INDIANAPOLIS — Our comprehensive look back at the 2018 season continues today for the Indianapolis Colts — and much to the delight of fantasy football fans everywhere, the Colts rebounded in a big way in 2018.
Both their offense and defense ranked near the top of the league, quarterback Andrew Luck came back healthy and rekindled his chemistry with wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, while running back Marlon Mack took the next step forward in his development.
Below, we take a look at how several Colts players fared from a fantasy perspective — we even threw in Individual Defensive Players. This is from Weeks 1-16 of the regular season, and rankings are based on half-point PPR scoring with point values coming from FantasyPros.com. Quarterback scoring comes from NFL.com.
- Final Rank: QB4/OP4 (415.4 fantasy points)
- Stats: 430-of-639 passing (67.3%) for 4,593 yards, 39 TD and 15 INT, 46 carries for 148 yards, 1 reception for 4 yards, 1 fumble lost
This was definitely a big statistical year for the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year recipient. Luck had single-season career highs in completions, attempts, completion percentage, passer rating (98.7), ESPN QBR (71.5) and was sacked the fewest times he's experienced in a full season (18). He had his second-most passing yards, passing touchdowns, passing yards per game (287.1) and had his second-lowest interception rate (2.3 percent) in a season.
Luck had an elite stretch of games between Weeks 4-12 where he threw at least three touchdowns every game (tied for second-longest streak in NFL history), and averaged 24.4 fantasy points per game. In all, he had multiple touchdowns in 14-of-18 games. Among all NFL quarterbacks, Luck ranked second in touchdown passes, completions and attempts, fifth in passing yards and 300-yard passing games (seven), and tied for ninth in 20-yard pass plays (53). He also tied an NFL record by throwing a touchdown pass to 13 different players.
- Final Rank: RB21 (152.3 fantasy points)
- Stats: (12 games) 195 carries for 908 yards (4.7 avg) and 9 TD, 17 receptions (26 targets) for 103 yards and 1 TD, 2 fumbles lost.
Behind Frank Gore as a rookie, we only saw Mack in doses. However, as the starting running back in 2018, Mack showed what he can do. He posted single-season career highs in basically every rushing category and set new single-game career highs in rushing yards four times. Mack had four 100-yard games in the regular season, which ranked not far behind Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley's league-leading seven such games.
Among full-time NFL running backs, Mack ranked sixth in rushing yards per game (75.7). He finished as the league's RB21, but considering he missed four games with a hamstring injury, he actually finished 12th in fantasy points per game (13.8) among running backs.
- Final Rank: RB32 (125.0 fantasy points)
- Stats: 85 carries for 314 yards (3.7 avg) and 2 TD, 63 receptions (81 targets) for 425 yards and 2 TD
The rookie proved to be a great PPR Flex option this year, finishing eighth among all running backs in receptions and seventh in targets. He also finished tied for 19th in fantasy points per touch (1.09) ahead of players like James Conner (1.03), Phillip Lindsay (0.98), Nick Chubb (0.92), Elliott (0.87) and Joe Mixon (0.87). Hines' 63 receptions rank third in franchise history among rookies.
- Final Rank: WR13/OP46 (193.9 fantasy points)
- Stats: (14 games) 76 receptions (120 targets) for 1,270 yards (16.7 avg) and 6 TD
Hilton was one of the league's most effective receivers despite missing about 2 1/2 games with injuries. He finished 13th among receivers in fantasy scoring (and 46th among all offensive players), but he averaged the 10th-most fantasy points per game (14.9). Hilton caught 14 deep balls (receptions caught 20 yards or more downfield), which was tied for third. He did, however, lead the league in deep catch rate (58.3 percent), which is the percentage of targets a player caught that were 20 yards or more downfield.
