INDIANAPOLIS — With Andrew Luck returning from shoulder surgery, a handful of new offensive players (including a shiny, new line) and a new, offensive-minded coaching staff, there is plenty to be optimistic about regarding the Indianapolis Colts' offense.
Today, we continue examining the fantasy football profiles of the primary fantasy-relevant Colts players/positions.
Average draft position and positional rankings from FantasyPros. Projections are based on traditional lineups with PPR scoring.
Indianapolis Colts DST
- Current ADP — UDFA
- Current Positional Rank — DST32
- 2015 — 379.1 YPG, 25.5 PPG, 35 sacks, 17 interceptions, 8 fumbles recovered (13 forced), 1 safety, 5 defensive touchdowns
- 2016 — 382.9 YPG, 24.5 PPG, 33 sacks, 8 interceptions, 9 fumbles recovered (15 forced), 1 defensive touchdown, 1 special teams touchdown
- 2017 — 367.1 YPG, 25.5 PPG, 25 sacks, 13 interceptions, 7 fumbles recovered (11 forced), 2 safeties, 1 defensive touchdown
- Total — 376.4 YPG, 25.1 PPG, 93 sacks, 38 interceptions, 24 fumbles recovered (39 forced), 3 safeties, 7 defensive touchdowns, 1 special teams touchdown
- Average per game — 376.4 YPG, 25.1 PPG, 1.9 sacks, 0.8 interceptions, 0.5 fumbles recovered (0.8 forced), 0.1 safeties, 0.1 defensive touchdowns, 0.02 special teams touchdowns
As you can see by the Colts DST's ADP and positional rank, there are no expectations of them nationally.
It may not be this year, but the defense that the Colts are trying to build is actually perfect for fantasy football. The new 4-3 defense is based on generating pressure with the front four defensive linemen, which can create opportunities for the secondary to get takeaways.
A huge factor in being a successful fantasy DST is creating big plays. You can deal with allowing yards and points, but the real fantasy points come in the big plays — especially if they are turned into touchdowns.
In regard to generating pressure on the backfield, the Colts have made it an emphasis in the last year and a half. First was picking up edge rushers Jabaal Sheard, Tarell Basham and John Simon last year.
Sheard was a very effective pass rusher for them, and Simon was a playmaker as well before suffering neck/shoulder injuries. Basham earned first-team reps at defensive end opposite of Sheard during the spring, so that may prove to be fruitful pick if he can hang on.
This offseason, the Colts drafted edge defenders Kemoko Turay and Tyquan Lewis and signed free agent Chris McCain. Lewis and fellow newcomers Denico Autry and Rakeem Nunez-Roches can rush from the inside as well.
Head coach Frank Reich has said they want to have waves of rushers going against offenses, and it looks like they'll have a semblance of that moving forward.
In the secondary, the defensive backs will be trying to capitalize on the pressure those linemen put on quarterbacks, either creating or taking advantage of mistakes. While utilizing more zone coverage, the corners will spend more time facing the offense so they can have more opportunities to make plays on the ball.
In between the two units, you've got a new brand of linebackers the Colts will use — fast, athletic, tough players who can cover sideline to sideline and create their own havoc.
Overall, Colts general manager Chris Ballard has drafted 11 defensive players in the last two years — six of them within the first three rounds. The effort is there to make this a great defense.
The cherry on top for fantasy DSTs is the "ST" — special teams. Do you have the ability on kickoff and punt returns to take the ball to the house? In rookie running back Nyheim Hines, the Colts may have that.
The Colts DST actually has another X-factor in kick-blocking machine Margus Hunt, who has four to his name in the last two seasons.
When you consider the Colts should have an improved pass rush as well as players all over the place who have ball skills, this DST could be a top-16 fantasy unit in 2018. In the coming years, we could start looking at the top 10.
Other Colts 2018 Fantasy Previews: