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Rotoworld's Evan Silva Colts writeup - predicts 9 wins


lollygagger8

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http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/nfl/73078/59/colts-fantasy-preview

Colts Fantasy Preview

Thursday, July 6, 2017
 

Colts Offensive Profile Under Chuck Pagano

2013-2016 Pass Attempts Rank: 15th, 1st, 9th, 13th
2013-2016 Rush Attempts Rank: 23rd, 17th, 21st, 23rd
2013-2016 Play Volume Rank: 18th, 2nd, 12th, 12th
2013-2016 Yards Per Play Rank: 15th, 7th, 32nd, 14th
Unaccounted for Targets from 2016 (Rank): 60 (25th)
Unaccounted for Carries from 2016 (Rank): 10 (30th)

Projected Starting Lineup

QB: Andrew Luck
RB: Frank Gore
WR: T.Y. Hilton
WR: Donte Moncrief
WR: Phillip Dorsett
TE: Jack Doyle
LT: Anthony Castonzo
LG: Jack Mewhort
C: Ryan Kelly
RG: Joe Haeg
RT: Le’Raven Clark

Passing Game Outlook

A top-four fantasy passer in three of the last four years, Andrew Luck enters year six of his career as a perennial top-shelf QB1 with health concerns that may not be answered until deep in August. Although the kidney laceration that cut Luck’s 2015 season nine games short can be chalked up to misfortune, Luck’s 2016 concussion and post-season right (throwing) shoulder surgery are causes for at least some alarm. Luck got the shoulder taken care of all the way back in January, but he missed all spring practices and hadn’t even resumed throwing as of the first week of July. While Luck’s upside remains undeniable, it is surprising July drafters have been so aggressive to select a quarterback in the midst of a throwing-arm rehab. In MFL10 best-ball leagues, Luck is coming off the board as the QB3 behind Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. FF Calc mocks prefer Luck as the QB5 behind Rodgers, Brady, Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan. Until we get clarity on Luck’s health, I wouldn’t feel comfortable drafting him ahead of Brees or Russell Wilson. The Colts have ranked 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 2nd, and 2nd in the NFL in quarterback hits allowed in Luck’s five NFL seasons. It’s fair to wonder if that accumulation of contact will soon take its toll on him. 

The thought of Luck missing any time is worrisome for T.Y. Hilton, who averaged 63.0 yards per game with just two touchdowns in Luck’s ten missed games over the past two seasons. Last year with Luck in the starting lineup 15-of-16 weeks, Hilton finished third in the NFL in receiving yards per game (90.5) with career highs in targets (155) and catches (91) and a league-high 1,448 yards. In addition to concerns about his quarterback’s health, Hilton’s bulk stats may be threatened by the healthy return of Donte Moncrief, who missed seven games in 2016. Whereas Hilton averaged 10.3 targets for 101.3 yards with a nine-touchdown pace in Moncrief’s absence, Hilton’s averages dipped to 9.2 targets, 82.1 yards, and a four-score pace when Moncrief played. While Hilton should still offer a safe floor if Luck’s rehab goes as planned, I’ve found it difficult to embrace Hilton at his early- to mid-second-round ADP (overall WR8). 

Donte Moncrief was 2016’s biggest fantasy breakout candidate, yet saved face only because he scored a touchdown in 7-of-9 games. Moncrief never reached 65 yards – he’s done so once over his last 19 games – and ranked a career-worst 83rd among 96 qualified receivers in PFF’s yards-per-route-run metric. Moncrief did battle toe, shoulder, and hamstring problems, but it was a disappointing season considering he was drafted as early as the third round in PPR leagues. Moncrief now enters his contract year as an enigma with obvious touchdown-scoring skills. Over the past 20 years, only 13 NFL receivers have scored more TDs than Moncrief (16) before the age of 24. While it’s entirely possible Moncrief simply isn’t very good, it’s also conceivable this is a still-developing prospect born just three months before hyped incoming rookie Kenny Golladay who lost his 2016 effectiveness entirely to injuries. As Moncrief has maintained WR32 (MFL10s) and WR33 (FF Calc) ADPs, public optimism hasn’t subsided. 

