Fantasy Reaction: Darrius Heyward-Bey Signs With Indianapolis
Former No. 7 overall pick Darrius Heyward-Bey has signed with the Indianapolis Colts for one year and $1.5 million guaranteed. While many have given up on DHB after a thoroughly uninspiring 2012, it’s worth noting that he was a trendy breakout pick just one year ago. In 2011 he finished the season with 2.26 yards per route, the 10th-best number among receivers with at least 100 targets. To put that in context, Dez Bryant only averaged 2.13 yards per route last season.
There’s a very real possibility that joining forces with Andrew Luck will resuscitate Heyward-Bey’s career. The rookie signal-caller immediately bolstered the fantasy values of Reggie Wayne, Donnie Avery, and T.Y. Hilton. DHB is only 26 years old and still owns one of the best size/speed profiles in the NFL. In fact, he’s got the fourth best Height-adjusted Speed Score recorded by any WR since the Combine went to electronic times.
A season ago, Donnie Avery averaged 0.15 fantasy points per snap, 0.24 fantasy points per route, and 1.40 fantasy points per target. Heyward-Bey averaged 0.16, 0.26, and 1.73 despite being a part of the astonishingly dysfunctional Oakland Raiders.
It’s very possible that DHB ends up playing a bit part and running deep routes to clear space for Wayne and Hilton. It’s also possible that he emerges as a fantasy force. At this point in his career, Wayne seems better suited for underneath routes. Hilton is a pure vertical receiver. Heyward-Bey’s contract is reportedly worth up to $3 million, which suggests Indianapolis may still see him as a player on the verge of a breakout. Assuming his ADP remains palatable, make an effort to pluck DHB off the board as an upside WR4/5.