In our latest fantasy football team capsule created for Bleacher Report, we take a look at the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts were the AFC South champions in 2010, finishing with a 10-6 record. Once again, they had their Super Bowl hopes dashed early with a playoff loss to the New York Jets.
For the past decade, the Colts have been a fantasy powerhouse, led by players like Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. For the first time in several years, questions are starting to surface about the long term dynasty viability of this team.
Players in their Prime
Peyton Manning, QB
It was just another day at the office for Manning in 2010 as he posted a career high 4,700 passing yards, along with 33 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
Dynasty owners are pretty spoiled with Manning as he’s now posted five straight (and 11 of 12) seasons with at 4,000 yards and has thrown at least 26 touchdowns in each of his 14 seasons in Indianapolis. Manning is the model of consistency at the quarterback position and is good enough to carry a fantasy team on his back in any given year.
The one concern about Manning is his age (he’ll be 35 when the season begins.) He’s getting very close to having diminishing value in dynasty leagues and is on the cusp of a “sell” to non-contending teams.
If you’re a contender, he’s an obvious target. If you’re rebuilding, you have to at least consider listening to offers before Manning moves into the realm of players with falling values here in a year or two.
Dallas Clark, TE
Many fantasy owners had Clark as the number one tight end in all of fantasy last year. After all, he was coming off a 2009 campaign that featured a ridiculous 100 catches, 1,106 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Unfortunately, Clark’s 2010 season was cut short by injury after he appeared in just six games.
This upcoming season is big for Clark as he looks to return to form. It was obvious to anyone watching that the Colts missed him, despite the breakout season from Jacob Tamme. The offense was simply not the same without Manning’s favorite safety valve available.
Clark should be a safe bet to be a top five tight end for the foreseeable future. He’s simply too valuable and Manning is simply too good to assume anything else.
Pierre Garcon, WR
Pierre was a popular pick for breakout player of the year before last season. His numbers didn’t match up as he struggled to get on the same page with Manning. He finished the year with a respectable 67 catches, 784 yards and six touchdowns.
Garcon is still just 24 years old and will benefit from another full offseason of work to hone his skills, route running and timing with Manning. Let’s hope he gets it.
Austin Collie, WR
Collie was unbelievable at the beginning of last season and actually led all fantasy wide receivers in scoring after a month or so. Unfortunately, concussions derailed his season and he finished with 58 catches, 649 yards and eight touchdowns in just eight games.
Collie is likely never going to be a number one or even a number two receiver in fantasy, but he’s certainly roster worthy. The concussions have to temper your long term expectations from him, but he proved he can play the position at a high level if injuries arise.
Players with Falling Values
Joseph Addai, RB
Addai hasn’t posted a 1,000 yard season since 2007 and has proven he’s simply no replacement for Edgerrin James. The 495 yards and four touchdowns he posted in his eight games in 2010 were simply unacceptable from a player many teams relied on to be a No. 2 running back in fantasy.
The Colts have always preferred a two-back system and Addai has done nothing of late to have them consider doing anything else in the near future. His career is likely going to go down as a pretty big disappointment from the eyes of a dynasty league owner unless he really steps up this season.
On the plus side, the Colts didn’t really address the running back position in the draft, so Addai should get another opportunity to return to form. Late drafted rookie Delone Carter doesn’t see to be a threat to him at this point.
Donald Brown, RB
Last season was supposed to be the big breakout year for Brown, but it simply didn’t happen. He ran for just 497 yards (3.9 average) and two touchdowns.
There was once hope that Brown could take the torch from Addai if given the opportunity and become a featured back for the Colts.
It just doesn’t look like he has the ability to do that. He needs to prove us wrong.
Reggie Wayne, WR
Wayne has been a fixture at the top of draft lists for the last decade as he’s become one of the most consistent players we’ve ever seen at the wide receiver position. Last year was no different as he produced 111 catches, 1,355 yards and six touchdowns.
He can be a key performer for a contending team, but a rebuilding team has to strongly weigh the consequences of building around him.
Wayne will turn 33 this next season and we’re starting to see some signs that his production may tail off. When you consider he posted just 18 catches, 143 yards and one touchdown in his last four games combined, it’s a clear red flag. While that’s no reason to cut bait, that fact combined with the modest touchdown total show that Peyton Manning has other targets to feed and Wayne may be losing his grip on being the number one option.
We expect another great season from Wayne. It’s just time to start considering moving him if you’re not competing for a championship this season. He’s simply not going to help you three or four years down the line.
Jacob Tamme, TE
Tamme came out of nowhere to post 67 catches, 631 yards and four touchdowns after Dallas Clark was injured early in the season. More than anything, Tamme proved just how incredible Peyton Manning can make anyone look. While Tamme proved he can be productive, Clark’s return tanks any real value he has in all but the deepest dynasty leagues around.
Anthony Gonzalez, WR
Many dynasty league owners thought Gonzalez was going to be the second coming of Wes Welker, It looks like he’s just going to be the first coming of Anthony Gonzalez.
Blair White, WR
It’s unlikely that Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie make it through the season unscathed. If an injury occurs, White showed he can be productive.
4.22 - Delone Carter, RB
Well, this was a bit of a surprise. Carter doesn’t fit the bill of most Colt running backs because he has trouble catching the ball. He is, however, a player to watch because he’s a bulldozer. He’s a third round option in rookie only drafts as a long term project who fell to a good team.
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