Indianapolis Colts 2012 Fantasy Team Outlook
Down went Peyton Manning, and down went the Indianapolis Colts in 2011. They entered 2011 as possible Super Bowl contenders, and exited the season ready to draft a new franchise quarterback.
That’s exactly what happened, and now the Colts, who used to be a yearly fantasy football wharehouse, are now difficult to gauge. Have no fear; I’m taking a close look at all of their fantasy options and deciding which ones you should draft, watch and avoid:
QB Andrew Luck
Luck isn’t getting any love in fantasy leagues, but I think he has respectable QB2 written all over him. Hey, if Andy Dalton can be a decent option in any given week, why can’t Luck? I think he surprises a lot of people and rivals Peyton Manning’s rookie numbers.
RB Donald Brown
Brown will get first crack at the starting gig in Indy’s back-field, but I’m not sold he sticks there. His competition isn’t tough, but he’s not a convincing inside runner. He has sleeper potential and you can get him late, but you’re probably in rough shape if he’s your RB2.
RB Delone Carter
Carter isn’t explosive, but he’s a tougher runner than Brown and should prove to be more durable, too. If Brown falters, Carter could take over and develop into a decent RB2. He’s a long shot, though, and is only worth a late flier.
RB Vick Ballard
I don’t see Ballard beating out Carter for the “power back” role in this offense as a rookie, but he could be an injury away from being a rookie sensation. He’s not explosive or overly athletic, but he runs downhill and is solid inside. He’s a guy to watch if Brown and Carter struggle or get hurt.
RB Mewelde Moore
Moore is strictly a third down back, and he’s not even a lock to make the final roster. He’s shifty and still has good speed and elusiveness, but he won’t have any value at all unless a bunch of guys get hurt. He’ll be a waiver wire gem later in the year if everything goes his way, though.
WR Reggie Wayne
Wayne isn’t what he used to be, but he’s no scrub, either. The guy put up nearly 1,000 yards with Curtis Painter, Kerry Collins and Dan Orlovsky tossing him ducks, so my hat goes off to him. With a more competent passer in Luck on board, he should top 1,000 yards and be a very underrated WR2 in 2012.
Collie still gets no respect. If Peyton Manning played a healthy 2011 campaign, we might be talking about Collie’s huge numbers from a year ago. Instead, he’s undrafted in virtually every league. I’m actually quite high on his talent and role in this offense. Due to a lack of talent behind him, I see the Colts moving him around and Luck confiding in him early. He could be PPR gold and is a guy to keep an eye on.
WR Donnie Avery
Avery is trying to work his way back to fantasy relevancy, but it’s going to be awfully difficult to pull that off in Indy. He’s always brought speed to the table, but he’s never developed into a consistent option. He’s late-round fodder, at best.
WR T.Y. Hilton
Hilton is a burner who can operate out of the slot or go for the deep ball. He may be relegated to special teams as a rookie, but the Colts would be wise to do what they can to utilize him from day one. He’s worth taking a shot on in deep leagues.
TE Coby Fleener
Fleener may not end up being the starting tight end right away due to weak blocking ability, but his chemistry with former Stanford teammate Luck tells you all you need to know. He has a sick combination of size, speed and red-zone ability. He may not rack up a ton of catches and yards, but he could chase 10 touchdowns as a rookie.
TE Dwayne Allen
Allen is a big tight end who can do it all, but he’s not really sensational at any one thing. However, he may begin his career in Indy as the listed starter, which could mean better stats that some think. I’m still taking Fleener well ahead of him, but he could still hold some value.
K Adam Vinatieri
The Colts will certainly have their tough moments in Andrew Luck’s first season, but he’s a polished rookie and will at least put points on the board. Vinatieri’s year from hell is over. He’s nowhere close to being a top-10 option just yet, but you’re not crazy to own him in 2012.
Colts Team Defense
Indys is making a switch to a more aggressive 3-4 defense, but they are far away from a seamless transition. I have my doubts about both Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis as outside linebackers, and overall this defense is not equipped to run this system. They will have major growing pains and are not fit to be drafted if you can help it.
Kevin Roberts owns and operates NFL Soup and heads the fantasy football division of the site. Roberts also finished 2nd in the Wide Receiver position in Fantasy Pros expert fantasy football rankings in 2010 and 3rd in the Quarterback position in 2011. In addition to running the fantasy football section of the site, Roberts contributes to NFL Soup's NFL Draft coverage and breaking news reporting. Follow Kevin on Twitter @NFLSoupKevin