The “Top Five” is an ongoing article breaking down every NFL team’s top 5 best fantasy football options.
Today’s team: Indianapolis Colts
1. Reggie Wayne- WR
Wayne found the fountain of youth last season with Andrew Luck heaving him the ball last season. Catching over 100 passes and gaining over 1300 yards (only 5tds though), Wayne managed to nearly reach the top 10 WR’s in fantasy last season (not bad for a guy being drafted in the 6/7th round last yr). So what should we expect this year from Wayne? I’d imagine more of the same, high in production with receptions and yards, with a bit of an increase in TD’s.
There’s not a reason I can think of to bet against this guy. As of now he’s being drafted in standard, non-ppr drafts in the mid 4th/early 5th round (3rd round in ppr leagues), and is well worth the value of a number one WR. In terms of being a safe bet, Reggie is as safe as Marshall, AJ Green, and Roddy White.
2. Andrew Luck- QB
Personal opinions aside (He’s my number 1 QB bust this year), I can’t deny what Luck did last season. Over 4300 yards passing, 23 TD’s (with 5 rushing TD’s, seriously, Luck is an undervalued running QB), and leading the 2-14 Colts to the playoffs his first season. Incredible to say the least. However, as a fantasy QB, I’m extremely skeptical with Luck.
He completed just 54% of his passes, had a boatload of his potential INT’s dropped (7), and his pass happy offensive coordinator is now at Arizona, so kiss his 627 attempts last year (4th most in the NFL) goodbye. To me, Luck lies on the same tier as a Eli Manning/Phillip Rivers. A complete roll of the dice from week to week.
However, unlike Eli and Rivers, Luck is going as a top 12 fantasy QB this season ( a starter in most leagues). So there is more of a risk involving him. There’s really no timetable to where he’ll fall (I’ve seen him go as early as the 4th round, and as late as round 8), it all depends on if someone likes him or not. With up to 5 potential pass catching threats and 2 pass catching RB’s at his side, he could have a great year.
Or, we could see more of the same last year (23 tds to 18 ints) with a dip in his passing yards.
3. TY Hilton- WR
A relative unknown out of Florida International, Hilton quickly became fantasy relevant his rookie season with Indy, quickly passing up Donnie Avery for Andrew Luck’s 2nd favorite target. As a boom/bust play last season (7 games where he scored 9 or more fantasy points, and 8 games where he put up 5 or less), Hilton is the leading candidate to possibly usurp Reggie Wayne’s leading WR role in the next couple of seasons.
Will it be this year? Probably not, but I’m still expecting a rise in Hilton’s catches (50) and rec yards (851) this year. With Indy signing Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Colby Fleener returning this season, the competition will be fierce, however, I don’t believe you can go wrong with Andrew Luck’s field stretcher.
4. Ahmad Bradshaw/Vick Ballard- RB’s
Nobody is winning here. Bradshaw is the superior talent, but only started practicing on Aug 22nd, and probably will not see any preseason action. He also has a history of foot injuries that may not be resolved this season. Ballard isn’t good enough to carry the ball on his own (3.8 yards per carry last yr, only 2 rushing TD’s), but isn’t bad enough to have Bradshaw pull ahead and receive the bulk of the carries.
Include that Andrew Luck runs the ball in the red-zone (5 rushing TD’s last season) makes both these guys look like questionable options as RB #3/Flex options at the start of this season.
Currently, Bradshaw is being picked up between rounds 6-8 in standard leagues, while Ballard is falling between rds 10-12. To me, the better option lies with Ballard due to him being less of a risk.
Remember though, these two are probably splitting carries on a pass first offense who’s QB will rush in TD’s if he has to. I don’t expect either one to come close to the 1000 yard rushing marker this year (800 on one of them if you’re lucky).
5. Adam Vinatieri- K
Truthfully… I couldn’t decide on DHB or Fleener on who would step up and be Luck’s 3rd option. So I went with one of the most clutch kickers in NFL history. Vinatieri may be getting up there in age, but he’s still got the leg. Over the last 3 seasons, Adam has made 26 of 40 between 40-49 yards, 6 of 10 from 50 yards and beyond.
Over the last 3 seasons, Vinateri has put up over 130 fantasy points, and with the Colts playing in a weak (sans Houston) defensive division, I don’t see why he can’t repeat his earlier success.