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Indianapolis Colts Fantasy Football Team Preview - QB, RB, WR, TE Outlooks

Team Preview - Colts

Welcome to my 2024 fantasy football preview for the Indianapolis Colts as part of my team-by-team fantasy football outlooks series. This new 32-part series will dissect each NFL team through a fantasy football lens. We'll look at each of the four primary positions -- quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end -- and identify each player's value at their current ADP. Through this series, we'll also recognize players fantasy managers should avoid and target at their current ADP.

The Colts and fantasy managers are excited to see 2023 first-round pick Anthony Richardson under center for the season. He's an explosive athlete with the potential to break fantasy football with his legs. The team also hopes to have a fully healthy Jonathan Taylor, something it hasn't had since 2021. Second-year head coach Shane Steichen is undoubtedly excited to see how this new-look offense will perform this season. They also have a young and exciting group of pass-catchers. If Richardson takes the next step, this could become one of the better offenses in the NFL.

There are so many places fantasy managers can find ADP rankings, all of which differ to some extent. I used the ADP from FantasyPros.. If you want to invest in your fantasy football leagues, consider subscribing to our premium account. Our premium tools can help you dominate your fantasy leagues. If you'd like to purchase our premium tools at RotoBaller, use promo code "BOOM" at checkout for a 10% discount.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy football rankings for 2024 fantasy football drafts:

 

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Fantasy Football Quarterback Outlook

Anthony Richardson: QB6, ADP 48

Richardson’s fantasy appeal is obvious. As a rookie, he played in two complete games last year and had 10 rushing attempts in both. He scored 21.9 and 29.6 fantasy points in both contests, finishing as the QB4 and QB2, respectively. His rushing upside was fully displayed in just two-thirds of games. History tells us that the rushing volume we should expect from Richardson leads to elite fantasy football scores.

From 1990-2023, five quarterbacks have had 150 or more rush attempts in a season. They’ve finished as the QB1, QB1, QB2, QB5, and QB7 in PPG averages. Since 1990, there have been nine quarterbacks with 125-149 rush attempts in a season. They’ve finished as the QB1, QB1, QB3, QB3, QB5, QB5, QB7, QB8, and QB23. QB23, the lone outlier here, belongs to Cam Newton’s 2020 season with the New England Patriots. That year, he threw 368 passes and just eight touchdowns. Everyone else, though, finished in the top eight.

In the other two games Richardson played, he logged 32% and 33% of the team’s snaps. He also had three and two carries, respectively. He'd have finished with nine and six carries if we extrapolate each of those two games to a complete game. This is far from best practice because we’re dealing with such a small sample size. We’re extrapolating two games, or half our sample, but it’s the only thing we have. Over these four games, he was on pace for 148 carries.

He had 40 and 56 rushing yards in his two complete games as the starter. Again, there are limitations with the same sample size, but those two contests put him on pace for 816 rushing yards over 17 games. Since 1990, there have been 21 quarterbacks who have finished with 700 or more rushing yards. Their fantasy finishes have ranged from QB1 to QB11. Fifteen of them have finished in the top five, 10 in the top three, and five as “the” QB1.

His rushing prowess is the No. 1 reason fantasy managers should be enamored with his fantasy potential. The second is his head coach, Shane Steichen. He was the offensive coordinator for the Chargers back in 2020 during Justin Herbert’s rookie season. He finished as the QB8 that year. The following year, he became the Eagles offensive coordinator, which was Jalen Hurts’ first year as the full-time starter. He finished as the QB7 in 2021 and QB1 in 2022 under Steichen’s coaching. Herbert was considered a raw prospect, Hurts was considered a mobile but limited passer, and Steichen got the best out of both. That’s encouraging!

Another reason we should be “all in” on Richardson is his supporting cast. Last year, the Colts finished with PFF’s third-best offensive line, and all five starters will return in 2024. This offensive line is widely viewed as one of the top-10 units in the NFL. On top of that, his skill players are very strong. Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman Jr., Josh Downs, Adonai Mitchell, Alec Pierce, and Jelani Woods are a strong group of running backs, receivers, and tight ends. All six players were drafted in the third round or higher.

