2016 fantasy football depth charts: Indianapolis Colts
(Editor’s note: As we lead up to the season, Director of PFF Fantasy Jeff Ratcliffe is breaking down each team’s depth chart from a fantasy perspective. Catch up on the work so far here.)
The Colts entered last season as one of the league’s most exciting teams, and they exited the year with Josh Freeman under center. But it’s a new day in Indy, and Andrew Luck is back and freshly armed with a new contract.
At this time last year, Luck was being touted as fantasy football’s next big thing. When the dust settled, he was the first quarterback being selected in most fantasy drafts with an ADP of 1.10. Of course, hindsight is 20-20, and we now know that injuries limited Luck to just seven games played. However, over that span he ranked third in fantasy points with four top-10 fantasy weeks. So a healthy Luck remains a strong asset. Sure, he’ll throw some interceptions. Okay, more than just some. Last season, Luck was picked off on 4.1 percent of his attempts. Only Peyton Manning had a higher rate. But he also continually pushed the ball down field with an average depth of throw of 10.1 yards. The Colts are built for big plays with a fleet of speedy receivers, and Luck has one of the highest fantasy ceilings at the position.
Luck’s receiving corps will consist of T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett. Despite Luck’s struggles and having to play nine games with Matt Hasselbeck and Josh Freeman under center, Hilton still managed to finish as fantasy’s No. 24 receiver last season. All things considered, that’s not too shabby. However, consistency wasn’t Hilton’s forte, as he topped 100 receiving yards five times but also had fewer than 50 yards eight times. With a healthy and effective Luck in 2014, Hilton was only under 50 yards four times. He also ranked fifth in the league with 528 yards on deep receptions. Last season that number dipped to 426 yards, but he was still among the league leaders and caught 11 deep balls. With Moncrief likely to see a healthy percentage of the targets, Hilton is unlikely to be a true fantasy No. 1 receiver. However, his weekly upside places him squarely among the WR2s.
Indianapolis Colts projected 2016 offense with 2015 grades:
Though many believed Moncrief to be behind Andre Johnson in the target pecking order entering last season, the veteran floundered and Moncrief racked up 100 targets. Indy’s offensive woes did Moncrief no favors, as he topped 100 yards just twice and actually managed negative-two receiving yards in the season finale. However, he was fantasy’s No. 29 receiver before Andrew Luck got hurt. Luck is back and healthy, and we expect the Colts to rebound offensively. It should be noted that Moncrief had offseason surgery for turf toe, but he was running routes in the offseason and should be a full go in training camp. Given the upside he displayed last season, Moncrief has serious breakout fantasy appeal.
Dorsett was a general disappointment in his rookie season, after seeing just 36 targets as the fourth option in the Colts receiving game last year. With Andre Johnson no longer on the roster, Dorsett is expected to assume his role in the offense and see more snaps. With his speed – he ran a 4.33 40-yard dash time – Dorsett has the ability to stretch the field and could be potentially explosive after the catch. Still, his fantasy profile is somewhat volatile as the third receiver in the Colts’ pecking order. He’s worth a late-round flier, and makes for an intriguing DFS option.
With Coby Fleener now in New Orleans, Dwayne Allen figures to have a larger role this season. Despite possessing a traditional three-down tight end skill set, Allen has remained on the fringes of the fantasy radar throughout his career. Injuries are a concern with Allen, as he’s missed 21 games over the last three seasons, but he’s reportedly taking steps to stay healthy. An expanded role in a potentially potent offense is intriguing enough to give Allen TE2-plus appeal.
The ageless – but really 33-year-old – Frank Gore finished 2015 as fantasy’s No. 11 running back. It should be noted that part of the finish was due to his staying on the field for all 16 games. On a point-per-opportunity basis, Gore ranked 53rd among all running backs. He also wasn’t particularly effective as a receiver, finishing as one of just 10 running backs to not top 1.00 yards per route run. However, he’s still the lead back in the Indy offense. The bad news is that Father Time catches up with all of us. There hasn’t been a 1,000-yard rusher at that age-33 since 1984. Still, Gore has some juice left, and has little competition for touches. He’s a low-ceiling back-end RB2.
[Considering what it would cost to acquire each one, which Colts receiver do you want in fantasy drafts this year? Check out our PFF Draft Master tool and try a mock draft, complete with offensive line grades, full projections and all the PFF data.]
Behind Gore on the depth chart, the Colts have Robert Turbin – who was charged with possession or use of a controlled substance in Utah in July – along with journeyman Jordan Todman and rookie Josh Ferguson. Of the three backs, the rookie is the most intriguing. He went undrafted out of Illinois, but the Colts had a fourth-round grade on him. Ferguson lacks size (5’9, 198), but he has explosive speed and racked up 4.093 yards and 26 combined scores in college. He’s a home-run hitter who put up 322 of his 708 yards last season on runs of 15-plus yards. Ferguson has the potential to make an impact in 2016.
On the defensive side of the ball, the old faithful IDP option D’Qwell Jackson remains cemented as the Colts’ three-down option on the inside. He still has LB1 potential. Nate Irving and Sio Moore will battle for the other spot on the inside. Moore figures to play in passing situations, but will only have IDP relevance if he earns a job in the base defense. In the secondary, Clayton Geathers and Mike Adams will man the safety spots. While Adams has been a fantasy asset in the past, Geathers is the player to keep an eye on going forward. A former fourth-rounder out of UCF, Geathers has good size (6’2, 215) and could be a sneaky breakout IDP option.