Andrew Luck
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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is the online sportsbooks version of the Chinese Democracy album. When he underwent shoulder surgery in January we all thought – even though he was going to be out most, if not all, of the team’s offseason workout program – “yeah, sure, he’ll be ready for next season.” flash forward seven months and word is he might not be able to play until week 3 (and could actually miss six game if placed, unlikely as it may seem now, on the reserve/PUP list). That of course puts a damper not only on Luck’s fantasy value, but also that of his – currently Scott Tolzien’s – receiving unit; namely, T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, and Jack Doyle – and even running back Frank Gore, for that matter.
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Luck. If he were healthy, Luck would rank right up there with the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees. As a matter of fact, he finished 2014 as the No. 1 quarterback and was No. 4 in 2016 – but he played at least 15 games in each of those years. the Colts, as well as fantasy football owners could get by on Tolzien and Stephen Morris, as long as Luck’s absence doesn’t extend beyond a couple of regular season games.
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Hilton. Eugene’s ADP is currently at No. 30 overall as the No. 11 receiver off the board, behind players like Amari Cooper and Doug Baldwin – quite a fall from being a potential first-round pick. Hilton had career-bests in catches, yards, and targets, and scored six touchdowns in 2016. However, he had only 41 catches for 630 yards and two touchdowns in the 10 games that Luck missed in the last two years.
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Moncrief. Donte has a shoulder injury of his own to worry about in addition to Luck not playing. He put up just 30 catches for 307 yards on 56 targets last season, but managed nonetheless to add seven TDs. his only hope is that Tolzien targets him like he did in his only start in 2016 (11 targets for six receptions, 45 yards, and one touchdown). Otherwise he night justify being the No. 42 receiver being drafted at No. 116 overall.
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Doyle. Luck threw 12 of his 31 touchdowns to tight ends such as Jack Doyle, so his future is also hanging on the QB being healthy. Doyle’s ADP places him at the No.14 tight end at No. 135 overall.
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Gore. Frank’s could be the worst outlook of the bunch because in addition to Luck he needs center Ryan Kelly as well. Unfortunately, Kelly is currently struggling with a foot injury. Kelly’s absence detracts a lot from the running attack, and he is expected to be placed on injured reserve/designated to return – meaning he could be sidelined until week 9. To compound matters, Gore has 166 carries for 547 yards and three touchdowns, and 20 receptions for 169 yards and one touchdown in the last 10 games Luck has sat out. Furthermore, Gore had just three games with double Fantasy point digits in a standard league in that period.

Luck
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Cleveland Browns vs. Indianapolis Colts“ (CC BY 2.0) by  EDrost88 
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Everything went wrong for Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts last year. After reaching the AFC Championship game in 2014, plenty of NFL fans believed that Chuck Pagano’s men would push on and compete for a place in the Super Bowl in 2015. However, an injury to star quarterback Andrew Luck all but ended their chances of glory and Colts fans had to sit and watch as the Houston Texans won the AFC South title.
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Despite their struggles last season, there is plenty of optimism in the air at Lucas Oil Stadium ahead of the new campaign. Luck is back to 100% fitness and the Colts focused heavily on improving their offensive line in the 2016 NFL Draft. With added protection in front of him, Indianapolis may be about to regain their 2014 form – and the rest of the AFC will be wary of their offensive prowess.
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As of August 16th, the Colts are 25/1 in bet365’s NFL betting odds to go on and win the Super Bowl. While that may be a step too far, Indianapolis will certainly be much more competitive this time around. Luck is widely regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in the business and he will be very influential for the Colts this season. But he could also be central to your fantasy football this year. If you get the chance, you should definitely select him.
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Luck’s poor 2015 season was down to a few things.
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Firstly, Indy’s offensive line was virtually non-existent. There was a clear lack of protection for the Colts quarterback throughout the campaign and a hit-and-miss running game meant that Luck had to carry the offense on his own. Unfortunately, it was a step too far for the number one overall pick from the 2012 NFL Draft but that shouldn’t be an issue this season.
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Secondly, Luck was trying to force things a little too much. With new offensive co-ordinator Rob Chudzinski working closely with him, Luck may be about to improve and benefit from a tweaked scheme. Indianapolis are still going to be a pass-heavy offense but added focus on the running game should help to take a bit of pressure off Luck’s shoulders as the Colts look to get back to their best.
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His fantasy stock has fallen in the offseason but that could be good for your team. If you are fortunate, you could select Luck in the fifth round of the draft – a decent mid-round pick that will give you a solid option at the quarterback position. He is never going to do a Cam Newton but Luck has MVP potential and if he can regain his 2014 form, you could be on your way to the fantasy title.
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For us, he’s a top five quarterback without a shadow of a doubt. Write Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts off at your peril… we dare you.


