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Fantasy Football Offensive Evaluation: Indianapolis Colts

Things the city of Indianapolis should do after Peyton Manning retires:

  • Immediately retire #18. Not just for the Colts, but for every other sports team in Indiana, for every high school (both on the field and in the classroom), basically in general, the counting system in the state will now go 15, 16, 17, (moment of silence), 19.
  • Officially rename the team to The Indianapolis Colts presented to you by Peyton Manning.
  • Replace the quarterback position with a cardboard cut-out of Peyton Manning, since he will never be replaceable anyway.
  • Make Eli Manning a sacrificial lamb to the Gods in hopes that they will provide you with a brand new Peyton Manning in return.
  • Every citizen of the state will treat Reggie Miller like the son they love, but who really disappointed them because he wasn't as good as his brother.

Why do all these things just for a quarterback? Well, the Colts have been outscored during the season twice under Manning, including his rookie season, and made the playoffs 11 times. In the 22 years prior to Manning, they outscored their opponents only twice and made the playoffs 3 times. He's good.


Peyton Manning

Have I said anything nice about you lately? Okay, Manning isn't as good as he was in his prime perhaps, but he's still amongst the few elite signal callers in the league. Last year at age 34 he set career highs in completions, attempts, and yards while setting a career low in yards per completion. They weighed heavily on Manning last year and found themselves at 6-6 before winning their final 4 games to make the playoffs again. Manning threw 2 or more TD's in all but 3 games, but threw 11 interceptions over a 3 games stretch against New England, San Diego, and Dallas; all losses. How will he be different this season compared to past seasons? I don't see why he would be. Even at 34, and with a neck injury, Manning hasn't missed a game in his career and I wouldn't expect him to start now. It's the consistency, the talent, the brains, and the weapons around him that still makes Manning the #2 QB in the league to me behind Brady. He just makes me feel safe. I like to feel safe.

Curtis Painter

Painter will be the... haha, tricked you! Not gonna talk about Painter. Teammates say nice things about him, maybe he should go to another team.

Running Back

Joseph Addai

This is where things get interesting for the Colts. Will they establish a #1 running back again or not? The franchise had a nice history of Hall of Fame quality running backs; Eric Dickerson to Marshall Faulk to Edgerrin James. In 2006, they let James go and drafted Addai in the 1st round, leading fantasy owners on to believe that Addai would rush for over 12,000 career yards just as each of his predecessors did. (Okay, I don't think anyone would guess that out of Addai, but the expectations were very high.) Instead, Addai has been in running back by committee ever since and he's averaged 53 yards per game combined over the last 3 seasons. That won't change this year, and with Addai returning from injury, I wouldn't touch him in the draft unless he slipped considerably. It's worth noting for all running backs (and the offense entirely) that the Colts went 1-2 in their draft this year on offensive tackles Anthony Costanzo and Ben Iljana. Both should help improve the line, but as rookies on a short camp, how much they will help remains to be seen.

Donald Brown

Brown rushed for 2 more yards than Addai did (497) and led the team in rushing yards. That's all I really need to know about the Colts running game. No, Manning probably won't throw nearly as much as he did last year, but in a committee situation on a passing team, I don't hold out hopes that Brown will break out for 1,200 yards and 10 scores. Of course, it is possible on some level which is why Brown will get drafted, but why he's a late round pick for me. He's a 2009 first round pick who tore up the Jaguars last season, but did poorly in almost every other game.

Delone Carter

He is a 4th round pick out of Syracuse. Because previous Colts like Domonic Rhodes came out of nowhere to have a fantasy impact, that's why you always keep an eye on their RB depth chart. Especially with Addai coming off injury. As of now, he is trying to be the short-yardage back, which could mean "TD Vulture"

Darren Evans

Evans is an undrafted free agent rookie trying to steal Carter's job that he hasn't won yet. He rushed 8 times for 52 yards against the Rams in the preseason opener. I guess, keep an eye on him too, but now you're cross-eyed.

Wide Receiver

Reggie Wayne

Unlike previous years, I don't expect any surprise names in terms of Colts WRs this year, which probably means there will be at least one. But this group of players is so deep and so good that I can't see anyone challenging them, even if 1 or 2 get hurt, there's a lot of depth here. Wayne is the obvious one. Over his last 7 seasons, he has averaged 92 catches, 1,264 yards, 8 TDs, and he hasn't missed a single game. Do you see why I value guys like this? He's 33 now, but that's not quite over the hill for wideouts, especially ones like Wayne. Marvin Harrison had 82 catches and 12 TDs when he was 33. Terrell Owens had 85 catches and 13 TDs at 33. Wayne's got a couple years left in him and he's got a great QB.

Austin Collie

There's a couple ways you could go here, but Collie is my 2nd favorite Colts receiver. In his first 3 games last year he had 27 catches, 359 yards, and 4 TDs. He was doing just fine until he got his bell rung and Collie ended up playing in only 9 games. If healthy, he's a potential WR1. That's the big question of course, is Collie's health. He's dealing with a knee injury this year that's caused him to miss practice. He's a risky pick, but a risk worth taking if he manages to get to 100% by the start of the season.

Pierre Garcon

If Pulp Fiction taught me anything, it's that Garcon means boy and that you never go into the basement of a pawn shop. He didn't put up the same kind of numbers as Collie, even when Collie was out, but he was very good. He's an above average WR3, and if Collie is out, a solid WR2 perhaps, but I'm a little more shaky on that. Not saying I wouldn't definitely want him on my team, but I wouldn't reach for him either. I like him, I just can't get past the fact that he's the third WR on the Colts when the other guys are healthy.

Anthony Gonzalez

Like James to Addai, Gonzalez was supposed to transition into some sort of replacement for Harrison as Robin to Waynes Batman. (That sounds really confusing considering Batman is Wayne) Fantasy owners drooled over a first round wide receiver to the Colts. He seemed to steadily improve in year 2, and he totaled 57 catches for 664 yards. However, he's been placed on IR in each of the last 2 seasons and managed 5 catches for 67 yards total. It's been a disappointment for Gonzalez, and he's got an injured hamstring in camp this year. There's time to turn it around, but he's untouchable in drafts.

Blair White

White is 5th on the depth chart as of now, but there are all those injuries. He caught 5 TDs last season as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan State. He's one to watch if the depth chart is shufflin'. Every day it's shufflin'.

Tight End

Dallas Clark

2009: 100 catches, 1,106 yards, 10 TDs, 69 YPG, 16 games

2010: 37 catches, 347 yards, 3 TD, 58 YPG, 6 games

2009 was a career year for Dallas Clark and I think some value it as what will be the norm for him. It's not the norm, its the outlier. It's the extreme. If I shoot 100 3-pointers and I make 10 of them, are you going to put me on your basketball team as the "3-point specialist" because I sold you on the 10 that I made, not the 90 that I missed? (And I'm overselling myself on being able to make 10!)

That being said, Dallas Clark is a great tight end, I just think he's going a little soon. In 2008 he caught 77 passes for 848 yards, and 6 TDs. That's about what I would expect from 32 year old Dallas Clark in 2011, and coming off injury, that's the peak of what I do expect.

Jacob Tamme

When Clark went down, Tamme stepped in and had 67 catches for 631 yards and 4 TDs. He made 10 starts and had at least 4 catches in all of them and at least 7 catches in 7 of them. He's a solid, solid TE... when he's starting. The Colts did used to run some good 2 TE stuff, but Tamme didn't have a catch until Clark went down. He's going to get much more play this year, but Clark is still the #1 option. He's someone to watch as the season goes on, but not draftable unless you're in a league that's weird like that.

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