Dynasty Debate: T.Y. Hilton vs. Cecil Shorts


Whether it is buying low in trade, snatching up a waiver wire gem, or drafting a rookie, hitting on a wide receiver in a dynasty league can set your team up for years of success. Nailing down a stud WR1 is everyone’s goal, but usually it’s the strong WR3’s and WR4’s that really separate the juggernauts from the middle of the pack. We all talked about the coming storm that was Randall Cobb here at DLF this past off-season and recommended adding him as your teams WR3 then. If you did, you are giddy as a school girl knowing that you have a player with very legit WR1 potential starting as soon as next season. Always trying to stay ahead of the game, I want to compare two players who could be the next players to go from “building block” to “foundation” pieces of your dynasty teams.

I’m talking about T.Y. Hilton of the Indianapolis Colts and Cecil Shorts of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Both players had better than anticipated success in 2012 playing for teams that were not expected to do much. Both players are out of small FBS schools and finished the season with very similar stats. Both players are ranked very closely in my dynasty wide receiver rankings, Hilton (34) and Shorts (40). They are both deep threat / big play receivers, so they lose a little value in PPR leagues, but remain valuable regardless.

Let’s take a look at their situations.

The Colts, with fellow rookies Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener, Vick Ballard, Dwayne Allen, and LaVon Brazill, and veterans Reggie Wayne, Donald Brown and Donnie Avery, looked like a young team needing a lot of time to gel and find their rhythm. The preseason hype around the college connection of “Luck to Fleener” was the main storyline in Indy and everyone felt Luck would eventually be great, but not during his rookie campaign, and definitely not good enough to carry multiple fantasy relevant pass catchers – that obviously wasn’t the case. Wayne had a resurgence and was back to his Peyton Manning era numbers and Hilton’s second half of the season put him firmly on the fantasy radar.

Hilton, the rookie out of Florida International, finished the season with 50 catches, 861 yards and seven touchdowns on offense while also chipping in 418 combined return yards and one more score. On the down side, Hilton tied Colts teammate Donnie Avery with the highest drop rate of catchable balls amongst all NFL wide receivers with 16.67%.* That number actually means he was responsible for dropping 10 of 60 passes considered “catchable.”

Jacksonville, on the other hand, was not so lucky. Starting the season with the still overwhelmed Blaine Gabbert, fresh off of a hold out Maurice Jones-Drew, the newly acquired Laurent Robinson, a highly touted rookie in Justin Blackmon and the continuously disappointing Marcedes Lewis, nobody was expecting much fantasy relevance out of the Jaguars, let alone a second year player out of Mount Union.

Cecil Shorts, co-winner of the 2012 DLF Award for “Waiver Wire Pickup of the Year,” didn’t really catch fire until after Jacksonville’s bye week in week six. Even a week ten switch at quarterback, going from Gabbert to Chad Henne, didn’t derail Shorts’ season. He went on to post 55 catches for 979 yards and seven touchdowns. Like Hilton, Shorts had a case of the dropsies, dropping nine of 64 catchable passes for a 14.06% drop rate.* He also finished the year on injured reserve after suffering a concussion against the Patriots in week 16, although that has no bearing moving forward.

Looking back, you see a lot of similarities between the two youngsters, but what does it mean moving forward? They both appear to have bright futures in both real life and the (more importantly to us) the dynsaty fantasy football world, but the clear advantage in one very important area goes to Hilton, and that is Andrew Luck. The one thing that may hold Shorts back is the fact the silver lining to this franchise’s dark cloud is currently Chad Henne. Think about that… their best case scenario is Chad Henne. That’s not to say they won’t upgrade at the quarterback position this off-season or even that Henne won’t get the job done effectively, but Hilton has Luck and that’s a clear advantage, even with the departure of pass happy offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

In terms of dynasty value, these two are very close and realistically it probably comes down to personal preference. If I currently own either of these guys, I’m holding on to them barring someone grossly overpaying. If I’m in need of young talent at the wide receiver position, I’m kicking the tires of their owners. It’s not unrealistic to expect both of these guys to take steps forward next year into the low WR2 / high WR3 range. If I only have room for one of them on my roster, I pick T.Y. Hilton. I trust his situation a lot more, but that is not a knock on Cecil Shorts’ ability. It’s simply because of the outlook of the Jaguars’ quarterback position.

What are your thoughts on these two young wide receivers? Are they a “flash in the pan” or fantasy stars in the making?

