With ESPN and Yahoo NFL Fantasy Football leagues starting shortly, and Best Ball leagues already going, our goal is to get you prepped early for your upcoming NFL fantasy drafts with our team previews that feature a look into key positional additions and departures, breakdowns, and possible sleepers.
We’ll be releasing four team previews per week, starting June 25 and going through August 16, beginning with the AFC East.
***As part of our season-long, NFL DFS package, Awesemo will release his NFL Fantasy Football rankings in mid-July for premium members. The world’s number one ranked DFS player is going to use his DFS approach, applying it to season long fantasy to help you find value in your drafts.
More on that, soon! If you’re not a member, sign up for Awesemo+ to get access to our premium rankings, projections and Slack Chat, including Awesemo’s weekly premium office hours, where he takes all your fantasy football questions.**
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Last day’s preview:
- Key Fantasy Departures: Targets
- Offensive additions
- Best Ball ADP
- Positional breakdowns: QB, WR, RB, TE, O-line
- Preseason players to watch
- Betting guide
- NFL Fantasy players to target
- Biggest question mark
- Fantasy football sleepers
- Awesemo’s fantasy football rankings
- News and updates: check back throughout the next two months
- Final thoughts
Fantasy Football Overview
The Indianapolis Colts were one of the surprise teams in the NFL last year going from 4-12 to 10-6, sparked by the return of Andrew Luck and the coaching prowess of Super Bowl winning coordinator Frank Reich. This team has proven to be one of, if not the sharpest in the entire NFL, from the top to the bottom. GM Chris Ballard has mined the draft for talent, generating a league high eight picks in the first two rounds over the last two drafts, which bodes well for this team’s short-term future.
Frank Reich’s offences are among the most difficult to prep for in the NFL. They use multiple personnel groups, switch up formations like they’re going out of style, they disguise packages, and keep teams off balance by altering run-heavy and pass-heavy approaches, while constantly altering tempo. They can beat you any way they want to: short passing game, deep passing, pounding the running game, pushing the pace of out of the shotgun.
After all that praise, with the Colts spreading the ball around so much, there’s reason to pump the brakes on a few fantasy football picks that might be going a bit higher than they should. There are a lot of mouths to feed in this offence.
Run rate: 38.4% (24th)
Pass rate: 61.6% (9th)
Key Fantasy Departures: Targets
Ryan Grant: 52
Dontrelle Inman: 38
- Devin Funchess: Big bodied, red-zone threat might not get a lot of targets, but should still score TDs.
- Parris Campbell: Speedy WR played out of the slot in college. Draftees are high on him.
- Spencer Ware: Third stringer could steal some goal-line touches, but not likely to play a role.
Best Ball ADP
- T.Y. Hilton: 24
- Marlon Mack: 28
- Andrew Luck: 65
- Eric Ebron: 80
- Devin Funchess: 127
- Parris Campbell: 129
- Nyheim Hines: 137
- Jack Doyle: 148
Everyone was worried about Luck last August. He was throwing ducks in preseason, and word was his arm was shot. What a difference a year makes. Luck posted career highs with a 67.3% completion percentage and a 98.7 passer rating to go along with 4,500 yards and 39 TDs. He was one TD and 100 yards shy of career highs in both categories.
And the Colts offence might be getting better. They added red-zone threat Devin Funchess, to go along with second round pick Parris Campbell, and Jack Doyle may be healthy. Good luck trying to defend this team from 10-yards in. According to Sharp Football Statistics, the Colts have the seventh easiest passing offence schedule in the NFL this season.
The Colts used 11 personnel (3WR sets) at the second highest rate in the NFL last season, a trend that show’s no signs of lessening, though the return of TE Jack Doyle may lead to more 12 personnel.
One of the problems with drafting secondary WRs on the Colts (ones not named T.Y. Hilton), is that so many different players see the field. All you need to do is look at the block of Colts pass catchers before 150 ADP in best balls to realize there are a lot of options in this offence. And that group doesn’t include Chester Rogers and Zach Pascal, who totalled 100+ targets between them.
Funchess is intriguing in Best Balls because of his TD upside, but only caught 57% of his passes last year and what’s there to say about T.Y Hilton that hasn’t already been said. If healthy, he’ll finish as the team’s leading receiver with 1300-1400 yards and 6-10 TDs.
