It’s time to start thinking about fantasy football, and we have started going team by team to let you know what each NFL franchise can do for your fantasy squad. You can click here to see if your team has been previewed yet. If it isn’t there, chances are it’s coming soon. We have finished the NFC and AFC West, the NFC South, and move on to the AFC South.
*Rankings are based on a 12-team, standard scoring format.
2011 RECORD: 11-5
2012 BYE WEEK: 8
TOP DRAFT PICKS: (1) Bjoern Werner- DE- Florida State
(3) Hugh Thornton- G- Illinois
(4) Khaled Holmes- C- USC
QUARTERBACK: Andrew Luck showed flashes of brilliance last year, putting up 4,374 yards and 23 touchdowns as a rookie, and leading the Colts to 9 more wins than they had in 2011. The downside was the turnovers. Luck threw 18 interceptions, and for him to be useful to fantasy owners that number will have to go down. Expectations are he improves in year two, and you can draft Luck as a very low-end QB1. If he cuts down the turnovers and improves just a little in yardage and touchdowns, he could be one of the big surprises of this fantasy season.
RUNNING BACK: The Colts running backs were not great last season, with Vick Ballard and Donald Brown ran for 1,231 yards and 3 touchdowns, combined. They brought in Ahmad Bradshaw to add to the production. He ran for just over 1,000 yards and 6 touchdowns last year for the Giants, but has dealt with a foot injury this preseason. I wouldn’t expect to see the Colts suddenly turn into a great rushing team, but they used 2 of their first 3 draft picks on interior offensive linemen. Bradshaw is probably the back to own, but I am looking at him as more of a flex or backup.Vick Ballard is worth taking a late shot on for roster depth, but if you have to play him things probably went south. Don’t bother drafting Brown.
WIDE RECEIVER: After an awful season in 2011, Andrew Luck revived the career of Reggie Wayne. Wayne’s 2012 numbers (1,355 yards and 5 touchdowns) were basically identical to his numbers in 2010, the last season he worked with Peyton Manning. T.Y. Hilton also enjoyed a solid rookie year working with Luck, putting up 861 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Colts brought in Darrius Heyward-Bey from Oakland, where he had over 600 yards receiving and 5 touchdowns last season. LaVon Brazill could be a factor as the season goes forward, but will miss the first 4 games of the season to suspension. Wayne is a mid-tier WR2. Last year was great, but he is going into his 13th season and he can only stay on top for so long. Hilton is a WR3 in my book, but it is easy to think that he might take a big step forward this season. Heyward- Bey is worth a look if you carry 5 receivers. Brazill can be overlooked on draft day.
TIGHT END: The tight end situation in Indianapolis is full of questions, with the top guys on the depth chart all being banged up. Colby Fleener has dealt with a sprained knee and a concussion in the preseason. Dwayne Allen, last year’s 3rd round pick out of Clemson, is just out of a walking boot after dealing with a foot injury all preseason. Allen may have the more upside once he gets on the field, but neither should be looked at as a starting caliber tight end.
KICKER: Adam Vinatieri was better than expected last year, going 26-33 on field goals including 7 from over 50 yards. He is now 40 years old though, and that leg strength can’t last forever. At this point, you can still probably find a better kicker for your fantasy team.
DEFENSE-SPECIAL TEAMS: I won’t waste too much time here. The Colts are one of the worst fantasy defenses you can own. Don’t draft them.