We've talked a lot this offseason about Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and how good he is. I wrote about it earlier today, even. Many people have already begun to place him in the top five of NFL quarterbacks, and what's clear is that Luck has developed into an incredibly impressive player in his two years in the league so far, and entering year three there are even bigger expectations for him. But the question we're looking at now is whether he's a top fantasy football quarterback for you to draft this year or not?
The short answer, is yes.
From a purely statistical standpoint last season (which is what fantasy football goes off of), Luck was average. He was 13th in the league in passing yards and tied for 15th in the league in touchdown passes. But there's more than just that. Luck protected the football incredibly well, throwing a pick on just 1.6% of his passes in 2013, an incredibly good number. So he wasn't losing a lot of points either. On a further note, only two quarterbacks in the league rushed for more touchdowns than Luck in 2013 - Cam Newton and Geno Smith - and only six quarterbacks rushed for more yards than Luck in 2013. In fantasy football, one of the most important things you need to look for in a quarterback is one who can do it with both his arm and his legs - unless the quarterback is putting up insane passing numbers like Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. This offseason, Andrew Luck was ranked as the best running quarterback in the NFL by the MMQB's Andy Benoit, and statistically, he is among the top quarterbacks in yards and, as we mentioned touchdowns.
Last season, Andrew Luck scored the fourth-most points among fantasy quarterbacks using the default scoring, behind just Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Cam Newton. In fact, overall, there were only four players who scored more points than Luck using the default scoring that NFL.com uses - Manning, Brees, Jamaal Charles, and Newton. Now, it's important to note that a guy who is routinely among the top scorers in fantasy football, Aaron Rodgers, missed seven games last year, thus the reason he wasn't near the top of this list. But still - Luck is right up there at the top.
That should remain this year. The receiving core for the Colts is loaded, with T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne, Hakeem Nicks, Donte Moncrief, and tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener. There is no reason that the Colts offense shouldn't be a top-five unit, like Reggie Wayne said they should be. And the key piece of that offense, the one it all depends upon, is Andrew Luck.
The only things standing in his way from becoming an elite quarterback this year are his offensive coordinator and his offensive line. But Pep Hamilton showed improvement down the stretch last year, and the running game should be better, which will help the offense as a whole. And, with Dwayne Allen coming back, it will seem like a whole new offense. The offensive line has been terrible the past two years, and while it still might not be great this year with Jack Mewhort, Khaled Holmes, and Hugh Thornton as the interior linemen, it won't be worse than last year. I firmly believe that we've already seen the worst of Pep Hamilton, Trent Richardson, and the Colts offensive line. That doesn't mean any or all of them will be great, but rather that we've already seen their worst. And with that worst, Luck was one of the top fantasy quarterbacks this year. Add in his continued development entering his third year and the loaded receiving core, and there's no reason to suggest that Andrew Luck won't be a top-tier fantasy football quarterback this year.
So yeah, go ahead and draft him. You're welcome.
Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $100,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 1's NFL games. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts Sunday, September 7th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.