Week 13 is quickly approaching, and with it comes a critical stretch where managers have only a few weeks left to solidify their spot in the fantasy football playoffs. Those looking for a boost in quarterback production could turn to New Orleans Saints do-it-all QB Taysom Hill as the team makes a change under center. Taking on the Dallas Cowboys in Week 13 on Thursday Night Football, is Hill a top waiver wire claim, or will he disappoint compared to fantasy expectations?
Taysom Hill takes over as the starting QB in Week 13
This felt inevitable. After watching Jameis Winston go down for the season, nearly everyone felt Hill would be the starter. However, head coach Sean Payton had other plans. Rather than lock Hill into one position, he opted to use Trevor Siemian under center, allowing Hill to use his positional versatility. But Payton has seen enough from Siemian after four starts, and a change is coming at QB ahead of Week 13.
Wins are not a QB stat, but losses might be, as a signal-caller can certainly throw a game away. With Siemian as the starter, the Saints have lost four straight games. During his run, he completed 83 of 144 passes (57.6%) for 924 yards, 8 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. He also rushed 5 times for 19 yards and another score. Believe it or not, he wasn’t awful in fantasy. Since Week 9, Siemian is the QB6, averaging 18 fantasy points per game.
On Monday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Hill is taking the first-team reps in practice this week and will likely start against Dallas. The recent concern regarding Hill has been his health.
Hill missed Weeks 7 and 8 following a concussion he sustained in Week 5. He then suffered a foot injury in Week 10 and missed the Saints’ last two games. Jeff Duncan of The Athletic reported Hill has been dealing with a plantar fascia injury, limiting his availability. Yet, on Monday, the Saints listed Hill as a full participant on their practice report.
In his limited work, Hill shined as a starter last season for fantasy
Hill has always been a topic of contention in the NFL and fantasy communities. Between his outrageous (on paper) contracts and his usage, it’s never been clear how he fits in the Saints’ offense. Is he a glorified running back, a backup tight end, or a guy waiting for his chance under center?
When Drew Brees was out of the lineup last season, we got an answer — and to our delight, Hill was great for fantasy purposes.
In his five starts last season (Weeks 10-14), Hill was a QB1 in four of five games while averaging 23.1 fantasy points per contest in 4-point passing TD leagues. From Weeks 11-14, he was the QB6, averaging 21.6 fantasy points per game.
Hill completed 82 of 114 passes (71.9%) for 834 yards (208.5 per game) with 4 passing touchdowns to 2 interceptions. His biggest impact came as a rusher, which is a massive contributor to his fantasy ceiling. Hill carried the ball 39 times for 209 yards (52.3 per game) with 4 additional touchdowns.
The Saints offense has changed since 2020
The issue for Hill is this is not the same offense he was in last season. Rather than targeting Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders (who accounted for 65% of his completions and 67% of his yards), he has Tre’Quan Smith, Marquez Callaway, and Deonte Harris as his top options.
While those players have had their individual moments, this is a noticeable drop in talent. As of right now, we don’t even know if Hill will have Alvin Kamara (questionable) in the backfield with him. The star RB continues to deal with an MCL sprain that has kept him out of the Saints’ last three games.
It’s safe to say Hill is not as locked-in of a QB1 as we might hope. But does that mean fantasy managers should avoid him when making waiver wire claims in Week 13?
Is Hill a priority waiver wire claim in Week 13?
Unless you have an elite quarterback on your roster, streaming the quarterback position while taking advantage of matchups tends to be the prudent play. We’ve seen Hill jump in as a starter and instantly produce for fantasy. But he comes with some risk, especially in Week 13.
Hill has been out for several weeks, and if his foot is ailing him, his rushing upside — which made him a fantasy-viable starter last season — could be hampered. During his four-game stint in 2020, 52% of his fantasy points (44.9) came on the ground.
Dallas has been solid against QBs (14th in fantasy points) and is third in the NFL in interceptions with 15. However, they’ve been brutal to mobile QBs, giving up just 12.9 rushing yards per game. The Cowboys have allowed only two quarterbacks to rush for more than 25 yards.
This week, Hill is in the upper-end of the QB2 rankings, but he is not a must-claim off the waiver wire in 1QB formats. Next week, his matchup with the Jets is far more advantageous. But in Week 13, he could be a riskier starter than initially anticipated.