INDIANAPOLIS --- Fantasy football draft season is just a few weeks away, as training camps begin all over the country. Each Thursday throughout the 2015 season, I'll answer your fantasy questions in this column. Have a question? Send it to me on Twitter, and I'll use it here on Colts.com.
Many of our first questions have to do with Colts players but also feel free to ask questions about any player in the NFL, fantasy draft questions, or specific fantasy league questions.
Our first question has to do with the running back I've been endorsing this offseason as the best value pick RB in fantasy (and not just because I write for Colts.com):
Gore's ADP (average draft position) varies slightly depending on what website you are using for your leagues. On NFL.com, Gore is the 17th RB being taken in drafts, and the 40th pick overall. On other sites, he's still around the RB16-RB18 range. His ADP is rising though as the season gets closer. It's looking more and more likely that Gore will be a mid-to-late third round pick, depending on if you are in a 10 or 12-team league.
That still leaves room for him to outproduce his draft price though, in my opinion. I don't think there is a better RB2 candidate out there, if you take a running back in the first two rounds (I am 100% not someone who is taking RBs with my first two picks). I'd much rather have him over Lamar Miller, Alfred Morris, Jonathan Stewart, etc. My biggest debate is Gore vs. Justin Forsett, based on their ADPs. Forsett though was 3rd in the NFL in facing 8+ man boxes last year. I just don't think that's something defenses will be able to do against the Colts offense, with so many pass-catching weapons. Gore is as good of a RB2 candidate as their is this year, if that's the route you want to go with your draft strategy in the first three rounds.
In a keeper league, yes. I'm fully on #TeamSmallWR. In my fantasy league of record, my two keepers are Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham. I'll take them both over Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson, given the chance. So, a receiver with tools like Phillip Dorsett gets my attention.
For one-year leagues though, I don't think I'd use a late pick on Phillip Dorsett. We have to wait and see how it plays out in training camp, but I wouldn't be surprised if Dorsett and Donte Moncrief split the WR3 reps in Indianapolis. It's what happened with Hakeem Nicks and Moncrief last year for much of the season. T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson aren't losing snaps. I'd rather spend a late round pick on an upside RB, like David Cobb, Reggie Bush, Danny Woodhead, or if you drafted Frank Gore, a guy like Dan Herron (to be your handcuff). If you want a late round WR, I'd lean towards John Brown, DeVante Parker, or Marques Colston.
Not only yes, but hell yes. This question highlights an important distinction between leagues that award 4 points for passing touchdowns and leagues that award 6 points for passing touchdowns. I've said all offseason not to use a first round pick on a QB. That doesn't apply to 6-point passing TD leagues and 2QB leagues. With the 8th pick, the top RBs and probably Antonio Brown will all be off the board. At that point, every RB you take is going to come with risk. If Antonio Brown is still available, I'd go him first and hope Luck or Rodgers makes it back around to me, but know your league members. If QBs have gone fast in the past, take Luck. You can't win your league in the first round, but you sure can lose it. You won't lose it with Luck.
T.Y. Hilton will score the most points among the Colts wide receivers. Even with Andre Johnson here, Hilton has established himself as Luck's favorite target. He can line up all over the offense and take the top off a defense at any moment. I expect Johnson to finish as a solid WR2 in fantasy in this offense but Hilton is a top-12 fantasy WR.
The tight end question is tougher. If Pep Hamilton increases how often he uses 3WR sets, that means only Dwayne Allen or Coby Fleener will be on the field in those sets, not both (unless it's the rare instance of an empty backfield). I would expect Allen to get the snaps in those 3WR sets, because of his outstanding blocking ability. It makes that package even more versatile, with defenses not knowing whether Allen will stay in to block for a run play or go out for a pass. More snaps equals more opportunities for fantasy points. Allen and Fleener will still likely split the snaps at some unknown rate though, meaning the correct answer for fantasy football is probably to draft a tight end that will get all the snaps.
I had a great exchange about DeMarco Murray with two of NFL Network and NFL Fantasy's best this week. Murray was the #1 RB last year in fantasy and now is not being drafted outside the first round. Gelhar is absolutely correct to point out Murray was not just a product of the Dallas OL and should flourish in Philadelphia's Chip Kelly system. There's a greater concern here though that MUST be considered:
That graphic doesn't even include Arian Foster, who missed 8 games in 2013, after totalling 405 carries in 2012. It also left out Maurice Jones-Drew who only played in 6 games in 2012, after a career-high 386 touches in 2011 or Michael Turner missing 5 games in 2009 after 394 carries in 2008. Murray had 436 carries last year, including the playoffs (plus another 61 receptions). Nobody's had that many carries in a season since Larry Johnson in 2007. The above graphic tells you all you need to know about why I won't be drafting Murray in 2015.
Thanks to everyone for their questions for our first Fantasy Football Mailbag! Be sure to tweet me more questions. I'll answer some right away and use others in our weekly column here.