While no one would mistake Richardson as a polished pocket passer at this time, the truth is, for fantasy, he doesn’t need to be. There’s also no reason to believe that he isn’t going to get better in this area as he plays more. 2024 will be, more or less, his rookie year. With his rushing ability, Richardson is one of the few quarterbacks who could realistically finish as “the” QB1. It’s hard to imagine him not finishing in the top 10. His current cost at QB6 is a fair price given the strength of the four quarterbacks ahead of him: Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, and Lamar Jackson.

His upside and rushing ability should likely have him going as the QB5, making him a good value at QB6. There’s likely some hesitation with Richardson since he hasn’t done it yet, whereas C.J. Stroud is probably why he’s going ahead of Richardson. However, Richardson has more upside than Stroud. Fantasy managers shouldn’t be shying away from Richardson at his price.

Verdict: Buy Anthony Richardson

 

Fantasy Football Running Back Outlook

Jonathan Taylor: RB5, ADP 13
Evan Hull: RB77, ADP 275
Trey Sermon: RB86, ADP 301

It’s been a hot minute since we’ve seen Jonathan Taylor fully healthy. He hurt his ankle late in 2022, causing him to miss the season's final four games. That injury lingered into 2022 when he missed the first four games of 2023. Even once he did return, Taylor played just 10 games last season, and only in three did he have a snap share greater than 70%. In 2022, he played in 11 games, and he played more than 70% of the snaps in eight of them. One, he played just 3%, which was the contest where the ankle injury happened.

Last year, Indianapolis had Zack Moss to help minimize Taylor's workload in terms of snaps and touches. This year, there’s no such player on the roster behind Taylor, and fantasy managers should expect Taylor to revert to his true workhorse status. That’s a great thing for his fantasy prospects, and given the vastly improving supporting cast around him, this could very well be Taylor’s most talented Colts offense of his career.

The last time we saw Taylor healthy in Weeks 1-13 of the 2022 season, he averaged 13.1 half-PPR PPG average and was the RB16 during that span. Fantasy managers should take his PPG average with a grain of salt because he had unfortunate touchdown luck. He averaged 19.2 rushes, 86.1 rushing yards, 3.9 targets, 2.7 targets, and 13 receiving yards per game in the 10 games he played in that time frame. Over 17 games, those per-game averages would equate to 326 carries, 1,464 rushing yards, 66 targets, 46 receptions, and 221 yards.

However, he scored just four touchdowns on 220 touches, roughly a touchdown every 55 touches. In 2021, he scored 20 touchdowns on 372 touches, a score every 18.5 touches. As a rookie in 2020, he scored 12 touchdowns on 268 touches, roughly one touchdown every 22 touches.

It's safe to say he had some significantly bad touchdown luck in 2022. It didn’t help that Indianapolis was inadequate as an entire offense. It finished 30th in points scored, 27th in yards gained, and was a bottom-10 team regarding offensive efficiency metrics. Given the lack of talent behind Taylor on the depth chart, we should expect him to log a 70-75% snap count most weeks. With that significant amount of playing time, we should also expect Taylor to handle many touches.

Last season, there were just three games in which he logged a 70% snap share or higher. He combined to have 71 carries, 304 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, eight targets, eight receptions, and 36 receiving yards. As long as he's healthy, Taylor should finish inside the top five for most touches and snaps played in 2024. That kind of volume will lead to a lot of fantasy success.

Two minor concerns with Taylor could impact his ceiling. Both stem from Richardson. The first is his willingness to target running backs. Last year, Gardner Minshew II targeted his running backs 16.1% of the time, compared to Richardson at just 13.9%. That could limit Taylor’s target volume. The other is touchdowns. Richardson could end up with 6-10 rushing touchdowns of his own, negatively impacting Taylor’s scoring potential.

