#TFAThrowdown Tyreek Hill vs Golden Tate
It’s time again for another #TFAThrowdown. This week we have Tyreek Hill vs Golden Tate. Both are very similar in ADP. However, Tyreek Hill has become one of the most polarizing players of the offseason. Folks either love him or love to hate him. As for Golden Tate, he has been wildly consistent with the Lions and is certainly the safer of the two. Either way Kai Brewer and Kevin Steele bring the heat in this debate. Let us know who won. You can follow them on twitter here:
Golden Tate (FFC ADP – 5.04)
The High Floor
Golden Tate has been one of the most consistent fantasy receivers over the course of his career. Tate has finished in the top 35 for five straight years, and in PPR, has finished in the top 24 each of the last three seasons. Granted he has only finished in the top 13 once in his career, that low ceiling is already baked into his price of the No. 28 WR in MFL10’s and No. 30 on Fantasy Football Calculator. After Week 5 (and once opposing defenses realized they needed to roll coverage towards Marvin Jones or he would eat their lunch), Tate had just one game with less than 11 points in PPR scoring, while Tyreek Hill had three such games over that same stretch, so the weekly floor is there for Tate as well as the season-long floor. 2016 also saw four games of 20 or more PPR points for Tate, just as many as Hill, so the weekly upside for Tate is also there, or at least as much as it is for Hill.
The One Year Wonder
There is a stereotype for the player whose “breakout season” turns out to be just an outlier in an otherwise less than stellar career. The example everyone will point to is that of Cordarrelle Patterson, the former gadget player for the Vikings, but Tyreek Hill has a much more creative offensive mind in Andy Reid than anyone the Vikings have had in recent years. That being said, there are some reasons to believe Hill will have a heavy regression for fantasy this year. The departure of No. 1 WR Jeremy Maclin will allow opposing defenses to roll coverage towards Hill, an obstacle he didn’t have to deal with in year one. Plus, Hill’s touchdown rate was unsustainable in 2016 — he scored an average of once every 9.44 offensive touches. The only other receivers who scored as many times as Hill did with higher rates were Kenny Stills (4.67), Davante Adams (6.25), Jordy Nelson (6.93), Rishard Matthews (7.22), Mike Evans (8), and Antonio Brown (9.08). Hill is not yet on par with the talents of Evans and AB, his quarterback is not Aaron Rodgers, and deep threats Stills and Matthews have 52% and 60% catch rates respectively and are regression candidates as well. The rate at which Hill got into the end zone last year is simply unsustainable for a player of his caliber.
The hype for Hill got out of control late in the season. Much of this was due to his two stellar performances in primetime games against the division rival Broncos and Chiefs. This mass exposure to the public led people to believe that he performed that way every game and outrageously landed him a No. 36 spot on the NFL’s Top 100 list over receivers like Jordy Nelson and Larry Fitzgerald, but that’s a topic for another day. What does matter for fantasy is that 22% of Hill’s points came in those two games. In leagues where return TDs count, it was over a quarter of his production. I’m not saying that Hill doesn’t have the potential, to improve or impress, I’m just saying that the public perception has gone past reality, and it has affected his ADP.
The Difference in Other Formats
More regression potential lies in an on the record statement from Chiefs Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub, saying not only will Tyreek Hill no longer be returning kicks, but he only “hopes” Hill will be allowed to continue his involvement in the punt return game. If Hill’s three return TDs were removed in 2016, that’s enough to drop out of the top 12 WRs and out of the top 24 in PPR. Speaking of leagues where catches count as points, Golden Tate has had at least 90 of them each of the past three seasons. For Hill, that number was only 61 in his rookie campaign. Some might argue there will be more targets coming with the departure of Jeremy Maclin and his 76 targets from 2016. However, even if a quarter of those were to be shifted to Hill, at his 73.5% catch rate, that’s only an increase to 75 catches, still far less than Golden Tate. In fact, Hill actually finished eight spots below Tate in PPR formats.
In Golden Tate’s three years in Detroit, he has averaged 136 targets (8.5 per game), a 68.8% catch rate, over 1000 yards receiving, and 93.3 receptions. Though the touchdown upside is questionable with Tate having no more than six while in Detroit, he’s also had no less than four, reiterating his floor. The Lions have also yet to replace Anquan Boldin’s eight scores from a season ago, raising Tate’s touchdown upside slightly. The quarterbacks deserve a role in this discussion as well. Alex Smith and the Kansas City offense was highly conservative in the red zone in 2016, running the ball on 47.3% of red zone plays. The Lions’ numbers told a completely different tale, with Matthew Stafford throwing on over two-thirds of Detroit’s red zone plays, the second highest rate in the league. Stafford has thrown at least 590 passes for six straight years, while Smith has thrown 590 exactly never. The Detroit QB has also passed for at least 4,250 yards each of those seasons while his Kansas City counterpart had a career high of 3,502 in 2016. That’s not really a competitive comparison. Stafford and the Lions’ play callers are more beneficial for fantasy WRs than Smith is by far. On top of that, we’re not even sure Smith will start all 16 games in 2017 with Pat Mahomes, the first round pick, waiting in the wings. Who knows how a rookie could affect Tyreek Hill’s production?
The philosophy of drafting these two players can be boiled down to one basic concept: drafting a player with a very high floor, versus one with a lower floor but higher upside. I’m not going to say that’s the only reason you should draft a player like Golden Tate over someone like Tyreek Hill, but it’s definitely an important factor. Tate also has a similar weekly upside to Hill, even if Hill doesn’t significantly regress like his rookie performance suggests he will. Don’t buy into the hype. Golden Tate should be drafted ahead of Tyreek Hill in all formats.
