Austin Collie is and will remain the league’s most snake-bitten player. Depending on how well his latest recovery goes, he could become known as a player who was filled with upside and potential, but could never put together a run of sustained health long enough to cash it in entirely.
After suffering four concussions over the past 21 months, Collie had worked hard to return from his latest head injury, making his season debut yesterday. So of course he tore his patella tendon and is out for the year, possibly and likely ending his time in Indianapolis with his contract set to expire next March.
So now I’d like you to meet T.Y. Hilton. You’ll get along just fine.
The battle to inherit the touches Collie was set to receive on the other end of Andrew Luck’s deep balls will be between Donnie Avery and T.Y. Hilton, both of whom have busted out recently. A week ago it was Avery with his nine catches for 111 yards, and then yesterday Hilton took his turn. He averaged 28.3 yards per reception on four catches for a total of 113 yards, with a 40-yard touchdown catch.
Avery will most likely remain as the No. 2 receiver starting opposite Reggie Wayne, and surely Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener will also see their roles increase. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Avery will receive more looks than Hilton, who often works from the slot, and could use his speed to function in a similar role to the one that Andrew Hawkins has carved out for himself in Cincinnati.
Although he’s still widely available, Avery is far more owned following his Week 2 explosion, with his ownership number creeping towards 40 percent in Yahoo leagues (currently at 34 percent). That’s the first strike, but it’s of lesser concern than Avery’s age (28), and Hilton’s fresher and healthier legs that haven’t been through an ACL tear, and have more downfield speed. After just his second career game following a shoulder injury that kept him out for Week 1, Hilton already has two receptions of 30 yards or more.
He’s a depth player at best, as is Avery. But with bye weeks beginning in Week 4, depth could be sort of a big deal, and right now Avery’s hold on the second WR job opposite Reggie Wayne may become tenuous after he only had 28 receiving yards with his nine targets, while Hilton’s breakaway speed led him to superior production with his eight.
The best part? Hilton’s owned in 0.2 percent of ESPN leagues, and 1 percent of Yahoo leagues.