“T.Y. is having as good an offseason as anybody, probably better than anybody,” [Chuck] Pagano said Tuesday. “…I’ve never seen this guy practice as fast as he’s practicing right now. … He’s done it day in and day out.”
That’s no embellishment. Hilton has caught just about everything thrown his way – over the middle, on the sideline, falling out of the end zone. On those occasions when he’s matched up against No. 1 cornerback Vontae Davis, Hilton seems to have won more of those battles than he’s lost.
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“I’m more motivated, more hungry,” [Hilton] said. “I’m just ready to go, man. After watching the playoffs last year and not being in there, I’m just ready to get back to that point and continue to lead this team.”
Sometimes the simplest solution is best. I wrote last week that the Colts wide receivers were sneaky offseason winners, but I couldn’t figure out which of the trio to target. TY Hilton’s recent buzz reminded me that I should probably pick the best one.
Hilton is the definition of a “high seasonal floor” player. As a second-year WR in 2013, he posted WR2 numbers. In his breakout 2014 season, he was a low-end WR1. And in 2015, with the Colts’ offense in shambles1 and Andrew Luck ineffective or injured for most of the season, Hilton caught 69 passes for 1124 yards and 5 touchdowns — good enough for a WR30 finish. In the games Luck played (even ineffectively), Hilton was on pace for yet another WR2 season.
I’m projecting Hilton for 147 targets, which matches his target rate with Luck from 2014 and 2015. But that target number is based on the Colts throwing less than they did in 2014 and 2015. It also presumes that Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett, and Dwayne Allen stay healthy and gobble up 266 combined targets. But Moncrief is recovering from surgery, Dorsett has a hamstring issue, and Allen hasn’t played 16 games since 2012. If any of these players misses significant time, or if the Colts simply keep up their pass-happy ways, Hilton could capture 10 targets per game.
Hilton’s best ball ADP of 30 overall makes him the 18th WR taken. That’s reasonable. I’m not as high on Hilton as 14Team Mocker. But I’m taking him over Jarvis Landry, Doug Martin, Mark Ingram, and Eddie Lacy, who are all being drafted ahead of him. Hilton has demonstrated WR1 upside, and he remained fantasy viable in a near-worst-case-scenario in 2015. That’s the kind of player I want with an early third-round pick.