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Fantasy Football ADP Battle: T.Y. Hilton vs Terry McLaurin

As the NFL season quickly approaches, fantasy football drafts are well underway. You can be as prepared as you want for drafts, but there will still be tough decisions that arise. This season, one of those could be which wide receiver you would rather have in fantasy: T.Y. Hilton or Robert Woods?

Hilton struggled with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback, but just a year ago he was a top-13 WR. Hilton is a potential bounce-back candidate after the Indianapolis Colts signed veteran QB Philip Rivers. But Hilton’s WR ADP stays low in drafts because of other risks.

With McLaurin, not much changed from last year; the ancillary pieces Washington added won’t threaten McLaurin’s target share. He is by far the most talented WR on the Washington Football Team and will dominate targets among the skill players.

The arrow is pointing up for both WRs, but which pass catcher will have the greatest return on investment for their ADP for fantasy: T.Y. Hilton or Terry McLaurin?

Picture of T.Y. Hilton before discussing his 2020 wide receiver ADP and fantasy outlook.
Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

T.Y. Hilton Fantasy Outlook

Hilton ADP: WR21 | 60th Overall

The Case Against:

The talented speedster is getting up there in age. Hilton is 30 years old and suffered nagging quad and calf injuries that led to an inconsistent finish last season. He’s already had a hamstring strain this offseason that’s delayed him in training camp.

The age of Hilton’s quarterback is also concerning. Rivers is 38 years old. Does he have enough to be a valid starting QB? He ranked 22 in QBR last season, well below his career average. He also threw 20 interceptions and lacked the arm strength necessary, at times.

Finally, this offense has rookie playmakers that could struggle to move the ball with the aging quarterback. The team will rely on their one-two punch run game, leaving limited opportunities for Hilton and Rivers.

The risks associated with Hilton could make a fantasy manager nervous about his ADP.

Counterarguments:

Through the first eight weeks of 2019, before the injuries really derailed Hilton’s season, he had a top-15 WR average. If he can stay healthy, he can produce as a high-end WR2.

Rivers also had the 29th-ranked offensive line, that allowed the second-most QB pressures in the NFL. He didn’t have time to air out the ball like he wanted. Now, he goes from one of the worst O-lines to arguably the best in Indianapolis.

If the Colts keep Rivers upright, he can hit the speedy wideout and exploit Hilton’s big-play ability. Hilton is basically competing against rookies for targets and should be the sure-fire number one receiver for this team.

Even if you don’t believe in Rivers and the low-volume passing attack, 2015 should serve as a template of where Hilton’s floor could be.

Hilton played seven games with Andrew Luck and eight games with 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck. He had 69 receptions from his 130 targets and reached 1,100 receiving yards and five TDs. Hilton was WR21 that season, and he’s reached those stats five of the last seven seasons when he had a QB better than Jacoby Brissett.

Hilton’s 2020 Schedule

Hilton has the fourth-easiest strength of schedule against WRs. He faces the Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Detroit Lions and Houston Texans during the regular season. 

The first two weeks of the playoffs, Weeks 14 and 15, he gets the Las Vegas Raiders and Houston Texans, before being tainted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Week 16 championship.

Picture of Terry McLaurin before discussing his 2020 wide receiver ADP and fantasy outlook.
Credit: Washington Redskins

Terry McLaurin Fantasy Outlook

McLaurin ADP: WR23 | 52nd Overall

The Case Against:

McLaurin is beyond talented and, if he were on another team, I’d be more excited about his ADP and upside. Unfortunately, Washington ranked dead last in PPG (16.63).

Dwayne Haskins struggled the most, compared to other rookie quarterbacks. Alex Smith is recovering from a horrific leg injury and hasn’t played since Nov. 2018. Trent Williams and Donald Penn have officially moved on, leaving a question mark at the left tackle position. And unproven skill positions would need to emerge in order to make the offense slightly relevant.

The Washington Football team will be one of the worst in the league, again.

After Haskins took over as the starter, Weeks 9 to 16, McLaurin ranked 33 among WR averages. He only scored 12.6 PPG in PPR, much worse than his current wide receiver ADP.

Counterarguments:

McLaurin did his best to score points, despite his team’s inadequacies. After a hot start of five touchdowns in six games, McLaurin finally slowed down. He didn’t score another touchdown until Week 14 ,though.

After Haskins took over as the starting quarterback, McLaurin accounted for 23.9 percent of the team’s target share, 6.7 targets a game.

McLaurin also established himself as a deep threat. His 13.8-yard average depth of target (aDot) was among league leaders and higher than Hilton’s 9.9 (but that was more indicative of Brissett’s skillset rather than Hilton’s).

Terry McLaurin's advanced NFL stats. His aDOT is one of the highest in the league, but he is average on catch rate, drop rate, and yards after the catch.
Data from Rotowire.com

McLaurin has Hilton beat in aDOT, but is only average in catch rate, drop rate and yards after the catch. Hilton, meanwhile, excels in those categories.

There’s definitely room for increased targets, rookies rarely surpass 100 targets, but do so easily their second season.

In 14 games, McLaurin saw 93 targets, so he was already on pace to break 100 targets. He will definitely surpass that marker as a second-year breakout

If the team was better and the schedule easier, I’d have more faith in this second-year receiver. McLaurin’s ADP is too high for my taste, but if he falls a bit, his high upside is still worth taking as a low-end WR2.

McLaurin’s 2020 Schedule

McLaurin will have up and down spike weeks. His difficult matchups include Darius Slay on the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers.

His easy matchups will be against the Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants twice and Detroit Lions.

Once the fantasy playoffs begin in Week 14, McLaurin faces the San Fransisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers. The first two teams scare me for McLaurin, but he should have a productive Week 16.

Fantasy Verdict: T.Y. Hilton

Hilton comes with injury risk, so keep an eye on his current hamstring strain. But at both fantasy ceilings, Hilton should outperform the emerging second-year. The Colts offense will provide more opportunities for Hilton than Washington’s can for McLaurin. The surrounding pieces are much better in Indy, which will make it harder for defenses to key in on. McLaurin will eventually surpass the aging Hilton, I just don’t think his time is now.


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