32 Teams In 32 Days Indianapolis Colts
Hello, fellow fantasy football degenerates. In my “32 In 32” series I will be going team by team breaking them down from every aspect you can think of. From their records, team statistics, Vegas lines, contract situations, individual statistics, fantasy numbers, draft picks and implications, free agency updates, and more. Everything to recap 2018 and preview 2019.
In part four of the #32TeamsIn32Days series, we are going to be looking at the Indianapolis Colts. In 2018, Indianapolis saw the return of their franchise quarterback and he came back with a vengeance. No one could have been happier than the receiving weapons. It had been a long time since Andrew Luck took a snap and everyone had the fear that his shoulder would not hold up. Luck and the rest had other plans. We saw the emergence of Marlon Mack after the Colts drafted two running backs in 2018. The pass catchers were the happiest to see Luck throw the ball 639 times. Let’s get into it.
Indianapolis Colts (10-6) Wild Card
Much like the team, they chased in 2018, the Houston Texans, The Indianapolis Colts started off rather slowly. Loses in five of the first six games had people questioning whether Luck would ever be the Luck of old. Whether Frank Reich was capable of the Head Coaching spot. Indianapolis answered a lot of those questions. They reeled off five wins in a row and nine of their last 10 games in total including a Week 17 game that was essentially a playoff game, 33-17 against the Tennessee Titans. In the stretch, they scored more than 25 points seven times and only failed to score fewer than 23 points once.
The Colts took on a team in the Titans who were missing their quarterback but were sporting a newfound power running game. Indianapolis won the game handily (33-17) and booked their flight to Houston for a second time this year. They advanced past the Texans but the ride ended the following week when they ran into the offensive juggernaut offense that is the Chiefs. Considering the start they had, the Colts looked like a force heading into the playoffs and moving forward. Look for them to make a lot of noise in 2019. Luck will be another year removed from injury so it should only get better.
|Pre 1||Thu||August 8||7:00 PM ET||@||Buffalo Bills|
|Pre 2||Sat||August 17||4:00 PM ET||Cleveland Browns|
|Pre 3||Sat||August 24||7:00 PM ET||Chicago Bears|
|Pre 4||Thu||August 29||7:00 PM ET||@||Cincinnati Bengals|
|1||Sun||September 8||4:05PM ET||@||Los Angeles Chargers||preview|
|2||Sun||September 15||1:00PM ET||@||Tennessee Titans||preview|
|3||Sun||September 22||1:00PM ET||Atlanta Falcons||preview|
|4||Sun||September 29||1:00PM ET||Oakland Raiders||preview|
|5||Sun||October 6||8:20PM ET||@||Kansas City Chiefs||preview|
|7||Sun||October 20||1:00PM ET||Houston Texans||preview|
|8||Sun||October 27||4:25PM ET||Denver Broncos||preview|
|9||Sun||November 3||1:00PM ET||@||Pittsburgh Steelers||preview|
|10||Sun||November 10||4:05PM ET||Miami Dolphins||preview|
|11||Sun||November 17||1:00PM ET||Jacksonville Jaguars||preview|
|12||Thu||November 21||8:20PM ET||@||Houston Texans||preview|
|13||Sun||December 1||1:00PM ET||Tennessee Titans||preview|
|14||Sun||December 8||1:00PM ET||@||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||preview|
|15||Mon||December 16||8:15PM ET||@||New Orleans Saints||preview|
|16||Sun||December 22||1:00PM ET||Carolina Panthers||preview|
|17||Sun||December 29||1:00PM ET||@||Jacksonville Jaguars||preview|
The Colts averaged 27.1 points a game in 2018 which ranked fifth in the league. They averaged 386.2 yards per game which came in at seventh overall and ran 1,070 offensive plays for the third most in the league. The Colts were near the top when it came to converting first downs. They averaged the sixth most in the league with 23.2 per game and converted a league-high 48.6% of third downs. Indianapolis was a fairly mistake prone team though as far as penalties go. They averaged 7.5 per game (120 total) which ranked fourth in the league. This number is a little minimized with the number of third downs they converted but it could have been a lot easier on them had they cleaned up the flags. They ranked 13th in the league with a +2 turnover ratio.
