Sean Payton did it again. The troll prince of fantasy football took another heel turn in Week 11, unleashing his beloved pet project Taysom Hill—a gadget commodity in the mold of Tavon Austin and other chameleon, shape-shifter types like Cordarrelle Patterson (now masquerading as a Chicago Bears running back)—on the rudderless Atlanta Falcons. There was reason to be skeptical of Hill, a born vulture and longtime Payton co-conspirator, in his transition from position-less novelty to full-fledged starting quarterback. The late-bloomer of BYU origin entered Sunday with a mere 13 passing attempts on his NFL odometer.
Payton’s stunning betrayal of presumed starter Jameis Winston all but broke fantasy football—two of the biggest industry providers, ESPN and FanDuel, inexplicably offered Hill tight-end eligibility, a loophole savvy fantasy players were more than happy to exploit. On some level, you have to admire Payton’s commitment to the bit, letting his exasperating, bordering on unhinged affinity for a 30-year-old wildcat QB fuel the narrative for an entire weekend.
With Drew Brees ailing from broken ribs, the rational choice would have been to hand over the offense to Winston, a thrilling (albeit erratic) downfield adventurer who posted the eighth-most passing yards in league history a season ago in Tampa Bay. But the diabolical Payton, a dog in a manger if there ever was one, chose anarchy instead, ratcheting up the crazy by indulging his long-running Hill obsession. Fantasy owners who spent the last of their FAAB savings on Winston were left at the altar, watching in abject horror as Payton’s grand experiment, a con years in the making, succeeded with Hill exceeding all expectations in both the real-life and fantasy realms (233 passing yards, 51 rushing yards, two touchdowns, 78.3 completion percentage).
ESPN and FanDuel promptly scrapped Hill’s tight end eligibility, though the chaos was fun while it lasted. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t still start Hill at quarterback. In fact, Stephen Andress is bullish on his streaming prospects Sunday against Denver, as he expressed on this week’s episode of the RADIO.COM Fantasy Football Show. Along with Andress, Jordan Cohn and I sat down to talk trendy streamers, waiver adds (be warned, it’s slim pickings) and stealthy starts ahead of the penultimate week of the fantasy regular season. Give it a watch and enjoy a happy and socially-distanced Thanksgiving this Thursday. And before you say anything, yes, I know I need a haircut.