The new batch of Chris Ballard draftees is officially in. A new set of players means new fantasy expectations. Today I’ve decided to foreshadow the fantasy outlook for our new draft class. I’ll break this piece into two halves. The first half will be for a season-long value, and the other half will be for dynasty value. With that being said, let’s get into it and look at what players I’ll be drafting this coming year.
Alec Pierce WR
We will start with our second-round pick from Cincinnati. I believe Pierce has a lot of upside with this offense. It would be outrageous to say Pierce has WR 1 value in year 1. I view Pierce as having a ceiling of a flex play each week. In deeper leagues, I could see a scenario where Pierce is a WR 2. I put the ceiling as a flex play for Pierce for many reasons; he’s a rookie, there are a lot of mouths to feed in this offense, and the possibility of adding another veteran as the off-season progresses.
Matt Ryan doesn’t intrigue me as a fantasy prospect because of his limited mobility; however, I love his offense. The receivers have been relevant when looking at the past with Matt Ryan and the Falcons from a fantasy perspective. Pittman will benefit from having Pierce on the field in year 1, but I think it won’t be long until Pierce takes over the spot. Matt Ryan will feed Pierce this season, making Pierce a viable flex option.
It’s early, but Pierce’s expected ADP (average draft projection) is around the same time as players like Curtis Samuel, Van Jefferson, Nyheim Hines, and Gronk. In my opinion, I would take Pierce over all of them except Hines. One of the things holding Pierce back is this offense will have mouths to feed. Pittman is coming off 1000 yard season. Hines is expected to have a more significant role in the offense. With Hines, I believe we could potentially see a season like Patterson had last season with Ryan.
If the Colts bring another WR into the fold, you’re taking away target share from Pierce. You’re not taking away Pittman or Hines with his new role. You’re not eating into Taylor’s touches. The only player that Pierce could be taking snaps over would be Campbell; however if Campbell is healthy all season, it could mean less snaps for Pierce than he would like.
Jelani Woods TE
It’s hard to judge a rookie tight end. The position is one of the hardest to make the college to pro transition. Woods is a phenomenal athlete and could have a rare rookie breakout season. Ryan has a history of elevating the position with top 15 finishes from Hurst and Pitts. Woods, as of now, isn’t going to be the TE 1. He will have to beat out Alie-Cox for that spot. However, the Colts do run a lot of formations that get two tight ends on the field. In year 1, I’m completely fading Woods in fantasy. Now for daily fantasy, I could have interest at a low price point. But again, in year one, from a season-long perspective, I’m afraid I will be fading, Mr. Woods.
Andrew Ogletree TE
I will keep this short and sweet. Do not under any circumstances draft Ogletree. I could name 100 others I would rather have than Ogletree.
The rest of the Colts’ picks were on the defensive side of the ball. I am interested in drafting the Indianapolis defense, but I prefer taking the streaming route. I do project the Colts will have a top 7 fantasy defense. I love the new additions the Colts made to the defense, but I would rather not spend a high-value draft pick to get the defense of choice.
Looking from a dynasty lens:
Jelani Woods TE
I have a ton of interest in Woods. He’s a genetic freak. One of those players where you know in a few years, he’s going to be an animal on the field. Woods will need a few years to develop, and I don’t think you see him start to blossom until year 2 or 3. In this batch of rookies, I would throw Woods in maybe tier 5 or 6. I think that’s being generous. I love the upside of McBride and Dulcich over Woods. I would also take Ruckert over Woods. I believe those three are safer options. It’s pretty standard for a rookie draft to be 4-6 rounds. If you want to take Woods, I suggest waiting until round 5. Or in your last round, if you have a 4 round draft.
Andrew Ogletree TE
Again just like season long, I believe Ogletree has value. I wouldn’t draft him, and I feel there is a chance he could be a roster cut. Zero-interest.
Alec Pierce WR
I love the landing spot for Pierce, but I don’t see it in dynasty value. This WR class is so deep Pierce is almost at the bottom for me. You look at Burks with Tennessee way more valuable than Pierce in Indianapolis. Moore and Watson are more valuable than Pierce. I’m looking at the third round for Alec Pierce. I think you could make an argument for the middle to end of the second round. Here are the players I would draft over Pierce. Jahan Dotson, Christian Watson, David Bell, George Pickens, Skyy Moore, Chris Olave, Jameson Williams, Drake London, and Garrett Wilson.
I loved what Chris Ballard did with this draft class. I’m looking forward to seeing what this rookie class can do on the field. As a fantasy guy, though, I’m not too high on the new prospects. However, I hope I’m wrong, and both Pierce and Woods turn out to be fantasy superstars.