- Points Per Game 2017-2018/ Difference (17.68-27.1/ +9.42)
- Yards Per Game/ 2017-2018/ Difference (284.5-386.2/ +101.7)
- First Downs Per Game/ 2017-2018/ Difference (16.7-23.2/ +6.5)
- Third Down Conversion Rate/ 2017-2018/ Difference (38.2%-48.6%/ +10.2%)
- Penalties Per Game/ 2017-2018/ Difference (5.75-7.5/ +1.75)
- Turnover Ratio/ 2017-2018/ Difference (+5/+2/ -3)
2018 Vegas lines
|G#||Opp||Spread||Over/Under||Result||vs. Line||OU Result|
Results vs. Line: 9-8-1
As Underdog vs. Line: 4-5-0
Favored vs. Line: 5-3-1
Over: 8 Under: 10 Push: 0
When Week 1 started it had been 616 days since the last time Luck started a regular season game. There was a time when people thought that he may never play again due to his what seemed like never-ending shoulder issues. Luck answered many questions for some early in the preseason but some still had concerns. Even after he threw the ball 53 times in Week 1 there were still concerns. Anthony Castonzo, the Colts starting left tackle and one of only three players on the colts that make over 10 million a year, missed the first few weeks. Week 4 is where the questions pretty much stopped. Luck threw four touchdowns on 62 attempts. This started a stretch of eight games in which Luck averaged 306.3 yards per game and 3.4 touchdowns. He looked every bit as good as he once had been.
The Colts quarterback did it in a little bit of a different way then he had in years prior. A career high in attempts passing, completions, and completion % and the second most TDs and yards in 2018 were coupled with the lowest yard per completion of his career at 10.7. Luck’s yard per attempt matched his career average (7.2) and he was ninth in the league in air yards per Att (4.4). That is a well and good but his weapons averaged the 18th most yards of separation per target (1.51) so it tells me there was a lot of passes completed but not a lot being done after the catch. With some more explosive weapons, there is potential for more here. Having the third most passes dropped (37) didn’t affect his career-high completion % and he finished with a career-high total QBR (71.5).
Luck’s 2018 season
- QB5, 327.1 Fan Points
- Completed 430/639 Attempts (67.3%)
- 4,593 Yards (7.2 Y/A – 10.7 Y/C)
- 39 TDs (6.1% TD Rate) 15 INT (2.3% INT Rate)
- 46 RuAtt, 148 Yards
- Total QBR 71.5 (QB Rate 98.7)
Luck is under his current contract until 2022 and compared to some other QBs as talented or less, he is relatively underpaid. His salary of under 25 million per year helps a lot with their massive amount of cap space which is nearly 50 million. Now that he has shown his shoulder should be able to hold up
“To think this time last year some doubted Luck would ever play again. For the first time in Luck’s NFL career the Colt’s O-line gave up less than 100 QB hits. If his protection and Frank Reich’s quick pass game can keep Luck on his feet he should have another healthy season.”- Ethan Turner
and with the contracts going up and up, the Colts may look to add an extension before the cost is even more insane. The drafting of Parris Campbell out of Ohio State only lifts the ceiling for Luck as he is a very explosive player. A little raw but there is no need for Campbell to be the number one right off the bat as there might be with a player like Marquise Brown.
Marlon Mack and the two rookies
People have had questions about Marlon Mack since the Colts drafted him 143rd overall (4th Round) in last years draft. So much so that they drafted two more running backs in the 2018 Draft. Mack’s season started out with a hamstring injury in the first preseason game. He returned for Week 2 and was clearly not right. Mack would not suit up again until Week 6 due to the hamstring and a foot injury. All was seemingly going wrong.
