Fade the Colts: Damn the Bad Luck
A generational talent under center is walking away from the NFL before he turns 30 years old. In a league where Drew Brees, 40, and Tom Brady, 42, are still slinging the ball. In the weirdest turn of events, the world, and apparently the Colts, found out during the team’s third preseason game.
The fantasy community now needs to find out what this means for the positional players on the Colts. Where should TY Hilton be drafted? Is this good or bad for Marlon Mack owners? Want a brief summary? Fade the Colts. For more, keep reading;
The highest-profile player on the Colts, with Luck gone, is now TY Hilton. A truly talented receiver, Hilton’s value hinges on the person throwing him the ball. The last time Brissett was chucking the pigskin, Hilton posted a line of 57 receptions, 966 yards, and four touchdowns. All of which were the lowest since his rookie season.
Using our Splits tool to review Hilton with and without Brissett over the past two seasons is rather interesting though. The rate of touchdowns actually goes up slightly as well as the market share. But the big indicators of Hilton’s success, targets, receptions and yards all take a dip. Yards down right plummet over 25 per game, from 91.5 to 66.05.
That is worrisome considering yardage and big plays are Hilton’s bread-&-butter when it comes to Fantasy Football. Paired with a healthy Luck you could pencil in 1,200 yards and six touchdowns in August and be confident he would be closing in on that line by Thanksgiving.
Checking Brissett’s heat map we can see why Hilton takes a step back without Luck. Brissett seems to favor the left side when pushing the ball downfield, and the right side for passes closer to the line of scrimmage. In 2017 he wasn’t using Hilton down the field as much as he was using him within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. That big-play role seemed to be Donte Moncrief’s.
All of this indicates we need to lower Hilton’s projections. He doesn’t fall off the map considering his market share in this offense, but he also can’t be your WR1 in Fantasy.
|Targets||Rec||Catch%||RecYds||Rec TDs||Yds/Rec||0.5-PPR Fantasy Pts|
My projections for the Colts No.1 receiver have him scoring 164.20 fantasy points in Half-Point PPR scoring, which would have been good for the 23rd WR in fantasy last season.
Mack should see an increase in volume as the Colts, predictably, rushed the ball more and passed less in 2017 without Luck. But that uptick in rushing volume wasn’t great for the perpetual Frank Gore or the rookie Mack. Gore posted a measly 3.7 yards-per-carry, matching his career-low.
More interesting was the fact that as Gore’s targets-per-game, receptions-per-game, reception yards-per-game, and market share all went down, Mack’s went up. Was this due to Brissett under center, or Mack coming in as a talented rookie? We have no way of saying for sure. But one solid indicator for Mack when you check his splits, are his reception yards-per-game more than doubling, from 5.67 to 16.29, with Brissett. If we merge Gore and Mack’s metrics from that year, I have a projection line I am comfortable with.
|Rush Att||Rush Yds||Rush TDs||Rec||Rec Yds||Rec TDs||0.5-PPR Fantasy Pts|
In terms of 2018, Mack’s stat line above would be good for 15th among all running backs. Not terrible, certainly not efficient, but also not horrible. Mack would be a solid RB2 based solely on volume. Word of caution though, as our lovely Ethan Turner likes to remind us regularly, with an increase in volume comes the increased likelihood for injury.
Doyle might not have usurped Eric Ebron in our consensus rankings, but a number of analysts, including yours truly, have swapped the two in rankings. Not only was Doyle on pace to lead the two last season in targets, but his time with Brissett is truly enticing.
The Opportunity Data tool shows us Doyle’s opportunity and Half-PPR ranking both peaking in 2017 when Jacoby Brissett was last calling the shots for the Colts. Considering Doyle’s market share with Brissett was over 5% higher than with Luck, it lines up that 2017 should have been the strongest year for Doyle. In that season, Doyle recorded only one less target than Hilton.
Sadly, just as with Hilton, Doyle’s reception yards-per-game take a dip without Luck. But targets, receptions, and touchdown-per-game all rise along with market share. Doyle is the single beneficiary on this offense with the change under center and should be firmly in folks Tier 2 at tightened.
|Rec||Rec Yds||TDs||0.5-PPR Fantasy Pts|
Doyle’s projected 131.20 fantasy points would have made him the sixth-ranked tight end at the end of the 2018 season just behind Jared Cook. With an ADP still in the 14th round, make Doyle the steal of the draft when you grab him in the double-digit rounds.
If the burn of Andrew Luck’s early retirement causes Hilton and Mack to bottom out too much in drafts, they could still have some value. With anything, there is always a “good price” and my projections still show both players being solid WR2/RB2 or Flex plays. So if you see them available still in the fifth or sixth round snag them for solid ROI. But if their ADP doesn’t slip that far, let someone else gamble on TY Hilton and Marlon Mack. But as long as the news stands that Jacoby Brissett is going to be the starting quarterback in Indianapolis the only position player you should be targeting in drafts or early season trades is Jack Doyle. He is the one player whose value has risen since Luck’s announcement.
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