Follow me on Twitter @OlingerIDPGuru and let me know your thoughts.

*Stat courtesy of Pro Football Focus


Eric Olinger

Eric Olinger

Senior Writer at Dynasty League Football
A 12 year old trapped in a man's body, Eric has been playing IDP dynasty leagues for almost 20 years. He enjoys Star Wars, Batman, red meat and an ice cold Diet Coke, sometimes all at once. He hopes to one day own his own Batmobile but his wife is a relentless dream crusher so the odds are slim.

Eric is on Twitter @OlingerIDP.
Eric Olinger

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  1. Tom

    January 26, 2013 at 5:52 am

    What impact will the switch in offensive philosophy have on Hilton (switching from Arians’ vertical deep-ball approach to Hamilton’s run-heavy west coast style)? Do you have any history on how this type of player (slight build, extremely quick) produces in a west coast style offense?

    I saw Hilton as a parallel to “Antonio Brown” in the Arians’ Steelers attack. Don’t know who to compare him to now…

    • Moo

      January 26, 2013 at 7:26 am

      Hugely ignored storyline here: expect Hilton’s numbers to DECLINE with the scheme change a la Antonio Brown…

    • Eric Olinger

      January 26, 2013 at 7:37 am

      I view Hilton as the Mike Wallace of this offense with Reggie Wayne being the PPR guy, a la Antonio Brown. I view Hilton as a key contributor to this offense and with Andrew Luck at the helm, even in a WCO, Luck will take his shots down field. Hilton did, and will do, his damage in large chunks. I would be incredibly shocked to see Indy spend big money in FA on a WR with other holes to fill.

  2. Mark Rockwell

    January 26, 2013 at 6:09 am

    I like them both and on talent alone I’d pick shorts. He’s got two big dings in his value though. First tge obvious, he plays for Jacksonville where quarterbacks go to die (or never really wake up). Second, the concussions worry me long term.

  3. Luke Bouchard

    January 26, 2013 at 6:43 am

    How do the 2 concussions in just half a season starting have no bearing moving forward?

    • Eric Olinger

      January 26, 2013 at 7:40 am

      I’m not condemning a guy forever because he was concussed twice. Until I see Jahvid Best like problems, it’s a non-issue to me but I understand if you feel different.

      • Mark Rockwell

        January 26, 2013 at 9:13 am

        I just think about Blair White. I’m hoping he puts a healthy yr together next yr then reassess.

        • Scott Peak

          January 26, 2013 at 10:08 am

          Do you mean Collie?

          • Mark Rockwell

            January 26, 2013 at 12:07 pm

            Duh….yes I do. Thanks.

  4. Ken Dogson

    January 26, 2013 at 6:56 am

    I’m not confident in either, though if you are playing in a 25+ deep roster then I suspect that there would be nothing available with greater value. I would certainly take either on any of my teams.

    I think the Colts will improve the WR position through FA (Jennings?) and the draft, and I think Blackmon is going to be the primary target in JAC, with the TE coming in second.

    Neither looks anything better than W3 or W4 moving forward. Hilton may not even be that if the Colts really spend those cap dollars on OFF and pick up a classic WC offense 6-1/210 YAC WR early in the draft.

    • voiceofunreason

      January 26, 2013 at 7:19 am

      So the Marcedes Lewis breakthrough is happening again this year. It’s getting to be like easter;)

      • Ken Dogson

        January 26, 2013 at 9:18 am

        I said the TE position, not any particular player. That position will receive more targets than Shorts.

    • Eric Olinger

      January 26, 2013 at 7:45 am

      Hilton screams “yards after catch”. The quicker you get the ball in his hands the better. He has to get his drop issue fixed though.

      • Ken Dogson

        January 26, 2013 at 11:51 am

        He was 18th in YAC.

        In the AFC.

        That’s right, AFC only.

        I guess he should stop screaming and stiff arm someone.

  5. John Schaffner

    January 26, 2013 at 7:38 am

    Why has Jordan Shipley been ignored in all debates regarding Shorts. Shipley flashed potential early in his career before his knee injury and finally looked healthy at the end of last year. He finished the season strong in Shorts absence…

    • Eric Olinger

      January 26, 2013 at 7:43 am

      I think it was more of a victim of circumstance. There is no promise he is even on the week 1 roster next year. Hopefully he is 100% healthy though because he can contribute to teams.

