Even though Reggie Wayne, Hakeem Nicks, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen are now at the disposal of Andrew Luck, the receiver to own for the Indianapolis Colts is T.Y. Hilton.
For my fantasy football team in 2014, I was excited for the addition of Nicks and the return of Wayne and Allen to the lineup. Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has stated that the team is going to take a score-first approach rather than a run-first approach, and the Colts may finally utilize all of Luck’s talent this season. If the running game takes a bit of a back seat, that should mean even more opportunities for the targets in the passing game. Some people may think that will hurt the value of Hilton with the ball being spread around, but he is still worth a fifth-round pick.
I have been drafting Nicks in most of my mock drafts, as I felt he was severely undervalued as a ninth-round pick. Now that Hamilton has publicly came out and criticized the conditioning of Nicks, I am not as high on him as I once was. His motivation has been questioned in the past, and the fact that his touchdown receptions decreased by exactly four per year from 2010-12 is not a flattering statistic. Nicks has a reputation of being injured, but he has played 13 or more games in every season during his five-year career. As of right now, it appears that Nicks is being drafted in the correct round.
Even though Luck described Wayne as an athletic freak for his age, the hard truth is that he is a 35-year-old receiver recovering from an ACL tear. If he goes down with another injury or just can’t quite return to form, that will once again put Hilton as Luck’s main receiver. As a seventh-round pick, you could do worse than Wayne, but I would prefer Eric Decker, Brandin Cooks or Terrance Williams at that spot instead.
Last season, Hilton received five or more targets in 11 games, which makes him a nice option in PPR leagues. He only scored his five touchdowns in two games, but things should spread out more with more weapons and defenders not solely focused on Hilton. He won’t top seven or eight touchdowns, but he is easily a candidate for 1,000 or more receiving yards. He has proven he has big-play ability with five games of 120 or more receiving yards from last season, and if Trent Richardson or Ahmad Bradshaw struggle at all, the aerial attack will be given even more of an opportunity to shine.
For a receiver who should finish as a top-15 option this season, Hilton is being drafted in the correct spot.