Competitors for sub-package receiving snaps include ex-Raven Kamar Aiken, Ryan Grigson first-round mistake Phillip Dorsett, and basketball player-turned-tight end Erik Swoope. 28-year-old Aiken led the 2015 Ravens in receiving, then was demoted to a lightly-used fourth receiver behind Steve Smith Sr., Mike Wallace, and Breshad Perriman last year. Dorsett has been atrociously ineffective through two NFL seasons. The most intriguing prospect is Swoope, a multi-year developmental project who averaged 19.8 yards on 15 receptions last year. Listed at 6-foot-5, 258 on the Colts’ website, Swoope was a defensive stopper on the Miami Hurricanes’ basketball team from 2010-2014. With Coby Fleener long gone and Dwayne Allen off to Foxboro, Swoope has a chance at a permanent role in two-tight end sets. Last year’s Colts ran “12 personnel” two-tight end formations on a league-high 31% of their offensive snaps. 

Whilst Moncrief and since-departed Allen battled ineffectiveness and injuries, Jack Doyle emerged as Luck’s second most-trusted pass option by leading all NFL tight ends in catch rate (78.7%) and finishing fifth at the position in red-zone receptions (9). Also seen internally as a capable run-pass blocker by the Colts, Doyle was immediately identified by new GM Chris Ballard as a player to keep, culminating in a three-year, $18.9 million extension. Although Doyle is a sub-par athlete with 4.91 speed at 6-foot-5, 254, he caught 162 passes in four years at Western Kentucky and has always been a capable possession/red-zone tight end. Assuming Luck returns at full form, Doyle is one of my favorite late-round tight ends based on his touchdown upside. He’s priced fairly at ADPs of TE12 (FF Calculator) and TE13 (MFL10s). 

Running Game Outlook

Frank Gore continued to lose steam in his age-33 season, falling under 4.0 yards per carry for the second straight year and even hitting new lows as a pass protector – always a career strength -- finishing 60th of 62 qualified running backs in PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency. Gore lost increased snaps to Robert Turbin in the second half of the season and was outperformed by Turbin on scoring-position opportunities, converting just 2-of-10 carries inside the five-yard line into touchdowns while Turbin scored on 5-of-10 attempts inside the five. Gore has been a top-20 PPR running back every year since 2005, so predicting his breakdown has been an unfruitful endeavor to say the least. Now at age 34, the end is nearing. With minimal upside in a best-case scenario and an ineffective committee member as his floor, Gore is an uninspired fantasy pick, even at his seemingly bargain-cost RB34 (FF Calc) and RB35 (MFL10s) ADPs. 

The Colts re-signed Robert Turbin to a two-year, $2.7 million contract after he earned the trust of the coaching staff, spelling Gore on passing downs and converting short-yardage and goal-line chances at an efficient clip. While far from a sexy fantasy consideration as a sixth-year journeyman on his fourth NFL team, Turbin has been talked up by beat writers and GM Chris Ballard as a candidate for an increased 2017 role. One obstacle is fourth-round rookie Marlon Mack, who posted a top-five SPARQ score in this year’s running back class after averaging 6.69 yards per carry over his final two seasons at USF. Explosive and versatile but exceptionally raw bordering on undisciplined, Mack earned a college reputation for too often bouncing runs outside and lost touches to non-NFL prospect “D’Ernest Johnson” in 2016. While Mack is a far more exciting prospect, Turbin will enter camp as the heavy favorite for No. 2 back duties. 

2017 Vegas Win Total

The Colts’ 2017 Win Total is 9.0 games with a lean toward the over (-125). Working in Indy’s favor is a schedule Rotoworld SOS analyst Warren Sharp identified as the NFL’s third easiest, while Ballard poured enough resources into the defense to give it a shot at mediocrity. Indianapolis’ 2016 Pythagorean Win Expectation (8.5-8.6) also suggests they underachieved slightly to finish 8-8. While most signs points to the Colts as a smart-money over team, lingering concerns about Luck’s throwing shoulder, the right side of the offensive line, and the defense have me leaning toward the under on Indy pulling out nine wins.


