It’s safe to say Kendall Hinton started in zero fantasy football lineups as of Thanksgiving. But three days later, the Broncos rookie could play a key role in the stretch run to the fantasy playoffs.
After Denver had to place all four of its rostered quarterbacks on the COVID-19/reserve list, Hinton is expected to take the offensive reins in Week 12 against the Saints. Hinton is eligible as a wide receiver on three major fantasy football sites. Like Taysom Hill showed a week ago as a tight end-eligible player, having a quarterback to use at a different position can be a huge advantage — even with as much mystery surrounding him as Hinton has.
Among the main fantasy football providers, Hinton is listed as wide-receiver eligible on Yahoo, CBS and DraftKings (although unavailable for play on DK’s main slate). He’s a quarterback on ESPN, MyFantasyLeague and FanDuel.
Here’s why there’s this disparity in Hinton’s fantasy football eligibility for Week 12 and how that could affect fantasy matchups.
MORE: Taysom Hill fantasy outlook: ESPN, FanDuel close eligibility loophole after TE1 performance
Why is Kendall Hinton a WR on Yahoo, CBS?
Hinton’s eligibility should be much less controversial than Taysom Hill’s. While Hinton was a quarterback at Wake Forest from 2015 to 2018, he played a full season at wide receiver in 2019 to conclude his college career. He was a pretty darn good one, too, catching 73 passes for 1,001 yards and four scores.
The Broncos signed Hinton as an undrafted free agent in April, then waived him in the fall before bringing him back on board. The whole time, he has been rostered as a receiver. Normally, a team’s listing is enough to influence fantasy eligibility — even without that added point of having finished his college career as a wideout.
There’s nothing that points to a normal scenario where Hinton would return to quarterback in the NFL. He moved off the position at Wake Forest so a superior passer, Jamie Newman, could take his role and give Hinton a shot at making the pros; he did just that, as a wide receiver. Fantasy sites slotting Hinton at wide receiver — if he was available to be picked up at all — made perfect sense up until Saturday.
MORE: Who is Kendall Hinton?
Kendall Hinton eligibility on ESPN, others
There’s only one reason any sites have Hinton listed as a quarterback: He wasn’t available on most providers until news broke of the Broncos’ quarterback troubles. The first time those sites heard of Hinton was in the context of him potentially playing quarterback. That allowed them to add Hinton as a new player, listed as a quarterback.
Hinton initially wasn’t available on these sites, as he had yet to play an NFL snap after going undrafted. He was only on Denver’s practice squad. Most providers only add players following their draft selection, or with an upcoming NFL debut; that’s what happened here with Hinton.
MORE: Who will play quarterback for the Broncos? The most bizarre Week 12 emergency ideas
How Kendall Hinton’s WR eligibility impacts fantasy football
The fantasy providers currently offering Hinton at receiver could change their tune and make him quarterback-eligible after one week as the position, just like they did with Hill. That might not matter, though, if Denver brings some of its passers back for Week 13.
Hinton looks to be a one-week wild card for Yahoo and CBS fantasy owners to snag off the waiver wire. In leagues that start three wide receivers, the potential for Hinton to throw 10-plus times and run five-plus times gives him a decent floor in a WR3 or flex spot.
The reason Hinton is much riskier than Hill is that Hinton has never thrown an NFL pass, and wasn’t regarded as a future NFL quarterback in any capacity. There’s real downside with a player who likely will be running a pared-down offense against a solid New Orleans defense. But in the same vein that Hill was the highest-scoring tight end in his one week of eligibility — by about six points — Hinton can also put his name in the mix of startable wide receivers.
The Broncos likely won’t beat the Saints, but if Hinton plays the whole game at quarterback, he could pass for 100 yards, rush for 40 more and throw a touchdown. That’s 12 fantasy points in standard scoring, a total that would’ve ranked 18th among wide receivers in Week 11. He’s worth a shot.