Football is a unique sport. It is unique in the way of one player directly affecting the performance of another player. Now, this may be true in other sports as well, but it is more so true in football than any other sport. Specifically, on the offense, a quarterback is perhaps the largest influence of any position on the field.
This brings me to my Jekyll and Hyde view of T.Y. Hilton. When star quarterback Andrew Luck is on the field, he is a completely different player production wise. Before I can proceed into my predictions for 2018, I believe it is important for me to shed some light on these vast differences.
In 27 games without Luck, Hilton averaged 3.5 receptions on 6.7 targets with 58.5 yards per game. During that stretch, he accumulated six touchdowns. For comparisons sake, that is one touchdown per every 30 targets.
In 69 games with Luck, Hilton averaged 5.5 receptions on 9.3 targets with 84.6 yards per game. The speedy wide receiver was scoring one touchdown per about every 27 targets, for a total of 24 touchdowns in those 69 games.
It is easy to understand why Hilton’s numbers were severely affected by Luck’s absence. That is not my point. My point is that when Luck was on the field, Hilton was one of the most productive players in all of the NFL. From 2012-2014, he posted three straight 1,000 yard seasons. He was on pace to do so in 2015 as well. Prior to Luck’s injury, Hilton had toasted opposing defenses for 606 yards in seven games. At 86.5 yards per game, he was on pace to end the 2015 season just shy of 1,400 receiving yards.
Even without Luck in 2017, Hilton was just shy of 1,000 yards with 996. Every other year he had posted more than 1,000 yards. For the sake of having some fun, let’s assume that Hilton actually hit the 1,000-yard mark in each season. The only receiver to break 1,000 yards in each of their first six seasons in NFL history is Randy Moss. That’s some pretty good company.
I can ramble all day about statistical analysis and comparisons. So, without further adieu, let’s jump into my three bold predictions for T.Y. Hilton in 2018.
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