 

 
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We would be middle of the pack in the draft and a new head coach next year if this is the case but I expect at least 10 wins minimum. 

 

The schedule and infusion of defensive talent should be worth an extra 2 wins this year over last.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, LockeDown said:

I'm going to call my mother-in-law and see if she is worried about the right side of our Oline.  

haha   Please let us know what she says.... lmao

 

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5 minutes ago, Superman said:

Sounds right for odds. But if Luck is ready to go, this should be a 10 win team, or better.

If Andrew is 100% and looks good on opening day and we win that, I have us at 10 wins. That is just an early projection assuming everyone is healthy actually. 9.5 might be the proper over/under here. Our schedule on paper anyway is easier than last seasons. Texans still have QB issues and we have owned the Titans lately.

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9 to 10 wins sounds right if Luck is 100% healthy. If the rookies perform at a high level during their 1st year, and we some breakouts from guys like Moncrief, Henry Anderson, TJ Green or Phillip Dorsett, or LaRaven Clark, and we'll have a chance to get a 1st round bye. It all depends on Luck's health though to even have a chance at that, not to mention fixing the slow starts that plagued us last year.

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3 hours ago, Jared Cisneros said:

9 to 10 wins sounds right if Luck is 100% healthy. If the rookies perform at a high level during their 1st year, and we some breakouts from guys like Moncrief, Henry Anderson, TJ Green or Phillip Dorsett, or LaRaven Clark, and we'll have a chance to get a 1st round bye. It all depends on Luck's health though to even have a chance at that, not to mention fixing the slow starts that plagued us last year.

 

That is a lot of ifs. 

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3 hours ago, IndyScribe said:

Sounds right. I have us at 9 wins at best.

 

At best?  This team could be "not good" and win 9, with that easy schedule in that sorry division.  

 

The dysfunctional pile of garbage roster they rolled out in 2016 won 8, and were literally 3 plays away from winning 11. Maybe we're the team that gets lucky and wins 3 games more than they should've like that decidedly mediocre Texan team did last year, and now you're looking at 11-12 wins.  You people over-rate other teams tremendously;  90% of the NFL are average and beatable on any given weekend.

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The Colts flying under the radar is fine by me.

With that said every season there are 4-6 teams who out perform as expected while 4-6 under perform. Most of the time there is a team who finishes last in their division and ends up in the playoffs the very next season.

There are so many variables that can change how any team will finish. Injuries, over performances and under performances all over the league.

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2 minutes ago, crazycolt1 said:

The Colts flying under the radar is fine by me.

With that said every season there are 4-6 teams who out perform as expected while 4-6 under perform. Most of the time there is a team who finishes last in their division and ends up in the playoffs the very next season.

There are so many variables that can change how any team will finish. Injuries, over performances and under performances all over the league.

I am out of LIKES but I love being the underdog. I hope the NFL Channel picks us 6-10 again.

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8 minutes ago, crazycolt1 said:

The Colts flying under the radar is fine by me.

With that said every season there are 4-6 teams who out perform as expected while 4-6 under perform. Most of the time there is a team who finishes last in their division and ends up in the playoffs the very next season.

There are so many variables that can change how any team will finish. Injuries, over performances and under performances all over the league.

I'm with you.  I  cringe when they predict us to win the Super Bowl.  I much prefer being the underdog.

 

I get my hopes up every season, and yes, so once again I'm hoping this is our year to quiet the naysayers.

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This squad probably overachieved in some ways to finish 8-8 last year. I could see it happening again if the AFCS is actually solid. If not, 10/11 wins, primarily because Andrew Luck is pretty good at football.

The depth of this team to actually compete for something cooler than the AFCS, assuming things are on schedule would be 2 years out, I'd imagine. 

