Luck Be a Lady – How Andrew Luck’s Retirement Affects the Colts Fantasy Relevance
The staggering news that dropped this weekend and rocked the NFL world, dynasty fantasy football owners and especially the Indianapolis Colts, has changed the perspective of this team heading into the 2019 season. Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement at the tender age of 29 has sent shockwaves throughout the league. Perhaps the most shocking retirement in the history of the NFL, Luck’s departure from the Colts has dramatically impacted this team’s projections heading into the 2019 season. All Everything Entertainment has your back, so here is an updated look at the Colts roster, and their fantasy football relevance in 2019.
Jacoby Brissett – In 2017, Jacoby Brissett was traded from the New England Patriots to the Indianapolis Colts for wide receiver Phillip Dorsett. Brissett would ultimately start 15 games for the Colts in 2015, amassing 3098 yards and a meager 13 touchdowns. However, this is not the same team that Jacoby Brissett suited up for in 2017, nor is it the same head coach. Following the 2017 season, the Colts moved on from coach Chuck Pagano and hired Frank Reich. It was also Chris Ballard’s first season, and since then, he has rebuilt the offensive line and the defense into arguably top five units in the NFL. Although Brissett doesn’t have much more value than a streaming replacement in redraft leagues, in dynasty leagues, he is suddenly an interesting prospect to consider. If Brissett can perform admirably this season for the Colts, he may be able to secure his position for next year if the Colts record is such that they are not positioned to draft one of the top-end quarterback prospects coming out of college in 2020.
Marlon Mack – Previously one of my favorite running back targets in the draft, Marlon Mack’s value has taken a slight ding in my opinion. However, he has dropped fast and hard, tumbling all the way down to the 7th round in a 10 team draft that I had last night. At that ADP, Marlon Mack becomes an incredible value, because even though Andrew Luck is clearly a better quarterback than Jacoby Brissett, it doesn’t mean Brissett is totally incapable of keeping defenses honest. Before Luck’s shocking retirement, Marlon Mack was being drafted as high as the 2nd or 3rd rounds, but this sudden turn of events has caused Mack to become perhaps the biggest steal of your fantasy football draft.
Nyheim Hines – Hines is a PPR darling, and unfortunately, he may be undraftable at this point, barring an injury to Marlon Mack. Nyheim Hines’ value hinges almost exclusively on his ability to catch out of the backfield, coming down with 63 receptions last year during his rookie campaign. With Luck out of the picture, I don’t expect the team to be quite as pass-heavy as they have been in the past, and that could certainly hurt Hines’ value if they’re trying to run him as a true running back instead of using him as an extra receiver out of the backfield.
T.Y. Hilton – No player on the Indianapolis Colts’ roster will be more affected by Luck’s absence going forward than T.Y. Hilton. Hilton greatly underperformed the last time we saw him paired with Jacoby Brissett, posting only 966 yards on 57 receptions. This is important because Hilton has never been a redzone monster, as he has a career high of 7 touchdowns in a single season. As such, Hilton has lost some shine, but this is to be expected. Hilton’s ADP has not fallen enough to where I’m particularly interested in him as a value option, as he’s still being valued in the 5th and 6th rounds. If he’s hanging around in the 7th or later, it’s hard to ignore a starting WR that late in the draft.
Devin Funchess – While T.Y. Hilton may be the most affected by Luck’s absence, Devin Funchess has lost the most value of any one player on the Colts’ roster. With Andrew Luck, Funchess was a potential touchdown siphon in the redzone with some upside on a game by game basis. At this point, he’s the 2nd, maybe even the 3rd receiver in a passing attack that suddenly went from a hall of fame quarterback in the making to one of the best backups in the NFL. Despite my feelings about Brissett’s talent and potential going forward, I’m not interested in Devin Funchess for fantasy football purposes at this time.
Chester Rogers – A potential breakout candidate entering his third year in the league, Chester Rogers will retain some value as the team’s projected slot receiver. Last year, Rogers was able to pull down 53 catches, making him serviceable as a streaming option in PPR leagues. I believe with the quarterback change he will retain a similar value, making him a guy I want to track, but don’t necessarily feel I need to draft.
Eric Ebron – Touchdown regression was already expected for Eric Ebron, but now that he will have Jacoby Brissett throwing him the ball instead of Andrew Luck, it’s curious to examine Eric Ebron’s potential value. I think I actually like Ebron a bit more under Brissett, as Luck was prone to spread the ball around, particularly to fellow tight end Jack Doyle. I think Brissett’s focus will be narrowed, and I think Ebron might be the biggest beneficiary of this, as he’s had more time to develop a rapport with Brissett due to Doyle’s recent injuries.
Jack Doyle – “Rainbow Six” Jack Doyle will be hard pressed to complete his mission to return to form in the 2019 season. Jack Doyle was a PPR darling as far back as the 2016 regular season until he missed most of the 2018 season with a hip injury followed by kidney injury which required him to be hospitalized. With Andrew Luck out of the picture, I expect the more talented Ebron to dominate the snaps at the tight end position, particularly in the redzone, making Jack Doyle a low upside tight end stash that isn’t worth drafting at this time.
Colts DST – You wouldn’t think a quarterback change would have a drastic effect on the defense, but it does. A higher rate of turnovers leads to bad field position, and a likelihood the Colts defense will give up more points even if they’re playing well (we saw this with the Broncos the past few seasons). Last week, I was sneakily drafting the Colts at the back end of many drafts, as they get four matchups against the division rival Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars, neither of whom’s offenses impress me to the point of avoiding them in fantasy football. Furthermore, they have one of the best young defenses in the league, led by Defensive Rookie of the Year, Darius Leonard. However, I’m now in a wait and see position with the Colts defense, as they will not produce as steadily as I’d anticipated if Brissett is turning the ball too much.