These things don’t make his ADP bad by any means, but they impact his potential to get in the top three of fantasy scoring. His current positional ranking is a fair price. Steichen has a history of having excellent offenses, and Indy's expectations should be no different. The offensive line is great, and the threat of a running quarterback could make life much easier for Taylor. He’s in an excellent position for a bounce-back season.

Reports have indicated Sermon is in a position to secure the No. 2 job behind Taylor. That shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. Hull was barely used at all as a rookie. He had one target, one reception, and six receiving yards. He also had one carry for one yard. He played eight offensive snaps. Sermon had 35 carries for 160 yards last year with the Colts. He also chipped in with six targets, three receptions, and 13 yards.

Based on their utilization last season and the reports indicating Sermon is the favorite for the No. 2 role, fantasy managers should target Sermon ahead of Taylor. Their ADPs indicate both players are completely free. There’s little reason to draft Hull, but stashing Sermon as a handcuff makes some sense. He’s certainly cheap enough, and based on Hull being completely invisible last season, there’s reason to believe that Sermon could be a three-down back (lite) in the event of a Taylor injury.

Verdict: Fair Price on Jonathan Taylor, Sell Evan Hull, Buy Trey Sermon

 

Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Outlook

Michael Pittman Jr.: WR18, ADP 27
Josh Downs: WR60, ADP 142
Adonai Mitchell: WR65, ADP 155
Alec Pierce

We’ll start a little out of order here and start with Josh Downs' excellent rookie season. Despite being a third-round pick, Downs immediately showed he can play at the NFL level. That showcased itself in the numbers and stats and the film study. We’ll start by looking at the numbers and comparing him to another rookie receiver from last season, who we’ll leave unnamed, going at WR34 compared to Downs at WR60.

Player Target Share TPG RPG RYPG YPT YPR YPTPA YAC per Target Route Win Rate Win Rate vs Man ADP
WR A 17.6% 5.9 4.0 49.6 8.4 12.4 1.43 3.6 51.3% 45.2% WR34
Josh Downs 17.9% 5.8 4.0 45.4 7.9 11.3 1.34 3.8 52.7% 47.2% WR60

As you can see from the table above, Downs performed a little better in some areas and a little worse in others, but for the most part, these players were nearly identical. That unnamed rookie is Jayden Reed of the Green Bay Packers. For fantasy purposes, Reed does provide some value on the ground, but it’s kind of wild just how different their ADPs are when their numbers are so similar.

Reed did catch eight touchdowns compared to Downs’ two, which explains the difference in their half-PPR PPG average (11.4 to 7.2). However, considering their target share and targets per game, should we expect that difference in touchdowns to continue? Reed benefited from Christian Watson’s absence, and Downs was negatively affected by quarterback injuries.

With Richardson and Downs entering their second seasons and Richardson being healthy, we should expect even better play from this team’s passing attack. Not to mention, the entire offense will be in the second season under Shane Steichen. There are plenty of reasons to be bullish on Downs, but another is his film study.

Above, you can see his Reception Perception route tree success chart. You can read his full-season review here. However, as you can see from the chart above, Downs was incredibly successful at creating separation and getting open. An improved passing offense will only help Downs take advantage of his talents. Matt Harmon of Reception Perception had this to say about Downs:

“Downs was one of the best separators in the league last season. His 77.5% success rate vs. man coverage is by far the best note in his profile. That mark falls at the 93rd percentile. His success rate vs. zone is also fantastic at 82.5%. Downs diagnoses zone coverage extremely well, but it’s that man coverage score along with his 72.7% success rate vs. press coverage that pushes him beyond the normal slot boundaries. Downs can line up against a physical corner and devastate him with an explosive lower body and a series of well-refined moves. He’s a trusty target who was open at just an unreal clip last season. The nuance in his route running and juice as a player is an excellent combination for a reliable player who can also drop the hammer of a big-play. Last but not least, Downs just has excellent hands. He was the best contested catch receiver in the 2023 NFL Draft class, size be damned. That followed him to the league where he won 72.7% of his contested targets (18.3% of sampled targets). Across his full RP sample, he dropped just one pass. Downs brings a pair of vise grip hands to the table.”