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9 hours ago, LockeDown said:

I'm going to call my mother-in-law and see if she is worried about the right side of our Oline.  

Just out of curiosity, did your mother in law believe that INDY's defense was going to play possessed ball late in the yr in 2006? 

 

I'm just looking for a pattern of next level positive Colt omens from your mother in law based on previous seasons. I'm not making fun of her BTW. Just searching for a track record/intuition I can lean on. 

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9 hours ago, Gramz said:

haha   Please let us know what she says.... lmao

 

Hold on now...If the news is melancholy, do we really wanna know? 

 

Actually, if it is unsettling news, I'll just gloss over it & pretend I never saw it. Temporary blindness does come in handy from time to time. It really hurts when you walk into cabinets & chairs though. 

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12 hours ago, lollygagger8 said:

http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/nfl/73078/59/colts-fantasy-preview

Colts Fantasy Preview

Thursday, July 6, 2017
 

Colts Offensive Profile Under Chuck Pagano

2013-2016 Pass Attempts Rank: 15th, 1st, 9th, 13th
2013-2016 Rush Attempts Rank: 23rd, 17th, 21st, 23rd
2013-2016 Play Volume Rank: 18th, 2nd, 12th, 12th
2013-2016 Yards Per Play Rank: 15th, 7th, 32nd, 14th
Unaccounted for Targets from 2016 (Rank): 60 (25th)
Unaccounted for Carries from 2016 (Rank): 10 (30th)

Projected Starting Lineup

QB: Andrew Luck
RB: Frank Gore
WR: T.Y. Hilton
WR: Donte Moncrief
WR: Phillip Dorsett
TE: Jack Doyle
LT: Anthony Castonzo
LG: Jack Mewhort
C: Ryan Kelly
RG: Joe Haeg
RT: Le’Raven Clark

Passing Game Outlook

A top-four fantasy passer in three of the last four years, Andrew Luck enters year six of his career as a perennial top-shelf QB1 with health concerns that may not be answered until deep in August. Although the kidney laceration that cut Luck’s 2015 season nine games short can be chalked up to misfortune, Luck’s 2016 concussion and post-season right (throwing) shoulder surgery are causes for at least some alarm. Luck got the shoulder taken care of all the way back in January, but he missed all spring practices and hadn’t even resumed throwing as of the first week of July. While Luck’s upside remains undeniable, it is surprising July drafters have been so aggressive to select a quarterback in the midst of a throwing-arm rehab. In MFL10 best-ball leagues, Luck is coming off the board as the QB3 behind Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. FF Calc mocks prefer Luck as the QB5 behind Rodgers, Brady, Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan. Until we get clarity on Luck’s health, I wouldn’t feel comfortable drafting him ahead of Brees or Russell Wilson. The Colts have ranked 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 2nd, and 2nd in the NFL in quarterback hits allowed in Luck’s five NFL seasons. It’s fair to wonder if that accumulation of contact will soon take its toll on him. 

The thought of Luck missing any time is worrisome for T.Y. Hilton, who averaged 63.0 yards per game with just two touchdowns in Luck’s ten missed games over the past two seasons. Last year with Luck in the starting lineup 15-of-16 weeks, Hilton finished third in the NFL in receiving yards per game (90.5) with career highs in targets (155) and catches (91) and a league-high 1,448 yards. In addition to concerns about his quarterback’s health, Hilton’s bulk stats may be threatened by the healthy return of Donte Moncrief, who missed seven games in 2016. Whereas Hilton averaged 10.3 targets for 101.3 yards with a nine-touchdown pace in Moncrief’s absence, Hilton’s averages dipped to 9.2 targets, 82.1 yards, and a four-score pace when Moncrief played. While Hilton should still offer a safe floor if Luck’s rehab goes as planned, I’ve found it difficult to embrace Hilton at his early- to mid-second-round ADP (overall WR8). 