“Marlon (Mack) has had a rough start to his NFL career from an injury perspective. He had offseason surgery last spring to repair a labral tear in his shoulder he suffered in his rookie season. This year he dealt with multiple hamstring strains and a concussion. All of these injuries could put him at an increased risk for injury moving forward”- Ethan Turner
While Mack recovered from injury the two rookies did their best to try and earn the job, or a piece of a timeshare at least. Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins split the work with Wilkins playing the majority of the early snaps and Hines playing on mostly third down and passing downs. That is how it started at least. Wilkins was largely ineffective and the Colts were throwing the ball so much that Hines eventually just kind of took the lead. Hines earned himself a decent role but Wilkins did not see any touches in Mack’s return for Week 6.
Nyheim Hines’ season
Jordan Wilkins’ season
As you can see above, the Colts clearly shifted to Hines and Mack as the season went along. They love Hines ability to catch. He finished with the seventh most targets, eighth most receptions, and 22nd most red zone touches in the league among running backs. In comparison, Hines was just 54th in the league in attempts rushing and had just two goal-line carries (46th).
Mack came back and ran with the opportunity. From Week 6 on Mack averaged 18.3 touches, 88.7 total yards, and 0.9 TDs p/g. That is a 16 game pace of 292 touches, 1,418 Yards, and 15 TDs. Mack saw the 10th most red zone touches with 39 and again, he missed time. Even when he was active, the second year RB never played on more than 67% of the teams snaps in any game and had two that were below 40%.
Mack’s 2018 season (Missed four weeks -1, 3, 4, and 5)
- RB19, 161.1 Fan Points (Week 6-17 RB7, 157.5 Fan Points)
- 195 RuAtt (16.2 AttP/G), 908 Yards (75.6 YdP/G), 5 100 Yard Games
- Caught 17/26 Targets, 101 Yards (6.1 Y/R)
- 9 RuTD, 1 ReTD (10 Total)
- 212 Touches, 1,009 Yards (4.8 Y/T)
2019 RB free agency update
Full Back Ryan Hewitt has yet to sign with a team. The Colts did add Spencer Ware recently and this should speak to the trust they have in the guys they have. If the Colts had signed a rookie like a lot expected of them after Le’Veon Bell officially signed (some wanted Bell to land in Indianapolis) then Mack owners could and should worry a lot more. Ware could just be a depth piece and maybe it speaks more to their thoughts on Wilkins. We have seen Ware be a very effective back in an innovative offense and Wilkins, outside of a couple of moments, was largely disappointing. Hines will likely hold that RB 2/third down role. Hines was a very viable PPR weapon on more than one occasion.
TY Hilton and the rest of the receivers
Nobody on the Colts offense could have been happier to see the QB return than TY Hilton. The last time, prior to 2018 that the Luck, Hilton combo was on the field together it resulted in the most receiving yards of the league. It was not quite that good this year but they were able to have some success. As you can see below, Hilton’s per game average in fantasy points was right on par with his best seasons.
Hilton’s 2018 Season
- WR10, 121.6 Fan Points
- Caught 76/120 Targets (63.3%) 5.3 P/G
- 1,270 Yards (16.7 Y/R, 10.58 Y/T) 5 100 Yard Games
- 6 TDs
Hilton had the second highest yard per reception (16.7) he has had in his career and produced the fifth 1,000-yard season of his career (966 in 2017). As far as scoring, only twice in his seven seasons has he crossed the goal line more than the six times he did in 2018. Hilton has never been a big-time touchdown scorer but he was banged up and not practicing for a large chunk of games at the end of the season.
“Hilton took some big shots in 2018 and just found a way to keep getting up. He has dealt with hamstring strains his entire NFL career so there’s a high chance those creep up again this season.”- Ethan Turner
Hilton was still able to do all this. Imagine a second year with Luck healthy and Hilton fully recovered from his ankle injury. In 2017, Hilton had an average of 1.74 yards of separation per target (25th in the league), in 2018 this dropped dramatically to 1.04 (100th). He was obviously banged up because that is a massive drop off.
The other receivers
Chester Rodgers was the second favorite target for Luck with 72 Targets, 20 more than any other WR. Zach Pascal, Dontrelle Inman, and Ryan Grant all had flashes during the regular season but none of them saw more than 52 Targets.
