It’s August. School is starting back up, the days are starting to get shorter, and training camp and preseason festivities are nearing a close as the NFL season is right around the corner. It is also time for the fantasy football draft season to start! As we get closer and closer to Week 1, more and more fantasy drafts will be happening.
When drafting we all want to get at least one player from our favorite team right? Today, I will discuss which players on the Colts you should be targeting and which to avoid for your fantasy squad. Note: ADP (Average Draft Position) data is based on Sleeper.app leagues, Redraft PPR(Point Per Reception).
QB: Anthony Richardson, ADP: QB12, Pick 102
Anthony Richardson is a rookie who fell into the perfect situation for him. The Colts have just hired Shane Steichen as head coach this offseason, who was a big part of last year’s fantasy MVP candidate Jalen Hurts taking a big step in his development. He is also surrounded by talent on the offensive side of the ball in Michael Pittman, Alec Pierce, Josh Downs, and (potentially) Jonathan Taylor. Not only that, but he has tested the most extraordinary athletic ability we have ever seen out of a QB.
Anthony Richardson was drafted with pick 4 of round 1 in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 10.00 #RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 1 out of 916 QB from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/EV9myLwunR pic.twitter.com/16M6qjHydU
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 28, 2023
Normally, I like to wait until after I make my case to tell you what to do, but I’ll make an exception for Richardson. DRAFT HIM! While it’s doubtful that rookie Anthony Richardson ends up as a top 3 or even top 5 QB in fantasy, this price point for the potential of Richardson is crazy low. In fact, if history is on his side, it’s more likely than not that he is a top-10 QB for fantasy just thanks to his rushing ability alone.
Fantasy points *per game* rank from every QB with 100+ carries in a season since 2000.
This is an Anthony Richardson tweet. pic.twitter.com/Zf18yF2tCT
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) August 2, 2023
While his rushing ability is off the charts, his passing game is the biggest concern and reason why he is being priced so low in ADP. This is understandable as his passing numbers from college don’t really inspire much confidence in drafting him for fantasy football as a rookie who is still considered “raw.” To counter that point though, take a look at last year’s Justin Fields. From all accounts, his passing numbers were horrendous.
Fields passed for 2,242 yards, which was 26th in the NFL, behind Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray who both had injury-riddled seasons. He completed only 192 passes, ranked 29th behind Baker Mayfield and Matthew Stafford (who played in NINE games). Fields’ fantasy finish though was QB7. Fields now has a true WR1 in his receiving room in DJ Moore and is being drafted as the QB6 in ADP. While I like the upside of Fields a lot this year, these are similar-style QBs going ROUNDS apart in fantasy, with similar upside.
Taysom Hill was a legit fantasy football QB1 from pure rushing volume alone when he got some starts.
Justin Fields just ripped off a top-five fantasy finish while throwing for 2,242 yards in 15 games.
Tim fooking Tebow was the QB8 in Weeks 7-17 after taking over in 2011. pic.twitter.com/DFPYzJClUA
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) August 9, 2023
He had great value even when the QB1 battle between him and Minshew was still going on, but that’s especially the case now that Richardson is the confirmed Week 1 starter. Richardson doesn’t just have upside as a rookie QB, he has league-winning upside.
RB: Jonathan Taylor(?), ADP: RB6, Pick 18
Honestly, I don’t even know what to say. Jonathan Taylor carries the biggest risk of any player in fantasy football drafted in the first three rounds. The running back room for the Indianapolis Colts is ever-changing. Since I started writing this article, Zack Moss broke his arm, Deon Jackson also got hurt, Kenyan Drake got signed, and Kareem Hunt almost got added. This has made for a very crowded backfield. Even if Jonathan Taylor ends up playing, how many touches does he actually end up getting this year?
Free Agent Kareem Hunt is going to visit the #Colts tomorrow and there has been reported great interest in signing him. If he joins the team, the RB room is about to be crowded.