Donte Moncrief was 2016’s biggest fantasy breakout candidate, yet saved face only because he scored a touchdown in 7-of-9 games. Moncrief never reached 65 yards – he’s done so once over his last 19 games – and ranked a career-worst 83rd among 96 qualified receivers in PFF’s yards-per-route-run metric. Moncrief did battle toe, shoulder, and hamstring problems, but it was a disappointing season considering he was drafted as early as the third round in PPR leagues. Moncrief now enters his contract year as an enigma with obvious touchdown-scoring skills. Over the past 20 years, only 13 NFL receivers have scored more TDs than Moncrief (16) before the age of 24. While it’s entirely possible Moncrief simply isn’t very good, it’s also conceivable this is a still-developing prospect born just three months before hyped incoming rookie Kenny Golladay who lost his 2016 effectiveness entirely to injuries. As Moncrief has maintained WR32 (MFL10s) and WR33 (FF Calc) ADPs, public optimism hasn’t subsided. 

Competitors for sub-package receiving snaps include ex-Raven Kamar Aiken, Ryan Grigson first-round mistake Phillip Dorsett, and basketball player-turned-tight end Erik Swoope. 28-year-old Aiken led the 2015 Ravens in receiving, then was demoted to a lightly-used fourth receiver behind Steve Smith Sr., Mike Wallace, and Breshad Perriman last year. Dorsett has been atrociously ineffective through two NFL seasons. The most intriguing prospect is Swoope, a multi-year developmental project who averaged 19.8 yards on 15 receptions last year. Listed at 6-foot-5, 258 on the Colts’ website, Swoope was a defensive stopper on the Miami Hurricanes’ basketball team from 2010-2014. With Coby Fleener long gone and Dwayne Allen off to Foxboro, Swoope has a chance at a permanent role in two-tight end sets. Last year’s Colts ran “12 personnel” two-tight end formations on a league-high 31% of their offensive snaps. 

Whilst Moncrief and since-departed Allen battled ineffectiveness and injuries, Jack Doyle emerged as Luck’s second most-trusted pass option by leading all NFL tight ends in catch rate (78.7%) and finishing fifth at the position in red-zone receptions (9). Also seen internally as a capable run-pass blocker by the Colts, Doyle was immediately identified by new GM Chris Ballard as a player to keep, culminating in a three-year, $18.9 million extension. Although Doyle is a sub-par athlete with 4.91 speed at 6-foot-5, 254, he caught 162 passes in four years at Western Kentucky and has always been a capable possession/red-zone tight end. Assuming Luck returns at full form, Doyle is one of my favorite late-round tight ends based on his touchdown upside. He’s priced fairly at ADPs of TE12 (FF Calculator) and TE13 (MFL10s). 

Running Game Outlook

Frank Gore continued to lose steam in his age-33 season, falling under 4.0 yards per carry for the second straight year and even hitting new lows as a pass protector – always a career strength -- finishing 60th of 62 qualified running backs in PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency. Gore lost increased snaps to Robert Turbin in the second half of the season and was outperformed by Turbin on scoring-position opportunities, converting just 2-of-10 carries inside the five-yard line into touchdowns while Turbin scored on 5-of-10 attempts inside the five. Gore has been a top-20 PPR running back every year since 2005, so predicting his breakdown has been an unfruitful endeavor to say the least. Now at age 34, the end is nearing. With minimal upside in a best-case scenario and an ineffective committee member as his floor, Gore is an uninspired fantasy pick, even at his seemingly bargain-cost RB34 (FF Calc) and RB35 (MFL10s) ADPs. 

The Colts re-signed Robert Turbin to a two-year, $2.7 million contract after he earned the trust of the coaching staff, spelling Gore on passing downs and converting short-yardage and goal-line chances at an efficient clip. While far from a sexy fantasy consideration as a sixth-year journeyman on his fourth NFL team, Turbin has been talked up by beat writers and GM Chris Ballard as a candidate for an increased 2017 role. One obstacle is fourth-round rookie Marlon Mack, who posted a top-five SPARQ score in this year’s running back class after averaging 6.69 yards per carry over his final two seasons at USF. Explosive and versatile but exceptionally raw bordering on undisciplined, Mack earned a college reputation for too often bouncing runs outside and lost touches to non-NFL prospect “D’Ernest Johnson” in 2016. While Mack is a far more exciting prospect, Turbin will enter camp as the heavy favorite for No. 2 back duties. 

