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With Bruce Arians gone, Colts' quarterback Andrew Luck will not be going downfield as much in 2013.
On the surface, Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Andrew Luck looks like a great fantasy buy for 2013. He's been somewhat overshadowed by the outstanding performances of other young quarterbacks (Griffin, Kaepernick, the Seahawks' Russell Wilson).
He was a rookie last season and should make significant strides this year. Plus, he gets improved protection (two of the Colts' first three draft picks were spent on offensive linemen).
But a closer look at the 2013 Colts shows a few changes that will work against Luck's fantasy value.
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne will turn 35 this season, and he is due very soon for a talent drop-off. If Wayne can't fight off the bruising that comes with being an NFL receiver in the twilight of his career, then Luck will have to rely on second-year receivers T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazil, along with former Oakland Raiders' first-round bust Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Tight ends Dwyane Allen and Coby Fleener are both adept pass-catchers, and they also took a step forward at being good NFL blockers during their rookie seasons last year. Coupled with the improved offensive line, the Colts may put more of an emphasis on running the ball with Vick Ballard, Donald Brown and rookie Kerwynn Williams.
While taking the pass-rush pressure off Luck, the ground game will also prevent Indianapolis from getting into so many fantasy-rich shootouts that Luck owners benefited from last year. The Colts focused on getting some defensive playmakers in the NFL draft this year as well (like first-round pick Bjoern Werner), which will also aid in shootout prevention.
The biggest schematic change for Luck will be the shift away from Bruce Arians' aerial attack. Now that Arians is the head man in Arizona, Luck's downfield opportunities will be much more limited under new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton. Luck will rely on accumulating yardage via more intermediate routes and less "9" routes in 2013.
While Luck may be the top quarterback in the NFL one day, the number one player on this list is a signal-caller who has already worn that crown multiple times in his career.