Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons
Another stud when he came out of college; Hurst had freakish athleticism. He was a first-round pick by Baltimore in 2018, who have since moved on with Mark Andrews. Fate smiled on the Falcons after they let Austin Hooper leave in the off-season and Hurst came a knockin’. The only problem for Hurst last season was his lack of targets mostly because Andrews was great and 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson didn’t need to throw the ball as much as other teams. When Hurst did get targeted, he made catches. He caught 76.9 percent of his targets and even broke off one for a 61-yard score against Buffalo. Another positive of playing for the Falcons is Matt Ryan – who has thrown for over 4,500 yards in seven of the last eight seasons – giving Hurst many more targets than previous years.
In a fantasy football world where tight ends feel like a barren wasteland, Hurst could become a thriving oasis. If I’m going to wait to draft a tight end, I’m drafting Hurst as soon as Hooper comes off the board.
Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs
Everyone likes a second-year receiver. It’s usually a better season for young wideouts than their first – and Hardman had a great first season. Though a lot of his stats were from special teams, his 26 catches for 538 yards and six touchdowns shows just how explosive he can be – all of his receiving scores were more than 20 yards with four of them from over 40 yards. Hardman is going to be all about big plays again in 2020 and he’s going to have more of them. Although his ceiling may be capped by the phenomenal Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, it’s still going to lead to more targets.
Predicting more opportunities for Hardman isn’t hard. Predicting what he will do with them is tough, as he could put up amazing yardage numbers even if he only doubled last year’s numbers – which would be 52 catches for 1,078 yards and 12 scores. I’m not predicting that, but it’s a possibility.
Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts
That is still weird to say/write. “Rivers is a Colt.” This very well could be the ‘last hurrah’ for the future Hall-of-Famer as he joins a new team. This new team provides him with, arguably, the best offensive-line he has ever played behind. His 16 years in San Diego and Los Angeles have resulted in 59,271 passing yards, 397 passing touchdowns and eight Pro-Bowls. The only shame is that he will not pass two passing milestones with the Chargers. The Colts know the numbers and are happy to have him on board. I’m sure Rivers is also happy to have such an awesome array of skill players. T.Y. Hilton will be that 1,000-yard receiver capable of catching nearly anything in his vicinity, and there is a solid pair of interchangeable receivers – Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. – who can take advantage of double coverage on Hilton. Campbell and Pittman are two big, burly, sure-handed fellows whom Rivers is famous for favoring. Indianapolis also has three different backs that are adept at making catches out of the backfield. There are a bevy of riches in this Indianapolis offense and Rivers is going to use them all.
Rivers is basically forgotten as the 20th quarterback taken in drafts. He has the abilities, the weapons and the protection to be a guy with whom you could ride the entire season and in many leagues, will be on the waiver wire to start the season.