Indianapolis Pot of Value Gold

By Alan Satterlee, DFW Senior Writer and Co-Owner, @Speedkills_DFW


After three straight 11-5 seasons and also improving each year in playoff results, the Colts dropped to 8-8 last year and with it brought fantasy disappointment abound. Seemingly, those three years of success are being heavily discounted as heading into 2016, the Colts’ players almost across the board are now on sale (and in some cases, they are on big time on sale).

It’s easy to heavily weight what happened last season, but they may be a little myopic in this case. The Colts were just 23rd in scoring last season at 20.8 points per game, but the Colts were a top ten scoring offense in both 2014 (6th in the NFL at 27.1 points per game) and 2013 (10th in the NFL  at 25.4 points per game). Getting too focused on last season’s disappointment also loses the big picture of Andrew Luck’s career trajectory and the team’s overall success. In 2012, Andrew Luck led the Colts to the playoffs for the first time in his career losing in the opening wild card playoff game (getting drubbed by the Ravens 24-9, who went on to win the Super Bowl that season). In 2013, Luck had the Colts back at it this team winning their first playoff before losing to Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots at Foxboro in the divisional round. The following year in 2014, Luck and the Colts pushed one game further winning two playoff games that year before again losing to the Patriots at Foxboro, this time one game away from competing in the Super Bowl.

So after Andrew Luck (26) had three quite stout seasons of 11-5 to start his career, making the playoffs each year, before slipping to 2-5 in a season where he took a beating and had to be shut down to an injured kidney, the faith has slipped some. That’s good news for fantasy owners because the Colts players are on sale this year. And who doesn’t like buying things on sale?

Luck33The cheap prices start first and foremost with Andrew Luck, who has dropped a near unbelievable three rounds since last season (from 2.06 last year to 5.06 this year). Let us not forget that if we rewind just one season, just one quarterback in the NFL had 40 passing TDs and that was Andrew Luck. Additionally Luck jacked his yardage total up 25% in 2014 to 4,761 yards. Luck is still the quarterback most likely to crack 5,000 passing yards this season and the one whose touchdown total is at the low-end is 40 TDs if you ask me. Additionally, prior to last year, Luck averaged 302 yards rushing per season with 4 rushing touchdowns as well). Oh yeah, in case you missed it, Luck is now the highest-paid in the history of the NFL with his new 6-year, $140M deal. With most of the year off (giving added perspective and drive), the new contract, the talent, and the success to build off, look for a huge bounce-back season and enjoy Luck at a three round sale over 2014 prices. Luck is noticeably taking more charge this season in camp and it’s noticeable. Tackle Anthony Castonzo highlighted the more assertive Luck this year. “In the past, it’s, ‘Hey, we need you to do this.’ Now, it’s, ‘This is where you need to be,’” Castonzo said recently at Colts’ camp, explaining Luck taking more control, from a vocal standpoint.

GoreNext up , the no doubt future Hall-of-Famer, Frank Gore who despite now being 33 years old has shown little signs of really slow down (too much). Yes, Gore dropped to 3.7 yards per carry but he played through a tough losing season in Indianapolis and still ran strong totaling over 1200 yards with 7 TDs. The reality is he should have really had 9 TDs as he two rare almost fluke fumbles right at the goal line, lost scores that aren’t likely to repeat themselves. This is still a high-powered offense and there are going to be a lot of scoring to go around and it’s not like Robert Turbin is any threat to goal line work (Turbin has one measely touchdown in his NFL career on 281 rushing attempts. If Gore can defy Father Time for one more season and if Gore were to crack 1,000 rushing yards (he was just 33 yards short last season despite the loss of Andrew Luck for most of it), then Gore would become the first player 33 years or older to top 1,000 yards since John Riggins in 1984 (Riggins was 35). Gore is in rarified NFL company at this point as it is. With 12,040 rushing yards Gore ranks 15th all-time and another 1,000-yard season just below Eric Dickerson in 8th place, edging out Tony Dorsett and Jim Brown. Gore is on sale from 3.04 last season on average to 6.04 this season.