Tyreek Hill (FFC ADP – 4.05)
Tavon Austin. Cordarrelle Patterson. Devin Hester. Dexter McCluster. Yawn. Can we as a community be any lazier when analyzing players? All four players listed above are the comparisons being thrown at Tyreek Hill. Why? Because his 2016 production wasn’t traditional. He scored touchdowns on the ground, through the air, and on special teams. Tyreek Hill was relatively unknown entering his rookie campaign despite the gushing reports out of training camp from beat reporters. He finished 2016 as the WR22 in PPR formats. He was the only WR in the league to rush for over 200 yards. He scored multiple TDs in every facet of the offense. So I could understand why it’s easy to call him a gadget player. The meaning of gadget player is someone who is a jack of all trades but master of none. Did Tyreek Hill fit that in 2016? Yes, yes he did. However, I have only heard Matt Harmon actually breakdown Tyreek Hill as a WR. It’s amazing that he avoided the lazy analysis and actually dug a bit deeper. So today, I’m here to make my case for Tyreek Hill over Golden Tate. But, that’s easy. I’m here to tell you that Tyreek Hill has a WR1 ceiling, which would make him a steal at his current ADP.
Can he be the WR the Chiefs need him to be?
With Jeremy Maclin and his 76 targets vacated by a surprising release, the logical question was, “Who steps up?” Well, we didn’t have to speculate for long. Andy Reid quickly came out and said that Tyreek Hill would be the first man up to his fill his Z receiver role. But that doesn’t fully answer the question. Can he actually be a team’s number one wide receiver? Yes. Once you peel back the layers, you start to gain some clarity. So where’s the proof? Let’s start by looking at Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception breakdown of Tyreek Hill, where, as they say, the proof is in the pudding.
— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) June 6, 2017
Looking at Tyreek Hill’s Reception Perception scores you instantly see a player who is a much better route-runner than many in the industry would lead you to believe. Once you turn on the film you instantly see a player who gains easy separation from corners. One popular opinion is that Tyreek Hill won’t be able to match up against elite corners due to his size. However, after a quick Twitter search, you find many GIFs of him burning elite corners.
Here are a few GIFs from @RealMNChiefsfan illustrating Hill’s prowess as a pure route-runner.
The first GIF is of Hill easily blowing by one of the top corners in the league. Chris Harris was PFFs top graded corner last year with a grade of 92.9.
Who wants to watch Tyreek Hill completely blister Chris Harris? Throw sails b/c Smith gets hit so it’s a pick. But he just dusted Harris. pic.twitter.com/M5ahAXH2f4
— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) June 5, 2017
Hill vs. Harris again. Not even a contest. Harris just can’t keep up. HOWEVER, Hill didn’t watch it in and drops it. Gotta clean that up. pic.twitter.com/3BvH6nJK4J
— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) June 5, 2017
Now a player with Tyreek Hill’s short area quickness certainly should be able to gain separation from corners. Another aspect of his game that shows up, albeit a small sample size, is his ability to go up and snatch it out of the air from much bigger corners and safeties. Here are few more GIFs illustrating his deep ball tracking ability.
Tyreek Hill often gets compared to Cordarelle Patterson and Tavon Austin… but his ball skills are so much better pic.twitter.com/P8CO5rUF3D
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) June 4, 2017
Hill has ball skills. pic.twitter.com/gyW0dhhBVY
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) June 4, 2017
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “You expect me to be swayed just because you found a few GIFs of Tyreek Hill embarrassing opposing defenses?” Maybe not. However, I hope it at least opens your eyes to a talent being slandered as a “gadget player”. It’s easy to just slap a label on a player and move on. Over the years it has become apparent that fantasy Twitter can suffer from a herd mentality. A reputable fantasy analyst touts a player and boom, his ADP either rises or falls (See: Lamar Miller). If I could give any fantasy player one piece of advice, it would be to do your own research. Block out the noise and create your own takes. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain. I have nothing but respect for guys like Evan Silva, Matt Harmon, JJ Zachariason, Matt Kelley, or Matthew Berry, but they get stuff wrong every year. We all get stuff wrong, despite the amazing work that gets put out on a daily basis. Anyways, I’ll jump off of my soapbox.
One Year Wonder? Child, Please.
As stated above, we know that Tyreek Hill is set to receive a larger workload with the release of Jeremy Maclin. However, we already have some data to look at without Maclin in the offense. Maclin missed four games last season due to a groin injury. Over those four games, Tyreek Hill was the WR13 in PPR formats while registering 8.25 touches per game. He hauled in 28 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown. He also received five carries for 42 yards and another touchdown. Hill produced 0.73 points per opportunity (highest of any WR in the last decade), which is incredible. The Maclin release certainly painted a picture that the Chiefs believe in Tyreek Hill. Reports this offseason have pointed to the team fully investing in developing him into their WR1. I get it, the Chiefs offense isn’t a juggernaut that strikes fear into opposing defenses. However, we have seen WRs put up WR2 performances in each of the last two years under Andy Reid and with Alex Smith at the helm. There’s no reason to believe that Tyreek Hill won’t receive over 100 targets and continue to see work out of the backfield.
There’s also this belief out there that he will lose his role on special teams. This is a misconception. The only indication we have is that he won’t be used on kick returns, which is something he was used sparingly last year (14 total kick returns). We have seen Andy Reid utilize star players on punt returns (See: DeSean Jackson and Brian Westbrook). He is not losing that role, despite many claiming that he will.
I can certainly understand why some folks would be scared off from his current ADP (4.05). You are basically drafting him as your WR2 (depending on roster construction) and with such a small sample size, it’s hard to believe that Hill will make this quantum leap forward in year two. However, in fantasy football volume is king. He’s going to see roughly 8-10 touches per game. He’s an explosive player who can score anytime he has the ball in his hands.
Other one vs. one matchups regarding players with similar ADPs: