39-Year-Old Wide Receiver – Free Agent
2015 Fantasy Football Outlook
There was no outlook written for Hines Ward in 2015. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Hines Ward Contract Information:
Released by the Steelers in February of 2012.
Ward will announce his retirement Tuesday, NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reports.
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|Receiving||Rec Distance||Big Rec Games||Rushing||Kick Ret||Punt Ret||Fumbles|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Fantasy Points Per Game||Receiving Stats||Red Zone Targets||Rushing Stats||Red Zone Runs|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Snap Count||Receiving||Rec Distance||Rushing||Fumbles||Kick Ret||Punt Ret||Red Zone Targets||Red Zone Runs|
A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Hines Ward: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Exclusive Fantasy Analysis (FREE PREVIEW)Ward's release will save the Steelers nearly $4 million in salary-cap space. It's a cold way for his distinguished 14-year stint in Pittsburgh to end, but while the Steelers are ready to pass the torch on to younger, faster wideouts, it's not hard to imagine Ward catching on elsewhere. The report suggests that Arizona could be a good fit, given that he could reunite there with his former offensive coordinator, Ken Whisenhunt.
Exclusive Fantasy Analysis (FREE PREVIEW)Ward took a backseat to Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, posting his lowest receiving totals since his rookie season in 1998. Ward has one year left on his deal worth $4 million and has indicated he would consider playing elsewhere next season, but the choice might not be his if he can’t work out his own restructured deal.
Exclusive Fantasy Analysis (FREE PREVIEW)The surgery was minor in nature, and Ward expects to resume working out Monday. The most prolific Steelers receiver of all time, Ward began this season as a starter, catching 20 passes in his first five games, but finished with 46, the lowest total since his rookie season in 1998. "I'm not going to get into whatever happened last season," Ward said of his decreased playing time, which some speculate was the decision of departed OC Bruce Arians, and maintains he will be ready for OTAs. Ward is due a roster bonus next month in addition to a $4 million contract. A significant pay cut seems likely if Ward is to return, and the Steelers have to make a decision by March 1 due to a clause in Ward's contract.
Exclusive Fantasy Analysis (FREE PREVIEW)Although Ward needs minor ankle surgery to remove bone spurs, it appears he intends to play next season, even if the Steelers don't want him back. "I'm telling you I want to be here, I'm telling you I'm willing to do that [a restructuring]," Ward said.
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Hines Ward.
Despite a sharp decline in fantasy production from 2009 to 2010, Ward was essentially the same player. Ward's yards per catch actually increased from 12.3 to 12.8, and while his yards per target dipped slightly (8.5 to 8.1), it was still more than respectable for a possession receiver. Of more concern was the lack of targets – only 94 after being well above 100 for the nine previous seasons – and the dearth of red-zone looks, only 11 in 16 games. Still, Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for the year's first four games, and Ward led the team in receiving (12 catches for 117 yards and two scores) in the playoffs. Ward underwent minor surgery on his knee this offseason but was healthy enough for a stint on "Dancing with the Stars" this winter. He also had surgery on his wrist in May, but is expected to be fine for the start of training camp. At age 35, Ward is nearing the end, but his game – toughness, reliability and sound route-running – continues to hold up well.
For the second straight year, Ward seemed to turn back the clock, playing at his peak 2004- 2005 levels with 8.5 yards per target and a 69- percent catch rate. The result? A 95-catch, 1,167-yard season, despite receiving one less target than teammate Santonio Holmes. At 6-0, 215, Ward has decent size, and his toughness and willingness to fight for the ball are legendary. He’s not particularly fast, but he knows how to find open space and has some of the best hands in the league. Ward is a frequent red-zone target (20 — tied for 12th), and that shouldn’t change this season with Holmes gone and the speedy, but not overly stout Mike Wallace replacing him in the starting lineup. Of course, like Wallace, Ward will be without star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for at least four games, and the team’s offense and passing game in particular will almost certainly suffer as a result. But Ward, who runs shorter routes than Wallace, is likely to be less affected by Roethlisberger’s absence. Of some concern is a minor hamstring injury Ward suffered this spring. It’s not serious, but Ward battled hamstring issues down the stretch last season, and at 34, injuries tend to recur more often and linger longer when they do.
After appearing to suffer from an age and injury-related decline for the prior two years, Ward stayed healthy for all 16 games in 2008 and saw his per-play numbers bounce back, too. Ward’s never going to blow anyone away with big plays down the field (just two catches of 40-plus), but his 8.3 yards per target (15th among the league’s 35 100-target receivers) were more than respectable for a possession receiver, and he had 15 plays of 20 yards or more. At 6-0, 215, Ward has just slightly above average size, but plays bigger due to his physicality and toughness. Known for his bone-crushing blocks on linebackers and safeties, Ward has no problem going over the middle of the field and catching the ball in traffic. He’s also Ben Roethlisberger’s first look in the red zone (20 targets, tied for 10th, six scores). Now 33, Ward can still be productive, but he’ll have to avoid the nagging injuries that slowed him down from 2006-07. The sprained MCL he suffered in the AFC title game has healed on its own, and Ward should be recovered from “clean-up” surgery on his shoulder well before training camp.
Of the 34 100-target receivers, Ward was No. 32 in yards per target. And Nos. 33 and 34 (Darrell Jackson and Arnaz Battle) both played for the 49ers. At 32, Ward is slipping by almost every measure. His 6.5 yards per target is bad in its own right, but when you consider that his quarterback Ben Roethlisberger averaged 7.8 yards per attempt overall and 8.3 YPA throwing the ball to anyone but Ward, it looks even worse. And Ward had no catches of 40-plus and just seven of 20- plus, two fewer than tight end Heath Miller. The one saving grace for Ward the last couple seasons is his toughness, and that makes him a good red-zone receiver, despite only slightly above average size (6-0, 215). Ward saw 22 redzone targets in just 13 games, pulling in six for scores. If you were to prorate his red-zone looks over 16 games, he'd have 27 – tying him with T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Braylon Edwards for fourth. But that could change with the drafting of Rashard Mendenhall who gives them a better ground option near the goal line. Ward had permission to skip the Steelers spring workouts as he recovers from surgery to repair a torn meniscus as well as a sprained PCL and MCL that he played through for most of the season. He is expected to be healthy in time for training camp, though keep in mind he's missed six games the last three years.
One of the toughest and most dependable receivers in the league, Ward enters a new era in Pittsburgh now that coach Bill Cowher and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt have left town. New head coach Mike Tomlin was the defensive coordinator of the Vikings last year, and therefore has no track record of calling plays or designing an offense. But Ward’s former wide receiver coach, Bruce Arians, has taken over as offensive coordinator, and given their success together, we’d expect Ward to once again be the featured component of the team’s passing offense. Moreover, given the recent decline of the team’s defense, Pittsburgh could continue to throw the ball more often than they did in 2004-05. At 6-0, 215 pounds, Ward is a stout, physical receiver that plays with a mean streak. Ward won’t make a lot of plays down the field, but he’s a very good route-runner with excellent hands, and he has no problem making the tough catches in traffic. Despite missing two games to arthroscopic knee surgery, Ward saw 126 targets, 16 of which came in the red zone. Although his touchdowns were down from seasons past, a healthy Ward is a good bet to bounce back because he’ll see his share of looks from in close. Of some concern are the hamstring problems that have nagged him the last two years – Ward played through them in 2006, but at age 31, and with a fair amount of mileage on him, it’s not going to get any easier.
Perhaps the most physical receiver in the league, the 6-0, 215-pound Ward has gotten by on strong route-running, good change of direction skills and the strength to make catches in traffic. But Ward’s Steelers have evolved into one of the most run-heavy teams in the league, and as a result, his catches and yards have declined for each of the last four years. That he missed the first game of his career last year contributed to that, but his 69 catches still prorate to less than he’s had in any season since 2000. Ward saw just 115 targets in 2005, good for just 26th in the league, but scored 11 touchdowns, thanks to 24 looks inside the red zone (fourth), nine of which he converted for scores. Ward’s not a burner, and he’s not a big threat after the catch. He had just three receptions for 40 yards or more last season and nine in the last four years, less than Santana Moss had in 2005. Ward did average 14.1 yards per catch, but Rookie Santonio Holmes and veteran Cedrick Wilson are likely to see most of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s downfield tosses. Ward’s value comes from his consistency and his ability to leverage his bulk in the red zone.
After being a top five wideout for two consecutive seasons, Ward’s stock tumbled in 2004 as the Steelers pursued the most run-heavy offensive scheme the NFL has seen in more than 20 years. As a result, Ward went from 162 targets in 2003 to a mere 113 in 2004. Amazingly, he caught a league-leading 71 percent, for 80 receptions. But given that Ward typically averages around 12 yards per catch, he has to catch 90 or more passes to be big source of production in yardage-heavy leagues. Ward’s touchdowns also plummeted as he converted just 3 of 16 red-zone targets into scores. (In 2003, Ward converted 7-of-21). The departure of Plaxico Burress shouldn’t hurt Ward much, as Burress missed five games last season and caught just 35 passes. Ward, 6-0, 215 pounds, is one of the toughest receivers in the game and has enough quickness and savvy to get open consistently in the short and intermediate areas of the field. Ward doesn’t have the speed to go deep however, so for him to produce elite wideout numbers, he needs a ton of catches. With Ben Roethlisberger in his second season, Pittsburgh should throw more often, and Ward could increase his receptions, but unless he’s close to 100, he’s more of a No. 2 fantasy receiver than a No. 1.
If you don’t love the super-tough, always-reliable Hines Ward, you don’t love football. Ward led the NFL with seven receptions from inside the 10 last year, which accounted for five of his TDs. He caught only 25 passes on balls that traveled more than 10 yards (and just 27 in ’02). Never shy of contact, Ward caught 16 passes over the middle and predictably suffered a wide assortment of minor injuries. These wore him down in December, during which he caught just one TD pass. But Ward plays hurt. And he fights for every yard with the ball in his hands (his 373 yards after catch ranked 19th last year). Ward was targeted 156 times by Tommy Maddox last year (just 32 times more than Plaxico Burress), catching 61 percent of those passes (vs. just 48 percent for Burress). Be aware that Ward, seeking a contract extension, has hinted at a training-camp holdout if he doesn’t get one.
Ward exploded last year with over 100 receptions for more than 1300 yards receiving. Averaging 83 yards a game; he found the end zone 12 times last season. Now that the Steelers have become a passing team with a diversified attack expect more of the same this season as the most underrated receiver in football, fantasy or otherwise, continues to produce week in and week out. The emergence of WR Plaxico Burress as a bona fide weapon only helps Ward draw fewer double teams. The consummate team player, Ward paid his dues early in his career on specialty teams and makes all his blocks and runs out every pass pattern. Consistency is what separates the good from the great, and Ward certainly falls into the latter category. Put him down for 1100 yards and 8-10 touchdowns.