TY Hilton's Inconsistent Rookie Season Should Not Scare Fantasy Owners

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TY Hilton's Inconsistent Rookie Season Should Not Scare Fantasy Owners
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Young players often go through hot and cold streaks, so fantasy football owners should not be afraid of Indianapolis Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton's inconsistent performance as a rookie last year.

The Colts shocked the NFL by making the playoffs. Young talent, starting with quarterback Andrew Luck, led the way. Luck was helped by veteran Reggie Wayne, but Hilton was a pleasant surprise.

It took the rookie two games to get his first 100-yard game and his first touchdown. He added four more 100-yard games the rest of the year, so he was able to show he could have big games.

Hilton finished the 2012 season with 861 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 50 receptions. That's an average of 17.2 yards per catch, which put him fifth among all receivers.

Despite a very productive rookie season, ESPN.com ranks Hilton No. 34 at his position in terms of projected fantasy value. Had he been more consistent last season, he may have found himself higher on that list.

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Hilton started his career with only one catch in his debut and followed that up with a zero-catch performance in Week 10. He had eight games in which he was held to 35 yards or fewer.

He averaged 44.4 yards per game and had only two touchdowns through the first eight weeks. He increased his average to 75.8 yards per game and added five touchdowns in the second half of the season.

The rookie also had a good day in his playoff debut. In a loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card Round, he continued to play at a high level. He ended the game with 66 yards on eight catches.

It was obvious that Hilton was getting more comfortable as the year went on. He had better numbers and was more consistent in the second half of the season.

Hilton doesn't have great size. The 5'9" receiver uses his good hands and speed to beat defenses.

With his late-season surge, Hilton gave fantasy owners something to think about. They should look at how he did down the stretch, and he finished the year strong.

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Luck, Wayne and Hilton have now played a full season with each other and have had the entire offseason to work together. They are going to be more comfortable together on the field and should see their numbers rise.

The Colts' schedule features 10 games against teams that ranked 15th or lower in pass defense last season. Hilton should be able to exploit those teams and put up bigger numbers this season.

He was able to put up good numbers despite not being consistent. Once he can be productive on a weekly basis, he's going to put up big fantasy numbers.

Rookies go through phases and don't always put up consistent numbers. Hilton showed growth throughout the season, so he should be ready to go this year.

Fantasy owners should look past the first half of last year and realize just how good Hilton was in the second half. Drafting Hilton will be a good move for an owner who is looking for help at receiver.

*All stats are courtesy of NFL.com 

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