Three years ago in 2016, Hilton led the entire league in receiving yards (1,448) and had an average yards per game of 90.5. He had an even higher average this season — a career high of 90.7 yards per game. On the season, Hilton was tied with Tyreek Hill for third in the NFL in yards per route run (2.54), trailing only Michael Thomas (2.66) and Julio Jones (2.93).
- Final Rank: TE4 (175.2 fantasy points)
- Stats: 66 receptions (110 targets) for 750 yards (11.4 avg) and 13 TD, 3 carries for -8 yards and 1 TD, 1 fumble lost
If you picked up Ebron late in your fantasy drafts then you came away pleasantly surprised. He had a career year, setting new personal bests in receptions, targets, yards and touchdowns. Historically, he had one of the best tight end seasons in NFL history.
In Week 10, Ebron scored three touchdowns at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars, joining Rob Gronkowski as the only other tight end in NFL history to have two receiving and one rushing touchdowns in a single game. In Week 12, Ebron broke Dallas Clark’s franchise record for touchdowns by a tight end in a single season (11). For the regular season as a whole, Ebron led all NFL tight ends in touchdowns (14) and was tied for second overall among all positions in receiving touchdowns. He finished the regular season tied for the seventh-most touchdowns from scrimmage by a tight end in NFL history. In all, Ebron had 10-of-16 games with a touchdown, including three in which he had at least two.
The Colts were dealt a costly blow when 2017 Pro Bowl tight end Jack Doyle suffered a season-ending kidney injury in Week 12. Not to fear, though, as they had another top tight end to take over as the primary starter. In the remaining five games, Ebron had three of which with at least 60 yards, and he scored in two of them.
- Final Rank: TE35 (47.5 fantasy points)
- Stats: (6 games) 26 receptions (33 targets) for 245 yards (9.4 avg) and 2 TD, 1 fumble lost
Despite playing in less than half of the season's games, Doyle finished as fantasy's TE35, averaging the 10th-most fantasy points per game (7.9) at the position. He missed five games early in the season due to a hip injury, and then was done in for the year by a kidney injury in Week 12. Despite that, he averaged 4.3 receptions on 5.5 targets per game. Perhaps what was missed most in Doyle's absence were things that can't be measured in a box score, such as blocking and the attention that defenders must pay him that leads to opportunities for other players.
- Final Rank: K14 (115.0 fantasy points)
- Stats: 23-of-27 FGA (85.2%), 44-of-47 XPA (93.6%)
The Colts were busy scoring touchdowns instead of kicking field goals in 2018, so it had an effect on Vinatieri's fantasy output. He booted his fewest amount of converted field goals since 2011, but his 85.2 percent average was still above his 84.3 percent career field goal average. Vinatieri reached at least nine points in 7-of-16 games, and he may have added more points if not for the Colts' Week 13 matchup against the Jaguars in which Vinatieri did not appear. The Colts did not score any touchdowns and went for it on three fourth-down attempts that day, so Vinatieri never came out for any kicks.
- Final Rank: DST10 (106.0 fantasy points)
- Stats: 339.4 YPG, 21.5 PPG, 38 sacks, 15 interceptions, 11 fumbles recovered
Not many outsiders expected defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus' new 4-3 defense to be as effective as it was this early. The unit tied the NFL record for tackles for loss in the first four games of a season (31). By season's end, it led the NFL with five players — Denico Autry (15), Jabaal Sheard (15), Darius Leonard (13), Margus Hunt (13) and Anthony Walker (11) — with at least 10 tackles for loss. It also had four players — Autry (9.0), Leonard (7.0), Sheard (5.5) and Hunt (5.0) — with at least 5.0 sacks.
The Colts became the final team for the season to have a turnover in every game, lasting 13 games, and forced at least one turnover in a league-most 15-of-16 games. They finished as one of only three teams (Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints) to not allow a 100-yard rusher in the regular season despite facing five of the league’s top 10 rushers.
The Colts defense finished the season eighth against the run (101.6 YPG), 10th in scoring (21.5 PPG) and 11th in total defense (339.4 YPG), had 38 sacks and 26 takeaways.