- Chester Rodgers – Caught 53/72 Targets, 485 Yards, 2 TDs
- Zach Pascal – Caught 27/46 Targets, 268 Yards, 2 TDs
- Dontrelle Inman – Caught 28/39 Targets, 304 Yards, 3 TDs
- Ryan Grant – Caught 38/52 Targets, 334 Yards, 1 TD
The Colts should get to see Deon Cain (Torn ACL) after his recovery. They loved what they saw from him during camp in 2018. They will probably look to draft a WR at some point during the 2019 draft and possibly early. Either way, there is plenty of targets to go around in the fourth highest passing volume offense in the league.
“Dion’s preseason ACL tear derailed what could have been a breakout season in 2018. That said he has had plenty of time to recover from the injury and should be 100% to start the year.”- Ethan Turner
2019 WR free agency update
The Colts signed former Carolina Panthers WR Devin Funchess to a one-year deal. Funchess is a player that a lot of people have been down on but as you see below, he has been able to put up big-time fantasy production when given the opportunity (below is first his 2015, then 2017 Weekly Metric Plots).
But, the fact that he dropped 11 Passes (first in the league) in 2018 probably played into his lack thereof. If you cannot catch the ball, teams will have doubts about giving a player opportunities. Pretty simple. Luck is a better QB than Cam Newton though and even though Luck’s WR2s average five fewer targets than Funchess received in Carolina in 2018 (79, Luck WR2 74), the targets could be of a much higher quality. Especially knowing Newton’s shoulder was as badly injured as it was. They also gave the man 10 million dollars, he will get chances.
Ryan Grant, Dontrelle Inman, and Zach Pascal (137 combined Targets in 2018). Ryan Grant signed a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders and the other two are still seeking a contract.
Parris Campbell WR, OHIOST
Height: 6-0, Weight: 205
In the second round with the 59th pick overall, the Indianapolis Colts selected Parris Campbell out of Ohio State. They needed some more explosiveness at the wide receiver position outside of Hilton and the got it. Campbell is in the mold of a player like Curtis Samuel and it makes sense as he replaced Samuel at Ohio State. Campbell is a more athletic version though. This was a big-time grab for the Colts and Campbell should fit nicely with what they are trying to do.
In Campbell’s final season at OSU, he totaled 99 plays from scrimmage for nearly 1,100 (1,087) yards and 12 touchdowns. A jump of 49 receptions, 371 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Check out his great breakdown on FFStatistics along with all the great prospect profiles from the team here.
The Colts also picked up Penny Hart out of Georgia State and small school hero Ashton Dulin by way of Malone University as undrafted free agents. There is potential here. Both players had buzz surrounding them pre-draft and for good reason. Dulin is in the 99th percentile for college dominator and breakout age so even though he was from a small school playing against future gym teachers, you still have to pay attention. Hart, well he broke out at 19 I guess, so there is that. His buzz came from a terrible workout. Likely a cut before the season.
Two tight ends?
When the season started the thought of Eric Ebron as a top-five tight end in fantasy was pretty outlandish. He was a player that had flashes in Detroit but he could never produce sustained success. Add in the fact that the Colts already had an established tight end in Jack Doyle who had a pretty solid showing in 2017. The tight end has been a highly utilized position in Indianapolis since the days of Peyton Manning and Dallas Clark. Doyle only played in six games because of multiple injuries and his season ended on Nov 27th when he was placed on season-ending IR (Kidney).
“After missing just 1 game from 2013-17 Doyle’s injury luck ended in 2018 with a nagging hip injury followed by a kidney laceration which required emergency surgery. Doyle had surgery to address the hip issue in February and his status to start 2019 is in Jeopardy. I’ll be staying away in fantasy.”- Ethan Turner
None of the other TEs (Mo Alie-Cox, Erik Swoope, Billy Brown, Ryan Hewitt TE/FB, and Ross Travis) produced very much when they were healthy enough to be on the field if they played at all. Travis and Hewitt have contracts that expire in 2020 and could be out. Ebron, Doyle, and Alie-Cox are all under contract until 2020.
Ebron’s 2018 season
- TE4, 156.2 Fan Points
- Caught 66/110 Targets (60.0%) 4.1 P/G
- 750 Yards (11.4 Y/R, 6.8 Y/T)
- 13 TDs
The type of efficiency Ebron showed is going to be hard to sustain especially when you include the new weapons the Colts added moving forward but he is still a very viable tight end candidate for your teams. Not one that I would spend up for and expect 2018 to repeat. In 2018, Ebron averaged 1.99 points per opportunity. Kelce was at 1.98 and Kittle 1.89 for comparison.
2019 TE free agency update
Erik Swoope has yet to sign with a team.
*Update: 1/29/2019 -IND hired Jason Michael as TE Coach. He was the Cardinals TE Coach last season. Not exactly a ringing endorsement but he did spend the four seasons prior with Tennessee and Delanie Walker.
The Colts picked up Hale Hentges, the other tight end out of Alabama.
*Update: 2/1/2019 – Colts sign OG Mike Glowinski to a three-year extension. Will return all five O-Lineman for 2019.
*Update: 1/29/2019 – The Colts have hired Chris Strausser as OL Coach. He spent the last two seasons with Denver. Frank Reich wanted to make his hire. He has 28 years of coaching exp.
- 2019 O-Line free Agency Update
G Matt Slauson has yet to sign with a team.
The Colts gave up the fewest sacks in the league last season as the only team to allow fewer than 20. This was a huge part of Luck’s shoulder staying healthy. The line will need to perform at the same level but being another year removed from a seemingly never-ending shoulder injury will be just as valuable.
2018 Fantasy Relevant Draftees
104th Overall, RB Nyheim Hines
- 138 Touches, 739 Yards, 4 TDs (Caught 63/81 Targets)
159th Overall, WR Daurice Fountain
- Didn’t Play (Active for Week 14, and both playoff games)
169th Overall, RB Jordan Wilkins
- 76 Touches, 431 Yards, 1 TD
185th Overall, WR Deon Cain
- Did not Play (Placed on IR on Aug 13th)
With The 26th Pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, The Indianapolis Colts Select…(Prediction originally made on the 20th of January.)
Look for the colts to help bolster their WR corps with their first-round pick. 2019 is a pretty good WR class and they need someone opposite TY Hilton that can consistently eat up some targets and take some focus off of Hilton as well.
- Rock Ya-Sin CB, TEMPLE
Height: 6-0, Weight: 192
- Ben Banogu EDGE, TCU
Height: 6-3, Weight: 250
- Parris Campbell WR, OHIOST
Height: 6-0, Weight: 205
- Bobby Okereke LB, STNFRD
Height: 6-1, Weight: 239
- Khari Willis S, MICHST
Height: 5-11, Weight: 213
- Marvell Tell III S, USC
Height: 6-2, Weight: 198
- EJ Speed LB, TRLST
Height: 6-3, Weight: 227
- Gerri Green EDGE, MISSST
Height: 6-4, Weight: 252
- Jackson Barton OL, UTAH
Height: 6-7, Weight: 310
- Javon Patterson OL, MISS
Height: 6-3, Weight: 307
The team clearly had a need for defense as well as a skill position upgrade as you see above.
Click here for a list of the Colts injuries.
Moving Into 2019
Cap Space – $57,126,171
The Colts are looking strong heading into 2019. Andrew Luck seems all the way back. They seem to have found their RB in Mack it appears as long as he can stay healthy and they have a reliable third-down guy in Hines. Nobody was drafted to compete and Spencer Ware is not a threat. With Doyle returning and should be healthy and Ebron being the favorite Red Zone weapon they have a solid TE tandem and they could produce two top-15 fantasy seasons in such a high pass volume attack if they can stay healthy. WR is the most interesting spot for me.
We know Hilton is locked in but Cain is interesting heading into next year but players coming off an ACL injury often times take a little bit to get rolling. They picked up three wide receivers between the draft and free agency post draft and only Campbell is sure to make the team. Devin Funchess could be a big end zone threat. The offensive line protected Luck very well this year. They gave up 1.2 sacks per game which ranked number one and will be returning the starters. It is wheels up in Indianapolis for 2019.