FergusonI like Gore fine enough at his 6th round price, but in terms of late round targets, Josh Ferguson is another key part of the Indianapolis pot of value gold. I targeted Ferguson a ton in rookie drafts as well as he was there on the cheap after being undrafted. However, Ferguson is in a golden situation with the Colts. Ferguson is particularly good in the receiving game and the Colts have no other receiving back (this is an area will the team will almost certainly look to lighten the load for Gore some in 2016, especially with the addition of Ferguson). In terms of my scouting, and many others as well, I was quite surprised not to see Ferguson drafted. As a running back, Ferguson was a pass-catching machine in college totaling 168 receptions (a ton for a college back) and Ferguson ended the 2015 season as the only active FBS player with 2,500+ rush and 1,500+ receiving yards in his collegiate career. Ferguson also had a solid Combine, in particular showing up well in the Forty with a 4.48 time and 21 Bench Press reps (a good number for a player his size). His ADP is creeping but again Ferguson will be nice value as you load up on Colts.

HiltonNow heading into his 5th NFL season, T.Y. Hilton is also on discount — ever so slightly. Hilton is four spots cheaper this year than last, with his ADP going from #23 overall last year to #27 overall this year. It’s slight but it could mean that if you draft at the beginning of the draft you could wait on the turn and land Hilton in the early third round (for example, Brandin Cooks in the second and then Hilton in the third). You’d like to see more touchdowns, but I’ve been singing his dynasty praises for year’s — Hilton is safe money. Over the past three seasons, Hilton has missed just one game while average 78 receptions and 1,184 yards per season. Hilton showed up at Colts’ camp wearing a Ferrari backpack because as Hilton said, “Because we got a lot of speed in the receivers room and we gonna play fast.” A career season very well could be in the cards in 2016.

One player who is not on sale (per se) is Donte Moncrief whose stock price is a ton higher this year than it was last season (as it should be with no Andre Donte2Johnson in the way and Moncrief now entering his third season). After being a later round pick in 2015, Moncrief up to 47. Shaun Laibe wrote his Donte Moncrief “buy low” article in late May, highlighting Moncrief as one of the best dynasty buy-low wide receiver targets and Moncrief’s breakout potential this year in his third NFL season. Moncrief looks ripe to explode after doubling his receptions from 32 to 64 in two seasons, likewise doubling his touchdowns from three to six, and increasing his yardage production by 65% from 444 to 733. I have Moncreif’s trajectory growing in step for 2016 with 86 receptions, 1,033 yards and 9 TDs (although even those could be too conservative).

DAllenDespite the loss of Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen is somehow up just three spots from #149 overall to #146 overall. That just doesn’t compute and Allen’s draft spot is screaming value as well. In 2014, Allen and Fleener totaled 80 receptions, 1,169 receiving yards and 16 TDs out of the tight end position for the Colts and now there is Allen left as the clear-cut primary option to soak that up. Indy re-signed Allen to a 4-year, $29.4M deal. Soak this in — in terms of cap hit for 2016, Fleener is the second-highest paid tight end in the NFL at $8.9M.

Lastly, 2nd-year receiver Phillip Dorsett is up, but up just 20 spots from #168 overall to 142 overall. That’s a great use of a 12th round pick this year as a WR5 dorsettor WR6 on your team, and I like it even more if you have Andrew Luck and can add a cheap hookup or if you have T.Y. Hilton (as you can play Dorsett and Hilton some weeks and Dorsett is also a great handcuff and insurance on Hilton). Dorsett sneaks in fairly cheaply after a quiet 18-catch, 225-yard season with one touchdown as a rookie. The Colts are expected to have more three receiver sets this season, keeping Dorsett on the field. Dorsett was selected in the 1st round last year and blazed a 4.33 Forty time in the 2015 Combine. Also keep in mind that the Colts have a new offensive coordinator in Rob Chudzinski. The team is moving away from the two-tight end offense that former coordinator Pep Hamilton liked to run (plus now Coby Fleener is gone), while Chudzinki is playing to run more three-receiver sets to get Dorsett, who Chudzinki recently called a “big-time playmaker,” on the field regularly. Boom — more value gold in the Indianapolis pot.

The Colts are set to be some nice draft-day value this year and it’s rare to find such a likely elite offense be on sale in drafts so soak up some Colts’ players this year and enjoy the fireworks.