QB Andrew Luck – After the 2016 season, Luck had surgery on his right shoulder to repair a torn labrum. Unfortunately, his recovery lingered all season. Last November Andrew went to Europe to solve his shoulder woes. Luck finally threw a football for the first time since undergoing the knife. In 2016, I didn’t trust Luck due to his questionable depth at the receiving positions. In the end, he finished as a top 5 QB despite missing a game. He passed for 4,240 yards with 33 combined TDs and 341 yards rushing. Over five years in the NFL, Luck has a 43-27 record while setting a career high in his completion rate (63.5) and yards per pass attempt (7.8). He did this even with a career-high sack rate (7.0 percent). Over his last nine games played, Luck has multiple touchdowns in but one of those outings. He finished 2016 with five games with over 300 yards passing (once over the last eight games). His shoulder injury is a huge concern, but it sounds as though he’s trending in the right direction. His offensive line is improving, but his receiving core is league average at best. I don’t see an impactful run game to take the pressure off his right shoulder. When healthy, Luck is a winner who can deliver impact games. Before drafting him in 2018, a Fantasy owner needs to see him at full strength in the preseason. Possible 4,000 yards with a run at 30 TDs.
Update: 7/27/18 > The Colts expect Luck to play their first preseason game in August, which will create momentum in his draft value. For now, Andrew is on a path to regain his previous form.
QB Jacoby Brissett – Twice over the last two seasons, Brissett has been asked to cover an elite QB. Over 17 starts in his career, Jacoby has 5-12 record. Last year he passed for 3,098 yards with 13 TDs and only seven Ints. Brissett was sacked 52 times leading to only 6.6 yards per pass attempt. Jacoby added 260 yards rushing with four TDs. Over his junior and senior season at NC State, he threw for 5,268 yards with 43 TDs and 11 Ints while completing close to 60 percent of his passes. Jacoby added 899 yards and nine TDs in the run game.
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RB Jordan Wilkins – In his senior season at Mississippi, Wilkins gained 1,192 yards with ten TDs and 26 catches while pushing his yards per rush to 6.5 yards. Jordan runs with a smoothness to his game when given an open run through the defensive line. He has vision with open field ability, but Wilkins doesn’t run with power or tackle breaking ability. His value in pass protection in a huge concern. Based on the early down options on the Colts in 2018, Jordan appears to be the top player for early down action. He needs to add more strength and more fire to his game when engaging oncoming tackles. The running back situation will be fluid in 2018. Wilkins looks to be inline for 150+ touches for 650+ yards and a handful of TDs.
Update: 8/11/18 > Wilkins will get a bump in value early in the season, which may lead to more growth in his value in 2018.
RB Marlon Mack – In his rookie season, Mack gained 583 combined yards with four TDs and 21 catches. He missed two games early in the year with a shoulder injury. After the season, Marlon had surgery to repair a torn labrum. His best game of the season came in Week 5 (93 combined yards with one TD and one catch). Mack has what the Colts’ offense lacks at the running back position – explosiveness. He scored six TDs over 40 yards in 2016 in college. Over three years at South Florida, Mack rushed for 3,609 yards on 586 carries with 32 rushing TDs. He had the most production in TDs (15) in 2016 while his best chances for success came in 2015 (1,492 combined yards on 226 touches). His yards per carry (6.2) improved each season (5.2, 6.6, and 6.8) while offering some value in the passing game (65/498/1). Marlon is built to provide speed from the outside while having risk with small holes on the inside. He runs with the ball away from his body in the open field, which will lead to fumbles in the NFL. I don’t believe he can handle his responsibilities on pass downs at this point in his career. Based on all options on the Colts in late May at RB, Mack is the player with the most upside even with questions about the health of his shoulder and his pass protection skill sets. Possible 225+ touches for 1,000+ yards with 30+ catches and sneaky value in TDs.
Update: 7/27/18 > Mack has been cleared to play in training camp, which sets the stage for him to be the lead back in Indy in 2018. If his shoulder doesn’t have any setbacks, Marlon should have a nice opportunity in touches in 2018.
Update: 8/11/18 > Marlon Mack suffered a hamstring injury in the first preseason game, which will cost him the rest of August and possibly multiple games in the regular season. His injury will create an early window for Jordan Wilkins in September. I’m going to downgrade his projections by two games.
