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Tyreek Hill was a fantasy surprise in 2016, as he worked his way into a major role in the Chiefs offense. That role has expanded further in 2017, and Hill is projected to be a big part of what Andy Reid will try to do.
Hill isn’t a prototypical wide receiver, and the Chiefs will likely move him all over the field. That could be effective against the Patriots, who thrive on exploiting individual matchups. Hill will line up in the slot, out wide, and even in the backfield on Thursday night.
Unfortunately for fantasy owners, Hill didn’t inspire much confidence in the preseason. He struggled with drops, and overall the Chiefs offense looked unimpressive. But Hill isn’t on the field for hands, he’s on the field for speed, and the Chiefs will make the most of that in the season opener.
If your league doesn’t count return yards, Hill might not be worth the start. He’s incredibly explosive with the football, but the Chiefs occasionally struggle getting him the ball. Hill had only 85 touches last season, but still managed to find the end zone 12 times. That’s an incredible ratio to build on, and Hill could be Alex Smith’s favorite target by year’s end.
On defense, the Patriots typically take away the other team’s best weapon. Some might argue that it’s Travis Kelce, but the Pats would be better off dedicating their attention to Hill. He’s a big-play guy that didn’t see the touches last year, but he has a very good chance to make an impact in Thursday’s opener. I don’t think he’ll see a good amount of targets on Thursday, but his ability to break a long touchdown has me itching to start him as soon as I can.
Projection: 5 catches, 76 yards, 3 rushes, 21 yards, 1 TD
Recommendation: WR2 or Flex