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Should You Draft Him: Indianapolis Colts

According to various metrics and statistical analysis, the 2012 Indianapolis Colts are regarded by many as the worst 11-5 team in the history of the sport. The evidence presented, including but not limited to a point differential of negative-30, certainly make for a compelling case. Seriously, how does that even happen? How can you win more than two-thirds of your games while allowing 30 more points than you scored? Four different 7-9 teams had a better point differential than Indianapolis. When you look at how many narrow last-second wins they seemingly procured from their posteriors and how brutally they were slaughtered when they lost, I understand why many believe the 2012 Colts were frauds.

I, on the other hand, have to disagree. I don’t mean to sound like one of the stodgy idiot proponents of old-school baseball who believe it is their sworn duty to stick it to those math nerds with their Sabermetrics, pocket protectors and critical thought, but after watching every Colts game, I feel like the numbers didn’t tell the whole story.

If the Colts only had one or two crazy late game comebacks, you could chalk it up to good fortune, but they just kept doing it. After not one, not two, not four, but seven game-winning drives in 2012, you have to put down the calculator and say that Andrew Luck and the boys won real-life games because a team that shows up huge when it matters most is just what they are. They brought the magic too often to be the product of being really lucky. I don’t care if I’m writing for a well-regarded website that prides itself on logical analysis. The Colts are a legit football team because they lead the league in “magicalness.”

Unfortunately, in fantasy you don’t get bonus points for magic. The cold, heartless, unfeeling mistress known as the stat sheet is all that matters, and she is deaf to your pleas for mercy. Real life wins do nothing for your fantasy success. So let’s stop talking about real life wins and start talking about which Colts will score you points. With Luck trying to fight off a sophomore slump, Reggie Wayne fighting old age, Darrius Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton fighting for the No. 2 job, four running backs fighting for carries, and two tight ends fighting to see the field, there’s enough serious business fighting to make the Lannisters and Starks look like a slap fight. Let’s decipher the madness and answer a burning question: Should you draft him?

(ADP = Average Draft Position and is based on current data from 12-team standard scoring drafts. If someone has crazy points per reception appeal they will be noted, and kickers and defenses will be ignored, because “ain’t nobody got time for that”)


Andrew Luck (ADP: Mid-Round 7):

Out of the four quarterbacks from the 2012 rookie explosion, Luck strikes me as the least likely to suffer some significant sophomore slump (alliterations are awesome). While Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick run the read option, Luck is a traditional pocket passer through and through. Having a season’s worth of tape will obviously help opposing defenses, but his style isn’t at a lot of risk of getting solved, because he does what everyone has done for years. Besides, any disadvantage of getting studied should be more than negated by having a full season of experience, the addition of Ahmad Bradshaw, and the further development of Hilton and Coby Fleener. He’s a little risky in formats that heavily penalize turnovers, but the facts are this: Last year he was the No. 9 quarterback in standard scoring formats, his arrow is pointing up, and he’s being taken as the 10th quarterback off the board. I’m no rocket surgeon, but that looks like a good buy to me.

Should you draft him?
Yes.



Ahmad Bradshaw (ADP: Mid-Round 5):

I basically feel the same about Bradshaw as I do about Eddie Lacy. Both are going in the middle of Round 5, both are new additions to overall good offenses that haven’t been able to run worth a crap for years (last 1,000-yard rusher was Joseph Addai in 2007. Yes, 2007), and I don’t want to mess with either. Showtime will allow one of its original series to gracefully end on its own terms before Bradshaw’s nagging foot injuries go away. His latest surgery presently has him on the Physically Unable to Perform list and potentially missing the whole preseason. Even if he somehow isn’t hobbled, I don’t trust that offensive line to open holes for him, and I don’t want to get into a situation where I take him in Round 5 and have to rely on him as a starter. This is why you should get your backfield in order before Round 5 so you don’t have to mess with these kinds of headaches.

Should you draft him?
No.


Vick Ballard (ADP: Mid-Round 9):

Ballard is the obvious favorite to take over as starter if something happens to Bradshaw because he’s obviously better than those other two humps on the roster, but so what? Last year he put up only two touchdowns as the lead dog in the Indianapolis backfield for the majority of the season. His 814 yards weren’t terrible, but he produced like a No. 3 running back. As long as Bradshaw is around, Ballard belongs on the bench, and if Bradshaw misses any time, Ballard becomes nothing more than a low-end starting running back. Much more upside can be had in Round 9.

Should you draft him?
No.


Donald Brown/Delone Carter (ADP: Undrafted):

The competition is heating up for the honor of being the Colts No. 3 running back. Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier this is not. As is the case with any running back buried deep on a roster, multiple injuries and the right guy capitalizing on the right opportunity can make for unexpected fantasy superstars, but that’s what waivers are for.

Should you draft him?
No.


Reggie Wayne (ADP: Early Round 5):

This is a tough one. We all saw what he did last season, which was flip a huge middle finger at Father Time and haul in more than 100 balls to the tune of 1,355 yards. We also saw his stats decline late in the year as Hilton actually produced better fantasy numbers in the second half of the season. He also turns 35 later this year. Physical decline is setting in, but even in his prime Wayne wasn’t exactly an elite physical specimen. If his game was built on being a better athlete than anyone else on the field the age would be a huge concern, but flawless route running and great hands are skills he should still continue to possess. He has also started in 176 out of his last 176 games. Touchdown upside is low, but not so low as to be horribly disappointing since he’s only going as a mid-range No. 2 receiver. Eh, there’s enough to like here for a green light.

Should you draft him?
Yes.

T.Y. Hilton (ADP: Late Round 7):
I really like the value here. The second half of his rookie season was absolutely outstanding. The week-to-week points were on the inconstant side, but that sort of thing is pretty common for deep threat receivers. Heyward-Bey is vying with Hilton for the starting No. 2 spot, but anyone who thinks this is actually a competition has never watched Hewyard-Bey try to play professional football. Hilton is on the undersized side of things, but his speed is top-notch, and his composure and football IQ are great for such a young player. I see him improving on last year’s numbers, and if Wayne experiences another late-season fade, Hilton will be more than happy to pick up the slack and go on the kind of late-season run that can take you through the playoffs.

Should you draft him?
Yes.


Darrius Heyward-Bey (ADP: Late Round 11):

Look, the fact that a player was drafted by Al Davis means absolutely nothing. I think the only reason anyone even mentions Heyward-Bey and drafts him is because he’s a former seventh overall draft pick. The only thing that draft position means is he had a great 40-time and Davis transformed from a bat into a human long enough to draft him. That is it. If he was taken 10-20 picks later like he should have been, he wouldn’t even be getting ink. What I’m trying to say is I do not think he is very good.

Should you draft him?
No.

Dwayne Allen/Coby Fleener (ADP: Undrafted):
If you could somehow put both of these players together into one guy, you might have a good fantasy tight end, but as it is Allen’s superior blocking skills will keep Fleener from seeing every down action, and Fleener will siphon too many targets for Allen to be a viable fantasy starter. I would ignore both on draft day.

Should you draft him?
No.

About Fantasy Sharks

FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.