If basing an NFL fantasy draft opinion on the last two years of statistics, Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton’s stock has fallen.
He’s been hurt, missing 10 games in those two years, and is coming off a 2019 season in which he was sidelined for six games and put up the worst numbers of his four-time Pro Bowl career.
But Hilton isn’t over the hill - he turns 31 in November - and shouldn’t be ignored in fantasy drafts.
Sports Illustrated senior fantasy expert Dr. Roto has projected Hilton as his Comeback Player of the Year.
“So last year, there were a lot of problems,” Dr. Roto said, referring to Hilton’s calf injury and no longer having the retired Andrew Luck at quarterback. “Here’s what happens in the fantasy football world. People remember that and, all of a sudden, nobody wants to touch T.Y. Hilton this season.
“Why not? Isn’t he the team’s No. 1 receiver? For sure, he is. And now the Colts bring in Philip Rivers. Philip Rivers is not Jacoby Brissett. This guy’s a future Hall of Famer and you know he’s going to be able to hit T.Y. Hilton in stride and rack up the yards per catch. So I think Hilton is a great value. If you can get him as your third receiver, you might just win your fantasy league.”
He has added incentive to remind doubters of his importance in entering a contract year. Hilton is playing to get paid on what he says will be the final contract of his career.
Despite being injured, consider this: Hilton still caught 11 TD passes in the past two seasons. And that doesn’t take into account how he played hurt in more games than he was sidelined.
Now factor in Rivers, a 17th-year gunslinger who isn’t shy about throwing the football down the field and taking chances. Hilton didn’t have that in 2019 starter Jacoby Brissett. That’s a big reason why Hilton’s longest reception was just 35 yards.
In his other seven seasons, Hilton’s longest catch per season averaged 73 yards. He’s still a deep threat. And he’s always been able to score — Hilton has caught 45 TD passes in his career in addition to 552 receptions for 8,598 yards.
In other words, don’t be surprised if a fantasy owner uses a higher pick than expected on him.
Hilton isn’t mentioned in the same breath as the NFL’s elite pass-catchers like Michael Thomas and Julio Jones, but he should be considered a solid second-tier option in fantasy drafts.
(Phillip B. Wilson has covered the Indianapolis Colts for more than two decades and authored the 2013 book 100 Things Colts Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. He’s on Twitter @pwilson24, on Facebook at @allcoltswithphilb and @100thingscoltsfans, and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.)