QB Andrew Luck (Indianapolis)
In 2012, Luck relied on close victories against bad opponents, rather than his own strong play to win games, as he completed 54.1% of his passes for an average of 6.98 YPA, 23 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. In 2013, he became a much improved quarterback, completing 60.2% of his passes for an average of 6.71 YPA, 23 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. He also improved as a runner going from 255 yards and 5 touchdowns on 62 carries in 2012 (4.11 YPA) to 377 yards and 4 touchdowns on 63 carries in 2013 (5.98 YPA). He could be even better in his 3rd year in the league in 2014.
4150 passing yards, 28 passing touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 300 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns (292 pts standard)
RB Trent Richardson (Indianapolis)
Trent Richardson’s struggles last season are well documented. The 3rd pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Richardson averaged 2.92 yards per carry and scored 3 touchdowns on 157 carries in 14 games with the Colts. However, he averaged 1.90 yards per carry after contact and broke 47 tackles on 185 touches (he also added 28 catches for 265 yards and a touchdown), giving him the 10th highest elusive rating in the NFL. Richardson rushed for 3.56 yards per carry in 2012, but he ranked 16th in elusive rating, breaking 59 tackles on 318 touches and averaging 2.09 yards per carry after contact. In 2013 with the Browns, he rushed for 3.39 yards per carry. However, he rushed for 2.42 yards after contact and broke 16 tackles on 38 touches.
Much of Richardson’s struggles last season had to do with the Colts’ offensive line and he ran better than his numbers suggested. However, much of it also had to do with Richardson himself. Richardson showed poor vision and burst, which is part of why there were so few “blocked” yards from him to pick up. He wasn’t hitting the hole hard enough or in the right location, two things he’s had issues with since being drafted. On top of that, the Colts offensive line won’t be much better this season. Richardson will know the playbook better and the feature back role is his for the taking, but he’s a risky RB2.
220 carries for 840 yards, 7 total touchdowns, 30 catches for 220 yards (148 pts standard)
RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Indianapolis)
Bradshaw rushed for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns on 41 carries in 3 games last season before going down with a serious neck injury. Bradshaw is now going into his age 28 season, which is like 33 for running backs, with a significant injury history, missing 19 games with various injuries over the past 3 seasons and being limited in many others. However, he’s a tough running back who has averaged 4.59 yards per carry on 962 career carries and he’s only behind Trent Richardson on the depth chart. He’s not a bad late round flier, especially for Richardson owners.
100 carries for 400 yards, 3 total touchdowns, 20 catches for 150 yards (73 pts standard)
WR TY Hilton (Indianapolis)
One positive of Reggie Wayne’s injury last season was that it allowed TY Hilton to have a breakout year as the #1 receiver in his absence. Hilton caught 82 passes for 1083 yards and 5 touchdowns on 533 routes run, an average of 2.03 yards per route run. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 29th ranked wide receiver. He’s no longer just a deep threat reliant on big plays to make an impact, as he was as a rookie when he caught 50 passes for 861 yards and 7 touchdowns on 479 routes run, an average of 1.80 yards per routes. Now going into his 3rd year in the league, a common breakout year for wide receivers, Hilton could be even better. The 2012 3rd round pick is going into only his age 25 season. He was dominant in the post-season, catching 17 passes for 327 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2 games. He’ll once again be the Colts’ #1 receiver in 2014.
79 catches for 1120 yards and 7 touchdowns (154 pts standard)
WR Reggie Wayne (Indianapolis)
Wayne was the Colts’ most reliable player prior to his injury, not missing a game since his rookie season in 2001 and catching 1006 passes for 13,566 yards and 80 touchdowns in his career. Those 13,566 career yards are 11th all-time and he could easily be Hall-of-Fame bound when it’s all said and done, but he’s going into his age 36 season now and coming off of that serious injury. Even the average top-20 receiver (in terms of yardage all-time) has his last 1000 yard season at age 34-35, averages 48 catches for 594 yards and 3 touchdowns for 2 more seasons after age 34-35, and is done playing by age 36-37. Wayne showed some signs of decline last season and there’s no guarantee that he can be anything close to what the Colts are used to from him this year. Let someone else overdraft him. Hilton is the Colts receiver you want.
58 catches for 720 yards and 5 touchdowns (102 pts standard)
WR Hakeem Nicks (Indianapolis)
The Colts signed Hakeem Nicks to a one-year deal this off-season. Nicks, a 2009 1st round pick, looked like one of the best young receivers in the NFL from 2009-2011. He averaged 2.30 yards per route run in 2009 on 344 routes run and 2.32 yards per route run in 2010 on 453 routes run. In 2011, he “only” averaged 2.08 yards per route run on 572 routes run, thanks to the development of Victor Cruz opposite him, but he was still a big part of the Giants’ Super Bowl team. His development seems to have stagnated over the past 2 seasons though thanks to a variety of lower body injuries and he’s never played all 16 games in a season, missing 10 games over the past 5 seasons and being limited in many others.
Nicks averaged 1.74 yards per route run on 398 routes run in 2012 and 1.70 yards per route run on 527 routes run in 2013. Last year was especially bad as he didn’t score all season and struggled with his chemistry with Eli Manning. 7 passes thrown to him were picked off and Manning’s quarterback rating when throwing to him was 57.0, 7th worst among eligible wide receivers. All that being said, he still has plenty of talent, which still flashes, and even his down years weren’t awful. He’s only going into his age 26 season, so he could be an asset for the Colts in the passing game. Off-season reports haven’t been great though and he’ll be the Colts’ #3 receiver as long as Wayne is healthy, so he’s only a late round flier.
45 catches for 600 yards and 4 touchdowns (84 pts standard)
TE Dwayne Allen (Indianapolis)
Allen missed almost all of last season with a hip injury. That was a bigger loss than most people realize because of how good Allen was as a rookie in 2012. The 2012 3rd round pick only caught 45 passes for 521 yards and 3 touchdowns, but he did so on 64 targets, meaning he caught 70.3% of targets, and on 368 routes run, meaning he averaged 1.42 yards per route run. Where he really excelled was as a blocker, both a run and pass blocker, but he has a great overall game. Essentially a younger version of Heath Miller, Allen could see more pass snaps and more production than he did as a rookie.
44 catches for 550 yards and 5 touchdowns (85 pts standard)
TE Coby Fleener (Indianapolis)
In Allen’s absence, Coby Fleener led Colts’ tight ends in snaps played with 834. Fleener was a 2nd round pick in 2012, going before Allen, but he’s not nearly as good as Allen, especially as a blocker. Fleener caught 52 passes for 608 yards and 4 touchdowns on 482 routes run, an average of 1.26 yards per route run. He caught 52 of 84 targets (61.9%) and only dropped one pass all season. He’ll slide in as the #2 tight end this season, but there will still be pass catching opportunities.
42 catches for 530 yards and 4 touchdowns (77 pts standard)