INDIANAPOLIS — Football is finally back — which, of course, means fantasy football is finally back.
The Indianapolis Colts kick off the 2020 season on Sunday on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. With a new quarterback running the show, some new weapons on offense and an up-and-coming defensive unit, the Colts head into the matchup with plenty of intrigue from a fantasy football perspective.
In other words, we'll probably learn a lot on Sunday.
What should you expect from the Colts players on your fantasy rosters in Week 1? We've got you covered here.
(Weekly positional rankings from FantasyPros.com, based on Half-PPR scoring. Ranks as of Wednesday morning of game week.)
QB Philip Rivers
» FantasyPros Week 1 Position Rank: QB24
» Jaguars vs. QBs (2019): 18th (19.8 FPPG)
After 16 illustrious years guiding the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers franchise, Rivers makes his much-anticipated Colts debut on Sunday, and gets a road divisional game right off the bat. Rivers in 2020 is hoping to find the same consistency he showed in 2018, when he scored the 11th-most fantasy points of any quarterback in the league; last year, when he tossed 23 touchdowns to 20 interceptions, he finished 18th. So what can Rivers do on Sunday against a Jaguars defense that no longer has the likes of A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue? To start, while those guys are gone, there are some solid returners on that side of the ball — guys like pass rusher Josh Allen and linebacker Myles Jack, while the team this offseason signed a former Pro Bowl linebacker in Joe Schobert; the team also used two first-round draft picks on the defensive side of the ball in defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson and cornerback CJ Henderson. So while there is talent on that side of the ball in Jacksonville, one would assume a veteran like Rivers will want to try to take advantage of a unit that still needs to learn how to play together to open the season.
RBs Jonathan Taylor, Marlon Mack & Nyheim Hines
» FantasyPros Week 1 Position Rank: Taylor RB23, Mack RB30, Hines RB47
» Jaguars vs. RBs (2019): 31st (23.2 FPPG)
Marlon Mack or Jonathan Taylor? And is Nyheim Hines in line to be the newest favorite target of Philip Rivers' out of the backfield? These have been popular topics in the fantasy football world all offseason, and now we're finally going to get our first chance to see how Frank Reich wants to attack defenses with his talented backfield — and arguably the league's best offensive line — in 2020. We know this: Reich has said Mack is the starter — he's earned that after getting his first 1,000-yard season in 2019, after all. But we also have heard the Mack-Taylor combo being labeled as a "1-1" attack; the Colts did use a second-round pick to add Taylor, the NCAA's sixth-leading rusher of all-time, to their stable in this year's draft. So Sunday's game will be a good test case to determine whether Reich wants to try to split the carries between Mack or Taylor, lean towards the veteran Mack early on or simply just see how the game plays out and rides the hot hand. Hines, meanwhile, has been one of the NFL's more utilized pass-catching backs since he entered the league in 2018, but perhaps Rivers' presence will help him get more production out of those receiving opportunities.
WRs T.Y. Hilton, Parris Campbell & Michael Pittman Jr.
» FantasyPros Week 1 Position Rank: Hilton WR26, Campbell WR57, Pittman Jr. WR61
» Jaguars vs. WRs (2019): 10th (18.4 FPPG)
The Colts were struck hard with the injury bug at the wide receiver position throughout last season, and two of the players hit hardest — T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell — are back, fully healthy and eager to make up for lost time heading into Sunday's season opener. It's probably fair at this point for Hilton to be projected at WR26 this week, just because others across the league don't really know what to expect out of the veteran receiver. But as offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni has said, the offense still runs through Hilton, and he's already built a nice rapport with his new quarterback, Rivers. Campbell is a little bit more of a wild card; he had a hard-luck rookie year with injuries in 2019, but definitely showed flashes of his big-play potential when he did get the ball in his hand. Now healthy, he'll look to do damage primarily out of the slot in 2020. Sunday will also be a nice test case for second-round pick Michael Pittman Jr., who is expected to be lined up as a primary X-receiver on the outside.
TEs Jack Doyle & Mo Alie-Cox
» FantasyPros Week 1 Position Rank: Doyle TE19, Alie-Cox TE50
» Jaguars vs. TEs (2019): 22nd (7.0 FPPG)
The tight end position will always be featured in Frank Reich's offense, and the Colts enter the season with the always-dependable Jack Doyle — coming off his second-career Pro Bowl selection — as well as Mo Alie-Cox, whose role as a pass-catcher could very well expand after 15 receptions and two touchdowns his first two full seasons. You pretty much know what you're going to get from Doyle year in and year out; the last four seasons, when healthy, he's averaged about 50 receptions for 550 yards and four touchdowns. But with Eric Ebron departing in free agency this offseason, perhaps both Doyle and Alie-Cox can be the beneficiaries of a few more big-time targets their way, especially in the red zone. Another factor in a few weeks at the tight end position for the Colts: veteran Trey Burton, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this week with a calf injury, and could return as soon as Week 4.
Colts Defense/Special Teams
» FantasyPros Week 1 Position Rank: DST7
» Jaguars vs. DSTs (2019): 22nd (10.4 FPPG)
There's a rather bullish feeling about this Colts defense heading into the 2020 season, and they're getting what is perceived to be a favorable matchup Sunday in Jacksonville. Now, if the Indy defense reaches its goal of 40 takeaways this year — becoming the first NFL team since 2012 to accomplish that feat — then you're probably looking at a top-five unit. But on Sunday, there's a bit of the unknown simply due to the fact the Jaguars have a brand new offensive coordinator in Jay Gruden, the former Washington Football Team head coach. But Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus has plenty of familiarity with both Gruden and new Jags quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo; Eberflus was a defensive assistant for the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East when they took on Gruden's Washington squad and McAdoo's New York Giants twice a year. Perhaps the Jaguars' strengths, however, are their veteran offensive line and a young, talented group of wide receivers, led by DJ Chark Jr. We'll get our first look at All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner's impact on the entire defense and see if he can help wreak havoc on second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew II. As for the kicking game, it's a bit of an unknown with rookie Rodrigo Blankenship, who beat out the incumbent Chase McLaughlin out of training camp, but the Colts sure do feel confident in Blankenship's ability to consistently put the ball through the uprights.