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The AFC South features three of the top running backs in the league.
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Arian Foster is arguably the top ranked fantasy player in the league. The furthest I could see him tumble, at least at this point, is to three. He racked up 1616 yards and 16 touchdowns. As good as those numbers are, he also caught 66 passes for 604 yards and two more scores. Week in and week out he was one of the top fantasy players in the league. Ben Tate and Derrick Ward will get some carries, but neither threaten the stud running back.
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One of the players (along with Adrian Peterson) that could conceivably go before Foster is Chris Johnson, who was generally the number one pick in last year’s fantasy drafts. Johnson’s “down year” looks like a career year for anybody else. He had 1609 total yards (1364 rushing, 245 receiving) and 12 touchdowns (11 rushing, one receiving). The Titans are going to be more creative next year to get him the ball in space, so CJ2K should be particularly effective in PPR leagues. He doesn’t really have a threat for carries and is a likely top three pick.
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Maurice Jones-Drew keeps turning out big year’s as well. There were concerns about his knee heading into last season, but he responded with a 1641 total yard (1324 rushing, 317 receiving), seven touchdown (five rushing, two receiving) season. Rashard Jennings will get some carries, but isn’t a big threat week-to-week. MoJo will probably be a top five to eight pick depending on your format. Personally, I prefer some of the younger guys like Rahsard Mendenhall and LeSean McCoy.
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Indianapolis is the only stick situation because Joseph Addai is a free agent. He is expected to return to the Colts though, and his knowledge of the system and ability to pick up the blitz will likely keep him as the main back. Donald Brown and rookie Delone Carter will also vie for touches.
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Also check out:


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The AFC South made a big splash in the quarterback department in the recent NFL Draft.
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The division continues to be dominated by the Indianapolis Colts. Peyton Manning is consistently among the best fantasy quarterbacks in the league. He never has a shortage of weapons, and even when they break down like Dallas Clark last year, someone else (Jacob Tamme) steps up. One thing that needed more than a temporary fix was their offensive line. The Colts walked away from the draft with tackle Anthony Castonzo and guard Ben Ijalana. With better protection look for Manning to turn in another impressive season. Would you expect anything less?
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Matt Schuab regressed a little statistically, but that can be expected when you have the NFL rushing leader.  He still threw for 4370 yards and 24 touchdowns (12 INTs). With Andre Johnson, one of the more physical receivers in the league, look for Schaub to remain a quality QB1. The team did not give him any new weapons in the NFL Draft, instead using their first five picks on defense.
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In Jacksonville David Garrard will hold down the fort until Blaine Gabbert is ready to take control of the team. Garrard had a solid year throwing for 2734 yards and 23 TDs (15 INTs) while adding another 279 yards and five scores on the ground. The Jags are limited in the playmaker department. Marcedes Lewis scored ten touchdowns, but had just seven scores in four seasons before busting out in a contract year. Mike Sims-Walker is a free agent that will likely have a new home in 2011. Garrard is a quarterback to use during the bye weeks and little more.
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The Titans turned heads by taking Jake Locker with the eight pick in the draft. He will likely start the year on the sidelines while a veteran (possibly Matt Hasselbeck) acts as a bridge. Despite the presence of Kenny Britt, this is not a great quarterback situation. We’ll have to wait and see how this one plays out.
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The fantasy playoffs are underway in the majority of leagues as the Colts and Titans kicked off the action last night.
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Having players go in the Thursday night games gives you a little bit of advantage. If your players do good, you can perhaps be a little more cautions with your team. If your players failed to put up good numbers, perhaps you will want to take a bigger risk, hoping for a bigger reward to make up for it. You also get a feel for your match-up depending on how your opponents players did. Let’s take a look at how fantasy owners will be feeling about their players.
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Quarterbacks:   If you started Peyton Manning (319 yards, two TDs), which is roughly 99.9 percent of his owners, you are off to a great start. You can’t ask for much more than 300+ and a pair of scores without a pick. If you went with Kerry Collins (244 yards, three TDs) I want proof. Seriously though, heck of a call. You can’t be happier with your results.
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Running Backs: If you went with Chris Johnson (179 total yards, TD), which also is virtually everybody who owns him, you are off and running (pun intended). He came in with a juicy match-up, and he shrugged off his recent slump and delivered when you needed it the most. It does help to have a competent QB. If you rode the Javarris James (49 yards, TD) train, kudos to you. Donald Brown (62 total yards) had just enough total yardage to keep him from being a bust if he was in your lineup. continue reading »