- Final Rank: LB1/IDP1 (292.2 fantasy points)
- Stats: (15 games) 163 tackles (12 for loss), 7.0 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 3 fumbles recovered, 2 interceptions, 8 pass breakups
Leonard looked like anything but a rookie in 2018. The Maniac led the entire NFL in tackles (163) and solo tackles (111), becoming the first rookie to lead in total tackles since Luke Kuechly in 2012. Leonard had the third-most tackles by a rookie in the NFL since the merger in 1970, and also broke the Colts' franchise record for tackles in a season.
Leonard joined Broderick Thomas as the only players in NFL history to have at least 150 tackles and 7.0 sacks in a single season. According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, Leonard is the only player since 1982, when sacks became an official statistic, to record 160 tackles, 7.0 sacks and two interceptions in a single season.
- Final Rank: LB25 (170.2 fantasy points)
- Stats: (15 games) 105 tackles (10 for loss), 1.0 sack, 1 fumble recovered, 1 interception, 1 pass breakups
Although the spotlight shone brightly on Leonard, Walker was a highly productive player in his own right, joining the rookie in the 100-tackle club. He had at least nine fantasy points in seven games, aided by filling up the stat sheet with a sack, fumble recovery, interception and a pass breakup. He did all this despite being banged-up much of the second half of the year, even missing one game with a shoulder injury.
- Final Rank: DL18 (128.0 fantasy points)
- Stats: (12 games) 37 tackles (13 for loss), 9.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumbles recovered, 1 pass breakup, 2 blocked kicks
Autry earned his way into a Pro Bowl reserve spot with his explosive second half of the season. About midway through the year, he finally got healthy and began producing at a high level. In Weeks 13 and 14, he totaled nine tackles (five for loss), 5.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and six quarterback hits, earning him AFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 14. Autry finished 18th among all interior defensive linemen in fantasy scoring but ninth in points per game (11.6).
- Final Rank: DL20 (127.4 fantasy points)
- Stats: 50 tackles (14 for loss), 5.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovered, 4 pass breakups
Sheard's stats weren't eye-popping, but his ability to consistently disrupt the backfield and set the edge certainly helped his fantasy status. Sheard's 19.5 combined tackles for loss and sacks were a huge boost to his fantasy value.
- Final Rank: DL43 (96.7 fantasy points)
- Stats: (15 games) 30 tackles (13 for loss), 5.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovered, 2 pass breakups
2018 was also a breakout campaign for Hunt, who had an especially solid early portion of the season. In the first four games, he had 4.0 sacks and nine tackles for loss. Afterward, Hunt took on a more consistent interior role. While it limited his statistics, his presence there helped affect the run defense in a very positive way as well as the pass rush up the middle, even opening up things for teammates occasionally.
Kenny Moore II
- Final Rank: DB27 (141.3 fantasy points)
- Stats: (15 games) 77 tackles (4 for loss), 1.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 3 interceptions, 11 pass breakups
You were especially happy with Moore II if you picked him up for any NFL postseason fantasy matchups as he had an interception and a franchise playoff-record 3.0 sacks. The previously undrafted Moore II plays with a chip on his shoulder, and he's been very versatile for the Colts. Not only does he move from the boundary to the slot, but he is also used quite a bit as a blitzer. You could tell that Moore II was getting more and more comfortable in the Colts' new defensive system as he began to play freely, occasionally baiting quarterbacks into interceptions. He filled the stat sheets in 2018, notching statistics in numerous categories.
- Final Rank: DB39 (130.3 fantasy points)
- Stats: 79 tackles (2 for loss), 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovered, 1 interception, 8 pass breakups
Desir had a high amount of tackles, but his biggest value was in shutting down opposing receivers. He was able to finish as one of the top 40 defensive backs in fantasy despite not having a firm grasp of a starting cornerback spot until midway through the year.