  6. Bryan

    January 26, 2013 at 8:02 am

    I would take Josh Gordon before these two. Gordon I think will be a stud in a few years. Gordon put up numbers without a training camp and not starting at the beginning of the season. Turner being the OC will help him be a stud top 15 dynasty WR. BUY NOW!!!

    • Mark

      January 26, 2013 at 9:09 am

      Keep in mind that Gordon was drafted with high Expectations. T.Y and Shorts came out of nowhere to relevance. Gordon is going to be good so long as the brown can get a QB worth a damn.

    • Eric Olinger

      January 26, 2013 at 9:23 am

      I love Gordon too. My expectations are much higher for him. This article is simply comparing 2 talents who I are close in ranking with opportunity to grow.

  7. Mark

    January 26, 2013 at 8:52 am

    I was lucky enough to pick up both as FA last year. I have a few owners interested in trading. What do guys think they are worth. We play 25 deep PPR, start 3 WR.

  8. Alan

    January 26, 2013 at 9:42 am

    I say 975 yards and 7 tds when henne took over is not to shabby. Would like to see what happens w henne as full time starter for week 1. I have Shorts n im happy to own him. I think he can easilly surpass 1000 yards n 10 tds w henne at the helm.

    • Tim Stafford

      January 26, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      I’ll take that bet. How “easily” will he surpass 10TDs? Will you give 2-1 that he does that? If so, I’ll put up some cash!

      • Steve Wyremski

        January 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm

        You’re interested in a Shorts wager? I’m game — just wait til my Shorts article hits and then we can decide on a #.

      • Alan Bauerle

        February 1, 2013 at 2:10 pm

        Tim really? I’m just sayin look how good he did once Henne took over. Sorry about the typo on easily. Obviously it bothered you. I don’t bet but to see what he did after week 6 has to speak for something. But it’s real nice to get a responce like that from a writer on this site. I will not renew my subscription this year.

    • BigD

      January 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      i see another pierre garcon situation here. 975 and 7 was about max and that will be max again if not taking a step back say 600 and 5. jonesdrew will be back. blackmon is opening up and that will level off his production.

      • Mark Rockwell

        January 26, 2013 at 12:42 pm

        I agree that shorts won’t easily go over 1000/10 but I think Garcon is a superior option. He was top 10-12 when he played this yr. Garcon could be a beast.

      • Chad Scott

        January 26, 2013 at 4:41 pm

        Extrapolate Garçons ‘healthy’ game’s stats and he would have been the 7th best WR in standard scoring leagues…. I love Garçon going forward… With Cousins or RGIII.

        Good stuff Eric. Comparing 2 players with similar ranks are always good reads.

  9. Derek

    January 26, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    I’ve got Shorts and Gordon in my Dynasty league and am hoping for big things from both… fingers crossed! How do you feel about Kendall Wright’s future? as I have him as well!

  10. Chris in Chuck

    January 26, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    I traded Shorts for the 1.10, 2.9 and 3.3.
    I had enough dead wood on my team (30 man rosters with a DL position) to take some shots on a rookie TE or LB.
    Plus, I am hoping to trade up in the 2014 draft.

    And the concussions scare me for a player who doesn’t have a QB good enough to help him stay away from big hits.

  11. Hanno Prozeller

    January 27, 2013 at 1:57 am

    Good read here. On Shorts: I think you can count the WR’s measuring 6-0 or lower posting 10 or more TDs on one hand, otherwise I think he’ll be a good complement to Blackmon. Oppsoing defenses won’t be able to neutralize them both. But he won’t be top 10 ever, fantasy-wise.
    On Hilton: To me, he doesn’t seem like a good fit in a WCO, but Collie does. Not saying, that Hilton will disappear, but I’m not expecting Steve Smith-like numbers, though both are similarly built.

    • Derek

      January 29, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      Shorts put up 55/979/7 in his first full season half of which Laurent Robinson took a lot of targets … if healthy no reason to believe he couldn’t put up a 65/1100/10 type season even if he is the 2nd option!

  12. Lotto4Life

    January 27, 2013 at 6:29 am

    The Colts OC loved utilizing two TEs at Stanford. I don’t know if he will with the Colts, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

  13. Eric Olinger

    January 28, 2013 at 10:05 am

    According to the EXCELLENT ADP data being collected by Ryan McDowell, Hilton is currently being drafted as the WR31 and Shorts as the WR37 so the optimism for both definitely exists.

  14. Sterling

    January 29, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I just wanted to thank you for writing a very interesting article. I greatly enjoyed reading, the comments as well O_o.

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