Eugene Marquis ‘T.Y.’ Hilton was born in Miami, Florida, and will be entering the 2020 NFL season in his age-30 season. Hilton attended Miami Springs high school and played both basketball and football. He averaged 18.7 yards per catch as a senior and caught 785 receiving yards with 16 touchdowns. He also played on special teams and ended up going to Florida International University (FIU).
Hilton had an impressive career at FIU, playing all four years, setting the school records for career receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns among numerous other awards. At the NFL Combine he measured 5’ 9 ½” and weighed 183 pounds, running a 4.34 second 40-yard dash. Hilton was selected in the third round by the Indianapolis Colts of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Hilton spent the majority of his rookie season returning punts but also led the team in touchdowns with 7, catching 50 passes for 861 yards. Hilton has been in the NFL since 2012, playing in eight NFL seasons in total. Overall he has had a very healthy career, only missing four games out of seven NFL seasons entering the 2019 season (96%). Unfortunately in 2019 Hilton only played in 10 games secondary to injury.
So the question is was Hilton a victim of a bad injury or is ‘age’ starting to catch up with him? Well let’s figure that out by reviewing his injuries. He’s sustained lots of smaller injuries but he’s been able to play through them. Over the years he has suffered multiple injuries to nearly every body part, including his shoulder, ankle, hamstring, and a concussion. In 2018 he suffered a hamstring strain that caused him to miss two games. Then last season he unfortunately suffered a calf strain in practice of the Week 8. He ended up missing a couple games initially, then suffered a reinjury and missed a couple more, six in total.
Calf injuries are relatively common but are particularly annoying. Like groin injuries, calf injuries traditionally do not heal very quickly and have a tendency to re-injure very easily. The most common injury to the calf is a strain to the gastrocnemius muscle. This is the muscle that most of all of us assume is the calf muscle, however there is an additional muscle underneath it, called the soleus that is rarely injured.
The gastrocnemius muscle is split into two different parts, the medial and lateral heads. The most common location of injury is on the lower part of the medial head towards the middle. Anytime you walk, the calf contracts to pull up the Achilles tendon to help you actually take a step. If a calf muscle is strained this is going to significantly hurt. Calf strains are similar to hamstring strains in that if you do not let them fully heal, they will not only re-injure but you can actually reinjure the muscle even more than the initial injury (think Leonard Fournette in 2018).
The best way to initially treat a calf strain is to immobilize the person in a cam walker boot and either have them non-weight bearing on crutches or use a wheeled scooter. Rehabilitation with physical therapy is very important to the recovery of these injuries. It is important that the injured player takes a stepwise approach to not exacerbate this injury and regress. Once the player finally gets back on the field and is able to run at full strength they usually do quite well.
Once Hilton returned in week 12 he suffered a setback and ended up missing two additional games. This is not uncommon due to these injuries, and usually my biggest concern if players try to return too quickly. Finally he was able to play the final three games of the season but was not particularly effective.
It was a down season for T.Y. Hilton as he played in only ten contests, the lowest amount of games in his career. Andrew Luck retiring before the regular season began also didn’t help his production levels. Jacoby Brissett had a good season, but he is nowhere near the talent of Luck, and it showed.
Hilton 68 targets accounted for 45 receptions (79th), for 501 yards (84th), and while his 11.1 yards per reception (86th) were all career lows. His five touchdowns (42nd) were the second-fewest as he only scored four times in 2018.
When healthy, Hilton was 13th in fantasy points during the six weeks of activity before Week 9. The Colts getting Philip Rivers will help Hilton in all the above categories as Brissett struggles with getting the ball deep. Rivers should have no problems doing so, and Hilton will be his main target.
However, Rivers is in the elderly stage of his NFL career and won’t be nearly as accurate as he was in his youth. It is one of the reasons Los Angeles decided to move on from him. Rivers should have plenty of time in the pocket to locate Hilton as he will be well-protected.
Hilton is a top-27 fantasy receiver in his first seven seasons. He will be playing in the final year of his contract and is still quick while punishing defenses downfield. Hilton has had at least five catches of more than 40 yards every season since 2012 outside of last year.
The speedy Hilton is an excellent route runner with good hands and is extremely difficult to cover in one-on-one situations. However, he will battle a stable of wide receivers for attention.
