As we inch closer to opening day of the NFL season, we want to get you prepared for your fantasy football drafts. That process begins with our team previews, where we’ll break down each team’s offense while providing players we’re targeting and, in some cases, avoiding.
Colts Fantasy Football Team Preview
Head Coach: Shane Steichen (first season)
Offensive Coordinator: Jim Bob Cooter (first season)
Key Offensive Additions
Key Offensive Departures
Key Offensive Rookies
Points Per Game: 17.0 (T-30th)
Passing Yards: 201.9 (23rd)
Rushing Yards: 109.8 (23rd)
Vacated Targets: 114 (22nd)
Pass: 63 percent Run: 37 percent
OL Rank: 22nd
Anthony Richardson was not a consistent passer in college, and he’ll likely struggle early in his career. In fact, when betting markets opened for player statistics, Richardson’s yards passing number was set below 2,800 (it’s off the board on DraftKings). That’s a very, very low number in that market.
That said, Richardson is a unicorn athlete who broke last year’s combine. He enters the league with a top-five rushing upside among quarterbacks. We should not bank on consistency with Richardson, but his dual-threat skill set gives him slate-breaking potential in tournaments or as a streamer. Richardson is a volatile redraft option who should be treated as a premium streamer. If you draft Richardson, you should consider holding him on your roster alongside a more stable, mid-round veteran.
If Richardson does not open the season as the Colts’ starting quarterback, Indianapolis will turn to journeyman Gardner Minshew. He is not who you want to build a franchise around, but Minshew is one of the better backups in the league who has exceeded 300 yards passing or 40 yards rushing multiple times in his career. If Minshew plays, he’s a matchup-based streaming option.
Jonathan Taylor underwent surgery on his ankle earlier this offseason and is still working his way back. This is far from the only concern with him, as he’s in a battle with Colts owner Jim Irsay about getting a contract extension. Irsay did not appear to budge, and Taylor has since requested a trade.
Assuming the situation is resolved, Taylor should be an absolute workhorse in 2023 with the vast majority of his touches coming on the ground. Richardson is an athletic marvel and is unlikely to provide running backs with ample check-down opportunities.
Think of Taylor like a higher-volume Miles Sanders from last season. Sanders was nothing more than an RB2 due to a lack of pass-catching. Taylor projects like a low-end RB1, and if we extend the Sanders parallel, much like Jalen Hurts, Richardson should cap Taylor’s touchdown upside by punching in a few on his own near the goal line.
There are no clear answers behind Taylor, and if he holds out or gets traded, the Colts most likely sign a veteran like Leonard Fournette. Zack Moss was the backup until he broke his arm early in training camp. While he should return around the start of the 2023 season, the lack of reps is concerning.
Deon Jackson has reportedly struggled with character issues, and while he’s demonstrated his ability to be fantasy-relevant when he gets a chance, expect his opportunities to be limited in the future.
Rookie fifth-rounder Evan Hull is the most intriguing name of the bunch. He has size, speed and an elite pass-catching background from college. However, five years at Northwestern could portend a slow transition to the faster NFL game. He’s the upside stash, but there’s also a chance he never sees the field in 2023.
The final piece to the puzzle is journeyman veteran Kenyan Drake, who crested 500 total yards each of the past two seasons. Drake is far removed from his workhorse days, and the end is near after being a healthy scratch in nearly half a dozen Ravens games last season. The 29-year-old’s lone edge in this running back gauntlet is his experience.
Wide Receivers, Tight Ends
We expect Indianapolis to run the ball to set up downfield throws once Richardson takes over at quarterback. Richardson’s current weakness lies in timing routes, which could affect the volume for their main wide receiver, Michael Pittman Jr. Pittman Jr. excels as a route runner, but he might not be a significant vertical threat. He could also see less volume in the Colts’ more run-centric approach.
Alec Pierce will complement Pittman Jr. and could come close in receiving yards by season’s end. Pierce was great on vertical routes as a rookie, ranking 22nd out of 164 players in yards per route run among those with 20 percent of their route tree as vertical routes and 400 routes run. Pierce’s vertical skill set fits how Indianapolis will move the ball down the field.
The Colts’ tight ends are going to split time and will not be players to target in fantasy. Jelani Woods is Jordan Vanek’s preference late in drafts, but role stability is a concern.
Ian Miller: Buy Woods (TE25)
There is no guarantee Woods will be a good fantasy tight end. But at his TE25 price, any risk is already factored in. You’re taking an upside shot on a tight end who has Jimmy Graham, Mark Andrews and Dallas Goedert at the top of his range of outcomes.
Colts We’re Targeting or Avoiding in Fantasy Football
Josh Larky: Avoid Taylor, Pittman Jr., Richardson.
Ryan Reynolds: Avoid Pittman Jr.
Jordan Vanek: Target Pierce, Avoid Pittman Jr.
Other Fantasy Previews
Follow our Team on Twitter
Josh Larky: @JLarkyTweets
Ryan Reynolds: @RyanReynoldsNFL
Jordan Vanek: @JordanVanekDFS
Ian Miller: @Dynasty_IM