2017 Vegas Win Total

The Colts’ 2017 Win Total is 9.0 games with a lean toward the over (-125). Working in Indy’s favor is a schedule Rotoworld SOS analyst Warren Sharp identified as the NFL’s third easiest, while Ballard poured enough resources into the defense to give it a shot at mediocrity. Indianapolis’ 2016 Pythagorean Win Expectation (8.5-8.6) also suggests they underachieved slightly to finish 8-8. While most signs points to the Colts as a smart-money over team, lingering concerns about Luck’s throwing shoulder, the right side of the offensive line, and the defense have me leaning toward the under on Indy pulling out nine wins.


 

 

:lol: I was about to complement you on one hades of a write up Lolly & then I thought maybe I better click on the link before I make a fool of myself. I know what you're thinking Before? I know; I know I usually do step in it a lot. In any case, thanks for cutting & pasting the most relevant sections & for tolerating my brain freeze I guess. 

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3 hours ago, deedub75 said:

 

That is a lot of ifs. 

Not really D75. Jared was just saying that our success is based on Luck's health, faster starts on offense reducing the need for comebacks, & players improving as they master the playbook as they react more freely & think less about making the wrong move. 

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CC1, Gramz, & CBE are right. Under the radar is the best place for INDY to be. Call it lowered pundit expectations, dark horse status, or even a projected long shot. 

 

I just wanna end the season with nobody saw that coming. Unforeseen surprises are always the most satisfying.

 

Yes, I'm aware that surprises can be depressing & dare I say distressing, but I'm talking about upward trajectory & transcendence that leaves the NFL mouthpieces speechless & dumbfounded like where the hades did that come from? LOL! 

 

We seem to have a knack for either 10-6 or 11-5 over the yrs just on familiar outcomes. 

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1 hour ago, southwest1 said:

Not really D75. Jared was just saying that our success is based on Luck's health, faster starts on offense reducing the need for comebacks, & players improving as they master the playbook as they react more freely & think less about making the wrong move. 

I would think just the rookies getting one more year under their belts and any improvement at all in the defense should be good for a couple of more wins than last season.

Improvement from the linebackers not giving up 5 yard passes that end up 15-20 yard gains would help a bunch.

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16 hours ago, dodsworth said:

We would be middle of the pack in the draft and a new head coach next year if this is the case but I expect at least 10 wins minimum. 

 

The schedule and infusion of defensive talent should be worth an extra 2 wins this year over last.

 

 

I agree. My personal prediction is 11 wins.  I just base that on defense which I think could be top 20 at their best.  If we have more rookies starting other than Hooker that's a different story

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You guys projecting 10+ wins are dreaming about the past, not 2017. The Colts no longer can count on 5 or 6 easy divisional wins and as usual will struggle out of the division. 8-8 is a much more realistic projection.

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On 7/6/2017 at 10:54 AM, lollygagger8 said:

http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/nfl/73078/59/colts-fantasy-preview

Colts Fantasy Preview

Thursday, July 6, 2017
 

Colts Offensive Profile Under Chuck Pagano

2013-2016 Pass Attempts Rank: 15th, 1st, 9th, 13th
2013-2016 Rush Attempts Rank: 23rd, 17th, 21st, 23rd
2013-2016 Play Volume Rank: 18th, 2nd, 12th, 12th
2013-2016 Yards Per Play Rank: 15th, 7th, 32nd, 14th
Unaccounted for Targets from 2016 (Rank): 60 (25th)
Unaccounted for Carries from 2016 (Rank): 10 (30th)

