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Nyheim Hines Begins Journey from Sleeper to League Winner

Nyheim Hines was drafted 104th overall by the Indianapolis Colts. Heading into the draft, Hines was ranked 10th in the RotoViz Scouting index and now has been selected as the ninth running back off the board.

Before analyzing his fit on the roster, let’s look at his overall prospect profile.

Nyheim Hines, NC State, 5-8, 198

What the Models Say

Nyheim Hines 21.1 197 4.38 7.18 15.2 85.5 0.9 2 48
Jamaal Charles 21.01 200 4.38 6.8 19.85 124.54 1.38 1.31 65
Kerwynn Williams 21.53 195 4.44 7.15 16.77 116.31 1.15 3.46 48
Charcandrick West 22.5 205 4.4 7.08 13.18 82.36 1.27 2.91 47
Darren Sproles 21.44 187 4.47 6.96 22.18 119.82 1 2.91 46
Kenjon Barner 23.7 196 4.39 6.87 21.38 135.92 1.62 1.54 44
Joe McKnight 21.65 198 4.4 7.12 13.67 84.5 0.67 1.83 37

Hines’ score of 48 places him at ninth overall in the class, and Shawn Siegele has highlighted some comparables that include several speedy, but undersized, RBs. A sub-4.40 forty is always a positive, but at only 197 pounds it’s just the eighth-ranked Speed Score in the class. Hines’ biggest assets are his young age and strong receiving work. While Jamaal Charles was a much better prospect, he provides an example of how a player with Hines’ physical profile can be successful.

This offseason, Anthony Amico introduced his model for grading RB prospects which looks primarily at age, all-purpose yards, and scouting scores. After the most recent updates to the model, Hines checks in as the sixth RB in the rankings, easily outperforming his rank in the RSI. Hines benefits greatly from his special teams work in this model. We know that return yards in college are an indicator of RB success in the NFL, and Hines averaged 24.7 yards per kick return for his career and scored three total return TDs. In fact, Hines ranks behind only Rashaad Penny in adjusted all-purpose yards per game.

Player School Age Breakout Age Breakout Age* Log(DS) ADJ APYPG Predict
Saquon Barkley Penn State 20.9 19.9 19.9 0.000 179.2 282.9
Derrius Guice LSU 20.5 19.5 19.5 0.301 114.6 216.7
Rashaad Penny SDSU 21.9 20.9 20.9 0.845 250.3 197.4
Ronald Jones USC 20.4 20.4 20.4 0.602 131.9 177.8
Nick Chubb Georgia 22.0 19.0 19 0.699 91.7 158.2
Nyheim Hines NC State 21.1 21.1 21.1 0.903 185.3 157.6
Sony Michel Georgia 22.9 22.9 0.477 94.5 155.1
Kerryon Johnson Auburn 20.5 20.5 20.5 0.778 132.1 154.0
Royce Freeman Oregon 21.9 19.9 19.9 0.954 136.6 138.2
Mark Walton Miami 20.8 20.8 1.000 130.8 121.8


Blair Andrews’ series on the effect of draft age on the different positions highlighted the fact that 21-year-old rookies have a significantly better chance of producing a top season than their older counterparts. The benefit for RBs is pronounced, and though Hines will technically turn 22 during his rookie season, he misses the cutoff by just one month. Age and the fact that he declared early are points in his favor.

Production and Marketshare

Year Class G RuAtt RuYds YPC RuTD Rec RecYds YPR ReTD
2015 FR 13 48 243 5.1 1 20 256 12.8 1
2016 SO 12 13 44 3.4 0 43 525 12.2 0
2017 JR 13 197 1113 5.6 12 26 152 5.8 0

Hines did not get an opportunity to start until his final season when he replaced Matt Dayes, who is in a suddenly crowded Cleveland backfield. His 43 sophomore receptions show just how heavily he was used in the passing game though, and that projects to be his role at the next level as well.

Career Workhorse Scores

Player School 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Career
Ryan Nall Oregon State 58.15 72.93 55.19 63.78
Jarvion Franklin Western Michigan 93.39 18.62 38.74 54.99 53.52
Justin Crawford West Virginia 39.63 51.3 44.24
Royce Freeman Oregon 76.16 57.96 44.57 50.05 55.74
Mark Walton Miami (FL) 42.81 64.01 48.31 51.99
Nyheim Hines NC State 11.05 1.34 47.86 33.12
Derrius Guice LSU 13.64 49.43 43.96 34.32
Sony Michel Georgia 9.84 60.69 36.01 43.75 37.65
Josh Adams Notre Dame 34.83 67.71 38.05 34.63
Darrel Williams LSU 3.02 11.65 3.03 37.44 16.06

Hines’ final-year 47.86 Workhorse Score was toward the bottom of the class, and his career mark is even worse. His college usage doesn’t present the picture of a back who will be used as a three-down player in the NFL. He does fare better in Blair Andrew’s Backfield Dominator Rating, which takes receiving production into account. Hines’ numbers are good enough for 12th in the class, and sixth among backs included in the RSI.

Player School MS of Backfield RuYds MS of Backfield RuTDs MS of Backfield ReYds MS of Backfield ReTDs Backfield Dominator College Dominator
John Kelly Tennessee 67.36% 81.82% 67.49% 0.00% 74.61% 38.00%
Josh Adams Notre Dame 79.53% 64.29% 92.66% 0.00% 72.28% 26.86%
Saquon Barkley Penn State 72.67% 72.00% 73.75% 50.00% 70.38% 35.74%
Ray Lawry Old Dominion 72.46% 63.64% 21.65% 100.00% 64.51% 42.56%
Kerryon Johnson Auburn 58.25% 72.00% 68.07% 50.00% 64.13% 35.18%
Nyheim Hines NC State 66.67% 60.00% 71.36% 0.00% 63.60% 23.41%
Akrum Wadley Iowa 59.67% 58.82% 73.58% 60.00% 60.83% 31.49%
Justin Jackson Northwestern 61.15% 57.89% 70.59% 0.00% 60.25% 29.20%
Ryan Nall Oregon State 56.21% 57.14% 52.77% 100.00% 57.71% 36.83%
Jordan Chunn Troy 54.82% 55.56% 66.23% 0.00% 56.21% 29.06%

There’s always a small chance that the undersized Hines could emerge as a rusher in the NFL, but even if that part of his game never materializes, he should be a fantasy contributor in PPR leagues based solely on his receiving ability.

Player Outlook

Indianapolis has the third-most RB opportunity vacated from the previous season, with Frank Gore moving on to the Dolphins. Marlon Mack is the only RB left on the roster that saw any significant touches in 2017.

Colts 2018 RBs


The Colts were considered one of the premiere destinations for a rookie RB heading into the draft, and Hines should have an opportunity to win a major role coming out of camp. While Mack is ostensibly still at the top of the depth chart, the fact that the Colts didn’t increase his workload over the course of a lost season, instead favoring a geriatric Gore, is concerning. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Colts continue to add at the position, including potentially pursuing free agents DeMarco Murray and C.J. Anderson.

Overall, this is an excellent landing spot for Hines. The Colts bolstered their offensive line with two of their first three picks and should see at least a small improvement from last year. The biggest question mark is still the health of Andrew Luck. Even if Luck doesn’t return, a new coaching staff and upgraded line should enable the Colts offense to improve on their woeful 2017. Hines will receive a bump in ADP in redraft and best ball leagues and has likely secured a spot in the late-second or early-third round of rookie drafts.1

  1. Note that any veteran additions could change his value quickly though.  (back)

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