AFC South Fantasy Watch: Indianapolis Training Camp Issues to Monitor Pre-Draft
It's easy to get excited about the return of fantasy football.
The temptation is to get all your friends together on August 1, have a huge party and draft until your hearts are content.
I can't speak for the rest of the NFL, but if it's anything like the AFC South, there are too many questions that will be answered in training camp for you to draft that early.
Waiting until after the third preseason game gives you more time to get the first wave of injuries accounted for. Beyond that, every team has unknowns that won't be clear for a few weeks at least.
The Indianapolis Colts are no exception.
Here are three major fantasy questions that training camp and the preseason could answer.
What Value Will Austin Collie Have?
Collie was a fantasy beast in 2010 before concussions ended his season.
After a rookie year that saw him post at least 10 points on six different occasions, he opened 2010 on fire. With totals of 22, eight, 29, nine, 11 and 20 points in only nine games, Collie emerged as a fantasy monster.
He played in 16 games in 2011, but wasn't the same player. He didn't post a touchdown until Week 17, which was also his only 10-point game of the season. Collie only put up five points on two other occasions.
The magic question was whether that can be blamed on Curtis Painter or on the injuries Collie sustained.
In minicamp, it was clear that Collie is slated as the Colts' second receiver. While most think of him as a slot guy, he does have good speed, and might be able to thrive as Indianapolis' version of Wes Welker. The Colts are moving him around a lot, taking advantage of the skills and versatility of Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen at tight end.
Before drafting Collie, watch how Indianapolis uses him in the preseason and make sure he looks 100 percent. If everything checks out, he could be the steal of your draft in a later round.
Is Donald Brown an Every-down Back?
Perhaps "every-down back" is putting it too severely, but Indianapolis has a crowded backfield right now. Brown looks like the front-runner for the top spot, and took most of the snaps in minicamp, but you need to know more before dropping a late-round pick on him.
The Colts have two big bruisers in Delone Carter and Vick Ballard. Therefore, Brown may miss out on a lot of goal-line carries.
After not touching the ball for four games in 2011, Brown finished up with at least nine points in five of the last 11 outings.
With Indianapolis looking bigger on the offensive line, the Colts could choose to run more often in 2012 than they did in 2011. How they split the carries will go a long way toward determining if Brown is worth a flyer or should be left to languish on the waiver wire.
Keep a close eye on the Indy offense in the preseason before spending a pick on Brown, especially in the red zone.
How will the Colts use Dwayne Allen?
Indianapolis took Allen in the third round this year, but how they plan on utilizing him is still a big question.
Allen is a big, talented end with the ability to affect the passing game in a variety of ways.
Unfortunately for fantasy owners, one of those ways is blocking.
In minicamp, Allen moved all over the formation. He was out wide, he was kept in tight and he was dropped back to the H-back position. It appeared as if moving Allen around was part of Bruce Arians' plan to create favorable matchups and confuse opposing defenses.
Depending on how well the Colts' offensive line plays, Allen could see far more time keeping Andrew Luck from falling down than he will scoring touchdowns.
Before spending a pick on Allen, wait to get a feel for the Colts' line. Allen will eventually be a receiving force, but it might not happen in his first year. Even in college, he only posted six 10-point games last season.
Indianapolis might have a dynamic passing offense behind Andrew Luck, but I'd hold off on drafting Allen until we know more.
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