Peyton Manning Out Indefinitely: The Fantasy Fallout for Week 1 and Beyond

Eric StashinSenior Writer ISeptember 10, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 08:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pss under pressure against the New York Jets during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Jets won 17-16.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Last season was a frustrating one for Joseph Addai, with injuries playing a huge role in his inability.  Limited to just eight games (seven starts), Addai rushed for a career low 495 yards and 4 TD on 116 carries.  Of course, it’s not like it has been just one disappointing season as Addai has failed to rush for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.

Obviously, this season is already dramatically different than year’s past.  We already know that Peyton Manning will miss at least two to three months, with the potential to be sidelined for the entire season. 

While it shouldn’t be considered a lock that the Colts rein in the passing game with Kerry Collins, it’s hard to imagine them allowing him to consistently throw the ball 40+ times. Manning, however, attempted 40+ passes 10 times last season.

A reduction in pass attempts alone will allow for more running opportunities.  While Addai could share carries to Donald Brown and rookie Delone Carter, Addai has long been considered the short yardage back in Indianapolis.  In 2009 he set a career high with 12 TD and without Manning the red zone carries should increase significantly.  The question will Addai be the one getting those carries or will Carter?

 Always concerned with their offensive line, the Colts addressed improving their depth by drafting a pair of tackles this season.  Benjamin Ijalana, drafted in the second-round, will provide depth.  Anthony Castonzo, their first-round selection, is starting at left tackle and will be leaned upon to open some holes.

In Week 1, you also have to think that the Colts will be looking to control the football and the clock a little bit more.  Does anyone doubt that the Houston Texans will be able to move the ball up and down the field against the Colts?  Even if Arian Foster is unable to suit up, there is little question that they will be able to produce—assuming they have the football.

If the Texans don’t touch the football very much, the Colts chances improve. Don’t they?

It’s obvious that the Colts’ philosophy has to change this season.  It’s also obvious that the biggest benefactor of the change is the running backs, most notably Addai, who will be the starter.  If they give him 15+ carries, which is a very realistic number, he should have a lot of success.  I wouldn’t lock him in as a weekly starter, but in Week 1 he is definitely worth rolling the dice on.

Long-term the team could instead look towards Delone Carter to find out what they have and see if he can solve their issues at running back.  It makes him well worth watching and stashing if you have room on your bench.  However, in the early going I would expect it to be more skewed towards Addai.

How does the Peyton Manning news affect the likes of Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon and Dallas Clark?  It’s pretty obvious that their value plummets.  I would think the person whose value is hurt the most could be Clark, who could be asked to stay in and block a little bit more than we are used to. 

The three receivers are going to get their opportunities to make plays, just not as many.  Wayne should remain a viable option in all formats, though without Manning he’s not likely going to be the consistent top option that he once was.

Garcon and Collie are a little bit of a different story.  We were unsure to begin with which one would be the better fantasy option.  With the loss of Manning neither player seems to be a tremendous option for Week 1.  Once we figure out who Collins has a better rapport with things will change, but until then there is too much risk involved.

It’s obvious that 2011 is going to be a completely different season for the Colts and fantasy owners alike.  It’s going to take a week or two to sort it all out, but make sure to change how you value the Colts’ skill players immediately.

What are your thoughts?  Whose value improves?  Whose plummets?


Make sure to check out all of Rotoprofessor’s Week 1 Rankings: