Nyheim Hines has lined up as a receiver and been a nominal fantasy player in PPR leagues, with 63 receptions in his rookie season and 44 last season. Now, with Philip Rivers in the mix, Colts coach Frank Reich says, “It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a game this season that Nyheim Hines has 10 catches,” per Joel A. Erickson of the Indy Star.
Reich went on to say that, “Philip has an uncanny ability to get the ball to the backs … Nyheim will be very much integrated into the game plan, on all three downs. … Still enough snaps for him to be very, very productive this year. Very productive.”
There is no doubt that Reich is correct in his assessment of Rivers, as he’s always been able to give his backs useful targets, even when they aren’t extremely adept as a receiver, like Melvin Gordon over the last few seasons. Now, in Indianapolis, the Colts are flush with running back talent after drafting Jonathan Taylor and keeping Marlon Mack.
If, like Reich says, Hines continues to be the main receiving back, that’s bad news for Taylor, who should be the lead back in 2020. Taylor has receiving ability and could be a three-down back in a strong offense, but right now all reports have Mack still having a role and now Hines as a big part of the offense.
In the end, talent often wins out, so I expect Taylor to beat out Mack for the bulk of the carries and to win some receiving work, possibly giving Taylor the role Gordon played while Hines plays a lesser version of the Austin Ekeler role Rivers saw for the Chargers. Hopefully these reports knocks Taylor down in average draft position to make him a value pick in 2020. .