WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Free agent
HT: 6-2, WT: 210, Born: 2-26-1987, College: Maryland, Drafted: Round 1, Pick 7
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Another receiver added in free agency by the Steelers was Darrius Heyward-Bey. He has the size to be a red-zone threat for his new team. However, drops and concentration problems have constantly plagued Heyward-Bey as a pro. We’re not expecting anything different this year. Heyward-Bey’s best value comes as a run-blocker…and you’re unlikely to get fantasy points for that. Shame any fantasy player that addes Heyward-Bey (either intentionally or accidentally) in your fantasy drafts.
2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - There wasn't much flashy about the game DHB had, but he did what was needed. A physical run blocking WR, DHB had some solid blocks on the longer runs of both Ballard and Bradshaw. He (obviously) got the start in the 2-wide sets, and while he was only targeted 4 times, he caught the 3 targets that he reasonably could. His long of 16 was the result of him putting a move on rookie DJ Hayden and getting himself open just enough for Luck to put it where it was needed. The receiving core in general didn't have the best of days outside of Wayne, so this rather bland box score you see of DHB was more telling of the way the game went, not what DHB couldn't do. He'll continue to be the WR2 in Indy until there's shown reason why he shouldn't be.
Week 2 - He started in the 2-wide sets to start the game as usual, and that's about it on the positive side for DHB this game. He was mostly in as a blocking receiver and did his job well in that regard outside of a holding call in the red zone that ultimately ended up leaving them scoreless on that specific drive. The big DHB news here is on his 2nd catch of the afternoon, a quick screen, he got tackled funny by the sidelines and instantly stayed over there; as the game progressed you'd see DHB on the sidelines grimacing in what seemed like pretty legit pain. He didn't return at all after the injury and what was at first being called a rib problem, has now turned into an MRI on his shoulder come Monday morning. Bruised ribs would make him day-to-day, but with something more severe, like broken ribs, this could end up being multiple weeks. It couldn't come at a worse time for DHB as the Colts are trying to get TY Hilton involved more- this injury could doom DHB's outlook in more ways than one. And for what it's worth, Griff Whalen, former teammate of Luck's at Stanford, came in and filled in as the WR3 once DHB went down. Owners of DHB or just fans in general will want to stay tuned on what his MRI reveals later today.
Week 3 - As per usual, it was Heyward-Bey starting in the two-receiver sets for the Colts. Covered by a rather sloppy Tarell Brown, Heyward-Bey recorded two catches on the opening drive, getting plenty of space on both. In the battle of snaps between Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton, the former ran away with it this time around owing to his far superior run blocking skills. With the Colts leading from the second quarter and just churning the clock away, they needed Heyward-Bey more this game than his teammate Hilton. Heyward-Bey came up clutch on the game-clinching drive with a catch moving the chains and then drawing two penalties on the defense, both resulting in first downs.
Week 4 - A statistically quiet day for DHB, he found himself run blocking most of the afternoon, with his 6'2 frame and long arms, you can't blame the Colts for using him in that fashion. With one of his three receptions coming on a quick screen, the other two happened on plays where Luck rolled out to DHB's side of the field and Luck found him hugging the sidelines on both receptions. He saw six targets so it's not like he wasn't looked at, with him dropping a few it couldn't have sat well with the coaches.
Week 5 - With Hilton breaking out and Wayne being Wayne, there wasn't much room for a third WR to do much, and that unfortunately meant a not so pretty day for DHB. He didn't record one catch although targeted 6 times (just as many as TY Hilton), DHB dropped a few of them. The secondary had their way with him as he was not getting any separation, and most of his targets ended up with him complaining for a flag, when ultimately it was just him not getting open. The potential lone bright spot was a deeper pass from Luck, that DHB would've scored on, however Reggie Wayne thought it was intended for him, and not knowing his teammate was behind him, Wayne undercut it, caught it, and tripped up and fell at the 3. That TD catch would've totally changed the outlook on DHB's quietist game up to date. Hilton going off isn't going to help DHB's chances going forward, however the Colts still see him as a solid pass blocking WR, and that's something Hilton won't be able to succeed passed DHB at.
