2021 Fantasy Football Absurdity Check: Is Taysom Hill a Must-Start Quarterback?

Taysom Hill New Orleans Saints

Taysom Hill isn’t a good real-life quarterback. Sorry to burst your bubble like that, but it’s true, unfortunately. It’s the number one complaint people levy about Hill, that he isn’t a good passer, and that his “good” fantasy days aren’t good real-life days. They say this while Taysom Hill runs for 40+ yard touchdowns against them as they hoot, holler and stomp their feet saying that “he isn’t even good!” Well, this is a game, and he’s good at scoring the points in the game. So, I guess it doesn’t matter? But, can we trust Taysom Hill in our fantasy football playoffs, or should we look into alternative options at the position going forward?

As I write this, we are yet to get the outcome of the Cardinals-Rams Monday Night Football tilt. But, given how quarterbacking works, the worst finish Taysom Hill can have in week fourteen is QB6, behind just Josh Allen, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers (and, in this scenario, possibly behind Kyler and Stafford). Honestly, it doesn’t even matter if Taysom Hill is a good quarterback, he’s now turned in six top-12 quarterback finishes in six career starts.

I wanted to give an “average” Taysom Hill game, but I don’t quite know what that looks like. In his six starts, he has six passing touchdowns and six rushing touchdowns… and none in the same game. He also has three games passing the ball under 25 times, and three games passing more than 35 times. There’s one constant, however, and it’s the reason why Taysom Hill is so good for fantasy football despite being barely better than Trevor Siemian as a passing quarterback: Taysom Hill has at least 10 rush attempts in five of his six games. He’s all over the place, but the rushing attempts and passing attempts number seem somewhat consistent.

In 2021, there are 412 instances of a quarterback throwing the ball at least 15 times. There are just 23 games where a quarterback throws the ball at least 15 times and rushes at least 10 times. If you look at the fantasy season at a macro level, and you consider that a player’s weekly rank is a vagarious byproduct of what other players did, you instead need to figure out what they would do on a normal week. I did this by taking the player’s percentile rank in fantasy points scored on the season, and then I multiplied that by 32. That gives us, for example, Justin Herbert’s 398 passing yards, four passing touchdowns 29 rush yards, and one touchdown effort as the best game this year, with Lamar Jackson’s 442/4 with 62 rush yard game as the second-best.

By utilizing their ratio, I can strip the players of their opponents and use “Overall QB1 games” to mean “overall QB1-worthy when taking in the totality of the season.” If Justin Herbert scores 52 points in a week, and Josh Allen scores 53, that doesn’t mean that Herbert didn’t have a week worthy of being QB1. Things outside of his control took that tile from him.

With this caveat, just over 25% of the 15-pass attempt, 10-rush attempt games turned in performances that weren’t worthy of the top-12 at the position (26.1%). This is lower than the percent of quarterbacks who turn in Overall QB1-worthy weeks at the position (30.4%) with the 15-10 game. If you expand the range of acceptable performances to top-five-worthy performances, 10-of-23 QBs with a 15-10 game finished with a top-five QB worthy performance (43.5%). So, just reaching that marker seems to be a good indication of producing fantasy points, and he’s hit it in five-of-six starts.

But, what about the opponents ahead for Taysom Hill? Well, that’s where things get shaky. Over the next three weeks, Taysom Hill plays at Tampa Bay, versus Miami and versus Carolina. With two divisional opponents in there, there’s a lot of craziness to account for, but not a lot of hard data to look at. These three teams have combined to play just two 15-10 QBs this season, but both quarterbacks turned in top-six worthy performances, with Josh Allen turning in a QB1-worthy performance in week fourteen… yesterday (308 passing yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, 109 rushing yards, 1 TD).

Overall statistics versus a position don’t account for the fact that not every quarterback runs. So, let’s look at each of his next opponents versus rushing quarterbacks. For the Buccaneers, they rank top-four in overall fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, and three QBs have at least five rush attempts against the Buccaneers this season, with Jalen Hurts scoring two touchdowns, Josh Allen going 109 yards/1 TD, and Justin Fields finishing with eight rush attempts for 38 yards. The Dolphins have also given up three games of 5+ rushing attempts to quarterbacks, with Josh Allen going 5/35, 8/55/1, and Lamar Jackson notching 9/39. Carolina was worked by Jalen Hurts (30/2 on 9 rush attempts), but stymied both Daniel Jones (8/28), and Taylor Heinicke (6/29).

It seems to me like Taysom Hill has not entered must-start status going forward. But, he does get the Buccaneers in week fifteen, which is a matchup he should exploit. While I feel great about his matchup versus the Buccaneers, his Miami and Carolina matchups leave me wondering. The good news is that the Tampa Bay matchup is first, and if I’m wrong… you don’t have to worry about Taysom for the rest of the year!

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About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

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