Fantasy football owners might already be regretting their selection of T.Y. Hilton after his performance in Week 1, but the sophomore receiver will certainly be a much more productive player for the rest of the 2013 NFL season.
The Indianapolis Colts were able to hold off the Oakland Raiders by a score of 21-17, but Hilton was not involved much in the offense. He caught just three balls for 20 yards, putting up a lousy two points in most standard scoring leagues.
It certainly wasn't an exciting Sunday for T.Y. fans, who only saw the ball go his way five times all game. To make matters worse, Hilton was on the field for just 26 of the team's 57 plays on offense, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Things will certainly turn around after Week 1, however. Hilton's role has changed on offense with the arrival of Darrius Heyward-Bey, moving Hilton to the No. 3 receiver and DHB to the No. 2. As much as that might scare off fantasy owners, Stephen Holder of The Indianapolis Star says that there isn't much concern in the locker room.
Yet, no one at the Colts training facility seems obsessed with why Darrius Heyward-Bey sits atop the depth chart at receiver over the ultra-productive T.Y. Hilton because, well, it doesn’t actually matter.
Said Hilton: “It hasn’t really held me back. That’s where they have me at, so wherever they put me, that’s where I’ll play. I’m happy and they’re happy, so I’ll play it all day.”
The role Hilton will play in 2013 is certainly different from 2012, but that doesn't mean that he won't be productive. We saw just how deadly he could be this preseason, as he finished with 114 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
In fact, Phillip B. Wilson of The Indianapolis Star reported during training camp that Hilton was one of the team's top performers:
WR T.Y. Hilton continues to impress. He had another TD catch, his second in as many exhibitions, and Luck put the ball in a place where only Hilton could get it. The second-year pass catcher climbed the ladder and brought it down, then got both feet in bounds in tight quarters for the score. Hilton has been one of the Colts’ best players so far, a star in the making, a guy who can make big plays.
That was less than a month ago, so it's not like Hilton has suddenly fallen out of favor.
Also, remember that Hilton had just one catch for 15 yards in his NFL debut against the Minnesota Vikings during Week 2 of last season, then went off for 113 yards and a score the next week against the Jaguars. He was a productive player in 2012, putting up 861 yards and seven touchdowns—on just 50 catches.
Fantasy owners can also rejoice at the news coming out of Indianapolis. According to George Bremer of The Herald Bulletin, head coach Chuck Pagano is planning on getting Hilton more touches.
Pagano: Coming out of Sunday, first thing coaches talked about was getting T.Y. Hilton more plays, touches. #Colts— George Bremer (@gmbremer) September 11, 2013
For those hoping for a quick turnaround from Hilton, there's good news on that front as well. The Colts will be taking on the Miami Dolphins in Week 2, a team that allowed 3,974 passing yards in 2012, ranking 27th in the NFL.
Oh, and remember when the Colts played the Dolphins last season? Hilton had six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown.
It's quite clear that the Colts want to use Hilton more, and with how talented he is, that's great news for fantasy owners.