by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There are plenty of people who are shying away from T.Y. Hilton as they head into their fantasy drafts. I can understand it, despite entering his third year in the NFL and coming off a sophomore campaign that saw him catch 82 passes for 1,083 yards and 5 TD.
The arguments are obvious. That production came with both Dwayne Allen and Reggie Wayne injured. It came before Hakeem Nicks and Donte Moncrief were added in the offseason. It came when the Colts rushing attack was abysmal between Trent Richardson’s struggles and Ahmad Bradshaw’s injuries.
All of those things are different as we head into 2014 and I will continue to support drafting him at his current average ADP of 66.8.
Yes, you can argue that the bulk of his damage came late in the season, when he was virtually the last man standing. In the team’s final eight games he became more of a possession receiver, turning 48 receptions into 550 yards (11.5 YPC vs. 15.7 in the first eight games).
Yes a healthy Wayne is going to cut into those looks, but does anyone believe Wayne is going to be the same target monster he once was (150+)? At 35-years old? Coming off of a torn ACL? Obviously he is going to play a major role, but there’s going to be a changing of the guard sooner or later and, chances are, it’s going to come sooner.
How about Hakeem Nicks and the abysmal performance he put on in 2013, when he also had a contract on the line? That’s what makes putting any stock in his “prove it” deal a non-factor. He had an opportunity to prove it last season and he failed miserably to do so. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t expect more from him in Indianapolis, with Andrew Luck at the helm, but it’s not necessarily going to be at Hilton’s expense.
Moncrief? Hard to imagine him impacting Hilton’s looks, and the same goes for the promising Da’Rick Rogers.
Dwayne Allen should share tight end duties with Coby Fleener. Again, while he’s going to get his opportunities it’s hard to consider him enough of a detriment to avoid Hilton.
The rushing game is still as bad as it appeared last season. Richardson still looks inept and Bradshaw is still injury prone. If Bradshaw can stay healthy he should make an impact, but it’s still not enough.
We would expect the Colts to throw the ball at least as many times as it did a year ago (582), so there should be enough opportunities to go around. The big concern is going to be his ability to score TD and that’s the one argument I could buy into.
At 5’9″ and 178 pounds, he’s hardly a massive red zone threat. As it is, all five of his touchdowns came in just two games last season. Of course he scored 7 TD in his rookie season, coming in six separate games. Obviously we’d feel better if he was scoring more regularly, and it’s something we’d anticipate happening this season.
Is it a guarantee? Unfortunately not, given the other weapons they have, but at his current ADP it’s a gamble we’d be willing to take.
He’s being drafted around boom or bust candidate Torrey Smith (66.8), and after similar players like Desean Jackson (51.8). He’s also coming after Roddy White (46.6), Percy Harvin (53.8), Pierre Garçon (40.6) and Wes Welker (41.6).
Let others be scared off, as there’s more than enough there to buy into. Given the price tag and upside, I’ll take him every time.
Sources – ESPN, Fantasy Pros
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Make sure to check out all of our 2014 rankings: