Sunday, May 20, 2012

32 in 32: Indianapolis Colts

After completing the "Predicting Success" series, it is time to do a team-by-team breakdown of fantasy potential. I really hate putting NFL teams in alphabetical order, so I am going to go through the teams in the order that they would have drafted if not trades had occurred. Without further ado, the Colts.

Indianapolis Colts

This is an offensive roster that has been completely remade over the last two seasons. The best player on this team, in terms of fantasy, is probably going to be Donald Brown. I was surprised to see that Brown actually ran for a very competitive 4.8 yards per carry last season. If Brown becomes the featured back in this offense, and he should at least see increased touches with the departure of Joseph Addai, he could run for 1000 yards and 8 touchdowns. Delone Carter, a rookie last season, carried the ball 101 times for a pedestrian 377 yards. Donald Brown is someone who you can grab with great value, and, if he proves himself to these new coaches in the off-season, he could get 250 carries this season. I'd grab Brown in the 6th to 8th round as a flex back. He could be the Marshawn Lynch of this season.

In terms of the passing attack, this team is pretty barren. Coby Fleener is probably the most likely player to make an impact at his position, since so many tight ends are bogged down in the 700 yards/6 TDs range as far as stats go. Fleener could be a good bet because he played with Luck in Stanford, but there is no guarantee that he will be able to make a quick adjustment from the college game to the pro level. These linebackers are much faster, stronger, and better in coverage than the ones he faced in college. If you miss out on one of the top TEs in your draft, Fleener could be a nice late round pick who is more likely to help you in the last 8 games of the season once he learns the game.

Reggie Wayne is probably the most likely veteran to make an impact this season. At 33, he is going to have to use his smarts and route running to create separation, rather than his speed, but anyone who can get nearly 1000 yards receiving from the likes of Painter and Orlovsky is still a great player in my book. Luck might not be polished yet, but I would expect Reggie to approach 1000 yards, depending on his health and how he adjusts to Luck's game. He will probably be a top 30 receiver this season, but it is very unlikely that he will turn up stellar numbers. That being said, I would probably take him around Steve Smith of Carolina.

If Wayne proves to be a disappointment this season,  Austin Collie could be the beneficiary of increased looks. I really don't think Collie is a true #2 receiver in the NFL, but this could be one of the surprises on the season. I really wouldn't drop a valuable pick on this guy, but if you are weak at the WR position towards the end of the draft, this guy could be a nice situational play.

Andrew Luck. What to do about Andrew Luck? Historically, rookie QBs don't play well their first season...but this is Andrew Luck! Odds are that Luck will have a mediocre season, but if you are looking for a second QB late in the draft, this could be your guy. He will benefit from the improvement of Donald Brown and the addition of Toby Fleener, but I don't know if he has the right WRs to be good this season. I would expect Andy Dalton-like numbers this season. Temper expectations, but don't dismiss this guy. Unfortunately, he is probably not a #1 QB this season.

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