regression that is looming for the Chiefs QB. While I still believe there will be some regression for Mahomes, the return of a bonafide WR1 definitely elevates both his floor and ceiling.

It also makes me feel much better about having Mahomes as my QB1 at this point. I would not fault anyone who leans toward Deshaun Watson, Andrew Luck, or Aaron Rodgers as their top options at the position. However, the safety and upside Mahomes offers, makes him the clear choice for me.

Andy Lyons – Getty Images

Travis Kelce

Travis Kelce’s 2018 was incredible, scoring the most fantasy points of any TE in 5 years. To put his season into more perspective, Kelce would have finished as WR8 in standard scoring and WR9 in PPR. With the Hill news, expectations should be dialed back slightly for Kelce in 2019.

Had Tyreek missed some or all of 2019, it would have been very realistic to expect similar or improved production this season, especially in terms of targets. Going into 2019 with Hill on the field, Kelce should once again finish as the TE1. He has been the top player at the position in PPR for three straight seasons. In standard scoring he has been the top option two of the three seasons, finishing second the year he didn’t finish first.

That said, the difference between Kelce and the Ertz, Kittle, Ebron(for me) group is less substantial. I would still happily take him in the late first and ideally early to mid second because he is still that much better than the rest of the pack.

Chiefs Wide Receivers

The return of Hill should calm the over-excitement around Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, etc. I wasn’t on the Watkins hype train even if Hill had missed all of the 2019 season.

Don’t get me wrong, if I knew I was getting 16 games from Watkins as the WR1 in this offense I would be all over him in drafts. Hell, even if I knew I was getting 14 healthy games I would buy in. But for a guy that has played 16 games once in his 5 NFL season and played 8 and 10 games in 2 of his last 3 seasons, the injury risk is far too real. Especially when you factor in the expected workload increase.

I will be very curious to see where the ADP of the Chiefs’ WRs settles over the next couple weeks. Watkins would come in around Top 30 amongst WRs for me which is basically where he was assuming some suspension for Hill. Hardman and Robinson become interesting late round picks in deep leagues or best ball but they’re probably left on the waiver wire in most leagues until Watkins misses time.

The Chiefs should maintain their status as one of the elite offenses in football. We didn’t even mention Damian Williams who should be in the RB1 conversation comes seasons end.


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