Is Austin Collie Worth Drafting?
Austin Collie was never viewed as an explosive wide receiver coming out of BYU. What he was viewed as and lived up to be, however, was a precise route-runner with reliable hands and under rated speed.
Collie was a solid surprise as a rookie back in 2009, when he caught 60 balls for 676 yards and seven scores. In year two, he basically put up the same numbers, but did it in half of a year (nine games) due to concussions. Having Peyton Manning as his quarterback certainly didn’t hurt, but if Collie had played a full year, the crazy pace he was on projected to over 100 receptions, close to 1,200 yards and over 10 touchdowns.
Last year Collie hit a bit of a wall, just like the rest of the Indianapolis Colts, as Manning missed all of 2011 with a neck injury and Curtis Painter, Kerry Collins and Dan Orlovsky struggled to a 2-14 finish.
Still, Collie had some flashes of his old self, and finished with 54 catches. But the most important thing was that the concussion issues that prematurely ended his 2010 campaign were gone, and he managed to play a full 16-game schedule.
Entering 2012, a healthy and confident Collie gets a quarterback upgrade in the form of rookie Andrew Luck, and suddenly there’s a chance he could be headed back to fantasy relevancy. In addition, Collie may not just be that slot, over the middle, safety net guy anymore. If he has his way, he’ll also be lining up outside and could be more active in the red-zone as the team’s true number two wide receiver. That would mean more snaps, more opportunities, and quite likely his best, most complete season as a fantasy weapon.
According to the Anderson Herald Bulletin, the Colts want it to happen and are giving Collie a shot at winning that number two spot opposite of Reggie Wayne. And considering his weak competition in Donnie Avery and rookie T.J. Hilton, I like his odds of taking over that position.
To be honest, I already was liking Collie’s fantasy value before knowledge of a potentially increased role surfaced. He’s so fundamentally sound and his skill-set is better than a lot of people give him credit for. The fact that he managed the numbers he did last year with inept passers throwing him the rock showed us a lot. With Luck coming in and the two seemingly already being comfortable with each other, I felt Collie could be at the worst a safe WR4 operating just out of the slot.
However, if he can indeed take control of that second spot and get on the field for the majority of passing snaps, I really like him as a reliable WR3 in 2012.
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