The Off-Season Outlook is a team-by-team series that will look at all 32 NFL teams and give a quick snapshot of everything fantasy relevant position as we enter the off-season. All salary cap estimates are taken from sportrac.com which I can’t vouch for enough. They are my one stop shop for all things contracts and cap space related. Feel free to send any feedback to @robbyjeffries on Twitter.
Team: Indianapolis Colts
Cap Space: $84,294,813 (3rd most)
Round 1 Draft Picks: 3rd Overall
Fantasy Relevant Impending Free Agents:
Frank Gore, RB
Donte Moncrief, WR
Kamar Aiken, WR
The last time the Colts had a losing season Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky, and Kerry Collins all started games for a 2-14 Colts. That off-season, with the number one pick in the 2012 draft, Indianapolis selected Andrew Luck out of Stanford. Unfortunately, luck ran out for Indianapolis in 2017, as the 3x Pro Bowler missed the entire season. The Colts season spiraled into a 4-12 record, but they look to reload this off-season through their 3rd overall rookie pick as well as a bounty of cash to spend in free agency. If Andrew Luck returns to form, the Colts fantasy assets could be fruitful, once again, in 2018.
QB: The savior that never came. Promises were made, and then broken, over and over as Andrew Luck’s recovery from shoulder surgery never came to fruition. Colts fans are now very skeptical in what is to come in 2018 in this ongoing saga. Optimists feel that Luck will be ready for the start of the season and boy is he needed. The Colts had some dreadful offensive stretches without Luck, despite Jacoby Brissett playing decently in his absence. Best case scenario moving forward, the Colts get their star quarterback back in full form and under center for the 2018 campaign. If not, Brissett will be the starter as he proved to be quite the capable backup.
RB: They say Father Time has never been beaten, but man has Frank Gore gone all 12 rounds with him. Gore had 1,000 all purpose yards which gives him 12 straight seasons (all but his rookie year) of hitting that milestone. Incredible if you stop and think about it. With Gore a free agent, I think he finally hangs it up after rushing for 14,026 yards which is 5th place all-time and just 75 yards behind Curtis Martin. There’s no question Indianapolis will be looking at Saquon Barkley with their 3rd overall pick to replace Gore and, despite the incredibly enticing sound of a Luck, Barkley, Hilton offensive trio, I think the Colts draft Bradley Chubb (NC State) to improve their dismal defense line. I believe GM Chris Ballard will instead look for their next running back in free agency. Their first option could be none other than Frank Gore’s successor in San Francisco, Carlos Hyde. Hyde is all but out of Coach Kyle Shanahan’s plans in San Francisco and will be looking to play for a team with playoff potential. I also think Jeremy Hill has a shot at taking snaps in the backfield for the Colts. Hill is only 25 and showed a lot of promise a couple of seasons ago for the Bengals. I can’t forget to mention Marlon Mack who was less than stellar in his rookie averaging a rough 3.8 ypc on his 93 carries. He did not do enough to convince anyone that he is capable of being the feature back on this roster.
WR: Not only did the fans suffer from the absence of one Andrew Luck, but so did the Colts’ wide receivers. TY Hilton had his worst statistical season since becoming a full-time starter and Donte Moncrief was all but non-existent the entire season garnering a pitiful 26 receptions on the year. Indianapolis has the money to throw at a free agent wideout this off-season, but I don’t expect them to pay Moncrief the money that he will be seeking. Instead, I think the Colts upgrade and try to pair a Jordan Matthews or possibly even Jarvis Landry with TY Hilton’s explosiveness. Matthews or Landry would give the Colts the slot receiver they have missed since the short-lived Austin Collie hype. Ultimately, the Colts would like to bring back either Moncrief or newcomer Kamar Aiken. If they do go the route of bringing in a higher priced slot guy, Aiken is likely to be the cheaper option opposite of Hilton in three WR sets.
TE: A young quarterback’s best friend is the tight end. The story was no different for Jacoby Brissett throwing early and often to tight end Jack Doyle, who ended up with 80 receptions on the season. Doyle will be in Indianapolis for 2018 as he is signed for the next two seasons; however, the Colts like to employ 12-packages (two tight ends) fairly often. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Colts target a mid-round TE to compete with Erik Swoope for the second TE spot on the roster for 2018. Adam Breneman (Mass.) would be a good receiving threat to pair with Doyle.
2018 Lineup Prediction:
QB – Andrew Luck
RB – Carlos Hyde
WR – T.Y. Hilton
WR – Jordan Matthews
WR – Kamar Aiken
TE – Jack Doyle