A Follow Up on Stephen Hill
Obviously you’re in a different situation now than you were last summer, no longer a rookie and with a season under your belt, what’s the biggest difference for you heading into this season?
Basically, the biggest difference is that I’m going to train with (Antonio Cromartie) and get that good training in. [. . .]
Did Cromartie invite you out there to California?
Coach Dennis told me to go out there. [. . .]
Are you going to be the only wide receiver out there?
I’m going to be the only wide receiver to be there.
One of my favorite (and earliest) RotoViz pieces is a short article in which I try to place Stephen Hill’s rookie season in an appropriate context in order to apprise myself of Hill’s future potentialities. While Jon Moore saw Hill as potentially the next great WR from Georgia Tech, I at the time was led by my research to see Hill as, at his dynasty best, a guy with the upside of Marty Booker. Additionally, based on RotoViz’s Similarity Scores App (one of the best redraft tools on the internet) I determined that Hill’s 2013 upside (which I thought he would be unlikely to achieve) was Darrius Heyward-Bey in 2011, when he (barely) was a top-30 WR.
In other words, despite the fact that I had drafted Hill in my primary dynasty league with a first-round pick, I was no longer buying the hype in dynasty or in redraft leagues.
Since I wrote that article, The Jets have drafted Geno Smith and Santonio Holmes still hasn’t recovered from the injury that sidelined him for most of last season. So, with those developments in mind, have my thoughts on Hill changed within the last few months?
No. Not at all. He’s still a physical marvel with Moss-like athleticism, but he’s rawer than Eddie Murphy in the late 80s. And then quotations like those above don’t help. For him, the biggest difference between this year and last is that now he’s training with Antonio Cromartie??? What, is Cro going to teach him how to run routes? — Yeah, you know, when building chemistry with your QB it’s really important to skip his organized workouts so that you can get your timing down with the guy who covers you in practice.
But, hey, at least after disappointing so much as a rookie Hill was the one who took it upon himself to train like a warrior, right? — which is (presumably) why he sought out the help of Antonio Cro-Magnon, to help him unleash his inner beast. Nope. Wrong. One of his coaches told him to do it.
Oh, I get it! He was at least doing what his Offensive Coordinator told him to do. Maybe Marty Mornhinweg instructed Hill to train with Cromartie, so he was just following his coach’s orders. That makes sense . . . except it doesn’t. The Defensive Coordinator, Dennis Thurman, told him to hang out with Cromartie. Well, that makes TONS of sense. It’s totally normal for the guy who runs the defense to tell an offensive player how to prepare during the offseason. I guess if we see Stephen Hill practicing field goals at the beginning of training camp, we’ll know that the Special Teams coach also got to him this summer.
But at least the one good thing is that lots of other Jets WRs are going to be training with Cromartie too — except they’re not. That’s right, the WR who desperately needs another WR to teach him how to run routes is spending the rest of his pre-training camp time working out with . . . no WRs.
Does this sound like the kind of guy who’s ready to become a reliable fantasy player in 2013??? I don’t think so.
What young WRs would I rather have instead, regardless of whatever draft picks I would need to use to acquire them? Well, TY Hilton comes to mind. I love me some Hilton. And I almost hate to say it, but in redraft leagues I think I’d rather have Cordarrelle Patterson. I know that Patterson is supposedly raw, but he can’t be any worse than Hill was last year, can he?
And I REALLY can’t believe I’m about to say this: I think I’d rather have Jonathan Baldwin in 2013. Yes, that Jonathan Baldwin, the guy I’ve predicted will never have a top-30 positional finish in his career. I think I’d rather take my chances next year with him.
In sum, almost EVERY other WR I’ve written about in the last few months I’d rather have on my fantasy teams in 2013 than Stephen Hill, especially when I read interviews like this. I’m just afraid he’s not going to put it all together within a year. I could be wrong, and I’d love to be wrong, because a guy with his athleticism and talent achieving his potential would be a sight to behold — but I don’t think it’s worth the risk to roster him in 2013. If he turns into the next Randy Moss or Dwayne Bowe, he’ll be doing it on someone else’s redraft team.
And as far as his roster spot on my dynasty team . . . he could always become the next Randy Moss or Dwayne Bowe. I’ll hold on to him for at least another year. But do I believe that I’m probably making a bad decision? Yeah, I still know what Stephen Hill did last season, and I think he’s going to do it again this year.