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The ‘Next Taysom Hill’ Prospects and the Fantasy Implications…

June 6, 2019 10:39 PM
June 5, 2019 7:53 PM
June 5, 2019 8:56 PM
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The ‘Next Taysom Hill’ Prospects and the Fantasy Implications…

You may have seen mention of football stories recently on certain NFL teams who added quarterbacks in the draft with the idea that they would be ‘their Taysom Hill’. They are interesting stories/concepts some teams are trying to copycat.

We also have to recognize, these ‘plans’ come at a price for fantasy (potentially). If the ‘Taysom plan’ is effective – that player is going to steal 2-3-4 TDs away from somebody/s and altering the output of the corresponding starting QB for each team these ‘Taysom’s’ exist.

Let’s take a look at the QB prospects in the NFL who fit this mold, and then chat about who could be affected for fantasy…and debate whether the proposed QB prospect is even ‘Taysom-like’ to begin with.

First, so we’re on the same page… What have the Saints have been doing with Taysom Hill? Hill was actually a pretty nifty QB prospect out of BYU. He hit the scene in 2013 as a razzle-dazzle pocket passer who could run – 19 TD passes, 10 rushing TDs…looking like a bigger Christian McCaffrey who could throw. Hill was then devastated with all kinds of debilitating injuries and his college career was never the same, as a passer…he still ran pretty well.

Hill hit the NFL and transformed into a special team’s defender, and wildcat QB option in 2017. In 2018, Hill expanded into the offense – lining up as a QB sometimes, a running back occasionally, a WR/TE sometimes. He was a cool red zone weapon, running the ball 37 times and catching 3 passes. His work was almost exclusively short yardage and near the goal line.

When Hill enters the game, sometimes Drew Brees stays in…sometimes Brees goes out as a WR…sometimes Brees leaves the game. When the Saints hit the fantasy-juiciest part of the field, Brees gets neutralized to some degree and others lose touches to Hill. Drew Brees seems to have his numbers messed with the most and it didn’t help Mark Ingram either in 2018.

Who are the new NFL candidates to be that ‘Taysom’ for their teams in 2019?

1) Trace McSorley, Penn State/Baltimore

McSorley fits the style of Taysom Hill because he is sturdy and runs with a tough mindset

He’s a former star high school safety, who NFL teams wanted to workout with the DBs at the NFL Combine, but he declined. He’s thick and a tough runner.

30 rushing TDs in his four college seasons.

170 carries (13.1 carries per game) for 798 yards (61.4 per game) in 2018 with 12 TDs. He averaged over 10+ carries a game as a starter for three seasons.

McSorley is a 4.57 runner with a 7.09 three-cone but is a smaller 202 pounds (Taysom is 220 of muscle now). He’s an OK passer, but not a legit NFL starter kind of passer.

McSorley is MAYBE going to create confusion entering the game in the red zone with Lamar Jackson. McSorley would be a threat run or throw the ball. His red zone presence probably hurts Mark Ingram more than anyone…perhaps takes 1-2 TD opportunities away. McSorley wouldn’t hurt LJax as much because he’s more of a threat to keep the ball near the red zone, but it might cost Jackson a TD in 2019.

I don’t see McSorley as big of a threat as a Taysom Hill – he’s smaller, and Lamar Jackson is already ‘gimmicky’ around the red zone as it is. McSorley doesn’t create as much confusion as Taysom-Brees does.

McSorley lands with an offense that already has a read-option game near the end zone. It would be a surprise if they took the ball out of LJax’s hands and put McSorley in at QB a bunch near the end zone, because McSorley is a lesser-than run threat than Jackson. Taysom entering the game is a big change over Brees. McSorley is like a discount version of the wildcat entered the game.

2) Easton Stick, Eastern Washington/Los Angeles Chargers

Probably the most interesting Taysom attempt in 2019 – an attempt as stated by the team.

Stick is 6’1”/220, about the same size as Taysom, but Hill is all muscle whereas Stick is a little thinner-framed. Looks more like a WR than an RB. I do not immediately think ‘goal line threat’ when I see Stick in action.

