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In this Thursday, July 25, 2019 file photo, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) throws during practice at the NFL team's football training camp in Westfield, Indiana.
In this Thursday, July 25, 2019 file photo, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) throws during practice at the NFL team's football training camp in Westfield, Indiana.|Michael Conroy | Associated Press
NFL

Fantasy Life NFL Preview: 2019 Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck and Marlon Mack are great fantasy targets... if healthy

Aden Ware

The Colts came in second in the AFC South last year, finishing 10–6 after a brutal 1–5 start. Frank Reich proved that he could really help turn the team around and Andrew Luck proved all the doubters wrong. The kid was back last year. After sliding into the Wild Card spot and beating the Texans in the first round of the playoffs the Colts lost to the Chiefs, who went on almost upset the Patriots in the AFC championship game. 2018 Was a great comeback year for Indianapolis.

Off-Season Changes

The Colts haven’t made any changes to the coaching staff and their biggest signing was Devin Funchess from the Panthers. The Colts also spent most of their draft to shore up their middle of the road defense. The only offensive players drafter were two seventh round linemen and wide receiver Parris Campbell in the second round.

Fantasy Outlook

Indianapolis is going to be a high-scoring offense this year with lots of solid players behind a great offensive line (ranked third last year per pro football focus) and a truly elite quarterback at the helm. Luck is going as the fourth quarterback off the board in the sixth round of current ADP. I will say to keep a careful eye on Luck this off season. He’s been dealing with a calf injury for a couple of months now and today news broke about him having a “bone issue.” The team says they believe they know the source of the pain and that it won’t require surgery but it’s something to keep an eye on. If he’s healthy, he’s going to be an absolute stud.

Marlon Mack is someone who I’ve been winding up with a lot in my mock drafts. He missed four games and still wound up as RB 21 in half PPR leagues (just .4 points away from 20th). He finished the year with 195 rushing yards for 908 yards (4.7 yards per carry) and nine touchdowns. If he can stay healthy behind that line and in that offense, I don’t see why he can’t be a Top 12 back this year for fantasy (he’s currently going as running back 18 in the middle of the third round). The other running back for fantasy is Nyheim Hines. He’s going to be the passing down back, and that might be limited with Campbell eating into that kind of work and coach Reich saying he wants Mack to be a feature back this year. Not only that, but, he’s known for being a big play threat, but, didn’t have any runs of 20-plus yards last year, what we would call a big play. If you believe in his talent and that the Mack stuff is just coach speak and the Campbell talk is just rookie hype, then he’s going in the 13th round as running back 58 so you can definitely take a dart throw, and, on a good offense you could do worse in the 13th.

For wide receivers the man to own is TY Hilton. Hilton is just a yardage machine with 1,270 yards last year, finishing as WR 13 while missing two games. He’s going to see 120-plus targets again and just eat up yardage. He’s worth his price tag as WR 12 in the third round. The next guy up is Funchess. I’m not interested in him at all. I don’t think he’s particularly talented or fast. I also don’t think he’s for sure the No. 2 wide receiver for this team. He’s definitely got the biggest name since he was the No. 1 in Carolina, but I think the No. 2 spot will be a mesh of guys like him, Deon Cain, Campbell, Chester Rogers and Zach Pascal. The only thing he really offers is size and Luck has bigger, more talented guys at the tight end position to target for that. I’m not really interested in any other wide receiver on this team, which is weird since I expect them to be prolific. There’s just too many guys that all do different things and Reich is going to mix and max them to get the most out of the offense.

This is the most confusing tight end situation to talk about for fantasy. Most teams are easy — do they have a tight end and if so do they throw to him? The Colts, not so much because they have two guys that played a ton of snaps last year, Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle. last year, Ebron finished as the fourth tight end in fantasy with 750 yards and a whopping 13 touchdowns. Sounds pretty open and shut right? I don’t think it’s that simple. Ebron benefitted massively from Doyle being injured the vast majority of the season. Doyle played more snaps and had more targets in the game he was actually in. In week one, for example, Doyle had 10 targets while Ebron only had five, Ebron just happened to get the touchdown. The fact that Doyle is healthy and sees more volume is baked into Ebron’s draft price, having him at an ADP of TE 7 in the seventh round. Doyle, however, isn’t being drafted. We’ve seen Doyle have Top 10 seasons before and he could be a massive waiver wire acquisition Week 1.

2019 Season Outlook

Every word you’re about to read is being written under the assumption that Luck is healthy. I think the Colts are going to be a true Super Bowl contender. They’re in a highly competitive division but are have one of the best coaches and quarterbacks in the NFL. They’ve surrounded Luck with lots of talented skill position players, have dramatically improved their offensive line and are steadily improving their defense. This team is going to be a juggernaut and is my favorite to win the division and my early AFC Champion pick.

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