The Indianapolis Colts may be bad, but they could at least be fun this year. We can draft them all on Underdog Fantasy with promo code 'UNDERBLOG' to match your first deposit up to $100. We have the biggest fantasy football tournament of all time ($15M) right now.
The Colts are starting from scratch, but I at least see the vision with the coaching staff and a dual-threat young QB. That said, this team is definitely starting from scratch. The OL is average with question marks at LT and RG, and the defense traded away stud CB Stephon Gilmore. At least, the Colts will be watchable with Anthony Richardson's rushing ability and his downfield aggressiveness. This unit was last in deep ball rate, 30th in play action rate, and 29th in red zone TD rate.
3-WR Sets (3rd in snaps, 79% of snaps)
WR: Michael Pittman --> Ashton Dulin
WR: Alex Pierce --> Mike Strachan
SLOT: Josh Downs (R) --> Isaiah McKenzie
TE: Jelani Woods --> Mo Alie-Cox
2-WR Sets (29th in snaps, 20% of snaps)
WR: Michael Pittman --> Ashton Dulin
WR: Alex Pierce --> Josh Downs (R)
SLOT TE: Jelani Woods --> Kylen Granson
INLINE TE: Mo Alie-Cox --> Will Mallory (R)
RB Usage (17th in expected half PPR)
GOAL LINE: Jonathan Taylor --> Evan Hull (R)
PASSING DOWN: Evan Hull (R) --> Jonathan Taylor
Offensive Line (league average)
LT: Bernhard Raimann (2022 3rd rounder)
LG: Quenton Nelson (Stud coming off bad year)
C: Ryan Kelly (Average returning starter)
RG: Will Fries (Bad returning starter)
RT: Braden Smith (Good returning starter)
Our Anthony Richardson video breakdown is here. Watch that. In short, Richardson has a Justin Fields like rushing ceiling with underrated pocket presence. That's why he's a top-12 fantasy QB already. The Colts hired ex-Eagles OC Shane Steichen (Jalen Hurts) as head coach and a QB coach who's most recent stops were with Kyler Murray and Cam Newton. I think they were hoping to build around AR the whole time. His accuracy is certainly a work in progress, and his inexperience will be a problem with interceptions this year, so there's some bust potential as a rookie at QB10 prices. I like his boom odds long term and would love to grab him as the QB16 if your league-mates are asleep at the wheel. Gardner Minshew will likely back him up, possibly from Week 1.
My column on how to stack rushing QBs here.
The Colts were 8th in pass attempts, 23rd in passing yards, and 25th in passing touchdowns last year. There's room for this offense to be better or worse depending on AR's performance. Michael Pittman was the WR33 and 75th overall player in fantasy points over replacement per game in this bad offense. His best skills are in the intermediate level (where Richardson isn't at his best), but he's eclipsed 1.44 yards per route run in all three years. Pittman can play as a possession receiver, but his ceiling is low based on the Indy environment ... Alec Pierce was the WR87 per game as a rookie because the offense stunk and Pierce's incomplete profile. Pierce does all of his damage on vertical routes from the boundary, leading this team in aDOT (12.2) by a wide margin. He doesn't have the flexibility and agility to work underneath or over the middle, so Pierce will likely be a low-volume better in best ball selection. Richardson will throw deep more often than Matt Ryan did (IND was 32nd in aDOT), but Pierce quietly already caught 11-of-21 deep targets last year ... The slot receiver in this offense very likely will not matter, and it's unclear if 3rd-round rookie Josh Downs will beat out Isaiah McKenzie ($1M). Our Downs video is here.
2022 3rd-rounder Jelani Woods averaged just 18 routes per game from Week 12 on, splitting work with Mo Alie-Cox ($5.3M cap hit) and Kylen Granson. His elite athleticism let him have a nice 10.7 average depth of target, but there's rotational risk here while Woods continues to develop as a blocker (33.1 PFF pass block grade). It's unclear if the new coaching staff will pick one guy and ride, but MAC is paid enough to see the field. Woods was the TE25 per game last year on a nice 1.5 YPRR average.
Jonathan Taylor was the RB16 and 32nd overall player last year while dealing with a brutal offense and ankle sprain (which he's still recovering from post surgery). Taylor's issue is the offense. The Eagles (a much better version of this Colts team) was 18th in RB fantasy usage because they ranked 31st in RB receptions and Hurts stole rushing TDs. The Bears, also similar, were 30th in RB fantasy usage and were last in RB receptions. Taylor can be really good at football and a bad fantasy Round 1/2 selection at the same time ... I'm not overly excited for Taylor's backup, especially because Zack Moss ($0 guaranteed) and 5th-round rookie Evan Hull (5'10/209) are competing for backup duties. Hull offers more pass-game work after catching 55 passes as a Northwestern senior. That said, Deon Jackson will compete for passing snaps and likely has an active roster spot for special teams. Moss, meanwhile, doesn't have any NFL special teams experience.
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RB4 Jonathan Taylor (16.4 overall) --> Fading
WR30 Michael Pittman (59.3) --> Mixing in
QB10 Antony Richardson (97.5) --> Mixing in
WR65 Alec Pierce (145.5) --> Mixing in
WR83 Josh Downs (198.2) --> Fading
TE32 Jelani Woods (211.9) --> Fading
RB87 Zack Moss (215.9) --> Fading