RB Robert Turbin – Over the last five games of 2016, the Colts used Turbin as the short-yardage and goal-line back. Over this span, he had 25 rushes for 91 yards and four TDs plus some value in the passing game (10/84/1 on 15 targets). Over six years in the NFL, Robert has never had a full time starting opportunity. Overall in 2016, Turbin had eight TDs while only touching the ball 73 times. Limited upside with his best value in 2017 coming in TDs. Last year Turbin missed two games due to a dislocated left elbow. He finished with 109 combined yards with one TD and nine catches on 32 touches. Over seven years in the NFL, Robert has never had a starting opportunity.
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RB Nyheim Hines – In his junior season at NC State, Hines gained 1,265 yards with 12 TDs and 26 catches. His value at receiver was much higher in 2016 (43/525). Over three seasons in college, Nyheim caught 89 catches for 933 yards and one TD. He’ll offer explosiveness to the return game thanks to his plus speed (4.38). Hines lacks size (5’8” and 198 lbs.) with questions about his strength to run through tight quarters or add value in pass protection. His quickness isn’t elite, but he does show a spin move at the point of contact. In 2018, I expect Hines to offer the most value in the return game.
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WR T.Y. Hilton – After the best season of his career in 2016 (91/1448/6), Hilton was a shell of himself without Andrew Luck behind center. Last year he caught 57 of 109 targets for 966 yards and four TDs while delivering only four strong games (7/153/1, 7/177, 5/175/2, and 6/100). Over his other 12 games, T.Y. caught three catches or fewer in ten games plus eight games with 30 yards or fewer. Hilton caught five passes for 40 yards or more in five of his last six seasons. In 2016, he gained over 20 yards on 28 plays compared to 14 in 2017. The key here is the health of Luck. With a healthy season from his QB, T.Y should have a floor of 90 catches for 1,300+ yards and about seven TDs.
Update: 7/27/18 > Hilton has made an effort to get tip-top shape in the offseason and the positive news on Luck’s health will start to push up his draft value. Complete steal as WR3 on a wide receiver strong team in PPR leagues. The most recent drafts in the FFWC have him ranked as a back-end WR1.
WR Ryan Grant – As the third/fourth option in the Redskins’ passing game in 2017, Grant caught 45 of 65 passes for 573 yards and four TDs. His best success came in Week 11 (3/59/1), Week 13 (5/76/1), and Week 16 (4/85). Ryan has been in the NFL for four seasons while never securing a starting job. In his last two seasons at Tulane, Grant caught 153 passes for 2,188 yards and 15 TDs. Worth a late flier as someone emerge at WR in the Colts’ offense.
WR Chester Rogers – Over three seasons at Grambling, Rogers caught 153 passes for 2,232 yards and 15 TDs. He signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016. Over two seasons in the NFL, Chester caught 42 passes for 557 yards and one TD on 71 targets. Last year he missed the first five games with a hamstring injury. His best game in 2017 came in Week 10 against the Steelers (6/104/1). Rogers lacks size (6’1” and 184 lbs.), which points to him being the third WR in Indy in 2018.
WR Daurice Fountain – In the fifth round in 2017 draft, the Colts drafted Fountain. He caught 150 passes for 2,077 yards and 23 TDs highlighted by his senior year (66/943/12). Daurice needs to improve his route running, and his hands may have risk at the next level.
TE Jack Doyle – The lack of options in the Colts’ offense led to Doyle being the king of the dink and dunk passes. Jack caught 80 of his 108 passes for 690 yards and four TDs. He had an exceptional catch rate (74.1), which was lower than his success in 2016 (79.7). In his career, Doyle gains only 8.5 yards per catch with only ten catches for 20 yards or more. Over the last two seasons, Indy completed 207 passes for 2,157 yards and 17 TDs on 289 targets with the higher level of success coming with Luck behind center in 2017 (109/1287/12). Excellent opportunity to provide steady catches from week-to-week in PPR leagues even with Eric Ebron added to the roster. I’ll set the bar at 70 catches for 650 yards and five TDs, which will be a borderline top 12 TE in 2018.
TE Eric Ebron – After starting to make a step forward in 2016 (61/711/1), Ebron struggled out of the game last year. Over his first nine games, Eric caught only 20 of his 39 targets for 234 yards and two TDs. His role in the Lions’ offense gained momentum over his next six games (32/331/2 over 41 targets) highlighted by his game in Week 14 (10/94). Over four seasons in the NFL, Ebron has 186 catches for 2,070 yards and 11 TDs on 288 targets. He’s a former first-round draft pick (2014) who is reaching the prime of his career at age 25. There’s upside here, but Ebron needs to do a much better job catching the ball in the end zone. Based on the receiving structure in this offense, Eric should emerge as the top three options in the Colts’ passing game. At the very least, 50+ catches for 500+ yards with low value in TDs. Interesting TE2 in PPR leagues.
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