If we look at the promises made throughout the absence of Andrew Luck and his return to football, we feel a sense more of notions rather than news that comes to us.
Luck is now past the 500-day mark since he has had active involvement in a game or practice. The injury setback reported last October threw everyone in fantasy into a mild rage because of the positives brought out by that point.
We in the fantasy community are currently starting our assessments for the coming season; trying to project as best we can the follow up performances to 2017. It is important, not only for Andrew Luck in the quarterback ranks, but of course the rest of the Colts offensive fantasy prospects.
2018 Fantasy Football Andrew Luck Outlook
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I laid out in an article earlier this year about the importance of Luck to this 2018 season, but now that players have come and gone, the picture remains frustratingly murky. Andrew Luck not only has to start throwing again, but return to a form we last saw in 2016. When Frank Reich says the team is "not worried at all", we in fantasy take no settling comfort.
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How is the running game?
The Colts summer workouts will be without Marlon Mack because of a shoulder injury of his own. Nyheim Hines, the Colts 4th round RB draftee, is a pass-catching back of a smaller frame. Turbin is back and the Colts have another rookie plus Christine Michael gets yet another chance to hold a roster spot. So the running game of the Colts looks like a wait and see just like Luck.
The matter of Andrew Luck still hovers over the issue because of the obvious nature of the offense. When it comes to the quarterback, there is seldom a one-size fits all mentality for an offense unless you play a system. Reich, being a quarterback himself, would certainly not be the type to prepare a team in an un-quarterback system.
How are the Colts preparing?
It's a big question. In fantasy, we have to look closely at these matters because we want to know if T.Y. Hilton is a safe enough pick in the 2nd or 3rd rounds of our drafts. Right now, the ECR (experts consensus rankings) at FantasyPros have him at WR13 with an overall rank of 30. I am only slightly lower for him, but I can tell you his position here is soft - all because of the overlong concerns with Andrew Luck.
If the Colts form their team in the manner that all do when a quarterback misses the early team workouts, then fine. However, we are removed an extra year from this usual scenario because Andrew Luck is still under rehab.
Which Luck will we get in the end?
One of those glass half empty, half full type questions. I would look at it like this. We know his skill and ability. We know he could return and have a 30+ TD pass season. He is quite capable, but I would caution on too much optimism.
First of all, there is a new coach. There is still a shaking out of the old Pagano rug going on and the Colts direction remains uncertain. The Colts are really up against it in their division with the Jaguars, Texans and Titans. These teams were in a similar quarterbacking spot the Colts are in now - only a couple of seasons ago.
So those are six games out of the sixteen in which the Colts face two strong defenses. The Mariota led Titans should also improve on their 2017 playoff team this season on defense as well with rookie Harold Landry in on the pass rush.
What about his weapons?
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Well, T.Y. Hilton is the primary issue in fantasy and I feel that a return to 1000+ and a half dozen touchdowns is fair enough to call his norm in all sorts of weather. The problem here is translating those numbers into steady week-to-week production which I feel T.Y. Hilton gets with a properly tuned-up Andrew Luck. Hilton only had 57 receptions in 2017; where a post-rookie norm for him would be around 80.
The good news for Hilton is that the target share should be steady and larger. If Andrew Luck and the Colts move the ball well enough, there should be plenty to discuss in terms of bounce-back capability for Hilton. As for the rest of the receivers, they are holding peripheral fantasy interest.
Chester Rogers remains. Ryan Grant (fmr Redskins) is out there. Rookies Daurice 'Reece' Fountain and Deon Cain have enough to become potential breakouts down the road. Still, I would place very few fantasy stocks on any receiver behind Hilton at this time. These are just names to keep in mind for now.
Jack Doyle, has some competition with Eric Ebron now as an alternate tight end. This arrangement the Colts made continues, in part, of the Pagano days with two pass-catching tight ends. Ebron eats into Doyle's production. Doyle had around the same amount of targets (108) with Hilton in 2017, so that could drop sharply depending on how Ebron works out with the team.
Nyheim Hines, at about 200 and 5'8" in height fits the bill as pass catching RB. Expect strong fluctuating PPR interest throughout the ADP period of the preseason for his value. Hines could become prominent in the backfield, but I'll hold back on any optimism he will own the running back committee until we get to July. I consider it too early.
When are we seeing Andrew Luck?
The Colts hold these cards close to the vest. However, some expect we could see him in throwing drills as early as mid-June. Uncertainty surrounds all this, but you would think they'd have to get him training full with the team in camp. If Luck has any restrictions during training camp, that's just more red flags for fantasy. We would be exactly where we are now.
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