Downs is valued right on the cusp of WR5 and WR6 levels, and that’s wild for a receiver who had as successful a rookie season as he did. At his current cost, Downs is an easy buy and seems locked into being Richardson’s No. 2 target-earner. Let’s talk about Pittman, the Colts’ No. 1 receiver.

Pittman is another Reception Perception favorite. His success rates on the different routes are routinely shaded green except for the nine route where Pittman struggles. Matt Harmon wrote this about Pittman in his 2023 profile, which can be read here:

“Pittman’s success rate vs. man coverage scores in each of the last three seasons are as follows: 74.3%, 74.2% and 74.8%. That is metronomic consistency and hovers around the 80th percentile in RP history. Pittman also cleared 80% success rate vs. zone and press coverage for the third-straight season. His Reception Perception metrics put him in some enviable company. Prior to last season, I said Pittman was the most underrated wide receiver in the NFL. Hopefully, 2023 shined a light on just how good of a player he has become over the years.”

Pittman has been held back by his quarterbacks over the past few years, as have his play style and downfield limitations. Since 2021, 74 receivers have had at least 150 targets combined. Pittman ranks 67th in yards per reception, 56th in yards per target, 65th in average target depth, and 35th in yards after contact per reception.

The quarterback influences some of that, but some are just about who Pittman is as a player. His average depth of target requires Pittman to have substantial volume to pay off from a fantasy perspective. It also limits his ceiling. Since 2021, Pittman has been seventh in targets but just 17th in receiving yards and 22nd in receiving yards per game out of receivers with at least 100 targets during that span. That’s a massive difference between targets and yards! He also ranks 29th in touchdowns, although his quarterback influences that.

From 2021-2023, Pittman had 11 games with 15-19 half-PPR points, two games with 20-24 half-PPR points, and just one with 25 or more. Last year, he had five games between 15-19 and one between 20-24. Pittman’s weekly ceiling hasn’t been that high. A more efficient passing game where Pittman scores more than six touchdowns -- something he’s never done in a season -- would undoubtedly help, but his lack of downfield utilization also limits him.

Pittman finished as the WR27 in 2021 with an 11.1 half-PPR PPG average. In 2022, he finished as the WR27 with a 10.6 half-PPR PPG average. Pittman had a 12.6 half-PPR PPG average this past season, finishing as the WR19. He has not finished as high as his current positional ranking in three years. That’s a red flag, especially considering there are still questions surrounding Richardson’s ability as a passer.

Indianapolis has also increased its target competition with the improvement of Downs and the addition of Adonai Mitchell. You can see the target share split below for Richardson last season.

As you can see, Richardson -- albeit in a small sample size -- did not target Pittman as frequently as Minshew did. We don’t want to jump to conclusions based on the sample size, but it’s something to be cognizant of. Pittman doesn’t need to be completely ignored at his price, but he’s a slight sell because of the concerns regarding his lack of a weekly ceiling and overall upside. Now, let’s move on to Mitchell.

Mitchell is a player who should be targeted more in best ball leagues than in a redraft. We can be optimistic about Richardson taking a step forward as a passer. However, with Richardson and Taylor, Indianapolis will not pass the ball at a high rate. Mitchell will also be behind Downs and Pittman on the target hierarchy.

That’ll leave Mitchell, at best, as the No. 3 target-earner in a more run-heavy offense with a quarterback who struggled significantly with accuracy issues at the collegiate level. Despite the small sample size, those accuracy issues were also evident last year. The lower target totals and the inaccuracy issues will make Mitchell more of a boom-or-bust player this season. That kind of player is best drafted in best ball.

Despite Mitchell’s cheap acquisition cost, I will still sell him this season for redraft leagues. I’d rather take a shot on Darnell Mooney, Xavier Legette, Ja'Lynn Polk, Demario Douglas, Troy Franklin, Javon Baker, and Roman Wilson. They are all going later than Mitchell. They all have a much better quarterback and passing offense or less target competition.

