Tyreek Hill's Week-Winning Upside Makes Him Worth Paying for in Fantasy Football
The Kansas City Chiefs have the best offense in football. They also have the best quarterback in the league in Patrick Mahomes. This makes Tyreek Hill one of the most enticing wide receivers in fantasy.
When Hill was drafted back in 2016, he was always known as a receiver with deep speed. However, Mahomes wasn't even on the team yet, and he was playing with Alex Smith, who wasn't known for pushing the ball downfield.
After just finishing outside the top 12 in points per game (PPG) in PPR (point per reception) leagues in his rookie season, Hill has finished as a top 12 fantasy wide receiver on a per-game basis in each of the last three years, showing he can do it all at the position.
Despite the track record of success and having the best quarterback in the league, there's always been questions about Tyreek's consistency. Fantasy players have struggled with how volatile Hill's week-to-week scoring is.
The question is, just how volatile is Hill compared to other wide receivers, and does his upside makeup for up and down scoring on a weekly basis?
Based on July's best ball average draft position (ADP) data from BestBall10s, the only wide receivers being drafted ahead of Hill (12.95) are Michael Thomas (5.58) and Davante Adams (9.92). Those are the only three wideouts inside the top 15 in ADP.
Week to Week Scoring
In order to figure out how volatile a player's weekly scoring is we are going to look at the standard deviation of their weekly scores.
Standard deviation a measure used to quantify the amount of variation in a set of data. The standard deviation, in this case, will be the number of fantasy points we can expect a player to score compared to their average score.
In 2019, Hill averaged 16.2 points per game from weeks 1 through 16. His standard deviation was 9.5 points. This means that 68% (one standard deviation) of the time we could expect Hill's 2019 weekly score to be within plus or minus 9.5 points from his 16.2-point average. A larger standard deviation would mean the player is more volatile.
The table below shows the top 32 wide receivers in PPR points per game for 2019, sorted by their standard deviation.
|Marvin Jones Jr.||14.9||10.4|
|D.J. Chark Jr.||15.5||9.4|
|Allen Robinson II||15.9||7.6|
Hill ranked eighth-highest in standard deviation last year. Unsurprisingly, Mike Evans and Amari Cooper were at the top of the list, both of whom regularly gave fantasy players headaches with their erratic performances.
However, what's more surprising is that Chris Godwin ranked higher than Hill last year. It's surprising because you would have a hard time finding a Godwin owner who wasn't happy with him in 2019.
Both wideouts being drafted ahead of Hill -- Thomas and Adams -- rank much lower on this list, with standard deviations of 7.4 and 7.0, respectively. Additionally, Thomas and Adams had higher per game averages than Hill.
There are also a number of players with smaller standard deviations on this list that are being drafted after Hill. One takeaway from that is that maybe volatility doesn't matter that much. If a player has a high enough ceiling, that can make a larger standard deviation easier to swallow on a week to week basis.
If Mahomes and Hill are both healthy in 2020, not only could we see Hill's average points per game increase, but also he could become a more consistent threat as he continues to become a larger focal point of the offense. At the very least, expect him to have a higher floor.
Ceiling Trumps Consistency
If a player is volatile, it's not just about the poor outings. It means that there are times when they score a lot more points than their usual average. Hill is particularly good at this.
20 or more points in a PPR league is undoubtedly above-average. Hill hit that mark in 36.4% of his games in 2019. The only player with a higher rate than that last year was Michael Thomas, who had a historic season. The average rate among the 32 wide receivers from the table above was 26.7%.
Let's call a "week-winning performance" anything from 30 points or above. Hill ranked eighth, with 9.1% of his games being over 30 points in 2019.
Remember Thomas's historic season last year? His rate of 30-point games was 26.7%. 26.7% happens to be the same rate Hill had in 2018 when both he and Mahomes played a full season together. A historic season is well within Hill's range of outcomes.
Hill's ceiling isn't what Thomas did last year. In 2019, Thomas never had a game where he failed to score double-digits. Hill has had five such games over his last two seasons. That said, a campaign like the one Thomas had is not likely to ever be repeated, or, at the very least, it isn't going to happen often.
Hill being under 10 points 16.7% of the time is actually a very safe floor. Only Thomas and Julio Jones had a smaller percentage of their games result in under 10 points last season. In other words, Hill isn't going to totally ruin your week very often.
Among wideouts with at least 75 targets in 2019, Hill ranked 10th in Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per reception, second in Target NEP per target, fifth in Reception NEP per target, and 10th in Target Success Rate (i.e., the percentage of targets leading to increases in NEP).
The 26-year-old was even better in 2018 -- ranking fourth in Reception NEP per reception, second in Target NEP per target, and second in Reception NEP per target.
2020 Outlook and Projection
We have shown that Tyreek has a higher standard deviation than other top fantasy wide receivers in terms of points per game. However, like Godwin last year, we have seen a number of wide receivers be great fantasy assets despite some inconsistencies.
Hill has some of the biggest upside in the league. Just two years ago, he was putting up Michael Thomas-levels of monster performances. Those big games can single-handedly win you a week. Mahomes gives Hill that kind of upside.
Additionally, Hill's floor has quietly been improving. If the last two seasons have proven anything, it's that you can count on Hill to get you double-digit points over 80% of the time. He may not always be a WR1, but that is going to be true of every wide receiver not named Michael Thomas.
Not many wideouts have the week-winning potential that Hill possesses. Hence the early-second-round ADP.
numberFire currently has Hill projected for 1232 yards and 8.9 touchdowns on 81 receptions, ranking second in points at the position. That line would have put him less than 20 points shy of the WR2 spot in fantasy last year.
If you believe in Mahomes' talent and ability to fuel the best offense in the league, then you should want his number one target on your fantasy team. Disregard the volatility and go get Hill.