T.Y. Hilton's rookie year can be summed up as a tale of two halves—the first eight games—and the final seven. Upon acclamation to the speed and size of the NFL, Hilton began to shine. Although considered a reach by many fantasy football "experts," there are many reasons Hilton should be considered for your team in the first five rounds.
A third-round pick out of Florida International University, Hilton possesses an off-the-ball speed coming out of college that is incomparable. Hilton, who runs a timed 40-yard dash in the 4.4 range, makes up in speed what he lacks in size.
When it comes to rookie year statistics, it is clear that the more Hilton became comfortable with the offense, the more he produced.
In the first eight games of 2012 (after sitting out the season opener), Hilton had 355 yards and two touchdowns on 24 catches. Not bad for a rookie stuck playing behind Reggie Wayne and Donnie Avery, right?
Well, Hilton's production never declined. As a matter of fact, it continued upward. In the final seven games of the season, Hilton reeled in 506 yards and five touchdowns on 26 catches. The yards per catch average? First eight games, 12.6 yards per catch.
Final seven games? 20.0.
All of these statistics don't even include the eight-catch, 66-yard outing against the eventual Super Bowl champion Ravens in the Wild Card game.
Not only does Hilton's gradual rise in production make the case for him, but it's evident so far that the carry over from last season is inevitable.
Hilton has received nothing but praise from anyone who attended training camp, Stampede Blue writer Josh Wilson:
But not only did Hilton produce in training camp, he's also translated that into his preseason action.
Hilton now has seven receptions for 114 yards and three touchdowns through three preseason games. Still lining up in the slot position, Hilton has become a clear-cut favorite target for quarterback Andrew Luck.
Even with wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey starting opposite of Reggie Wayne, don't expect T.Y.'s production to take a hit. Hilton's small size and lightning speed is best utilized from the slot position, away from the best cornerbacks and often forgotten by the defense.
Especially in "points-per-reception" leagues, Hilton would be a very viable option as your No. 2, possibly even No. 1 option at wide receiver. Look for Eugene "T.Y." Hilton to have a breakout year and contribute towards a Luck-to-Hilton highlight reel for years to come.