Fantasy Football is just around the corner and there are plenty of Indianapolis Colts players to target in the 2013 season.
If you’re looking for a competitive edge in drafting players out of the Circle City, then what follows is a must-read…
Last year, the Colts finished 11-5 and garnered a playoff berth on the heels of its dynamic offensive and ability to comeback in the fourth quarter no less than seven times.
However, the Colts offense only ranked 18th overall in 2012! On closer inspection, however, the passing game was impressive, ranking seventh in total passing yards (4,128 yards, 362.4 yards per game), but the Colts’ lackluster rushing attack ranked 22nd in total yards rushing and 26th in yards per carry.
This could be attributed to poor offensive line play, or the numerous rookies on the 2012 roster, or even all the transition in the Colts' organization last year.
Next season, however, things will undoubtedly change: Andrew Luck is paired up with former Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton to run his “no coast offense” and expect the 2013 Colts to play like a well-oiled machine putting up better numbers, with tremendous fantasy football implications. In the end, drafting players from the Colts may just lead your fantasy team right to victory.
There’s one guarantee with the Colts next season: Andrew Luck will be the starting QB and there is no fear he will lose his starting spot. Last year, Luck put up stellar fantasy numbers (4,374 passing yards, 23 TDs, 18 INTs, 255 rushing yards and 5 rushing TDs) finishing with 264 in standard scoring leagues and ranking 9th among all quarterbacks.
Luck was able to do all that just as a rookie, despite turning over the ball 23 times. No doubt that with a bit more experience and some additional weapons (Darrius Heyward-Bey, Ahmad Bradshaw), his fantasy numbers will improve.
Also, because this is a deep year for quarterbacks, after the top fantasy QBs become unavailable (Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers), it is advisable to target Andrew Luck in the later rounds as he could be available (Can you say, “STEEEEEAAAAALL!!!”).
In keeper leagues, if you somehow snagged Luck late in the your 2012 Draft, or at a bargain price, it’s positively ludicrous to cut him.
Despite the Colts’ stability at quarterback, the running back position is its direct foil: picking a Colts running back for your fantasy team is certainly a gamble. Indeed, there is much debate as to whether Ahmad Bradshaw or second-year player Vick Ballard will get the starting nod, and there is a strong possibility the Colts' rushing attack could be by committee.
Although Ballard showed streaks of strong play in 2012 and Bradshaw rushed for 1,000 yards last season, there is no telling how these players will fare in fantasy football next season. So, don’t be shocked when you draft Ballard and he puts up a solid 100-yard game in Week 3 only to have Ahmad Bradshaw vulture two rushing touchdowns on a mere six touches. Either Ballard or Bradshaw could be fantasy busts, or even both could be, and there’s just no way to know how this ship may sail.
Many of the Colts' wide receiving corps will be employed on fantasy rosters next season: Reggie Wayne had a career season in 2012 finishing with 1355 touchdowns and 5 TDs – 106 catches for those in considering him in PPR leagues – and don’t expect him to slow down in 2013 .
Wayne will be an excellent WR2 next season and is a strong fourth round pick, possibly even early fifth round. Additional receivers, Darrius Heyward-Bey and T.Y Hilton (2012 stats: 861 yards, 7 TDs, 1 return TD), could fall to the later rounds and will be great backups during bye-weeks or even very good flex players in one’s regular starting lineup. Moreover, T.Y. Hilton also is the Colts’ punt return man and could rack up a few extra points if he runs one back for a TD.
Looking at the tight end position, Dwayne Allen had a superb season last year as a rookie, certainly overshadowing Andrew Luck’s former Stanford teammate, Coby Fleener. Under Pep Hamilton’s new offense expect that to change: Fleener will find his mojo under this new “no coast offense” to have a breakout fantasy football season.
Allen may be a suitable backup for the bye weeks, but Fleener certainly should be starting Week 1 on your fantasy team. Because Fleener will likely fall to the later rounds, he could be one of the biggest fantasy steals in 2013.
Ultimately, the Colts have a variety of offensive weapons at Andrew Luck’s disposal, and with his wheels (5 rushing TDs in 2012) and previous NFL experience, Andrew Luck is expected to have a stellar fantasy year and is undoubtedly the Colts fantasy MVP.
However, don’t discount Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton or Coby Fleener, as all three could be the X-factor for your team's championship run in 2013.