Both Joseph Addai (shoulder) and Donald Brown (hamstring) missed practice again today, increasing the likelihood that both running backs will miss Monday’s rematch with Houston.
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If they are unable to go, Mike Hart will make the start for the Colts. Hart had 11 carries in each of the past two games, running for 50 and 43 yards respectively. He had a TD in the Week 5 game against the Chiefs.
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If you have alternative options, by all means use them on Sunday. It’s a real gamble waiting on a game-time decision on MNF. You’re better off playing it safe than taking the risk.
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In one of my leagues I’m forced to take on that risk. It’s a PPR league so I’m receiver heavy. Michael Turner and Brandon Jacobs are on bye. I have Joseph Addai and Mike Hart. At this point I’m rolling with Hart (along with Felix Jones) at RB. The alternatives aren’t very inspiring (Tolbert, MB3, Sproles).
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If you have to take the risk (like me), Houston is middle of the road in run defense. Their yards allowed per game is 13th at 104.3, but that is in part because they have been torched through the air. They are allowing 4.2 yards per carry so whoever gets the nod should be able to find running lanes. They are tied for 25th in the league with six rushing TDs allowed.
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Also check out:

  • Week 8 Get ‘em or Don’t Sweat ‘em Waiver Wire Advice
  • Week 8 Fantasy QB Rankings
  • Week 8 Fantasy RB Rankings
  • Week 8 Fantasy WR Rankings
  • Week 8 Fantasy TE Rankings
  • Week 8 Fantasy K Rankings
  • Week 8 Fantasy DEF Rankings
  • Week 8 Fantasy IDP Rankings
  • Week 8 Start/Sit Advice
  • Week 8 Sleepers

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    Jay Glazer is reporting that Ryan Grant is done for the season with leg and ankle injuries. Run, don’t walk, and make a bid for Brandon Jackson. However, you have to understand that he’s not going to get you what Grant would have. If you don’t get Jackson, Fred Taylor or Peyton Hillis are other RBs to target.
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    In other injury news, two players that could not be any more different in stature, but both dramatically affect the way their team defends the run could miss the season as well. Of course I’m talking about the Colts’ Bob Sanders (torn bicep) and the Jets’ Kris Jenkins (knee). Feel free to downgrade both defenses, particularly when it comes to stopping the run.


    Image courtesy of Icon SMI

     

    Many figured that Donald Brown would replace Joseph Addai at some point last year the way Addai replaced Dominic Rhodes many years ago. Brown’s injuries prevented that from even being an option. He set a season high with 14 carries in Week Three, but didn’t reach double-digits again until Week 16 when the Colts basically called it a season.

     

    To say it was a disappointing season for Brown would be a major understatement. He was expected to cut into Joseph Addai’s production, and only managed 450 total yards (289 rushing) and 3 TDs. That’s not to say he can’t have a mulligan. In fact, I expect a much better 2010 from Donald Brown.

     

    Addai had the lion’s share of the carries last year, but did it at a 3.8 ypc clip. With a 3.5 ypc in 2008, and a 4.1 ypc in 2007, Addai clearly isn’t a gamebreaker. Meanwhile Donald Brown has the ability to take on the distance at any time. Addai is also not a workhorse back. His high game last year was 79 rushing yards. He only topped 70 one other time., meaning Brown could see a lot more work in the ground game.

     

    Where Addai has a clear edge is in pass protection and short yardage situations. While Brown has good enough size (5’10″, 210) to get the tough yards if needed, failing to pick up the blitz will keep Brown from topping 100 carries in 2010.

     

    The Colts understand that you need at least two good backs to make a playoff run. They will want to ensure that Addai has space in the tank for the playoffs. I simply can’t imagine that Brown won’t get at least ten touches a game. If he does, he has the ability to serve as a decent flex start. If Addai were to miss any games with an injury, Brown could put up top 15 numbers. Addai suffered a concussion in the Colts’ third preseason game. He is expected to be ready for the season opener, but only time will tell. If he gets his bell rung during the season, Brown could step in and get a few spot starts.

