Zak Keefer of the Indy Star predicts that veteran receiver Andre Johnson will not be back with the Indianapolis Colts in 2016.
After his 2015 season of 41 receptions for 503 yards, that shouldn’t be a surprise…
The Houston Texans released Johnson on March 9 last year, and the 2015 NFL season made it clear why Houston did not put up much of a fight to keep him.
Granted, the entire offense for the Colts was a mess, but Johnson has played several seasons with a much worse quarterback situation. The 34-year old receiver has been in the league since 2003, and it seems that age finally caught up to him.
Johnson was a fourth-round pick in 2015 Fantasy Football leagues, and considering you could have drafted Brandon Marshall or Jarvis Landry after him, you ended up getting pretty burned.
But, let’s not hold grudges. Johnson’s departure means it’s important to analyze what that means for the rest of receivers in Indianapolis for the 2016 Fantasy Football season.
2016 Fantasy Football: T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Philip Dorsett
Let’s just pretend for a minute that Andrew Luck makes it through a 16-game season and is going to be a top-tier quarterback in 2016 Fantasy Football leagues. Let’s say that the offensive line is able to protect him.
What does that mean for Hilton, Moncrief and Dorsett? Can two wide receivers on the Indianapolis Colts be Fantasy relevant?
If we step back to 2014, there was only one receiver on the Colts who finished with 1,000 or more receiving yards.
So if Luck was able to produce similar stats in 2016, does that mean Hilton would be the only receiver on the Colts worth drafting?
If we look at that 2014 season, Luck recorded the third-most passing attempts with 616. Matt Ryan finished in second with 628, and Ben Roethlisberger attempted 659 passes.
This season, the top three quarterbacks in terms of passing attempts averaged 637.66.
What that means is that there is not a whole lot of room for Luck to increase the amount of times he throws the ball. That means he needs to diversify how many times he throws the ball to his teammates to create two relevant Fantasy receivers.
But it’s not a lock that Luck is just going to zero in on Hilton once again.
Despite playing through multiple injuries, Moncrief’s numbers nearly doubled from his rookie season in 2014.
He could see an increased role, especially with Johnson not hogging space.
After Dorsett ran his 40-yard dash in 4.25 seconds, he jumped out to a lot of Fantasy Football players. He only played in 11 games in 2015 because of injuries, but this offense was in such shambles that it was impossible for head coach Chuck Pagano to find a consistent role for the speedster.
Dorsett might not be a bad pickup in best-ball formats, but he’s not going to see enough work to be a consistent starter unless an injury were to occur to Hilton or Moncrief.
But the real wild card is going to at the tight end position. Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen each come with a set of pros and cons, but it’s impossible to deny how much Luck relied on those two in 2014. Fleener and Allen combined for 16 out of Luck’s 40 touchdown passes.
Each tight end is a free agent right now, but the prevailing thought is the Colts are leaning towards Fleener. The 6-foot-6 tight end was on the verge of Fantasy relevancy in 2014, catching 51 passes for 774 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
Allen finished with 395 receiving yards that season, so there is the argument that Fleener could have potentially finished with over 1,000 receiving yards if Allen wasn’t there.
Right now, here’s how Fantasy players are drafting the receivers and tight ends on the Colts on FantasyFootballCalculator.com:
- T.Y. Hilton- 4.08
- Donte Moncrief- 8.09
- Philip Dorsett- 14.06
- Coby Fleener- Undrafted
I don’t think Moncrief is a bad pickup in Round 8, and I don’t even mind seeing Dorsett so late. I think Hilton is at a fair price if you are in a PPR league, but he does have risk involved because you have no idea how Luck is going to rebound.
But I think Fleener is the most interesting play. I’m sure he will pop back up on draft boards as soon as he signs a new deal, but there’s still a chance he’s going to be overlooked because Fantasy players were scared away from how the offense for the Colts performed last season.
It’s not a safe bet to assume Luck can improve upon or even repeat his stats from 2014, but Fantasy players seem to be valuing the receivers on the Colts fairly for the 2016 Fantasy Football season at the moment.