Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has come out and said that star quarterback Peyton Manning will be out "a while." That's bad news for Colts fans, but also for fantasy owners who have some of Manning's favorite targets. Those of you who spent a high pick on prolific wideout Reggie Wayne have to be kicking yourselves right now. But the news is not all bad.
With Manning out, backup Kerry Collins will step in and try to keep the Colts afloat. While Collins is not Manning, he is a competent backup and has won plenty of games in the NFL. He's sure to rely heavily on Wayne and tight end Dallas Clark to help him get through the first few weeks.
The timing between Collins and his new targets will be off, and almost every receiver struggles when adjusting to a new signal-caller. But Wayne isn't just any receiver. The guy is one of the best in the NFL and that's why you likely spent a high pick on him.
Wayne has posted seven consecutive 1,000-plus yard seasons. He had a career-high 111 catches in 2010, but only had six touchdowns. That number was down because defenses focused on him so much, forcing Manning to spread the ball around. Opponents will certainly try the same tactic this season with Collins at quarterback.
But for the first few weeks Collins will almost certainly be looking in Wayne's direction and relying on him to find ways to get open. After all, Wayne has been to five straight Pro Bowls and is the Colts' most recognizable face outside of Manning.
While your initial reaction was likely to sit Wayne with Manning out, that's a terrible idea. It's unlikely that you truly have a better option on your roster, and while he may not put up the numbers he did with Manning in there, he should still give you solid results.
While Kerry Collins is certainly not Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne is still Reggie Wayne. Start him.