     

    Donald Brown is one of the best handcuffs and represents a good value with an ADP of 103 (41st overall RB) according to Mock Draft Central. I actually have him slightly higher (click to see my RB rankings). He has a ton of upside for a ninth round pick and makes a solid RB4.

     

    What are your thoughts on Donald Brown?

     

    Dallas Clark is an absolute terror to opposing defenses. Last year he had 100 catches for 1106 yards and 10 TDs. Those are not just incredible numbers for a tight end, but incredible numbers for any position. I have him as my top rated fantasy TE, but where should he go in fantasy drafts?

     

    Mock Draft Central has his ADP at 50, meaning he’d go with the second pick in the fifth round. ESPN has him at 54. As rankings roll out, I’m sure that 50 mark will be pretty standard. I’m wondering if he should go a couple of rounds earlier.

     

    Clark was tied with teammate Reggie Wayne for fifth in the league in receptions, trailing only the injured Wes Welker, the Giants’ Steve Smith, Andre Johnson, and Brandon Marshall. In PPR leagues, that number has to be considered. Even in non-PPR leagues he was amazingly productive ranking 16th in receiving yardage and tied for 7th in receiving TDs. Only seven players had 1000+ receiving yards and 10+ TDs. Those players were Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald, Roddy White, Miles Austin, Marshall, Wayne, and Clark.

     

    There were only about 25-30 non-quarterbacks that scored more fantasy points than Clark  last year in non-PPR leagues, depending on your format of course. In PPR leagues, that number was even lower. There are probably about seven QBs that I would prefer over Clark (Rodgers, Brees, Manning, Rivers, Brady, Romo, Schaub).

     

    He has a rare combination of speed and size that makes him a difficult match-up for linebackers and safeties alike. He runs crisp routes and has the full confidence of one of the best QBs in the game. With Reggie Wayne tormenting defenses on the outside, Clark has a field day.

     

    With his ability and the system he operates in, I can easily see him going somewhere around the 35-40 spot making him a late third or early fourth round pick.

     

    2010 Prediction:  90 catches, 1000 yards, 10 TDs

     

    Agree? Disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you value Dallas Clark.

     

    Image courtesy of Icon SMI

    Here we are. The fantasy football mother lode. The Colts have an offense that is nearly impossible to slow down. Their biggest concern is they are too good and shut it down early.

     

    Fantasy Playoffs Schedule:  Moderate
    They take on the Titans on the road, the Jags at home, and the Raiders on the road. Though the week 16 match-up with Oakland appears favorable, you can’t count on the Colts’ starters to play the whole game.

     

    Five Star Fantasy Options
    Peyton Manning – Manning is consistently one of the top fantasy QBs. Everybody knows that.

     

    Reggie Wayne – Though he has to share with the Colts’ plethora of other options, he still managed to average 1249 yards and 8.7 TDs over the past six years.

     

    Dallas Clark – He’s so big and fast that it’s not fair he’s an excellent route runner with soft hands. He had 100 catches for 1106 yards and 10 TDs last year.

     

    Four Star Fantasy Options
    Joseph Addai – Everybody was ready to write him off because of Donald Brown’s arrival, but all Addai did was pick up 1164 total yards (828 rushing) and 13 TDs (10 rushing). He’s only 27 years old.

     

    Three Star Fantasy Options
    Donald Brown – Brown has big play ability and the Colts would like to give him a larger role in the offense assuming he can stay healthy. The Colts have the ability to have two fantasy relevant RBs at the same time.

     

    Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie – I like Garcon more than Collie (or Anthony Gonzalez). He took his game to a new level in last year’s playoff fun. Don’t think Manning didn’t notice. Collie has to have the upper hand for the slot position thanks to Gonzalez’s injury.

     

    Two Star Fantasy Options
    Anthony Gonzalez – After last year I am putting Gonzalez on “double secret probation”. A ton of fantasy owners got burned not so much by his injury, but by the fact that they wasted a roster spot for him for so long in anticipation of his return.

     

    Colts Defense/Special Teams – The Colts face the Texans twice, the Titans twice, the Giants, Eagles, Bengals, Patriots, Chargers, and Cowboys. Their easiest match-up is against the Raiders when they could be resting starters like Dwight Freeney in Week 16.

     

    Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.


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