The idea to pass up on the likes of T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks may seem contrarian because of how valuable their quarterback Andrew Luck is in fantasy football. He is coming off a Top-5 fantasy performance, after all. In many cases, a great quarterback season means that his tools he utilizes are almost as valuable, but the Indianapolis Colts receiving corps may prove to be an anomaly this season.
Hilton enjoyed a Top-20 performance last year, and many think he’s trending up. But take a good, hard look at his stats. Yes, he broke the 1,000-yard mark in receiving and tacked on five touchdowns, but do you remember which games he scored those touchdowns? His touchdown total came solely from two games — scoring twice against the Seattle Seahawks and thrice against the Houston Texans. That’s 30 points that he surprised fantasy GMs with, never to score again in 2013. Can he become more consistent this season? Yes, but mind you, this was the season in which he was the highlighted receiver in the wake of Wayne’s injury.
Maybe his inconsistency was actually due to Wayne’s absence, because defenses could focus on him more. But what value will Wayne actually contribute this season at age 36 coming off an ACL injury? He can probably pull off numbers slightly below 1,000 yards and punch in touchdowns. Luck has quoted that Wayne is “a total beast”, referring to how well he’s recovered, but how much can we really trust his biased opinion? Even if he’s a “beast” like Luck claims, there’s another mouth to feed in Indy.
Nicks is the new guy in town who throws all projections askew. We have no idea what effect he’ll truly have on the Colts offense this season. Like Wayne, he’s coming off an injury, and how much that will hinder his production is a big unknown. It also doesn’t help that Nicks has only spent time in the New York Giants‘ system, so we don’t know how well he can adjust to the Colts’ system. Maybe he could flourish as the primary target, but there are three primary wideouts in town who make any projection rough at best.
You could make a case for all of them to be 1,000-yard receivers with double-digit TDs. But the likelihood of three 1K wide receivers is lofty. Not even the Denver Broncos could accomplish that feat (and not since the 2004 Colts has the feat been accomplished). Last season Luck threw just short of 4,000 yards. The prospect of three of his targets accounting for three-fourths of his yards is quite out of line.
His attempts have gone down since his rookie season and will likely hover around the 575 mark this season. He’ll hardly be able to distribute those targets evenly. Add to the equation tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen as well as RB Trent Richardson and a slew of other targets, and the possibility of these elite perceived WRs being consistent fantasy options is slim. Maybe if they passed as much as the New Orleans Saints or Detroit Lions there would be no question to draft the three Colts WRs this season.
Maybe one of them will slip through the cracks and be a Top-15 option, but it’s a crap-shoot as to who that will be, let alone who it will be each week.