Last Updated: July 17th at 12:00am ET.
Colts 2017-2018 Offensive Profile
2017-2018 Pass Attempts Rank: 30th, 2nd
2017-2018 Rush Attempts Rank: 10th, 17th
2017-2018 Play Volume Rank: 23rd, 3rd
2017-2018 Yards Per Play Rank: 32nd, 7th
2018 Unaccounted for Targets (Rank): 105 (20th)
2018 Unaccounted for Carries (Rank): 8 (31st)
Projected Starting Lineup
QB: Andrew Luck
RB: Marlon Mack
WR1: T.Y. Hilton
WR2: Devin Funchess
SLWR: Parris Campbell
TE: Jack Doyle
LT: Anthony Castonzo
LG: Quenton Nelson
C: Ryan Kelly
RG: Mark Glowinski
RT: Braden Smith
Colts Passing Game
Andrew Luck began his first season slowly under rookie coach Frank Reich, showing early rust after missing all of 2018 due to shoulder surgery. Luck averaged an anemic 5.34 yards per attempt in Weeks 1-3, only to explode thereafter. After completing just two passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield in the first three games, Luck delivered the NFL’s fifth-most 20-plus-yard conversions in Weeks 4-17, hiking his YPA to 7.63 and finishing as fantasy’s QB2 behind only Patrick Mahomes during that stretch. The Colts expanded Luck’s passing depth as they grew comfortable with his arm strength and protection; one of the NFL’s best 2018 stories was savvy GM Chris Ballard’s immediate turnaround of Indy’s offensive line, which allowed a league-low 18 sacks and returns all five starters this year. Including his ultra-deep pass-catcher corps, Luck’s 2019 supporting cast projects as easily the best of his career. Entering year two under Reich, Luck stands atop my tier-two quarterbacks behind only Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
T.Y. Hilton overcame quad, groin, shoulder, hamstring, and high ankle injuries for a career-high 90.7 yards per game in his seventh NFL season, leading the entire league in receiving yards from Weeks 10-17. Averaging 80 catches for 1,254 yards over his last five seasons with Luck, Hilton remains one of pro football’s premier deep threats after finishing third in the NFL in yards gained on 20-plus-yard downfield targets (535) behind only Tyreek Hill (754) and Mike Evans (543) last year. Hilton’s durability is an increasing concern entering his age-30 campaign, but his versatility, game-breaking explosiveness, and longstanding rapport with Luck keep Hilton safely atop the passing-game totem pole in Indianapolis.
The Colts gave Devin Funchess a one-year, $10 million deal to upgrade on 2018 No. 2 WR Dontrelle Inman, who averaged 4.7 targets over Indy’s final ten games. Inman ran 36% of his routes in the slot, where Funchess – commonly criticized for dropping passes – has zero drops on 55 career targets. He has 23 drops on 246 targets outside. In Funchess, Ballard took a prove-it flyer on a 25-year-old who regressed last year after breaking out for 840 yards and eight TDs with Cam Newton’s Panthers the season before. Indy’s pass-catcher depth will hurt Funchess’ consistency, but he is worth selecting in the early double-digit rounds as a WR4/5 with WR2/3 upside in the best passing offense of his career.
Indianapolis selected Ohio State’s Parris Campbell with the 59thpick to upgrade on pedestrian slot WR Chester Rogers, who last year finished 73rdamong 96 qualified receivers in yards per route run (1.22) with a league-high 91% of those routes coming in the slot. Campbell led the entire Big Ten in yards per route run (3.47) last season, and at 6-foot, 205 with 4.31 jets is a colossal explosiveness improvement over Rogers (6’0/185, 4.56). Campbell’s dominance with the ball in his hands was reinforced by his 30.4-yard kick-return average and 23/210/2 (9.1 YPC) rushing line in Columbus. If Campbell usurps Rogers before Week 1, he’ll merit WR3/flex discussion as a dynamic interior playmaker in Luck’s passing attack.
Jack Doyle appeared in only six 2018 games, missing Weeks 3-7 with a hip strain before suffering a year-ending kidney laceration in Week 12. Doyle out-snapped Eric Ebron 331 to 164 and out-targeted him 33 to 22 in the six games in which both appeared. Ebron averaged 8.8 targets in Doyle’s missed games but only 4.4 when Doyle played. As Ebron’s 2018 touchdown count (14) is wildly unsustainable – including college, Ebron went his previous seven football-playing seasons without exceeding five touchdowns in an individual year – Funchess and Campbell’s additions to siphon middle-of-the-field targets combined with Doyle’s healthy return bode extremely poorly for Ebron coming anywhere close to his fantasy ADP.
Colts Running Game
The Colts’ offensive line dominance extended to the ground, where it ranked top four in both Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards and tackle for loss rate allowed. Marlon Mack capitalized, shaking off early-season hamstring woes to average 18.8 touches for 88.2 yards with ten TDs over Indy’s final ten regular season games. Mack also starred in the Colts’ playoff win, pouring 154 yards and a touchdown on the Texans in a 26-touch effort. He lost passing-down work to Nyheim Hines for most of last year, although Mack’s routes run spiked from 13.5 to 23.3 in Indianapolis’ final four games, and he’s been a capable pass catcher since college. The Colts gave Mack a vote of confidence by making journeyman Spencer Ware their lone significant backfield addition. Even if his receiving role remains limited, the trustworthiness of Indy’s offense and Mack’s scoring upside render him a fourth-round value pick.
Spencer Ware, Nyheim Hines, and Jordan Wilkins will vie for ancillary backfield work. 229-pound journeyman Ware looked a step slow in last year’s return from 2017’s PCL/LCL tear, and Ware’s late-season hamstring strain ceded Chiefs primary back duties to Damien Williams after Kareem Hunt’s demise. Ware isn’t even assured of making the Colts’ 53-man roster on a contract with just $150,000 guaranteed. Receiving specialist Hines quietly finished No. 8 among NFL backs in catches (63) but averaged just 4.8 touches over the Colts’ final six games, including playoffs. Wilkins faded as Mack emerged but averaged 5.6 yards per carry as a rookie and handles himself solidly in the passing game.
2019 Vegas Win Total
The Colts’ Win Total is 9.5 games, a number they’ve exceeded in four of Andrew Luck’s six seasons as starter. They have coordinator continuity on both sides of the ball and one of the deepest offensive rosters in football. Indianapolis closed out Frank Reich’s first season as head coach with a 9-1 record over their final ten regular season games and made quick Wild Card work of the division-rival Texans before falling to the Super Bowl-caliber Chiefs. This year’s Colts draw the league’s ninth-softest slate based on Opponent Win Totals. I believe GM Chris Ballard is building a bully as one of the most forward-thinking decision makers in the league, and I like Indianapolis’ chances at another double-digit-win year.