For one glorious week, fantasy football and DFS players on ESPN and FanDuel could use starting quarterback Taysom Hill in their tight end lineup spot. By the next day, that loophole was closed.
ESPN and FanDuel had been the only major fantasy football providers to list Hill as a tight end at the start of the season. Yahoo, CBS, NFL.com and DraftKings all slotted Hill as a QB. So when Hill became the Saints’ starter with Drew Brees out in Week 11, he became a walking, talking cheat code on ESPN and FD.
Both sites have made in-season positional changes before, and they did so in this instance as well to prevent Hill from creating competitive imbalance after he led all tight ends in standard-league fantasy points in Week 11.
Taysom Hill Week 11 stats
- 233 passing yards
- 51 rushing yards
- 2 rushing TDs
- 24.1 fantasy points
In standard, non-PPR scoring, Hill was the third-highest scoring player in Week 11, trailing only Deshaun Watson and Justin Herbert. He avoided turning the ball over and benefited from the two rushing touchdowns, each of which are worth six points. Even in sites where Hill was only quarterback-eligible, he turned out to be a good play against Atlanta’s bad defense.
ESPN and FanDuel users with Hill at tight end benefited even more, though. Hill scored 5.24 more fantasy points than Travis Kelce, the otherwise top tight end in Week 11. Even in PPR formats, Hill finished second among tight ends in leagues where he could be slotted there. The No. 5 tight end on the week in standard scoring, Hunter Henry, caught a touchdown and finished with 10.8 points, yet Hill more than doubled him.
Why did ESPN, FanDuel change Taysom Hill’s eligibility mid-season?
ESPN wrote an FAQ regarding its changing of Hill’s position. Here’s part of what they wrote about why this change came now:
Early last week, ESPN Fantasy maintained it would not take away Hill’s primary position eligibility of tight end once the league week began on Tuesday. The reason for this is so fantasy managers were given ample time to make necessary roster assessments and lineup decisions before waivers running early Wednesday morning and in advance of the first game of the week Thursday.
Now that it has been established that Hill will be primarily a QB, and with the above framework in mind, ESPN Fantasy is able to make the change at the start of fantasy Week 12.
ESPN also writes that it’s unlikely Hill will be changed back from his quarterback eligibility the rest of the season.
Taysom Hill’s fantasy outlook as a QB
Brees was placed on Injured Reserve prior to Week 11, which means he has to miss at least Weeks 12 and 13, too. Based on Hill’s first start, he’ll likely hold off Jameis Winston and start, at minimum, two more times.
The next three games on New Orleans’ schedule are all favorable to Hill’s fantasy output, with matchups against the sub-.500 Broncos, Falcons and Eagles. Hill’s Week 11 wasn’t a fluke. To expect 230 passing yards, 50 rushing yards and a couple touchdowns isn’t crazy in any of those matchups, and in what was a slightly down fantasy week, that made Hill the QB3.
For season-long leagues, Hill is worth a pickup in the short-term if your quarterback is on a bye, facing a tough matchup or just really not that good. The initial Sporting News QB rankings for Week 12 list Hill as our No. 17 quarterback, and he’ll likely be better than that in Week 13’s rematch with the Falcons.
It’s been said over and over, but quarterback rushing ability creates a high floor and high upside for QBs in fantasy football. Hill is no different, and as long as he’s starting, you should at least consider using him. The same is true in DFS, where he’s fairly priced on the Sunday main slate in Week 12.
Once Brees comes back, maybe smack dab in the middle of the fantasy playoffs, Hill loses almost all his value as a QB-eligible gadget player. Until then, though, Hill can be played with some level of confidence.