Last year, the Colts were Manning-less.
For the first time since 1998, the Colts played a game, followed by an entire season, without number 18 behind center. And we sure saw just how important Peyton Manning was to that team.
That team now looks completely different. Manning is out of town, Garcon is too, they’ve got a new head coach in Chuck Pagano and the Colts’ leading rusher since 2006 is in New England.
While we can’t expect a whole lot from them in terms of winning this season, there are some players that still remain fantasy football relevant.
The potential fantasy football MVP for the Colts this year is…
Donald Brown. Not only does new head coach Chuck Pagano feel that Brown is an every down back, but the running back put up some decent numbers last season in a struggling offense. He received 134 touches, which was good for just 34th in the NFL. But his yards per attempt over the season, 4.8, was decently impressive. In fact, of the players that received at least 130 carries last season, Brown had the 9th best yards per carry average out of a total of 36 running backs. And he played for a Colts team that won just two games.
He hasn’t officially won the starting job yet, but there’s a good chance that he will. With a solid rookie quarterback that will need a good rushing attack for success, I expect Donald Brown to be a decent flex player to RB2 in most leagues.
A guy you can take a risk on is…
Coby Fleener. The reason isn’t necessarily because I think this kid is an unbelievable talent, but because he’s a tight end.
I talked about it in my post about the 49ers, but tight ends fit the “Late Round Quarterback” value mold even more than quarterbacks do. What I mean by this is that outside of Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski, the variation you get from one tight end to the next is very minimal. The position, therefore, isn’t all that valuable.
So if you’re going to wait anyway, why not get a risk with a potentially high ceiling at the position? Why not take a player that nobody has seen play in the NFL, but has a strong relationship with the quarterback that will be throwing him passes? No, he’s not Gronk or Graham, but he could easily become a starter in some leagues by season’s end.
The player being drafted at the right time is…
Reggie Wayne. He’s currently going in the 7th round in standard, 12-team leagues, and I think that’s a good place for him.
Given the depth at wide receiver this season, Reggie Wayne is one of the less attractive players at the position. But be aware of the fact that Andrew Luck is better than Curtis Painter. And also remember what Cam Newton was able to do with Steve Smith last year.
I wouldn’t put money on Reggie Wayne finishing the season as a top 20 wide receiver. He’ll be 34 years-old this season, and will be playing with a non-Peyton Manning quarterback. Our only sample of this type of occurrence showed a wide receiver finishing 29th with standard scoring.
The one word to describe the 2012 is…
Youth. With Andrew Luck coming in, a running back that has never been a true feature back, and a rookie tight end, the Colts offense is one with little experience. They’re going to rely heavily on the experience of Reggie Wayne to help spread the offense and be fantasy football relevant.
Overall, I think there is still value within this team. Donald Brown is one that definitely could break through, and Coby Fleener is a player that not a lot of people are talking about. When you combine late round with potential upside, you begin to create value.