T.Y. Hilton Fantasy Outlook: Be wary of the Colts WR in Week 8

    A lingering quad injury could keep T.Y. Hilton sidelined this week, but that might not be the worst thing in the world for fantasy managers.

    As with most years, this fantasy football season has been quite dramatic. Injuries are piling up across the league. One player that has been on the injury report pretty much all season is Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. Will he play this week, and if not, who could step up to replace him?

    T.Y. Hilton fantasy outlook for Week 8

    Hilton has been a fantasy stalwart for years. He’s been pretty consistent up to now, but perhaps his age is finally catching up to him. Let’s look back at his injury history before we look ahead to Week 8.

    After being drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Hilton played in 16 games his rookie year. Between 2012 and 2018, Hilton played at least 14 games each season. He missed six contests in 2019 due to a variety of injuries before playing 15-of-16 again last year. Heading into the 2021 campaign, Hilton had played in 93% of his possible games.

    Hilton hadn’t been on injured reserve in his entire career until landing there earlier this year. He’s also played with one of the best QBs to play the game in Andrew Luck. Additionally, Hilton received passes from Philip Rivers near the end of his career before retiring. Quarterback Carson Wentz is a definite upgrade for Hilton, but they’ve only played one game together this year.

    A Week 6 debut is better late than never

    After missing the first five games of the year, Hilton made his season debut in the Colts’ Week 6 win against the lowly Houston Texans. Hilton has notoriously been great against Houston. For his career, Hilton has averaged 18.2 PPR points in his 19 games against the Texans — he’s scored 13.1 PPR points/game in his other 115 appearances.

    In his first game of the season, Hilton caught all 4 targets for 80 yards, scoring 12 PPR points. While this was below his career average against Houston, it still wasn’t bad for his first action of the year. However, he would once again ride the bench the following week after being ruled out, frustrating fantasy managers everywhere.

    Hilton’s status in Week 8

    After missing last week, it’s now being reported that Hilton is close to playing again. He logged a limited practice this week, and his status is firmly on the fence heading to Sunday morning. If Hilton’s quadriceps can stay healthy, it’s possible he will suit up this week.

    The Colts face their divisional rival in the Tennessee Titans in Week 8. Historically, Hilton has scored an average of only 12.4 PPR points against them, making him less appealing than most options, even if he plays. The Colts could use the help, but it’s hard to say that Hilton will be very productive regardless of health.

    I don’t recommend starting Hilton unless you’re truly desperate. There is actually a much better option on his own team.

    Other Colts in consideration

    In Hilton’s absence, second-year WR Michael Pittman Jr. has grown into the alpha role and become a solid fantasy option. Really, Pittman’s been the lone bright spot in the Colts’ receiving game so far this year. He should see plenty of targets again this week, making him a must-start option in almost all formats.

    After Pittman, the team has Zach Pascal, who is an option in deeper leagues if Hilton sits. Pascal is one of those players that can break a 70-yard touchdown and make your week, but he’s far too risky to play outside of leagues where you have to start 12 or more players.

    Other than Pittman and Pascal, Colts head coach Frank Reich doesn’t have that many options left in the WR room. Parris Campbell is currently on IR with a foot injury and is likely to miss a few more weeks. Ashton Dulin has flashed a little this year, but he’s not someone I can recommend with any sort of confidence.

    Final thoughts

    I’m benching Hilton in almost every situation this week. Alternatively, I’m playing Pittman no matter what. He’s just too good. I could consider Pascal in deeper leagues, but only if Hilton sits. Ultimately, I’m just not terribly excited about Indianapolis’s passing game this week, so consider yourself warned.

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