Projected Starting Lineup

QB: Andrew Luck
RB: Frank Gore
WR: T.Y. Hilton
WR: Donte Moncrief
WR: Phillip Dorsett
TE: Jack Doyle
LT: Anthony Castonzo
LG: Jack Mewhort
C: Ryan Kelly
RG: Joe Haeg
RT: Le’Raven Clark

Passing Game Outlook

A top-four fantasy passer in three of the last four years, Andrew Luck enters year six of his career as a perennial top-shelf QB1 with health concerns that may not be answered until deep in August. Although the kidney laceration that cut Luck’s 2015 season nine games short can be chalked up to misfortune, Luck’s 2016 concussion and post-season right (throwing) shoulder surgery are causes for at least some alarm. Luck got the shoulder taken care of all the way back in January, but he missed all spring practices and hadn’t even resumed throwing as of the first week of July. While Luck’s upside remains undeniable, it is surprising July drafters have been so aggressive to select a quarterback in the midst of a throwing-arm rehab. In MFL10 best-ball leagues, Luck is coming off the board as the QB3 behind Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. FF Calc mocks prefer Luck as the QB5 behind Rodgers, Brady, Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan. Until we get clarity on Luck’s health, I wouldn’t feel comfortable drafting him ahead of Brees or Russell Wilson. The Colts have ranked 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 2nd, and 2nd in the NFL in quarterback hits allowed in Luck’s five NFL seasons. It’s fair to wonder if that accumulation of contact will soon take its toll on him. 

The thought of Luck missing any time is worrisome for T.Y. Hilton, who averaged 63.0 yards per game with just two touchdowns in Luck’s ten missed games over the past two seasons. Last year with Luck in the starting lineup 15-of-16 weeks, Hilton finished third in the NFL in receiving yards per game (90.5) with career highs in targets (155) and catches (91) and a league-high 1,448 yards. In addition to concerns about his quarterback’s health, Hilton’s bulk stats may be threatened by the healthy return of Donte Moncrief, who missed seven games in 2016. Whereas Hilton averaged 10.3 targets for 101.3 yards with a nine-touchdown pace in Moncrief’s absence, Hilton’s averages dipped to 9.2 targets, 82.1 yards, and a four-score pace when Moncrief played. While Hilton should still offer a safe floor if Luck’s rehab goes as planned, I’ve found it difficult to embrace Hilton at his early- to mid-second-round ADP (overall WR8). 

Donte Moncrief was 2016’s biggest fantasy breakout candidate, yet saved face only because he scored a touchdown in 7-of-9 games. Moncrief never reached 65 yards – he’s done so once over his last 19 games – and ranked a career-worst 83rd among 96 qualified receivers in PFF’s yards-per-route-run metric. Moncrief did battle toe, shoulder, and hamstring problems, but it was a disappointing season considering he was drafted as early as the third round in PPR leagues. Moncrief now enters his contract year as an enigma with obvious touchdown-scoring skills. Over the past 20 years, only 13 NFL receivers have scored more TDs than Moncrief (16) before the age of 24. While it’s entirely possible Moncrief simply isn’t very good, it’s also conceivable this is a still-developing prospect born just three months before hyped incoming rookie Kenny Golladay who lost his 2016 effectiveness entirely to injuries. As Moncrief has maintained WR32 (MFL10s) and WR33 (FF Calc) ADPs, public optimism hasn’t subsided. 

Competitors for sub-package receiving snaps include ex-Raven Kamar Aiken, Ryan Grigson first-round mistake Phillip Dorsett, and basketball player-turned-tight end Erik Swoope. 28-year-old Aiken led the 2015 Ravens in receiving, then was demoted to a lightly-used fourth receiver behind Steve Smith Sr., Mike Wallace, and Breshad Perriman last year. Dorsett has been atrociously ineffective through two NFL seasons. The most intriguing prospect is Swoope, a multi-year developmental project who averaged 19.8 yards on 15 receptions last year. Listed at 6-foot-5, 258 on the Colts’ website, Swoope was a defensive stopper on the Miami Hurricanes’ basketball team from 2010-2014. With Coby Fleener long gone and Dwayne Allen off to Foxboro, Swoope has a chance at a permanent role in two-tight end sets. Last year’s Colts ran “12 personnel” two-tight end formations on a league-high 31% of their offensive snaps. 

