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It's hard to hedge when it comes to the health of Andrew Luck's shoulder. You can project the offense with him or without him, but choosing some arbitrary point in the middle doesn't serve any need. So I'll try to do both. All the numbers you'll see in the meat of this article are assuming a 16-game season for Luck. The next few paragraphs will consider what I would expect for the Colts if they're without Luck again.
Without Luck, and with a crowded backfield, I'd have a hard time having interest in any of the Colts running backs. Jacoby Brissett would be the quarterback again, and opposing defenses are not going to pay enough respect to the passing game to give the running backs any room at all. They wouldn't even be that appealing in the passing game, as Brissett didn't target that position heavily last year. Marlon Mack would still be the best, but he'd be a bye-week replacement.
T.Y. Hilton is the one Colt I'd still draft as a starter, but it would be as a low-end No. 2 receiver or flex, well below where I have him with Luck. Remarkably, Hilton topped 150 yards three times in 2017. Only Antonio Brown (five times) did that. Of course, Hilton also had six games with fewer than 30 yards. With the lack of talented pass catchers around him, it wouldn't be difficult for some defenses to take Hilton away, but you won't often leave that kind of upside on your bench.
At tight end, I'd be much less likely to target Eric Ebron or Jack Doyle in a standard redraft league. They would both be fine late-round options in bestball leagues, but I wouldn't be able to trust either until I saw who Brissett was favoring.
Let's hope that's the last time we consider the possibility of the Colts without Luck in 2018. Here's what the Colts look like with him.
*Rankings expressed below are in terms of expected Fantasy points. This is a part of our actual Fantasy Football rankings but not a direct correlation to my rankings. Things like injury risk, upside, etc. factor into rankings but they're not being talked about here. This is simply an expectation as the team is currently constructed.
EXPECTED PPR FP
Breaking down the touches
The Colts have a new head coach and offensive coordinator in Frank Reich and Nick Sirianni. That creates some uncertainty, but Reich will be calling plays and we do have a history of him as an offensive coordinator. Reich has worked as an OC under Mike McCoy and Doug Pederson and you can probably guess what those two offenses had in common, extreme tight end dependence. Looking at his last three years you'll see that tight ends have accounted for 170 targets per year, or 27.8 percent of the total targets. That makes room for both Eric Ebron and Doyle to be involved in the offense.
The last two years in Philadelphia Reich has also oversaw offenses that really spread the touches at running back thin. In 2017 the Eages had four different running backs touch the ball 60 times, and no one topped 181. The year prior, Ryan Mathews led the team with 168 touches (in 13 games) while Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood both topped 80 touches. With the current running back stable in Indianapolis it wouldn't be a surprise if this trend continues. Based on offseason comments, I expect it.
- Mack had offseason surgery on his shoulder, but all reports are he'll be ready for camp. His absence this summer will provide an opportunity for the rookies to get reps.
- This is the only team that only has two receivers in this section. That's partially because of the lack of quality depth at receiver, but also because of the increased tight end target share.
- The Colts have not behaved as if they believe in Doyle as a No. 1 tight end and the acquisition of Ebron just continues that. I could see Doyle having more success in the red zone than Ebron, but I'd expect Ebron will get more targets.
If you're looking for a large collection of retreads and potential sleepers, Indianapolis is the place for you. This group will shrink before training camp ends but right now they have Christine Michael, Robert Turbin, fifth round pick Jordan Wilkins and Josh Ferguson all on the roster at running back. Without an injury I'm not expecting any of these players to make a major contribution, but I would expect one of them to get 5-10 touches a game as a third running back. Wilkins is the one back that could get some buzz this summer and grab my attention.
The back end of the receiving corps is no-less crowded, and there's opportunity available. I've left 15 percent of the Colts targets up for grabs in my expectations and someone could certainly take a chunk from Grant. Daurice Fountain is the most interesting name here if the Colts don't add another receiver.