Week 6 - Heyward-Bey's trend continues to go down, and in this game it couldn't have gotten much worse. His main strength as a WR is his ability to run block- well there was multiple plays in this one where DHB just couldn't seal off the defender he was suppose to be blocking- it led to plays being blown-up prematurely when initially it seemed like something was there. And that wasn't even the worst part of his game. Luck found DHB streaking down the sideline wide open on what seemed like a coverage error on the part of San Diego. Luck lays the ball out there for DHB, and while it could've been a slightly better pass, Heyward-Bey got both hands on it- and get his hands on it is all he did and it went right off them and ended up being the most crucial play of the game. Luck only went his way one other time in the game and that was on their final possession when they were in full blown hurry up mode. With TY not being phased out this game, DHB really hurt himself in this one. The ramifications of that drop could end up being detrimental to his fantasy value as it seemed apparent after it that Luck was not trying to get him the ball. The talk of DHB being a valuable fantasy player for this Colts team has long passed.
Week 7 - People who wrote off DHB after these last few weeks are definitely eating some crow this morning as DHB posted a solid statline as was a key piece to the Colts winning this game. The once a game end around that the Colts seem to always get him went for 30 yards and he continually saw targets all night. To add to his outlook, the news this morning of the ACL tear for Reggie Wayne means even a more expanded role is in line for DHB as he, on paper, will line up as the Colts WR1 from here on out. DHB has showed flashes of a special player in Oakland, however up to this point in Indy that's not the case. The Colts do have a bye upcoming for them to situate this WR mess they now have, but one has to think that regardless of what they decide, the stock arrow for DHB is definitely pointing up.
Week 9 - In a spot where he could've emerged himself as Luck's top option now with Wayne out for the year, Heyward-Bey did about the opposite, resorting to his old tricks of just not being able to hold onto the football. On his six targets, he only caught one and at least two, probably three, will go down as drops as Heyward-Bey just can't seem to get a grip on the football even at this stage of his career in the league. He got taken out early on in the 4th after what seemed like a head shot- he did not return however Coach Pagano in the after-game presser let the media know that Heyward-Bey didn't sustain a concussion and that he could have came back in but the training team decided against it. It leaves Heyward-Bey in limbo going forward, especially with Hilton rising to the occasion and taking over that top WR role- working on a small sample size here, however it doesn't seem like DHB will be benefiting much from the loss of Reggie Wayne.
Week 10 - Catching half of his 6 targets, DHB couldn't find space most of the game and all 3 of his catches came on passes underneath the defense. The idea of DHB stepping up to be something more with Wayne out is long gone as he just doesn't make necessary plays; and when he does, he has a tendency not to hold onto the football. DHB is going to continue to get his opportunities, but if he hasn't taken advantage of them yet, why would one optimistically think at some point this year he will?
Week 11 - DHB's low point finally happen, as if you thought it already had- DHB caught his first pass thrown his way and then proceeded to drop the remaining two targets. It got so ugly in this one that Griff Whalen and LaVon Brazill ended up with a higher snap count this game. The window of opportunity was really there for DHB to make something of his season when Wayne went down, but it turns out he has only made a turn of the worst and it doesn't look like the team has much faith in him at this point.
Week 12 - After being totally phased out of the offense last week, DHB got himself some catches and targets- both of which practically all came in the garbage time. Coverage wasn't very tight on any of DHB's three receptions and he didn't do much with the catches when he caught them. In a blowout loss the Colts were sending out receivers they hadn't all season- so one would figure these DHB catches truly were nothing more than garbage time, boxscore fillers.
Week 13 - DHB caught Luck's longest completion of the day (23), unfortunately that lone stat isn't what he's going to take away from this one- after his second bad drop of the game, and the fans having to deal with it all season, Indy's ìfaithfulî finally were fed up and let the boo birds fly, letting Heyward-Bey know how they really felt about him and his butterfingers. After his final drop, DHB didn't see the field again.
Week 14 - Phased out of the gameplan so much that he wasn't even in on three-receiver sets, DHB can't be relied on whatsoever, and that shouldn't be breaking news at all. He dropped one of his three targets, as his lone two catches came on quick sideline routes. It seems as if the Colts have moved on from this project, and with Rodgers and Brazill both getting two scores in this one, one must assume that DHB's role will be very minimal moving forward.