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Fantasy Football Projections: Indianapolis Colts

The 2018 Indianapolis Colts are nothing on offense if not a buffet of question marks and the biggest one starts with Andrew Luck. All signs point to Luck making his return for the season opener but we’ve all been teased before. The uncertainty at quarterback naturally impacts the outlook of the rest of the team but for the purposes of this projection, we’re going to assume Luck is under center starting Week 1.

So what should we expect from the gunslinger in his first action back since 2016? Over the first five seasons of his career, Luck averaged 4300 yards, 30 TD and 16 INT per 16 games played. Those are top end fantasy starter averages, especially when you factor in his ability to kick in a few rushing scores a year for good measure. There’s going to be some rust to break through and there is a lack of proven talent at wide receiver to help him out. Luck will probably come up short of his averages but will have a higher floor than most options making him a safe starting option provided he’s healthy. His ADP of #10 overall among QB’s is a bit inflated, but he’s a worthy option to anchor your team.

The questions don’t get any easier at running back where a pile of bodies are wrestling for a wide-open starting job. Marlon Mack is the returning favorite who flashed big-play ability in his rookie campaign but also failed to demonstrate consistency as a feature back. Mack is also recovering from shoulder surgery but should be ready for Week 1. Mack will face challenges from a pair of rookies in Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins, as well as veteran Robert Turbin. Turbin is a known commodity as a plodding grinder who offers no excitement and who is likely going to struggle to make the roster. Hines and Wilkins are promising young talents who offer the ability to contribute in both the run and pass game. At 6’1, 215 lbs Wilkins looks the part of a feature back and he’s already earned some first-team reps this off-season, posing probably the biggest threat to steal the early down work from Mack. Hines is an undersized burner who profiles in the Darren Sproles mold and could emerge as a factor in the return game and passing game. Mack and Wilkins should be rostered, but neither is dependable as a starter or FLEX option until things get sorted out. I actually like Hines to emerge as an equal threat as the others, further clouding the waters.

There isn’t much to work with in this particular group of wide receivers but there is one stud in T.Y. Hilton. 2017 was the first time in five seasons Hilton failed to eclipse the 1000 yard mark and his 4 TD were also a career low. Those blemishes came with the ineffective play of Jacoby Brissett at quarterback and we should see a return to relevancy for Hilton with Luck back at the helm and Hilton serving as the clear cut #1 option in the passing game. The only other viable option at receiver is Ryan Grant, who arrives after a career year with the Washington Redskins in 2017. Grants numbers over his four years in Washington were pedestrian until this past season when he piled up 45 catches for 570 yards and four scores. It was the first year Grant was asked to take on a feature role as those stats came in seven starts and he will be given even more opportunity to carve out a big role in the Colts offense with his only competition coming from third-year snoozer Chester Rogers and unproven rookies Daurice Fountain and Deon Cain. Hilton is a WR1, Grant is a big sleeper and potential WR2/3 and the rest of this group is best left on the waiver wire.

Given the lack of options at wide receiver, we can expect the colts to employ a heavy dose of two tight end sets given the presence of two strong options at the position in Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron. Expect both tight ends to see the field at the same time plenty given that the Colts will both want to keep extra protection in hopes of keeping Luck upright and to keep the talents of both Doyle and Ebron in play. This is one of the rare situations where both men could turn into fantasy assets. Target either Doyle or Ebron as bye week filler or as passable starters at the back end of your draft.

2018 Projection

NAME POSITION CMP ATT PASS YD PASS TD INT RU YD RU TD
Andrew Luck QB 360 590 3950 25 17 220 2

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
Marlon Mack RB 135 580 3 45 470 2 1
Nyheim Hines RB 100 455 2 25 270 1 1
Jordan Wilkins RB 110 475 5 15 135 0 1

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
TY Hilton WR 0 0 0 90 1250 9 0
Ryan Grant WR 0 0 0 65 820 3 0
Chester Rogers WR 0 0 0 30 290 2 0
Eric Ebron TE 0 0 0 45 460 4 0
Jack Doyle TE 0 0 0 40 390 4 0
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Ben Stecker

Ben Stecker

Author SportsTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Writer, sports connoisseur, Pacific Northwesterner. Rarely met a sport I couldn't be great friends with. Follow me on twitter @Softball_Guy
Ben Stecker