2018 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Andrew Luck worth the Draft Day risk
Jamey Eisenberg looks at the outlook for Andrew Luck this season in his comeback after missing 2017 with a shoulder injury.
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The most important quarterback you'll read about during training camp isn't Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes or Jimmy Garoppolo. It isn't Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or Russell Wilson. It isn't even Carson Wentz.
In this case, luck has everything to do with it — Andrew Luck.
The Colts quarterback is coming back after missing the entire 2017 season with a shoulder injury, and he hasn't played a game since beating the Jaguars 24-20 on Jan. 1, 2017. But he's on pace to be ready for Week 1, and Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard said Luck is "good to go" for training camp, which begins this week.
We might even see Andrew Luck playing in actual football games in two weeks:
That's great news for Fantasy owners. Luck is back in the mix as a No. 1 quarterback.
I wasn't sure that was going to be the case for Luck, and I. At the time I wrote, "I hope I'm wrong on Luck and that he returns better than ever from his shoulder injury."
He has a chance to make that a reality.
Ballard said Luck would practice without limitations and take the team's starting snaps in camp, although he will have built-in days off. Ballard also sad Luck would play in the preseason. Ballard said Luck is on pace to make a full recovery.
"He's throwing the ball pretty well," Ballard said.
Luck still has plenty to prove during training camp, but Ballard is more than encouraged. He's making the proper progress to making sure he's back on the field in full capacity.
"Andrew is an elite competitor and a pretty rare one," Ballard said. "I think we've seen that during his career. I think it's more of playing live football again. I don't think there's any mental restrictions. I think it's more of getting the live reps versus live people. That's the timing, getting used to moving in the pocket. All those are the things you have to get used to."
If Luck is able to return at 100 percent, he could be a top five Fantasy quarterback this season — if not better. He was the No. 1 quarterback in 2014, before injuries derailed his success.
Luck originally injured his right shoulder against Tennessee in Week 3 of the 2015 season, and he played through the injury before suffering a lacerated kidney in Week 9. He returned in 2016, but his shoulder bothered him all year before undergoing surgery after the season.
He wasn't expected to miss the 2017 campaign, but he could never get back on the field. In total, he's missed 26 games since 2014, which is a concern. But, the price tag for Luck is cheap for Fantasy owners, at least as of now.
His current Average Draft Position is Round 9 as the No. 12 quarterback off the board. That's the perfect place to take a chance on him, given his upside. And the good thing is quarterback is such a deep position, you can pair Luck with plenty of standout No. 2 options to cover yourself in case he has a setback.
For example, quarterbacks being drafted after Luck include Matthew Stafford, Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan, Jared Goff and Philip Rivers, among others. They all share a different bye week than Luck, and they all have the upside to be a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback this season.
The Colts have rebuilt this offensive line with the addition of rookie left guard Quenton Nelson, so hopefully Luck won't take as many hits. He still needs help at receiver since T.Y. Hilton is his only proven target, although there are some intriguing options in Chester Rogers, Ryan Grant and rookie Deon Cain (Rogers in particular is one of my favorite late-round sleepers).
He does have quality tight ends in Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron, signed as a free agent from Detroit, and the running backs should be factors in the passing game, especially Marlon Mack and rookie Nyheim Hines.
If Luck is right with his shoulder, he will make this receiving corps work. And he'll make it work in potentially a big way for Fantasy owners.
It's great news that he's trending in the right direction. And he's the most important quarterback to keep an eye on during training camp.
We'll all be in better shape with Luck on our side.
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