— The Blue Stable (@TheBlue_Stable) August 8, 2023
We still have no clarity on the Jonathan Taylor front. There is no doubt that if we think Taylor plays a full season, he would be a top-10 fantasy RB and worthy of a first-round pick. The problem is, we have no idea what is going on with Taylor. First, he started training camp on the PUP list, then requested a trade after being unable to get a contract extension, and just recently, has started missing practices because he is still recovering from his ankle injury away from the team. Whether this is just a way to get a dejected-looking player away from an otherwise energetic team, we don’t really know the truth. The Colts hold all the cards for Taylor’s career. They do not have to trade him this year and can tag him in the year’s future. Taylor could end up holding out or not playing to begin the season, which makes his late first, early second draft price very risky.
Jonathan Taylor Fantasy Managers in June and Jonathan Taylor Fantasy Managers in August pic.twitter.com/jNWQWnQoWd
— TheOGfantasyfootball (@TheOGfantasy) July 31, 2023
Honestly, looking at the draft board, and the risks that Taylor brings, I don’t think I will have him in any of my leagues.
VERDICT: PASS, DRAFT AT YOUR OWN RISK
OTHER RBs: Evan Hull, ADP: RB74, Pick 269 | Zack Moss, ADP: RB76, Pick 272
If Taylor misses the beginning(or all) of the season or ends up getting traded, it’s hard to say who will get touches in the backfield. Zack Moss was the starter while Jonathan Taylor was out this past year, but Deon Jackson also got some touches in those games, including a 10-reception game which got him almost 30 PPR points. Kenyan Drake, who is a solid veteran, recently got signed to the team and could be worked in as the preseason progresses. The team also spent a draft pick on rookie Evan Hull, who has some pass-catching upside.
Evan Hull had the highest best-season reception share of any running back, including Jahmyr "Jerry Rice" Gibbs, at 22%.
Jonathan Taylor wants out of Indy.
Zach Moss broke his arm.
You can still get him for a late 3rd
— Chris M DFF Dynasty Football ⚙ (@force_fantasy) August 2, 2023
We still do not know when Jonathan Taylor will be back on the field, or even if he will as an Indianapolis Colt. Moss is likely to miss at least until Week 1 with his broken arm, potentially further into the season. We do not know much about Jackson’s injury and how long he will be out. Currently, in practice, Evan Hull has been mainly running with the first team. This could be while Kenyan Drake learns more of the playbook, but it seems like they have been okay with Hull being the RB1 for a period of time. Richardson has even checked down to him multiple times, which is unusual for a mobile QB like himself. If Hull gets a crack at starting, has pass-catching upside, and can potentially keep the job or at least carve a role when Moss comes back to where it would be a poor-man Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler, he could have some fantasy value.
The problem is, there are so many question marks in this backfield which leaves it very murky. But with such a low price, it’s worth it.
VERDICT: DRAFT AT THE END OF YOUR DRAFT
WR: Michael Pittman Jr, ADP: WR28, Pick 68
Michael Pittman has been through it. Injured his rookie year, and 5 starting QBs in the first 3 years of his career (possibly up to 7 after this season). This past season was a disaster for Indianapolis as a whole and Pittman’s fantasy value felt it. He became the lowest fantasy scorer with 99 receptions in the history of the NFL. Due to this and the uncertainty around Richardson’s passing game his rookie year, he went from an ADP of WR19 in 2022 to WR27 this season.
Are you in or out on Michael Pittman for 2023?
— Jake's Fantasy Football (@JakesFFootball) August 3, 2023
Pittman’s fantasy value seems to be very controversial right now in the fantasy landscape. Many love him due to being the WR1 in an offense and projecting to get over 100 targets but still getting him as a high-end WR3 for fantasy. Others are so scared that the Colts passing offense will result in low stats like the Bears last year. For example, the top WR for the Bears last year was Chase Claypool who finished as the WR67 in PPR. There also is the scary fact of WRs not producing well for fantasy with a rookie QB.