Marlon Mack missed the first five weeks of the season last year with a hamstring injury, but still managed to put up 900 yards on 195 carries to go along with nine TDs. The Colts lead back doesn’t get much work in the passing game, which lessens his status to a high-end RB2, though there are rumblings out of OTAs that he could become a three-down back. The likelihood however, is that Nyheim Hines maintains is pass catching role, siphoning value from Mack.
At the end of the day, the running game is all about how good your offensive line is, and this might be the best run blocking unit in the NFL.
30% of Eric Ebron’s fantasy points last season came from his league leading 13 TDs among TEs. With TD variance so high, coupled with the addition of Devin Funchess and the return of Jack Doyle, it’s a good bet those numbers will decrease in 2019. He still got 110 targets, so there’s no reason to think he can’t be the TE 4-6 range again this year.
Doyle is a decent low-upside TE2 with a solid floor.
PFF pass blocking grade: 9th
PFF run blocking grade: 3rd
A weakness on this roster a recently as two years ago, GM Chris Ballard has turned this unit into one of the best in the league by using high-end picks on centre Ryan Kelly and guard Quenton Nelson over the last two drafts, while adding depth in the later rounds.
This line suffered through it’s fair share of injuries last year. Kelly missed four games with a knee injury, starting LT Anthony Castonzo missed five games with a hamstring injury, but when healthy, there was a stretch last year were this unit went 240 snaps without allowing a sack.
Preseason players to watch
- Parris Campbell: Is he lining up with the first team offence in the slot?
- Jack Doyle: Are they using more 2 TE sets?
Ben Rasa’s NFL Fantasy Football and Betting Preview
Indianapolis Colts 2019 O/U Win Total – 9.5 (Over -140 , Under +110)
Andrew Luck is healthy and that means big expectations in Indianapolis as the Colts look to get back to contending for the AFC Championship and trying to stop the Patriots dominance. Before they can do that they need to try and take care of the AFC South, where they are the favorite to take down the division and return to the playoffs once again.
Ben’s Favorite Player to Target
Andrew Luck – QB
After taking a beating the Colts seemed to have fixed the offensive line issues and that means Andrew Luck is primed to have an MVP caliber season. He is surrounded by weapons at every skill position and he is on the short list of top QB’s available this year. I think that he easily could challenge the likes of Mahomes and Co for the top Fantasy QB in 2019 and I wouldn’t mind grabbing him as one of the first QB’s off the board in any format.
Biggest Fantasy Football Question
What to do with the Tight Ends?
Eric Ebron had a ridiculous 2018 season but it was mostly due to finding the end zone at a rate that seems easily unsustainable as we move forward. Ebron also stayed healthy last year, while Jack Doyle was banged up and that further helped Ebron have that huge breakout year. This season I think we see Ebron take a step back and Doyle return to being one of Luck’s main weapons and safety blankets in this offense. Like a lot of guys the value will be determined on where you can grab these two in Best Balls or standard leagues and the feeling so far to me is that Ebron is a little overvalued while Doyle may be in a nice buy-low spot returning from an injury plagued season.
Fantasy Football Sleeper
Parris Campbell – WR
The Colts added a handful of pieces to an offense that had a lot of options already so volume may be an issue, but Parris Campbell could contribute immediately. The rookie out of Ohio State joins T.Y. and Funchess in the WR crop and should be able to find the field and produce some big plays with Luck. Outside of Hilton the production is relatively insecure and it wouldn’t shock me to the see Campbell slowly become an integral part of the offense. On the other side the floor is extremely low and he is a name to monitor during the preseason to see how he progresses early on, and where he ends up falling on the depth chart.
Awesemo’s NFL Fantasy Football Rankings
Check back in mid-July for season-long projections and rankings from the #1 Fantasy Sports Player.
Updated throughout preseason and training camp because we all know things can change quickly in the NFL.
The Colts are probably the team to beat in a tight AFC South and with Luck healthy and ready to go they should be able to get the job done and build on their divisional round exit via Kansas City last year. With Hilton, two quality tight ends, and Marlon Mack leading the backfield this offense is going to be a problem for opposing defenses throughout the league. If someone like Campbell emerges as another option there’s no reason this can’t be a top offensive unit in 2019 and lead the Colts deep into the playoffs.
Good luck everyone!