As the quarterback and leader of the Colts, Manning's absence on the field will have a significant impact on nearly all facets of the offense.
Those of you unfortunate enough to have drafted any of the receivers on the Colts offense will feel the pain the most.
So, what are the fantasy football implications of Manning's injury?
Kerry Collins will undoubtedly turn to Dallas Clark as his safety blanket on passing plays. When Collins starts to feel the heat inside the pocket, all he has to do is look for No. 44.
Clark’s ceiling isn’t nearly as high with Collins as it would be with Manning, but his numbers shouldn’t decrease significantly. He should still be able to be counted on as a borderline top option at tight end.
Reggie Wayne was Peyton Manning’s go-to guy. While his numbers will likely suffer a bit without Manning, they won’t fall off completely.
Wayne showed a strong connection with replacement Kerry Collins in the third preseason game, catching six passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Despite his declining athletic abilities, his precision route running helps him maintain his status as one of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL.
Wayne will take a hit, but he should still be serviceable as a No. 2 wide receiver.
Delone Carter is the Indianapolis Colts’ highly touted backup running back.
Drafted in the fourth round out of Syracuse, Carter has been getting a lot of preseason hype. Passing Donald Brown on the depth chart, Carter is now one Joseph Addai injury away from inheriting the starting job.
If the Colts are out of playoff contention—a likely scenario at this juncture—at any point this season, Coach Caldwell may decide to take the leash off of Carter and let him loose in the starting lineup to see what he’s made of.
In the short term, this hurts Carter's stock. However, Carter may benefit from this in the long run.
Joseph Addai isn’t a flashy back or much of a game-changer, but he’s reliable and consistent when healthy.
However, Addai’s value is now in serious jeopardy—as if it wasn’t already with Delone Carter threatening his workload and job security—as teams will stack the box far more often, practically daring Kerry Collins to throw it downfield.
While Addai will likely see more touches go his way with less of an emphasis on the pass, without Peyton to move the chains downfield, Addai will also see his goal-line looks reduced significantly.
A borderline No. 2 running back and flex play to some owners out there, Addai hovers near that value—but is close to slipping further down.
Austin Collie was a revelation—at least when healthy—for those that picked him up off the waiver last season. In nine games, Collie caught 58 passes for 649 yards and eight touchdowns—spread that type of production out over a full season and he would’ve finished the season with 103 receptions, 1,153 receiving yards and a touchdown total in the mid-teens.
With a shift in the offense, Collie should see his looks reduced and, subsequently, his receptions and overall numbers.
For now, I would downgrade Collie to a borderline No. 3 wide receiver or flex play. He’s simply too low in the pecking order to make an impact.
Pierre Garcon was a bit of a disappointment last season for those that drafted him.
While Garcon had a solid year, he didn’t breakout like many were expecting. Fantasy owners should expect more of the same this year.
Garcon will undoubtedly get less passes thrown his way and his opportunities will be limited moving forward. Expect plenty of inconsistency from week to week.
He is, at best, a borderline No. 3 wide receiver—and that's only during a favorable matchup.