2020 Preview: Indianapolis Colts


NFL.com's Bucky Brooks Ranks the Colts as Having an NFL 'Top 5 ...

The 2020 NFL Season is nearly upon us, and in anticipation of the new season we’ll be previewing the action team-by-team, using the draft order from last season. The previews will kick off with the Bengals and run right through the reigning champion Chiefs. Come back each day to check out your favorite team. All ADP and Rankings reflect PPR scoring. 2020 Projections are based on a 12-team league (i.e. WR1 (Top 12), WR2 (13-24), WR3 (25-36)).

            The Colts appeared to be a team on the rise for much of the 2019 off-season. In fact, they were a trendy playoff pick. I even thought they could be a Super Bowl contender. Then, on the cusp of the season, things changed. Franchise quarterback Andrew Luck announced he was retiring, and it was fair to wonder how the Colts would fare with Jacoby Brissett taking the reins.

            The team moved out to a 5-2 record at one point and were in contention for a playoff berth. But a 2-7 finish landed the Colts at 7-9 and out of the playoffs. This off-season the team worked to re-load and will look to get back to the playoffs in 2020.

Off-Season Changes

            The Colts saw several veterans on offense move on as tight end Eric Ebron moved to the Steelers, veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer moved on to the Patriots and receiver Devin Funchess went to Green Bay. But the team added veteran tight end Trey Burton and made a big swing to land Philip Rivers as their quarterback for at least the 2020 season. Rivers played 16 seasons for the Chargers, throwing for 59,207 yards and 397 TDs. He had an uneven 2019 and the Chargers elected to move on, but the Colts are hoping he still has something left in the tank to make another playoff run.

            The Colts also made big swings in the draft. The team didn’t have a First-Round pick, but in the Second Round the Colts grabbed receiver Michael Pittman, Jr., and running back Jonathan Taylor to bolster the offense. Pittman snagged 101 receptions for 1,275 yards and 11 TDs in 13 games. He should be a powerful weapon in the offense. Taylor ran for 6,174 yards and 50 TDs in three seasons for Wisconsin. He’s been highly coveted in in dynasty drafts and could make a huge impact in year one for the Colts.

Fantasy Impact

            Despite some of his struggles, Rivers was QB15 last year and I think he’s a solid QB2 for the Colts this season. In the backfield, the team still has Marlon Mack and pass-catcher Nyheim Hines in addition to Taylor. I think Taylor will lead the team in rushing, but Mack isn’t going away. Taylor has RB3 appeal to me and Hines could have RB4 appeal as a receiver. Mack could also get enough work in both areas to be an RB4.

            Among receivers, the Colts are still led by TY Hilton. Hilton had 45 receptions for 501 yards and five TDs in 10 games. If he can stay healthy, with a more efficient passing game, I think he moves back to WR2 range. Pittman feels like a great long-term option, but this season he’ll be learning the ropes and competing with second-year receiver Parris Campbell. I think both Pittman and Campbell will have a role, and both could move into WR4 range. I prefer Pittman, but both have value in dynasty. At tight end the Colts will be led by Jack Doyle, who had 43 receptions for 448 yards and four TDs. Rivers has used TEs well, and with Ebron no longer competing for targets Doyle has TE1 appeal.

Prediction

            The Colts have a talented nucleus, but injuries and Luck’s retirement derailed them in 2019. I think Rivers is a solid veteran that still has enough left to make this team a competitor.  The AFC South has some good teams, but I like the Colts to make a return to the playoffs in 2020.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.

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