Overall outlook: The Colts’ fantasy cupboard was pretty bare following the 2011 season even before Peyton Manning left for Denver.
Hellooooo, No. 1 Draft Pick!
Hellooooo, Andrew Luck!
In his rookie season, Luck was able to turn the Colts back to their winning ways and increased the offense’s fantasy football relevance. Add Ahmad Bradshaw into the mix and the balanced attack could tally even more wins to Indy’s record.
Bye week: 8
Quarterback: Andrew Luck
When the 2012 regular season book closed, Luck finished 7th in passing yards (4,374) and 14th in passing touchdowns (23). His most tragic fantasy flaw was completion percentage. Last year, Luck landed 31st, only ahead of Chad Henne, completing only 54.1 percent of his passes. Luck was also one interception away from leading the league in picks. On the plus side, he completed the year 10th in fantasy stats among QBs. Now that he has a season under his belt, he can only improve, right?
Running back: Ahmad Bradshaw
After six years with the Giants, Bradshaw joins a club that ranked 22nd in rushing yards last season. Bradshaw was one of 16 running backs to rush for over 1,000 yards in 2012. In 2011, Bradshaw removed the stigma of being a fumble-prone RB when his turnover total fell from seven to zero. However, the label returned when the pigskin slipped through his hands three times last year.
Running back: Vick Ballard
He may have led the Colts in rushing attempts (211) and yards (814) last year, but now Ballard finds himself relegated behind Ahmad Bradshaw’s 2013. Donald Brown and Delone Carter were much easier for Ballard’s 3.9 yards per carry to compete with and led the team. Unfortunately for him, Bradshaw’s 4.6 yards per game combined with his experience will take playing time away from Ballard.
Wide receiver: Reggie Wayne
The chemistry between Wayne and Andrew Luck was undeniable in 2012. Luck made the right move by throwing to his security blanket 194 times, only trailing Calvin Johnson’s 204 targets. Wayne made the most of Luck’s passes with 106 receptions for 1,355 yards and five touchdowns. In a standard-PPR league, Wayne finished 10th among WR in fantasy points with a rookie quarterback, a lack-luster running game, and little help from his fellow receivers. I imagine Wayne’s numbers improve in 2013.
Wide receiver: T.Y. Hilton
He may have finished the 2012 season with 10 fewer receptions and 34 fewer targets than now-Kansas-City-Chief, Donnie Avery, but Hilton tallied more yards (861 receiving yards) and led Indianapolis with seven receiving TDs. Also, Hilton blew his teammates out of the water with his 17.2 yards per reception last season. Like Andrew Luck, Hliton now has one season of experience and will come back in 2013 hungry for more.
Wide receiver: Darrius Heyward-Bey
Now entering his fifth season in the NFL, it’s hard to imagine he’s anything but a first-round bust from Oakland. Heyward-Bey has played in 15 games for three-straight seasons now and has yet to crack 1,000 receiving yards in a year. Maybe a change of scenery and stability at quarterback is what he needs to finally live up to the potential Al Davis saw in him. Also, Reggie Wayne as a teacher is a plus, too.
Tight end: Dwayne Allen
Andrew Luck’s affinity with tight ends traces back to his days at Stanford (get your minds out of the gutter). As a Cardinal, Luck threw to: Levine Toilolo, Zach Ertz, and current teammate Colby Fleener for 20 of his 37 passing TDs. Though many assumed Luck would continue to make Fleener a favorite, it was Allen who led the Colts’ tight ends with 45 receptions on 66 targets and three touchdowns.
Placekicker: Adam Vinatieri
It may finally be time for the 40-year-old veteran to turn the page on a prolific career. Yes, he played in every game for the third-year-in-a-row last season, but his 78.8 field goal percentage was his lowest total in the last 10 years (excluding an injury-plagued 2009 season). While the accuracy is depleting, his leg strength is still there. In 2012, Vinatieri made seven field goals from 50+ yards, the most in his career.
The Colts 26th-ranked defense received a boost in the offseason with the additions of LaRon Landry (safety from Jets) and Ricky Jean Francois (tackle from 49ers). Those former LSU Tigers will be plugged in and start immediately for Indy. From a fantasy standpoint, the Colts ranked dead last in points. Anything is an upgrade.