Whilst Moncrief and since-departed Allen battled ineffectiveness and injuries, Jack Doyle emerged as Luck’s second most-trusted pass option by leading all NFL tight ends in catch rate (78.7%) and finishing fifth at the position in red-zone receptions (9). Also seen internally as a capable run-pass blocker by the Colts, Doyle was immediately identified by new GM Chris Ballard as a player to keep, culminating in a three-year, $18.9 million extension. Although Doyle is a sub-par athlete with 4.91 speed at 6-foot-5, 254, he caught 162 passes in four years at Western Kentucky and has always been a capable possession/red-zone tight end. Assuming Luck returns at full form, Doyle is one of my favorite late-round tight ends based on his touchdown upside. He’s priced fairly at ADPs of TE12 (FF Calculator) and TE13 (MFL10s). 

Running Game Outlook

Frank Gore continued to lose steam in his age-33 season, falling under 4.0 yards per carry for the second straight year and even hitting new lows as a pass protector – always a career strength -- finishing 60th of 62 qualified running backs in PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency. Gore lost increased snaps to Robert Turbin in the second half of the season and was outperformed by Turbin on scoring-position opportunities, converting just 2-of-10 carries inside the five-yard line into touchdowns while Turbin scored on 5-of-10 attempts inside the five. Gore has been a top-20 PPR running back every year since 2005, so predicting his breakdown has been an unfruitful endeavor to say the least. Now at age 34, the end is nearing. With minimal upside in a best-case scenario and an ineffective committee member as his floor, Gore is an uninspired fantasy pick, even at his seemingly bargain-cost RB34 (FF Calc) and RB35 (MFL10s) ADPs. 

The Colts re-signed Robert Turbin to a two-year, $2.7 million contract after he earned the trust of the coaching staff, spelling Gore on passing downs and converting short-yardage and goal-line chances at an efficient clip. While far from a sexy fantasy consideration as a sixth-year journeyman on his fourth NFL team, Turbin has been talked up by beat writers and GM Chris Ballard as a candidate for an increased 2017 role. One obstacle is fourth-round rookie Marlon Mack, who posted a top-five SPARQ score in this year’s running back class after averaging 6.69 yards per carry over his final two seasons at USF. Explosive and versatile but exceptionally raw bordering on undisciplined, Mack earned a college reputation for too often bouncing runs outside and lost touches to non-NFL prospect “D’Ernest Johnson” in 2016. While Mack is a far more exciting prospect, Turbin will enter camp as the heavy favorite for No. 2 back duties. 

2017 Vegas Win Total

The Colts’ 2017 Win Total is 9.0 games with a lean toward the over (-125). Working in Indy’s favor is a schedule Rotoworld SOS analyst Warren Sharp identified as the NFL’s third easiest, while Ballard poured enough resources into the defense to give it a shot at mediocrity. Indianapolis’ 2016 Pythagorean Win Expectation (8.5-8.6) also suggests they underachieved slightly to finish 8-8. While most signs points to the Colts as a smart-money over team, lingering concerns about Luck’s throwing shoulder, the right side of the offensive line, and the defense have me leaning toward the under on Indy pulling out nine wins.


 

 

A mostly good write up but 9 wins would be disappointing, IMO. Means we probably missed the playoffs again. 

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My actual floor number for the Colts (barring significant injuries) is 10. I have to think the addition defensive help in the front 7 along with the little considered healthy return of Anderson and Langford are almost worth 2 additional wins alone. If the rooks in the back end can truly play the only other requirement (and a big one it is) is that the O-line keep Luck upright. What I've read and heard about the pass block skills of Turbin and the tight ends leads me to believe Andrew will have a great season. With the easing of the schedule 10 is the floor for this team IMHO.

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