Pierce can be completely ignored for best ball and redraft leagues. Fantasy managers shouldn’t be surprised if he starts ahead of Mitchell for the first few weeks. Eventually, Mitchell will overtake Pierce, and that will likely happen sooner rather than later. At that point, Pierce will be a bench piece for the Colts and waiver-wire fodder for fantasy managers.

Verdict: Slight Sell on Michael Pittman Jr., Buy Josh Downs, Sell Adonai Mitchell, and Sell Alec Pierce

 

Fantasy Football Tight End Outlook

Jelani Woods: TE30, ADP 217

If there's a reason to buy this tight end, it's Richardson's target share splits from last season, which were posted above. Richardson targeted his tight ends on 31.6% of his pass attempts. Once again, it's a small sample size, but it's a ray of hope.

If there's another, it comes in a two-game sample back in 2022. Woods essentially missed all last season due to injury, and he wasn't used much as a rookie. However, in two games, he had a snap share and route participation rate above 60%. In those two games, Woods had nine targets, eight receptions, and 98 yards in one contest. In the other, he had five targets, three receptions, and 43 yards. We've talked about the dangers of small sample sizes, but with Richardson and Woods, it's all we have.

Woods put up solid efficiency numbers as a rookie. He had a 20.8% target rate, ranking 18th among tight ends. He also averaged 1.63 yards per route run (15th), 7.8 yards per target (14th), 12.5 yards per reception (eighth), and a 57.1% contested catch rate (fifth). None of that translated to fantasy relevancy because his snap share was just 33.1%, and his route participation was 35.3%. However, it is not uncommon for tight ends to be brought along slowly. It's rare for tight ends to establish themselves as full-time rookie starters, but Woods showed glimpses and flashes of a production player.

Not only that, but he's an athletic freak. He recorded a 10.0 RAS (relative athletic score), indicating he's arguably the most gifted athlete ever at the tight-end position. He ran a 4.61 40-yard dash at 253 pounds and 6-foot-7 inches. He also posted elite vertical jump scores, 10-yard splits, and in the three-cone drill. Woods is a massive mismatch for the Colts because no safety will be able to handle his size. That can be said for a decent amount of linebackers, too, and the ones that can handle his size won't be able to handle his speed and quickness.

Mobile quarterbacks, like Richardson, tend to have a lower running back target share. Richardson showed us that in a small sample last season, but they still need someone they can target on quick and shorter routes. Downs does much of his work in the field, but it could also be where Woods flourishes.

Given the unknown of the Colts' target hierarchy behind Pittman and Downs, Woods could establish himself as Richardson's No. 3 target. Given his cost of acquisition, his elite athleticism, Richardson's target share towards tight ends, and the flashes Woods showed as a rookie, he's certainly worth drafting at his price.

Verdict: Buy Jelani Woods

 

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Jordan Love - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Targets, NFL Injury News

Quarterback Targets and Sleepers for Best Ball Leagues - 2024 Fantasy Football Outlook

The Scott Fish Bowl is underway. While the rest of redraft leagues won’t draft until next month, July is the perfect time for fantasy players to join a best ball draft. However, they should know the difference between redraft and best ball fantasy leagues. Fantasy players need to manage their redraft leagues, making weekly transactions... Read More


Drake London - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Predicting All First-Time 1,000-Yard Receivers in 2024 - NFL Fantasy Football Outlook

The 1,000-yard mark has long been seen as a barometer of success for wide receivers. In truth, it has been watered down a bit with the league becoming more pass-heavy. However, it’s still a badge of honor, and 1,000-yard receivers certainly help any fantasy football roster. Each year, we have a new crop of receivers... Read More


Brandin Cooks - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

The Most Undervalued Fantasy Football Player from Every NFC Team (2024)

Fantasy football is all about value. Taking a player three rounds earlier than where he is going in drafts likely won't work out in the long run. Of course, there are exceptions to that rule, like if fantasy managers took Rachaad White a couple of rounds earlier last year.  Sometimes, reaching for players is also... Read More


