Hello Colts fans! There's not much to do during one of the worst parts of the offseason (Post SB Monday-FA starting), so why not discuss some Fantasy Football? As a die-hard Colts fan, I'm always inclined to draft some of my favorite Colts in Fantasy. But for some of us, when there's money on the line and your own fantasy dignity at stake, we've got to be real about where we're drafting our gridiron heroes. I remember my first year of Fantasy, I was pretty much horrible and had no real idea what it was when I went into my draft with my friends. I ended up drafting Manning in the 1st, Wayne in the 2nd and Clark in the 3rd, and several others later on. As fun as it was to have the Indianapolis Colts as my fantasy team, it just doesn't translate to the game, and I came in last. Several years later, I've definitely learned my lesson, and Fantasy Football has turned into one of my biggest hobbies. And without allowing myself to ramble on further, I'll give you my top 5 Indianapolis Colts for this years' fantasy football drafts.
#1. Andrew Luck - 4th - 6th round pick
No real surprise here. After coming off of what was in mine and many other's opinions the greatest season a rookie QB has ever had, Luck should be a real stud in Fantasy this year. Also, Pep Hamilton coming to town shouldn't hurt his cause either. Look for his interceptions to go way down in Pep's new offense, and patching up the O-line with all our cap space should give Luck a ton of more time to go through his reads, which should make other DCs cringe. Andrew's YPG shouldn't really budge that much from last year, but expect to see the number of TDs he has to make a huge leap. Pep will be sure to fix a lot of the red-zone issues the Colts had in 2012. If QBs are going very early in your draft, you might have to pick him up as early as the late 4th round. Normally though, with the slim RB depth and the effectiveness of the "3-headed monster" strategy, you should be able to get away with drafting Luck in the late 5th or early 6th round.
#2. Reggie Wayne - 7th or 8th round pick
Reggie had a great year in fantasy given the pure value of where people drafted him last year. After the down year in 2011, many people had doubts about the kind of production he would have in 2012. To many's pleasant surprise, Reggie finished 15th among other WRs in standard ESPN leagues, when people were drafting him in the 10th, sometimes (in my league) the 13th round! Reggie should only get better this year. After having a full off-season to continue building his already stellar rapport with Luck, he should be a strong #2 WR that you could look to draft in the 7th or 8th round.
I'm going to have to leave this one at a tie for now, because we really haven't seen how Pep will utilize these guys yet, aside from going on what we've seen at Stanford (which is really what is exiting me about these guys). Last year, Allen was the clear winner in fantasy, as Fleener had a combination of nagging injuries and not fitting well with Arian's offense. Don't expect that to stay the same for 2013, however. Pep loves his TEs, and is sure to give these guys some serious love. In my opinion, the TE position the slimmest in all of fantasy. You've got your guys like Gronk, Graham, Davis and Hernandez and you know those guys should be solid at least 90% of the time (barring no injuries). After that, it's almost a wildcard. Try and steal one of these guys in the late 10th to 12th rounds, I'm sure they'll be there. After the pre-season, we should get a better idea as to what the roles these guys are to play will look like.
#4. T.Y. Hilton 10th - 12th round pick
T.Y. is explosive. That pretty much sums him up. After an impressive rookie season, this guy's got my vote as a great WR to stick in the flex when the match-up makes sense. He had two great games against Houston last year, and many are quick to forget his monster 100-yd 2 TD performance against the Pats, simply because it was a painful game to watch. He'll be a sleeper for next year, and many of you could get away with taking him late, in the 11th to 12th rounds (I wouldn't be surprised if even later than that). Keep him up your sleeve when the match-up looks good.
#5. Vick Ballard 8th - 10th round pick
Last year, Ballard proved that he's got potential to be a real bruiser in the NFL. Work-horse material, fights for the extra yard, and has the ability to make the big play (I'm looking at you, cork-screw OT TD in Tennessee!). The real thing he's got to work on is his catching. He dropped a few balls that Luck sailed to him on those 3rd downs that he was running for his life, and they ended some drives that definitely had some life left in them. He's got promise though, and you could steal him in the middle rounds, hopefully having him serve you as a 3rd piece in your 3-headed monster!
Honorable Mention - Adam Vinatieri 15th or 16th round pick
Adam has been a stable fantasy kicker for years, but failed to make it into the top 10 for kickers last year. He's missed more than he usually does in past years, but kickers are pretty much a wildcard in fantasy. Take him with your last or second to last pick.
I hope you've enjoyed this article, and I know I'm about 5 months too early, but good luck in your fantasy drafts this year! GO COLTS!