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Aug 17

T.Y. Hilton, James Jones, and others poised for fantasy success

T.Y. Hilton scores a touchdown in the Colts preseason opener against the Bills. Photo: Robert Scheer, USA TODAY Sports

T.Y. Hilton scores a touchdown in the Colts preseason opener against the Bills. (Photo: Robert Scheer, USA TODAY Sports)

T.Y. Hilton – WR- Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck is a star (don’t worry this is still about Hilton) – I just wanted to gush over the rookie phenom a little bit. Andrew Luck doesn’t get enough credit; he took the worst team in the league (2-14 in 2012) to 11-5 and into the playoffs, and 12-year pro Reggie Wayne already calls Luck the team’s leader – quite the praise from the veteran. Luck has all the tools to be a superstar in this league and one year of experience is set to do him wonders, let’s keep in mind that last year at the beginning of OTA’s he was writing exams. Now he’s prepping, working hard and demanding the respect of his teammates, and what’s one thing great quarterbacks do? They make their receiver’s great and T.Y. Hilton is ready to reap the benefits.

If you watch highlight reels of Andrew Luck last season, T.Y. Hilton dominates the other side. He has lightning quick speed and a knack for big plays, and he’s definitely emerging as Luck’s go-to guy alongside Reggie Wayne. Here’s a question for our upcoming fantasy football drafts, who would you rather take? Wayne in the 4th round or Hilton four rounds later? I’m going with the better value in Hilton. In the last seven games of the season, he caught more passes for more yards and had more touchdowns than the elder receiver. Pretty sweet value in the middle rounds. He should be targeted right around the 30th WR off the board.

Last year, Hilton led all rookie wide receivers in TD catches and yards per catch while finishing second in receiving yards and third in receptions. His 17.2 yards per reception ranked him 5th amongst qualified pass-catchers. The most impressive part is that he put up all those great numbers despite not getting a whole lot of playing time in team’s first eight games. Putting that to account, despite productive numbers last year, Hilton will be far more productive this year. When given increased opportunities Hilton rose to the challenge: in the seven games from weeks 11-17 Hilton upped his game, increasing his receptions, yards, and touchdowns per contest considerably. Expanded over a full season his 3.71 catches, 72.29 yards and .71 touchdowns per game combine to produce a line somewhere in the 60-1150-11 range – numbers that would have been good enough to place him inside the positional top 10. We’re not making that type of prediction here, but it’s clear that the potential is there!

Hilton has garnered most of the buzz in Colts camp, speaking to reporters saying the game is slowing down for him, so now he can just be faster than everyone else. Which was evident on his 45 yard touchdown pass in the Colts first pre-season game against the Bills.

You can expect new Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton to use Hilton in many ways and let the man fly. Remember this ain’t no two star. This is the four star Hilton folks! Enjoy the ride.

Antonio Brown, WR – Pittsburgh Steelers

Antonio Brown is in store for a breakout season as well, this year he’s the #1 receiver in Steel City and can count on a significant rise in receptions. He finished with 106 targets last season in just 13 games, and was ranked 23rd in the league in target percentage at 23.4 percent, good for second on his team only to Mike Wallace’s 25.1.

Well, Wallace is no longer in town, and Brown’s biggest benefit may come via the red zone where Wallace saw a team high of nearly 30% of looks. These numbers are surely passable by Brown, as he is set to be the focal point of Todd Haley’s passing attack. Plus he finished the season hot while scoring in all of the team’s four final games. Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger on Antonio Brown if he becomes available to you.

James Jones is set for a big season in Green Bay. (Lukas Keapproth/Press Gazette Media)

James Jones is set for a big season in Green Bay. (Lukas Keapproth/Press Gazette Media)

James Jones-WR – Packers

Is James Jones not getting enough love? He led all receivers last year with 14 touchdowns, and finished 17th in overall receiver rankings on Yahoo! Sports. Currently being drafted as the 26th receiver off the boards he may be a little steep. Do I expect 14 touchdowns again? No. Jones led the league in TD/Catch rate last year and his number (around 4.5) is unlikely to be sustained – but gone is Greg Jennings and hurt is Jordy Nelson. Not to mention he’s got the trust of Aaron Rodgers – especially in the red zone. Rodgers, as you know, is a guy that’s never shy to throw the ball.

Jones will have plenty of opportunity to reach double digit scores once again and should receive an uptick on last year’s receptions and yards making him an intriguing pick on draft day. Aaron Rodgers definitely has what it takes to make three receivers all relevant in fantasy land, and Jones has been talking a big game in camp. I expect him to meet his high expectations.

Also of note from Green Bay camp: Aaron Rodgers continues to praise the work of TE Jermichael Finley, telling reporters he’s been running routes really well. Finley has disappointed many fantasy owners in the past, but the this season the good news is that you don’t have to spend a high pick to get him.

Other wide receiver news-

Donnie Avery of the Kansas City Chiefs is expected to be the Chiefs No.2 WR. He opened camp as the team’s third receiver behind Jon Baldwin but Baldwin simply hasn’t had a good camp. Avery should be a decent late round flier in deep drafts as he could see a good number of targets as Dwayne Bowe should see plenty of double coverage forcing Alex Smith to look Avery’s way. His speed always gives him the chance for the big home-run play.

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