Trey McBride - Fantasy Football Rankings, Waiver Wire Pickups, Draft Sleepers, Tight End

Predicting the Top-3 Fantasy Football Players At Each Position - 2024 Fantasy Football Outlook

When it comes to playing fantasy football, prognostication is extremely important. Yes, we as fantasy players are not correct as often as we'd like to think, but this is part of the game. As Hyman Roth once said in "The Godfather Part II," "This is the business we've chosen!" However, it's still an important exercise... Read More


Zamir White - Fantasy Football Rankings, Waiver Wire Pickups, NFL Injury News

The RB Dead Zone In Fantasy Football: What Is It And Do You Need To Avoid It?

To veer or not to veer, that is the question. The running back dead zone is a dangerous realm, one that’s not for the faint of heart. You may have been spurned in the past by the likes of running backs like Mike Davis in 2021, Chase Edmonds in 2022, and Alexander Mattison in 2023.... Read More


DeVonta Smith - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Philadelphia Eagles 2024 Fantasy Football Team Preview - QB, RB, WR, TE Outlooks

Welcome to my 2024 fantasy football preview for the Philadelphia Eagles as part of my team-by-team fantasy football outlooks series. This new 32-part series will dissect each NFL team through a fantasy football lens. We'll look at each of the four primary positions—quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end—and identify each player's value at... Read More


Dak Prescott - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Fantasy Football Players to Target and Avoid - NFC East

Fantasy football managers are gearing up for the 2024 NFL season and preparing for their fantasy football drafts. Evaluating the NFC East rosters to determine which players to target and which to avoid is crucial for these drafts. This article tackles fantasy targets and those to avoid from each NFC East team. The NFC East... Read More


Bijan Robinson - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Rookies, Draft Sleepers

Best Ball Running Back Rankings for 2024 Fantasy Football Drafts (Tiers 1-3) - July Updates

Some of you have been building rosters in best ball drafts since the initial weeks of the offseason, and participation in this format has accelerated as we have advanced through the summer. Enthusiasm for these leagues remains enormous as it provides the opportunity to satisfy your passion for involvement in the draft process while completing... Read More


Rachaad White - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

One-Man Backfields To Avoid In 2024 Fantasy Football Drafts

Bell-cow running backs in the NFL have become about as rare as having a positive interaction on social media. As a result, it's getting extremely difficult to find a workhorse back in fantasy football drafts. That makes our job as fantasy players trickier. While we typically want to target backfields with bell-cow rushers, there are... Read More


Harrison Butker - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Kickers

Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings (K)

    Fantasy Football Rankings by NFL Position ALL - QB - RB - WR - TE - DEF   Kicker (K) Rankings Articles On this page you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings for kicker (K) and the NFL season. All of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings analysis, advice and articles related to the kicker position appear here. Our fantasy football rankings articles include analysis on numerous league formats... Read More


CeeDee Lamb - Fantasy Football Rankings, DFS and Betting Picks, NFL Injury News

11 Fantasy Football Wide Receivers With Target Hog Potential

For a wide receiver to be good in fantasy, they must get the football. Duh, right? But you know what I mean: the more targets a player receives, the more opportunities exist for them to score points in fantasy. Sometimes, you get players who are their team's No. 1 receiver, which leads to a high... Read More


Chris Olave - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

The Best Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Tandems for 2024 Drafts

Being successful in your fantasy football league will require drafting players who will be able to score fantasy points consistently every week as well as offer a very high ceiling of potential when it comes to fantasy scoring. The wide receiver position is the one that tends to offer the highest fantasy ceiling in a... Read More


Terry McLaurin - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Washington Commanders Fantasy Football Team Preview - QB, RB, WR, TE Outlooks

Welcome to my 2024 fantasy football preview for the Washington Commanders as part of my team-by-team fantasy football outlooks series. This new 32-part series will dissect each NFL team through a fantasy football lens. We'll look at each of the four primary positions -- quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end -- and identify each... Read More