The Colts are becoming a fantasy goldmine like tens years ago when Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison ruled. Now it is Andrew Luck, Frank Gore, T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson. Now into the third season of Pep Hamilton’s scheme, the Colts are a scoring machine and once again feature the most productive quarterback in the league. Andrew Luck’s 40 touchdowns were tops in the NFL and the 26 year old is arguably as talented as any quarterback. When an offense relies on such a productive player, it naturally spawns fantasy value over many players.
Going with Frank Gore may seem a little surprising given that he’s 32-years-old and already has nine 1000 yard seasons. But Gore has been very durable in his career and has not missed a game since 2010. Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson were less productive combined than Gore was in San Francisco and both players are now off the team. Josh Robinson was just a sixth round pick this year but the Colts have been impressed with him and one season to learn behind Gore could mean bigger things down the road.
T.Y. Hilton is in a contract year but it appears that he’ll play it out. He already ended up around the 10th best wideout in fantasy last year. But he also enjoyed a lot of attention since Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks did not meet expectations and both of them are also gone from this offense. In their place, Andre Johnson gets a serious upgrade for quarterback in the latter part of his career and Phillip Dorsett wins the draft lottery by ending up on this team. Any time one of the premier passing offenses spends their first round pick on a wide receiver – safe to say that player carries big fantasy expectations and not just in the future.
Lot of new players but all appear to be either veteran upgrades or an exciting, talented rookie. Get in line when you want to draft one of these players – we all want a piece of this team.
Andrew Luck, Quarterback
The Colts were #1 in passes (660), completions (410), yardage (5062) and pass TDs (42). Luck obviously owned almost all of that and here is the thing – he may be better this year. Gone are aged Reggie Wayne and ineffective Hakim Nicks. New are Andre Johnson and a first round rookie WR in Philip Dorsett. They even added Frank Gore for a better ground game. The schedule is still better than most, the shelves are stocked with receivers and Luck is poised for a monster season.
Frank Gore, Running Back
Gore may be 32 and in his 11th season, but his ninth 1000 yard season should be nearly a lock for the back who has proven to remain rather durable. Gore spent all those years in SF as the primary back and even did a lot of receiving back four years ago or more. The SF scheme has been heavy on the run during his entire stay and with a questionable passing game, Gore has spent most of his career facing defenses that are looking to stop him first and foremost. Now he may never see another eight-man front. Andrew Luck has every defense on their heels and Gore should have more running room than he’s ever enjoyed. HC Chuck Pagano also said that Gore was an every-down back who would be used heavily.
Josh Robinson, Running Back
Robinson was the 6.29 pick by the Colts and he’s still better than any other backs on the roster after Frank Gore. The Mississippi State star could work his way up to being the #2 back during training camp. Robinson has drawn good reviews from the coaches and front office who believe he could be an every down back eventually and that he’ll get snaps as a rookie. History says that no one behind Gore is going to be very fantasy relevant and Robinson’s role is not yet certain for this year. But he has huge dynasty value from his upside in this prolific offense and considering how old Gore is.
Dan Herron, Running Back
Herron enters training camp as the #2 back and he ran well last year when the Colts ran out of running backs in the playoffs and he was given 45 carries over the three games. He added ten catches for 85 yards against the Bengals and eight catches for 32 yards in Denver. But Herron needs to hold off the rookie Josh Robinson from cutting into his workload. Herron is mostly just a backup pick for the durable Frank Gore but until he is clearly the #2, there’s no reason to draft him.
T.Y. Hilton, Wide Receiver
Hilton took yet another step up in 2014 when he ended with 82-1345-7 last year while Reggie Wayne faded into the sunset and no other wideout gained more than 450 yards. This is a contract year for Hilton and they have not extended his contract so far. That gives him plenty of incentive to excel this year but the Colts also brought in Andre Johnson and used their #1 pick on Philip Dorsett. The Colts intend on using more three and four wide receiver sets that put more receivers into play. Hilton remains a safe bet for a good year which he needs, but there are reasons to believe that he may not increase his stats. He plays in the #1 passing attack in the NFL, but there are new hands to feed.
Andre Johnson, Wide Receiver
Johnson fell from the 1000 yard club last year when he only managed 936 yards and three scores but the Texans were one of the worst passing teams in the NFL in 2014. Johnson himself points at how bad the Texans passing scheme has been in the last couple of seasons and he is right. Now he gets a monumental upgrade of playing for the #1 passing team instead of the #30. Despite being 34 and playing in a bad offense, Johnson still has caught 85+ passes for the last six years excluding the injury-marred 2011. Hard to imagine, but a 34-year-old wideout actually has upside and could easily challenge his all-time touchdown mark. Johnson is more likely to be drafted too late from people not factoring in the monster upgrade he gets in quarterback.
Phillip Dorsett, Wide Receiver
The Colts spent their 1.29 pick to snap up Dorsett out of Miami who enters, refreshingly, after four years in college. Dorsett (5-10, 185) is a clone of T.Y. Hilton and is expected to get playing time this year as the #4 or #3 wideout. The Colts have been teaching him all three wide receiver positions so that he can be worked in anywhere on the field. If Dorsett can show enough promise, he might take over for Hilton who is in his final year and has not been extended. There is enough upside here that Dorsett needs to be fantasy depth in every league. He ran a 4.33/40 and brings in screaming speed that Luck can use. His only knock has been a lack of size and how that translate to being in traffic. But with that speed, he can leave pretty much every cornerback behind with enough room to work with.
Donte Moncrief, Wide Receiver
Moncrief won’t do better than the #3 spot this year and the rookie Phillip Dorsett could easily take that in training camp. But the 6-2, 221 lb. former third round pick was able to end his rookie year with 32-444-3 and he’s playing in the #1 passing offense in the NFL. This year doesn’t appear to offer fantasy relevant stats for Moncrief but he’s worth a stash in deeper leagues if only in case of injuries to starting wideouts in Indianapolis.
Dwayne Allen, Tight End
Allen is the primary tight end when healthy but that hasn’t happened for two seasons. Allen missed almost all of 2013 with a back injury and had knee and ankle issues last year. But while he only had 29 receptions for 395 yards over 13 games last year, he still scored eight TDs. The Colts intend to use more three and four WR sets this year which will depress tight end stats that happened last year when the wide receivers were unable to produce enough. With Andre Johnson and Philip Dorsett on the team, the tight ends – and Allen in particular – will see less action. Let someone else take the plunge on Allen who has been just too injury prone to be reliable.
Coby Fleener, Tight End
Fleener had a career best last year when he ended with 51-774-8 but there is zero expectation of him repeating that since he remains the #2 tight end and he benefited by Dwayne Allen being injured last year. Plus the Colts intend to throw the ball to the wideouts more and use fewer two tight end sets which would remove Allen from the field. He had a good year in 2014 but a regression is expected.