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 begin examining the fantasy football profiles of the primary fantasy-relevant Colts players.
Average draft position and positional rankings from FantasyPros. Projections are based on traditional lineups with PPR scoring.
QB Andrew Luck
- Current ADP — 93
- Current Positional Rank — QB11
- Games missed last three seasons (2015-17) — 26
- Games missed last season (2017) — 16
- 2014 — 16 games, 380-of-616 passing (61.7%), 4,761 pass yards, 7.7 YPA, 27 sacks, 64 carries, 273 rush yards, 43 total touchdowns, 22 total turnovers
- 2015 — 7 games, 162-of-293 passing (55.3%), 1,881 pass yards, 6.4 YPA, 15 sacks, 33 carries, 196 rush yards, 15 total touchdowns, 13 totalturnovers
- 2016 — 15 games, 346-of-545 passing (63.5%), 4,240 pass yards, 7.8 YPA, 41 sacks, 64 carries, 341 rush yards, 33 total touchdowns, 18 total turnovers
- Total — 38 games, 888-of-1,454 passing (61.1%), 10,882 pass yards, 7.5 YPA, 83 sacks, 161 carries, 810 rush yards, 91 total touchdowns, 53 total turnovers
- Average per game — 23.4-of-38.3 passing (61.1%), 286.4 pass yards, 7.5 YPA, 2.2 sacks, 4.2 carries, 21.3 rush yards, 2.4 total touchdowns, 1.4 total turnovers
- Prorated to 48 games — 1,122-of-1,837 passing (61.1%), 13,746 pass yards, 7.5 YPA, 105 sacks, 203 carries, 1,023 rush yards, 115 total touchdowns, 67 total turnovers
Let’s get the injury stuff out of the way. Luck did not play in 2017 while he recovered from labrum surgery on his throwing shoulder, but this summer has been so much different than last year.
Last year at time time, solid information on Luck's progress wasn't readily available, and the team was not releasing anything close to a timeline. This year, there aren’t even any timelines to worry about. We’ve seen Luck throw, and at this point it seems as though any possible setbacks are in the rear-view mirror. The mood surrounding Luck’s situation is so much more upbeat this time around.
There is cautious optimism, yes, but that’s only because training camp hasn’t started and the public hasn’t yet seen Luck sling it with regularity. If all goes to plan, many — if not all — concerns should be laid to rest by mid-August.
Now, looking ahead to the season with Luck under center.
Obviously, his current status as QB11 is because of the injury, but if your league drafts anytime before training camp, he’s a smart get. A quarterback who is a perennial lock for over 4,000 total yards 25 touchdowns? No-brainer.
In fact, Luck has finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback three times, and the only time he finished worse than seventh in his career was in 2015 when he only played in seven games (and still finished as QB25).
Overall, Luck averages 26.4 touchdown passes per season, including 2015 when he threw 15. Adding rushing touchdowns, he averages 29.2 touchdowns per year.
If you prorate his 2015 and 2016 seasons to 16 games (missed one game in 2016), then Luck averages 33.4 total touchdowns per year.
Luck has a new offense to get used this year under head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Siranni, but they both have a great track record.
This is Sirianni’s first go as a coordinator but he most recently worked with Philip Rivers of the Los Angeles Chargers, who has been among the most potent passers of his generation. Reich just came from the Philadelphia Eagles where Carson Wentz finished as the NFL’s No. 5 fantasy quarterback despite missing the final three games of the season.
Between Wentz and his backup Nick Foles, they combined for a tremendous 2017 season:
- Total — 16 games, 322-of-541 passing (59.5%), 3,833 pass yards, 7.1 YPA, 33 sacks, 75 carries, 302 rush yards, 38 total touchdowns, 14 total turnovers
- Average per game — 20.1-of-33.8 passing (59.5%), 239.6 pass yards, 7.1 YPA, 2.1 sacks, 4.7 carries, 18.9 rush yards, 2.4 total touchdowns, 0.9 total turnovers
In the new Colts offense, we can expect a blend of what the Eagles and Chargers have done under Reich and Sirianni as well as tweaks blending to what Luck is most comfortable doing. Overall, it appears to be an incredibly quarterback-friendly system.
The new offense will likely involve plenty of quick passes, which includes getting home-run hitters like Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines out in space with the ball in their hands. The additions of Ryan Grant, Eric Ebron, Deon Cain and Reece Fountain to go with T.Y. Hilton, Jack Doyle and Chester Rogers is a huge factor as well.
Let’s also not forget that the Colts added offensive linemen Quenton Nelson, Braden Smith, Matt Slauson and Austin Howard this offseason to help protect Luck.
While a very optimistic yet still possible projection is for Luck to finish similar to Wentz and Foles’ 38 total touchdowns, we’ll tone it down closer to his career average of 29.2. Yardage-wise, I see no reason not to peg him around 4,000 total yards. His career average is 4,104 total yards per season, and he’s had three seasons with more than 4,500.
FantasyPros says Luck has the sixth-easiest fantasy schedule among quarterbacks, so anything is possible. The arrow is certainly pointing more up than down.
In 2018, Luck has a mix of proven weapons to go with some unproven, yet potentially explosive ones to rely on as well as a forward-thinking coaching staff. He also has Andrew Luck’s brain, which is a big deciding factor.