Not too long ago, I wrote about how Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton was being over-hyped heading into the season in terms of fantasy value. While I still maintain that stance, week one could be of those games where Hilton explodes like he did on a couple of occasions in 2012.
The Colts face the Oakland Raiders, whom many believe could be one of the worst franchises in all of football this year. Oakland added defensive back and future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson in the offseason, but beyond that their secondary looks mediocre at best.
Oakland ranked 20th in overall pass defense in 2012, allowing over 235 yards per game. The Raiders also only picked off 11 passes all season long, ranking 23rd in the league. Going against an up-and-coming passing attack from Indianapolis, and specifically a vertical threat like Hilton, could bode negatively for them.
On an offense now featuring a running back like Ahmad Bradshaw and another wide receiver in Darrius Heyward-Bey, it is not set in stone yet just where Hilton’s role will fall. What we do know is that Hilton and his quarterback Andrew Luck have clear chemistry, and Luck feels comfortable launching the ball down field in the direction of the second year wideout.
Hilton could be a very good WR3 or FLEX play this week in leagues of 10 teams or more. In an eight team league, chances are you will find a better option. I could see anywhere from 10-16 points out of Hilton this week against an Oakland team that has recently struggled against the pass.
Don’t hesitate to start Hilton confidently right out of the gate. As the weeks progress, keep an eye on where his role leads him as he could unseat Heyward-Bey for the starting spot opposite Reggie Wayne.