Andrew Luck hasn’t thrown a pass since January 1, 2017, in a week 17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Fantasy Players have been patiently waiting for him to return the field, but no one has been more eager to see Luck return than T.Y. Hilton.

The last time Andrew Luck threw a meaningful pass to T.Y. Hilton, Hilton led the NFL in receiving yards.  Hilton was the WR5, he was catching 62 percent of the targets and was getting drafted just outside the top 10 players in dynasty.  Hilton was being considered in the same pick range as Deandre Hopkins.   Paired with Luck, Hilton looked like a solid core asset for years to come.  However, when Hilton looked down the line of scrimmage in Week 1 last year, it was Scott Tolzien under center and things were not the same.

Do you know the difference between an elite quarterback and an average NFL quarterback?  For T.Y. Hilton it’s about five points a game.   Since 2015, when T.Y. plays with Andrew Luck, he averages just under 16.5 points per game, without Luck he averages about 11.3 points per game.  There are also significant decreases in targets and catch percentage when Luck doesn’t play.  Some will argue that a talented wide receiver should be QB agnostic, however, even the most elite receivers have suffered from terrible quarterbacks, for comparison see DeAndre Hopkins and Brock Osweiler, or really any wide receiver and Brock Osweiler.  Hilton finished the season as the WR27, his production roughly two-thirds of what it was the previous year.

T.Y. Hilton is your prototypical speed receiver; he can beat you outside or in the slot and is always a threat to take a pass to the house, no matter where he is on the field.  For fantasy purposes, he’s also a “Week Winner”.  His ability to break long plays for touchdowns means he can dial up 25 point fantasy weeks a few times a season.  Even with Jacoby Brissett under center in week 9 last season, Hilton was able to drop 34.5 points.  Last season though, Hilton had seven games under five points, when he only had one game under 5 in 2016.  In 2017, Hilton went from being a core asset to a Boom/Bust Best Ball play.

Heading into 2018, Luck’s status is still up in the air and it is unknown when he will be available to resume QB1 duties for the Colts.  Jacoby Brissett may be the best of Luck’s replacements (the list includes Charlie Whitehurst, Matt Hasselbeck and Josh Freeman), but T.Y. Hilton owners need Andrew Luck under center come this fall.  Hilton turns 29 in November; his dynasty biological clock is ticking.

As your dynasty draft heads towards the third/fourth round turn, do you pull the trigger and grab Hilton?  Or do you pick someone with a safer floor like Jarvis Landry or Doug Baldwin?  Towards the end of the third round in dynasty drafts, the players coming off the board are rookies or players who have some warts.  Is Jordan Howard the long-term answer in Chicago? Will Sammy Watkins finally succeed in Kansas City?  Derrick Henry is the “Man” in Tennessee, right?  Josh Gordon can’t get suspended again, can he?  I guess the real question when considering Hilton is, “Do you feel LUCKy, punk?”

The answer is yes, Hilton is the right pick at the end of the third round.   Andrew Luck has begun throwing and has said his arm feels a lot better than it did last season at the same time.  If Luck can’t go, Jacoby Brissett should be a much-improved passer than he was in 2017.  Brissett was traded to the Colts prior to week one last season, he was thrust into the starter role by week two and was learning the playbook on the fly.  Jacoby will have the benefit of a full offseason with the team and a better command of the playbook.  The Colts have also jettisoned Frank Gore and Donte Moncrief, there is no question Hilton is the Alpha Male on the offense in 2018 and the game plan should be to get Hilton his targets regardless of who is covering him.  As you look down the ADP rankings into the fourth and fifth rounds, there isn’t someone out there who has Hilton’s talent or resume.  With even a small increase in quarterback efficiency, Hilton will be a 200 point fantasy receiver next season.

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