T.Y. Hilton was a revelation for the Indianapolis Colts last season. Fitting right into their revamped offense, he quickly earned the trust of quarterback Andrew Luck. He finished an impressive rookie campaign with 861 yards and seven touchdowns on 50 catches, adding another touchdown on a punt return for good measure. So, it was reasonable to assume that since former starting wide receiver Donnie Avery is no longer on the team that Hilton would automatically take over his starting job this season, right? Apparently not.
Even though they clearly have a gem in Hilton, the Colts felt it necessary to go out and sign former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey in free agency. Heyward-Bey, the 7th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, is best known for his incredible penchant for dropped passes and for being one of the bigger busts of the last decade. Having never hit 1000 yards or more than five touchdowns in any of his first four seasons, his phone wasn’t exactly ringing off the hook before the Colts called. With speed being the only weapon in his arsenal, his mediocre skill-set leaves much to be desired. So, it was reasonable to assume that if he couldn’t show the necessary improvement and outplay Hilton during training camp and the preseason that the starting job would then go to Hilton, right? Nope.
For some reason unfathomable to man, the Colts have awarded the starting job to Heyward-Bey. Despite him struggling with drops throughout the entire summer and getting as outplayed as possible by Hilton, Indianapolis has defied all logic and went with the lesser talent. Is it possible they saw something in him that no one else did? Considering the fact that he had three catches for 33 yards in his debut, I highly doubt it.
If your eyebrows aren’t raised at this point, they should be. There’s simply no excuse for ignoring the upside that Hilton offers and his fantasy owners should be outraged. He played on only 26 of 57 snaps on Sunday, finishing with a grossly underwhelming three catches for 20 yards. When you draft a sleeper under the impression that he’ll wind up being one of the biggest steals in your pool, a virtual Week 1 goose-egg hurts a lot. But while you nurse your emotional wounds heading into Week 2, don’t panic just yet. There’s reason for optimism moving forward.
Much to the joy of owners everywhere, the Colts’ coaching staff admitted recently that the first thing they talked about following their narrow victory over the Raiders was how to get Hilton more involved in the offense. After finding themselves in too close a game at home against one of the league’s worst teams, maybe they did first-grade math and realized they need to use their best players more effectively. Or maybe they received threats from disgruntled fantasy owners. Either way, it’s excellent news for Hilton and the countless fantasy teams that are relying on him. It might even just be a matter of time before he rightfully takes the starting job away from Heyward-Bey.
Hilton is an explosive talent and the Colts can’t afford to keep him off the field if they want to win. It seems they’re now aware of that and will look to give him a bigger role, starting this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. There’s a very short buy-low window open here so take advantage if you have the opportunity.
Look for Hilton to bounce back in a big way this weekend.