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Colts Week 1 Fantasy Preview vs. Rams

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Breaking down the fantasy prospects of Indianapolis Colts players in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best components of the NFL calendar is finally upon us this week: the commencement of fantasy football.

Every week, I’ll break down the matchups that fantasy-relevant Indianapolis Colts players have and evaluate whether or not they are playable.

Again, players are only on the list if they have fantasy relevance. As the season progresses, if someone like Chester Rogers, Kamar Aiken or Brandon Williams starts to be somewhat consistent from a fantasy perspective, they will be added to the list. All the same, if somebody falls off of the map, they will be removed.

This week, the Colts travel to Los Angeles to take on second-year quarterback Jared Goff and the Rams.

We'll use a simple rating scale for each player, grading each from A-F:

  • "A" is a 'must start'
  • "B" is a 'recommended start'
  • "C" is an 'if needed start'
  • "D" is 'don't start'
  • "F" is simply not a fantasy option at all this week.

QB Scott Tolzien: D

Last three weeks: N/A

Last week: N/A

Obviously, the biggest bummer about the Colts right now is their quarterback situation. Andrew Luck has been activated from the Physically Unable to Perform List to the active roster but he is still out this week. That means that it’s “Scotty” time.

If Luck were in, it would immediately raise everybody’s value, but Tolzien getting the start does just the opposite. Forget what he did last year on Thanksgiving at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers. What we’ve got to go off of is his performance this summer as the Colts’ starter and how uninspiring it’s been. Even in practice.

Tolzien gets a break with likely not having to face All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, but Tolzien does still have to face a Wade Phillips defense. Phillips is one of the best defensive minds of this generation, and Tolzien has no chemistry with his pass-catchers. The pressure that Phillips will draw up is likely to send Tolzien scrambling quite a bit.

The Rams don’t have a ton of defensive talent—especially if Donald’s not out there—therefore, the Colts have a chance to win. But, don’t count on Tolzien putting the team on his back. You have much, much better options out there at quarterback.

RB Frank Gore: C

Last three weeks: N/A

Last week: N/A

Without seeing Tolzien as much of a threat in the passing game, the Rams should load the box against the run. With Gore as the primary ball-carrier, he is likely to get swallowed up pretty often.

If Gore was the Colts’ goal-line back (touchdowns) or saw a ton of work on third downs (receptions), he would be a better option. Alas, he is not. Gore will have his weeks, but this ain’t one of them.

RB Robert Turbin: C

Last three weeks: N/A

Last week: N/A

I actually like Turbin better than Gore this week. As aforementioned, Gore doesn’t have a great matchup because he isn’t the Colts’ primary goal-line back and doesn’t handle the lion’s share of third-down duties. Turbin does, however, see a good chunk of the short-yardage and third-down snaps.

If Tolzien can get the Colts into the red zone, Turbin should be able to work through a Rams front seven that’s not much to write home about without Donald on the field. The Rams were 14th against the running back position in 2016 (16.12 FPPG), and that was with Donald. Turbin has a chance to put up a respectable line this week but you likely have better options.

WR T.Y. Hilton: B

Last three weeks: N/A

Last week: N/A

In PPR formats, two Colts position players are decent plays this week, Hilton being one of them. As a WR1, Hilton is going to be a must start most weeks, even with Tolzien under center.

The Rams were 31st against the wide receiver position in 2016 (25.25 FPPG), and you could argue that their personnel is a little downgraded now from last year. Because Hilton can make plays after the catch and is likely to see several targets, he is a playable option in PPR leagues.

WR Donte Moncrief: C

Last three weeks: N/A

Last week: N/A

I will have to see successful exchanges between Tolzien and Moncrief before I can declare Moncrief playable with any confidence. Moncrief excels in the red zone with Luck under center, but we don’t know how often Tolzien is even going to be able to lead the Colts offense into the red zone. Also, because of how much practice time Moncrief has missed this summer, he and Tolzien might have even less chemistry than Tolzien and the rest of the receivers.

TE Jack Doyle: B

Last three weeks: N/A

Last week: N/A

Not to keep harping on Tolzien, but it really does affect everything. When a backup quarterback is on the field, most throws will be shorter and therefore safety blankets like tight ends will get more looks. Steve Andress of 4for4 Football pointed this out specifically from a Colts perspective this week.

The Rams were excellent against tight ends last year, ranking fifth (5.12 FPPG), and they still have the personnel to cover the position with linebackers Mark Barron and Alec Ogletree. However, because of the amount of targets he is bound to see and the fact that he is a weapon in the red zone, Doyle has value this week.

K Adam Vinatieri: B

Last three weeks: N/A

Last week: N/A

I’m not going to waste much time on the kicker position. Because the Colts are not likely to turn many possessions into touchdowns, there should be plenty of opportunities for field goals. Until proven otherwise, Vinatieri is as accurate as ever (90.7% on FGA since 2013).

Colts Def/ST: C

Last three weeks: N/A

Last week: N/A

If you felt like getting cute with your lineup this week, you could feasibly start the Colts’ defense/special teams. I wouldn’t recommend it, but they have an outside chance of putting up a decent line.

Things in the Colts Def/ST’s favor: The Rams gave up the most points to fantasy Def/ST’s in 2016 (14.94 FPPG). With Goff being a shaky player, the Colts Def/ST is bound to come up with at least one sack and at least one takeaway. The Colts also have a dangerous return specialist in Quan Bray who is capable of taking it to the house.

Things not in the Colts Def/ST’s favor: No Vontae Davis to go against a decent Rams receiving corps. Also, Malik Hooker is not experienced enough yet to go the distance. We will see him throughout the game, but he is not likely to see 50+ snaps. Starting inside linebackers Antonio Morrison and Jon Bostic are not the sideline-to-sideline type.