29 rookie QBs started 8+ games over the past decade
Justin Herbert was the only one to support a 16+ PPR/game fantasy WR (Keenan Allen)
Just 5 other WRs reached 14 fantasy ppg (top-24 production) with a rookie QB
And none of those 5 played with a mobile QB like Richardson 😬 https://t.co/7R2asov9st
— Josh Larky (@jlarkytweets) August 6, 2023
Honestly, as much as I love Pittman (he was the first Colt I rostered in my main dynasty league), I am worried about his season. The passing offense is likely to take a dip and even if he gets similar targets to last year, his ceiling is lower than that of the WRs going around him (Aiyuk, Hollywood Brown, Mike Evans). Unless he falls about a round in my drafts, I likely won’t be rostering much of Pittman this year.
WR: Alec Pierce, ADP: WR71, Pick 199
While I am out on Michael Pittman, I believe I may be in on Pierce because of four words; second-year wide receiver. It’s a known secret now that wide receivers going into their second season have historically outperformed their ADP and had a breakout season. Also, Pierce is going so late (undrafted in some leagues) that the risk reward with him is so much lower than it is with Pittman.
Some notable second-year WR jumps:
- Devonta Smith: Rookie Year Finish: WR29 | 2nd Year Finish: WR9
- DK Metcalf: Rookie Year Finish: WR34 | 2nd Year Finish: WR7
- Chris Godwin: Rookie Year Finish: WR67 | 2nd Year Finish: WR29
- DJ Moore: Rookie Year Finish: WR39 | 2nd Year Finish: WR16
- Tyreek Hill: Rookie Year Finish: WR19 | 2nd Year Finish: WR8
- AJ Brown: Rookie Year Finish: WR21 | 2nd Year Finish: WR12
- Stefon Diggs: Rookie Year Finish: WR46 | 2nd Year Finish: WR30
- Alec Pierce: Rookie Year Finish: WR63
Now I am not suggesting drafting Pierce and expecting a top-20 fantasy finish or anything, but just for the fact that he is going at the end of drafts and has the potential to be a flex player for the bye weeks, he is worth drafting. Especially since the Colts just drafted a quarterback that will fit his skillset very well.
Alec Pierce has been trying to time his back-shoulder-fade with Anthony Richardson's zip and release.
Today, it created an explosive play.
AR: "Just trying to get used to his speed and the way he likes the ball coming down. We finally got one to work today and it feels good." pic.twitter.com/H2JxNB68Ys
— Nate Atkins (@NateAtkins_) August 10, 2023
Last season, Pierce was a popular waiver wire pickup after having 3 straight games of 10+ PPR points. The problem, though, the rest of the season was very inconsistent for the rookie. It did not help that the QB situation was ever-changing and there seemed to be no deep targets for Pierce to unlock his “true form.” Richardson this training camp has been the opposite. There have been multiple deep targets thrown each practice for Pierce, and the connection has been growing stronger and stronger as time goes along.
Anthony Richardson hit Alec Pierce on another back-shoulder fade. That connection is growing.
— Nate Atkins (@NateAtkins_) August 10, 2023
Again, I’m not sure if Pierce gets to be anything more than a bye-week flex option, but the fact that he is going lower than where he finished last season, and he now has a QB that can unlock him? Count me in for at least taking the shot at him and if it doesn’t work out I can easily drop him for a waiver wire pickup a couple weeks into the season.
TEs: Jelani Woods, ADP: TE36, Pick 261 | Others, Undrafted
If you got fantasy points for potential, Jelani Woods would be a 1st round pick. The problem is, that’s not how fantasy works. Honestly, tight ends in fantasy are hard enough to predict, let alone just the Colts tight end room. Jelani Woods was drafted as a future starter and potential star, Mo-Alie Cox who was the previous starter is on the roster, Drew Ogletree was a star in training camp last offseason before he tore his ACL, and Kylen Granson is a solid receiver and one of the only healthy options right now.
Jelani Woods is not practicing again today for the #Colts
— Destin Adams (@TheDestinAdams) August 6, 2023
To keep this short, since the rest of the article has been pretty long, I do not believe there will be enough targets to a specific TE in this offense to warrant wanting to draft. It’s likely you will see top 10 weeks from multiple TEs on this roster from Woods, Granson, and potentially Ogletree. The problem is, you don’t know when those weeks will be.
More from The Blue Stable: