The Indianapolis Colts have a mystery fantasy performer in their midst, and oddly enough, it's the player nicknamed "The Ghost."
T.Y. Hilton's only company among the Colts' all-time great receivers are also some of the NFL's all-time greats in Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Raymond Berry. However, the last couple of years have featured injuries and inconsistent play for Hilton.
Most people still acknowledge he's a quality, useful player, but a result has been the fantasy football community shunning him as a WR1 and, really, a WR2 to this point.
Some things have changed for the Colts this offseason, though. In 2021, will The Ghost retreat to the fantasy graveyard, or will he continue haunting the AFC South?
Average draft position and positional rankings from FantasyPros. Projections are based on traditional lineups with PPR scoring.
Relevant to all Colts fantasy players, quarterback Carson Wentz underwent a procedure on his foot on Mon., Aug. 2 and is expected to be out anywhere from 5-12 weeks, which puts his return in the regular season roughly between Week 1-Week 8. Although the team will have a better idea of his approximate timetable for return a few weeks post-op, they believe his return will be on the quicker side of the range.
WR T.Y. Hilton
- Current ADP — 116.0
- Current Positional Rank — WR48
- 2021 Strength of Schedule — 9th easiest
- 2018 — 14 games, 76 receptions (120 targets), 1,270 yards (16.7 avg.), 6 TD
- 2019 — 10 games, 45 receptions (68 targets), 501 yards (11.1 avg.), 5 TD
- 2020 — 15 games, 56 receptions (93 targets), 762 yards (13.6 avg.), 5 TD
- Average per game — 4.6 receptions (7.2 targets), 63.9 yards (14.0 avg.), 0.4 TD
The Quarterback Matters
The last time Hilton "went off" was in 2018 with Andrew Luck at quarterback, who had essentially no physical or mental limitations. However, the two seasons after have been very average with different quarterbacks.
In 2019, Jacoby Brissett lacked the aggression and creative problem-solving during broken plays to exploit Hilton's talents. In 2020, Philip Rivers gave the Colts quality quarterback play but lacked the consistent arm strength and mobility to mesh well with Hilton's style.
Now, Hilton has Carson Wentz under center.
The former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback is much closer to Luck stylistically than Brissett and Rivers, which should benefit Hilton. Wentz has the mobility to move the pocket, keep plays alive, and give Hilton time to break free during prolonged coverage. He's also got the arm strength to put the ball anywhere on the field for Hilton.
Over the Hill, or Going Out with a Bang?
These two things are factual: Hilton will turn 32 during the season, and injuries have cost him nine games over the last three seasons while he's managed to play hurt through even more.
Old age and frequent injuries are two huge scare factors for fantasy owners, and rightfully so. With that in mind, Hilton's current rank of WR48 is probably too low, but it's not out of line.
There was major concern about Hilton after he failed to reach 80 yards in a game or score a touchdown until Week 12 in 2020. However, in the subsequent four games, he averaged 5.3 receptions (7.3 targets) for 87.0 yards (16.6 avg.) and 1.0 touchdown per contest.
During the season, while he wasn't putting up consistent numbers, we saw Hilton doing many of the things he'd done throughout his career that always made him special.
Such as beating defenders deep for touchdowns...
Coming down with 50-50 balls despite his size...
And making catches that seem impossible...
This basically comes down to your faith in Hilton. Have his last couple of years been a true sign of his age, or will he bounce back in a big way with a new, more suitable quarterback?
For me, it's somewhere in the middle. He probably is slowing down, but he can still be productive.
Are you planning on targeting Hilton in your fantasy drafts? Drop your thoughts below in the comment section!
See Below for More in This Series:
- QB Carson Wentz
- RB Jonathan Taylor
- RB Nyheim Hines
- WR Michael Pittman Jr.
- WR Parris Campbell
- TE Jack Doyle
- TE Mo Alie-Cox