2023 Fantasy Football Indianapolis Colts Preview

by Dylan Clemons
2023 Fantasy Football Indianapolis Colts Preview

Welcome fantasy football nerds, into our 2023 Fantasy Football Indianapolis Colts Preview. We are continuing our NFL preseason content to get you ready for your fantasy drafts this fall.

The Colts had a tumultuous season last year finishing with a record of  4-12-1, finishing just above the Houston Texans in the AFC South. Since Andrew Luck unexpectedly retired they have gone through a wild quarterback carousel. They have tried to bridge the gap with veteran quarterback options including Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and last year tried Matt Ryan. Well, here we are and none of those options worked outside of Philip Rivers and a Wild Card playoff loss.

The only good thing that came out of last year was that they were so bad they got a top-five pick in the NFL Draft. They were able to hopefully draft their quarterback of the future, Anthony Richardson. They also bring in former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen to be the team's head coach, and we saw what he did with the emergence of Jalen Hurts last season.

Things seem to be trending up for the Colts this coming season, but now let us jump into how they look for fantasy purposes heading into the season with our 2023 Fantasy Football Indianapolis Colts Preview.

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2023 Fantasy Football Indianapolis Colts Preview

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The Colts have yet to announce who their starting quarterback will be to begin the season. However, everything we have heard out of OTA's is pointing at Richardson being the day one starter, even though Minshew is QB1 on the depth chart as of this moment.

Richardson was one of the most polarizing players coming into the draft after what he did at the NFL Combine. Richardson ran a 4.43 40-yard dash which is the 4th fastest time by a quarterback since they began tracking in 2000. To put it in perspective, Richardson weighed in at 244 pounds at the combine. The three other quarterbacks who ran faster 40 times include Michael Vick, Robert Griffin III, and Reggie McNeal all weighed in at under 225.

Anthony Richardson is a freak athlete, he also recorded a 40.5" vertical leap and a 129" broad jump. He is one of 14 players to record at least a 40" vertical and 199" broad jump, according to JJ Stankevitz of Colts.com.

Unfortunately, the knock on Richardson coming into the draft was his footwork and accuracy issues. When you watch Richardson's tape, you notice some throws that leave you scratching your head. But other times you see him able to throw a beautiful deep ball. Hopefully, head coach Shane Steichen can clean some of those issues up and help Richardson reach his fantasy potential.

If Richardson starts from day one he has top-12 QB upside weekly because of the rushing floor that he will possess week in and week out. Even with the passing offense likely to struggle at times, we can still be fantasy viable. We saw Justin Fields be bottom-six in the league in team pass plays per game, passing yards, and true completion percentage; he still finished in the top-five in fantasy points per game.

Draft Anthony Richardson if he is still hanging around at the end of your drafts.

Running Backs

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Jonathan Taylor owners were extremely disappointed after drafting him with the top-two picks in most of their drafts. The Colts offense struggled as a whole and the offensive line took a step back as did Jonathan Taylor. Let's get this straight, Taylor was not atrocious himself. He still finished as RB18 in points per game with 12, which is a mid-tier RB2.

The biggest thing for Taylor that took a hit last season was his touchdown rate. In 2021 in his breakout season, Taylor had a 5.4 touchdown rate finishing with 20 total touchdowns. Last season his touchdown rate was 1.8 and finished with four. That was just a product of bad offense last year. You'd like to think that, that number will fall somewhere in the middle of this season as we know touchdowns are extremely volatile.

Another thing to take into consideration is Anthony Richardson being added to this backfield. I would like to think that another threat next to Taylor who can run could take some eyes off Taylor and open up some more running lanes and make him more efficient.

However, according to JJ Zachariason on the Late Round Podcast, running backs with "definite running quarterbacks," which we expect Richardson to be, ranked 21st in running back points per game in the last two seasons. This is a bit worrisome, however, that could be because dual-threat quarterbacks do not check down as often as pocket quarterbacks. So I do not think that necessarily pertains to Jonathan Taylor since he has seen around just a 10% target share anyway.

Right now Taylor is the 12th player going off the board according to fantasydata.com ADP and is the fourth running back to go behind Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler, and Bijan Robinson. I would be ok taking him there if you are looking at more of a hero-RB approach in your draft. The best part about having Taylor is that you know he will be the workhorse in this offense. I would not worry about Zack Moss or Deion Jackson as nothing more than just a handcuff.

Stick with me as we continue the 2023 Fantasy Football Indianapolis Colts Preview.

Wide Receivers

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This is where things get very interesting for this Colts offense. Anthony Richardson has a slew of young weapons in this offense starting with Michael Pittman. We have seen Michael Pittman Jr. put up some solid numbers in his first three seasons in the NFL. Last season he finished as WR23 in fantasy points per game in PPR formats and WR26 in 2021.

Last season Pittman saw a 25.6% target share which was 17th in the league. He also saw 141 targets good enough for 11th best in the league. The best part about him was that he ran the third most routes in the NFL. He also won his route against man coverage 46.6% of the time according to playerprofiler.com which was third-best in the NFL.

The bad part about his numbers was that he only saw a 6.9 ADOT last season which was 92nd best in the NFL. Now that could be because of the quarterback he played with. Matt Ryan did not have the strongest arm at that point in his career. We have yet to see if Pittman has big-play upside. Hopefully, those numbers go up with a strong-armed quarterback in Anthony Richardson who can get the ball down the field.

In my opinion, we have to hope for Pittman to be more efficient with his targets this season because I do not expect him to see 141 targets in a run-first offense and a rookie quarterback. Pittman isn't someone I am targeting in drafts because I do not see a ton of upside with him. I do not see a scenario of him finishing within the top-15 wideouts this season.

As for the other pieces in this wide receiver corps, there are some interesting players. Alec Pierce is the deep threat in this offense with his 4.41 40-yard dash speed and 14 deep-ball targets last season. The rookie Josh Downs will likely battle Isaiah McKenzie in the slot with the departure of Parris Campbell. These guys will have roles in the offense, I just do not see them being fantasy relevant this season with a rookie quarterback.

Tight Ends

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We will keep this section short and sweet. Outside of 16-team leagues, and Dynasty leagues I would avoid Jelani Woods and Mo Alie-Cox. With a rookie quarterback most likely starting for the Colts It's tough to trust any of his weapons let alone someone at the tight end position. Jelani Woods does have a bright future in the NFL and could be worth streaming in a good matchup. He is a red-zone threat, but you just can't trust him on a weekly basis.

Final Thoughts

My final thoughts on this offense are that the Colts are going to be fun to watch at times. With Shane Steichen coming over from the Eagles this offense will be more dynamic. We would like to think he will get the most out of Anthony Richardson and Jonathon Taylor in the running game. Similar to what he did with Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders last season.

Anthony Richardson will be a solid possible QB1 option if he earns the starting job with the rushing upside he possesses. He is definitely worth a thought if you are waiting on the position.

Jonathon Taylor is also a value in my eyes as well. If you can get him at the beginning of the second round and pair him with an elite wide receiver I love that start in drafts.

Outside of Richardson and Taylor, though, I am not excited about the rest of this offense for Fantasy Football purposes.

That is going to do it for our 2023 Fantasy Football Indianapolis Colts Preview! We’ll be bringing you much more in this series all throughout the offseason so make sure to check out our other great Fantasy Football content from the F6P Team!

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