T.Y. Hilton Fantasy Football Outlook & Value 2020

TY HiltonT.Y. Hilton, a big-play wide receiver, struggled with nagging injuries throughout the 2019 season. As a result, Hilton caught a career-low 45 passes for 501 yards and five touchdowns. This was more disheartening for Colts fans who, after the Andrew Luck retirement, counted on the receiver to be a big-play target for quarterback Jacoby Brissett. While 2019 was a disappointment, the Colts signed veteran quarterback Phillip Rivers, a quarterback who is not afraid to sling the ball downfield. With Rivers reuniting with offensive coordinator Frank Reich, Hilton could return to form as an X-factor in 2020.

2019 Recap

REC REC YDS REC TDS FPTS FPPG
455015102.610.3

Last year, the eight-year veteran had his worst statistical season. While being exceptionally durable in his first seven seasons – only missing 4 games – Hilton missed six games in 2019, finishing with 45 receptions for 501 yards and five touchdowns. Nagging lower body injuries limited his effectiveness and his overall fantasy production as he finished with 102.6 fantasy points and 10.3 fantasy points per game.

2020 Projections

REC REC YDSREC TDS FPTS FPPG
74887519512.2

Despite T.Y. Hilton’s injury-plagued season, I project that the receiver will bounce back in 2020 to his typical 60+ reception, 1000 yard numbers. Instead of placeholder QB Jacoby Brissett, Phillip Rivers, a borderline hall-of-fame quarterback, should bring out the best of Hilton. Furthermore, Rivers is very similar to Andrew Luck in his willingness to through the ball downfield. This could also help to maximize Hilton’s talents.

The Colts offensive line remains one of the best in the NFL. With guys like Quenton Nelson and Anthony Castonzo to lead the unit, Phillip Rivers will have the pocket time to throw the ball downfield. This will allow T.Y. Hilton to execute deep route trees.

Lastly, the addition of Michael Pittman Jr. should also help draw attention away from Hilton. While some argue that Pittman will steal targets from Hilton, I believe this will have a minimal effect on T.Y. Hilton’s fantasy impact. The receiver will still be the team’s number one option for the 2020 season.

ADP/Auction Value

ADP: 41.7, WR 21
Auction Value: $17

T.Y. Hilton is going in the fourth round. He ranks as the 21st wide receiver in our projections and also provides a decent auction value. I am very hesitant to reach for Hilton in the 2nd or even third round because he is not a necessity for any team. In many scenarios, I see him as a WR2.  While I believe that he will bounce back in 2020, I am scared to predict a career year because of his age. At 30, injuries become more of a concern as his athleticism diminishes.

Floor

At his worst, I could see T.Y. Hilton put up a stat line similar to 2019 – 40 receptions for 500 yards. However, I only see this scenario if Phillip Rivers has a sharp regression, or Hilton continues to struggle with injuries. Yet, I don’t see either scenario having a strong impact on his 2020 season. History shows that he is not an injury-prone player and Phillip Rivers is a smart quarterback with enough tools to correct his mistakes in 2019.

Given that Hilton has never eclipsed seven touchdowns in his entire career, I believe his floor is higher in PPR leagues as a WR2. Given the Michael Pittman draft selection I could see Hilton’s touchdown numbers decrease in 2020. This would hurt his non-PPR draft stock.

Ceiling

I believe T.Y. Hilton could become a top-ten receiver in 2020. A healthy Phillip Rivers, a strong offensive line, and an offensive-minded head coach could provide the necessary boosts to reach his career-high numbers of 2016 (91 rec, 1448 yds.). However, I do not think this is worth risking a high draft pick or making Hilton a WR1. Realistically, I see Hilton achieving 60 receptions for 900+ yards. This will provide great fantasy value, but at the WR2 position.

Colts Offense

Indianpolis ColtsAs mentioned, placeholder quarterback Jacoby Brissett is being replaced by potential hall-of-fame quarterback Phillip Rivers. Phillip Rivers is a quarterback not afraid to sling the ball downfield to previous targets, Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. If healthy, I could see him connecting with Hilton on deep 50-yard passes.

The Colts are going to be a top-five offensive-line unit. Pro-Bowl guard Quenton Nelson is a stout run defender that has continuously improved his pass defense. Anthony Castonzo shines at the left-tackle position. Center Ryan Kelly continues to get top-five center grades by PFF.  This unit should give Rivers the protection he has never had in his entire career, boosting his and the receiving corps production.

Lastly, head coach Frank Reich is reuniting with Phillip Rivers. Their history and Rivers’ knowledge of Reich’s playbook will dispel the typical worries that people have when quarterbacks switch teams. I am confident that Rivers will shine with the Colts, which will directly translate to Hilton’s success. Because of this, I would value Hilton in the 3rd round and as a solid WR2 option. I would still be hesitant placing Hilton as a WR1 because of the Colts deep receiving group and Hilton’s age. If you can get Hilton as a WR3 or towards the 5th round, it would be an absolute steal.

Strength of Schedule

T.Y. Hilton should benefit from the absence of cornerbacks A.J. Bouye, Logan Ryan, and Jalen Ramsey. The Houston Texans lack a shutdown corner. The Jaguars rookie C.J. Henderson is unproven and plays a position where rookies typically struggle. The only proven shutdown CB in the division is Adoree’ Jackson which will help Hilton in division games.

Outside of the division, the Colts will play five 2019 top-10 pass defenses (Bears, Vikings, Packers, Ravens, Steelers).  While this may hurt T.Y. Hilton’s numbers, I believe that the addition of Michael Pittman Jr. and the Colts strong offensive supporting cast will prevent this schedule from having a strong impact on his success.

Ultimately, T.Y. Hilton’s success will come against easier competition within the schedule. With teams like the Bengals, Lions, and Raiders – all bottom third in pass defense – on the schedule, Hilton will have plenty of opportunities to provide fantasy value. Ultimately, I believe that the schedule will not be a difference-make in his success next year. Instead, I believe the difference could be Phillip Rivers.

2020 Fantasy Football Player Outlooks
  
Miles has participated in fantasy football and baseball for nearly 7 years with an appreciation for the level of fan engagement it brings to the game. In his free time, Miles is an avid runner who also enjoys poker, cooking, and watching movies.

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