Stick is measured slower than McSorley (or Hill) at 4.62 40-time, but he beats them all with a sensational 6.65 three-cone. Stick’s profile is more a WR/punt returner than stout goal line wildcat QB threat. That doesn’t mean Stick cannot be a red zone weapon. In fact, Stick is probably more a weapon than McSorley because totally changes the situation from Philip Rivers under center. Confusion is created with Stick if he acts like a WR or satellite RB or runs an option at wildcat QB.

Stick may be better as a 3rd & 1 from midfield guy who might run a read-option and take it for a big gain.

I could see Anthony Lynn getting very cute with this because it would mean his favorite thing is going to happen around the red zone – more running of the ball and deception still running the ball. Rivers may be the slowest QB in the league, and Stick’s entry into the game would change the offense up radically.

I could see Stick taking away 1-2-3 TD opportunities away from Rivers this season. Instead of a 1st & goal from the 8-yard line passing play, maybe the run the wildcat or RPO with Stick. Perhaps, Stick is used more as a jet sweet WR-like option. Rivers has the most to lose here, in the same way that Hill affects Brees some.

You think 2 TDs in a season is no big deal but that one lost TD to your fantasy QB could cost you a close fantasy game. If Brees got credit for Taysom’s 2 TDs in 2018, in a 4pts per TD pass league…#7 fantasy QB Brees in 2018 would jump to the #4 fantasy QB in PPG. A decent little bump. That’s not including the lost opportunity Hill played wildcat/option and let an RB score the TD while Brees looked on. It might have cost Brees 3-4 TD passes in reality – costing him a chance to be a top 3 fantasy QB in 2018.

Every point matters in fantasy.

Philip Rivers was the #14 fantasy QB in PPG (4pts per pass TD) last season. If he lost 2-3 TDs to Stick running goal line plays, he’d fall out of the top 20 QB scorers potentially (based on 2018 PPG numbers).

None of us knows how much Stick may play/affect Rivers in 2019. Tyrod Taylor is likely the #2 QB and he could be more that guy and Stick not…or Stick not making the team. It does look like LAC is trying to introduce some razzle-dazzle in the red zone with Tyrod and/or Stick, and I think Rivers will take some kind of PPG hit.

Melvin Gordon? Might lose a score to Stick’s shtick but then he may gain one because they have this unique read-option run package in near the red zone/goal line. I’m not punishing Gordon on this yet, but I do have Rivers a (s)tick down in PPG projections on it.

Longer shots; looking around the league…

3) Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis

You’d think Brissett would be a profile for this type of work but all Brissett did was take ‘game over’ kneel downs in 2018. And then I re-look and see Brissett is a 4.94 40-time runner. He’s really an overrated runner.

No concern for Andrew Luck and friends here.

4) Joshua Dobbs, Pittsburgh

A 4.64 runner with a 6.75 three-cone at 215+ pounds. You can use that like Taysom Hill…if you wanted, and that would be a tiny hit to Big Ben’s fantasy PPG.

The problem is…Josh Dobbs is a terrible passing QB. He shouldn’t be on an NFL roster. He’s at-risk of being cut this year more than he is getting an interesting goal line package. And just like if I were the Colts coaching staff…I wouldn’t want to take the ball from Luck for Brissett, nor displace Big Ben for Dobbs on the field in the money zone.

Jaylen Samuels could more fit the wildcat role of the Steelers wanted to use it – he ran it effectively in college.

I say no threat here from Dobbs.

Taysom Hill affects Drew Brees up to a point+ per game for fantasy. But I don’t think any other team, talk as they might, is about to commit heavy to this…and thus hurt their QB for fantasy like that…except for the Chargers, and that’s just a ‘maybe’.

You’re going to see some discussions and fear mongering this summer and in the August preseason about McSorley and Stick as mini-threats to Jackson and Rivers for fantasy, but it may be a bit overblown from my perspective. Of them all, Easton Stick-Philip Rivers is the one to watch.

I also assume/hope/pray, if you’re reading this, that Rivers is not a part of your fantasy plans for 2019…or I’m not getting through to you on all my other strategies and concepts this year.

Also, don’t buy into McSorley-Stick as radicals to own for fantasy in the future. Stick may be a temp fill-in for Rivers down the road but likely we forget about these two QBs, for fantasy, in short order. They are not ready for prime-time passers.