The Colts drafted Michael Pittman in the second round, and they also have Parris Campbell and Zach Pascal. With Indianapolis in 12-personnel, Jack Doyle will also have several targets go his direction.
Indianapolis offense did struggle, especially with the number of injuries they sustained on offense. Therefore, the rankings are lower than an accurate indication of their capabilities. The Colts finished with 361 points (16th), 5238 yards (25th). Indianapolis attempted 513 passes (24th), and 3108 yards (30th), with 22 touchdowns (19th) through the air.
The offensive line is one of the best in the NFL, if not the best. Quenton Nelson is an All-Pro in his first two seasons, Ryan Kelly is a Pro Bowl talent, left tackle Anthony Castonzo had his contract extended and remains excellent. Mark Glowinski and Braden Smith play the right side of the line. The Colts use a “fake-zone” gap where the line moves zone, but the guard (Nelson) pulls creating holes.
Up until the season T.Y. Hilton has been able to stay very healthy. Unfortunately he sustained an annoying injury in the middle of the season that he tried to return too quickly from and it essentially derailed his season.
Sports Injury Predictor calculates there is a 46.2% chance of injury for Hilton in 2020, which is about an average risk score. My risk score for him is a 5 out of 10.
If he can limit any new soft tissue injuries in 2020, which have plagued his last two season, he can be a valuable pick as likely the #1 for the Indianapolis Colts and their new quarterback Philip Rivers.
I am not overly concerned about a re-injury to this calf since he was able to return to the field and play the final 3 games of the season without reinjury. It is important that Hilton goes above and beyond this offseason to prevent soft tissue injuries from affecting his 2020 season.
Rivers has been able to sustain a solid WR1/2 for several years now, recently this has been Keenan Allen. I expect T.Y. Hilton to slide into that role quite well. Draft him with confidence and hope that he does not suffer a similar annoying soft tissue injury in the middle of the season.
Hilton has an ADP of WR26 and an overall of 58. The ranking makes him a WR3, and it should return plenty of investment. With Rivers, he should have WR2 upside, therefore getting him outside that zone will only pay off dividends.
Injury Risk: Moderate. 4/10.
|Projected Missed||Probability of injury per game ?||Probablity of injury in the season ?|
|Nov 27, 2019||Leg Calf Tear||Hilton suffered a setback with his calf injury during practice. He sat out the following 2 games. Initially, he suffered his calf injury during a non-contact portion of practice on Oct. 30|
|Oct 30, 2019||Leg Calf Tear||Hilton sustained the injury during practice on Oct. 30 and missed Indianapolis' following three games against the Steelers, Dolphins, and Jaguars.|
|Sep 22, 2019||Leg Quad Strain||Hilton was forced out of the Week 3 game against the Falcons with a quad injury. He missed 1 game|
|Sep 30, 2018||Thigh Hamstring Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||Hilton injured his right hamstring against the Texans, missing OT. He sat out the following 2 games.|
|Nov 24, 2016||Back Lower Lumbar Strain Grade 2||Hilton left the Thanksgiving night game with a back issue but didn't miss any further game time.|
|Oct 30, 2016||Thigh Hamstring Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||Hilton sustained a hamstring injury against the Chiefs but played the following week.|
|Nov 2, 2015||Pedal Foot Sprain||Hilton sprained his left foot but played through the issue.|
|Sep 13, 2015||Knee Bruise||Hilton bruised his left knee against the Bills but missed no further time.|
|Aug 29, 2015||Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1||Hilton sustained a concussion in the 3rd preseason game. He sat out only a 4th preseason game he probably would have skipped anyway.|
|Dec 14, 2014||Thigh Hamstring Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||Hilton pulled his hamstring in Week 15 and missed the following week.|
|Sep 21, 2014||Pedal Ankle Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||Hilton missed the 2nd half in Week 3 with an ankle sprain but returned for the following game.|
|Nov 24, 2013||Shoulder||Hilton sustained a shoulder injury in the 1st half against the Cardinals but returned to that game and continued to play through the issue.|
|Aug 25, 2012||Shoulder||Hilton sustained a shoulder injury in the 3rd preseason game. He remained out through the regular-season opener.|