Posted by Steve Andress
Thursday, July 14, 2016 - 4:33pm
Without Andrew Luck for nine games last season, it’s important to take those games out of the equation when deciding what Hilton’s fantasy upside is for 2016. In 2014, Hilton finished as a top-10 fantasy WR (82-1345-7). He’s also not the boom-or-bust deep threat some view Hilton as either, leading the Colts in red zone targets in 2015. Despite all the passing game options in Indianapolis, Hilton has also established himself as a consistent target volume fantasy option, averaging 9.3 targets per game with Luck in 2015. For reference, that would have been top-10 in the NFL over 16 games with Luck. Hilton also had some other factors working against him in 2015, meaning a ceiling matching 2014 production is well within the realm of possibility, perhaps closer to likely.
The downside with Hilton in 2016 is similar to the factor hovering around Luck’s fantasy outlook: the Colts offensive line. After a miserable season protecting quarterbacks, the Colts invested half their draft into the big boys up front. If that doesn’t improve, having time for deep routes to develop for Hilton could be an issue, lowering Hilton’s fantasy ceiling.
Consistent touchdowns could also still be tougher for Hilton, even with Luck, in 2016. Hilton only had one red zone score with Luck in 2016 in seven games, with his other two touchdowns from Luck coming on busted coverages against a historically bad Saints defense. Meanwhile, Luck found Donte Moncrief in the endzone in five of his seven games.
Hilton’s ADP has fallen from a borderline 2nd round pick in 2015 to a mid-to-late 3rd round pick in 12-team leagues in 2016. That’s not a big drop, but there is opportunity for some value. Hilton is currently the 17th wide receiver off the board in drafts, after names like Demaryius Thomas, Brandon Marshall, Brandin Cooks, Sammy Watkins, and Amari Cooper, all of which we have Hilton ranked ahead of for 2016 in standard scoring. He drops a few spots in PPR leagues but not as severely as others, after posting back-to-back 80+ reception seasons with Luck in 2013 and 2014. He provides the opportunity to draft two WR1s in 2016 in the 1st and 3rd rounds, with a solid RB in the 2nd round, for those that choose to go that route.