The Colts have been a dynasty fantasy football heaven ever since the arrival of Peyton Manning in 1998. This high octane offense has seen its share of stars like Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James come and go, but they simply reload instead of rebuild.
The future for Indianapolis continues to be bright from a dynasty fantasy football perspective. There’s a brand new crop of young, emerging stars who all benefit greatly from playing with a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Manning.
While it’s easy to look at the Colts and immediately turn your attention to players like Manning, Reggie Wayne and Joseph Addai, it would be a mistake to stop there in dynasty leagues. There are some other Colts with some serious short and long-term potential.
Let’s review the reigning AFC Champions in today’s edition of the dynasty capsule.
Players in their Prime
Manning comes off a 2009 season where he posted a ridiculous 4,500 passing yards to go along with 33 touchdowns. That marked his third straight season with at least 4,000 passing yards and thirteenth in a row with at least 26 touchdown passes. Combine that with the fact he’s never missed a game and you have the most consistent quarterback in all of dynasty leagues. He’s simply a scoring machine.
From a dynasty league perspective, it’s just about getting time to start thinking about the future.
If you’re a contending team, you hold on tight to Manning and enjoy a competitive edge over most of your opponents week in and week out. You should also consider finding an heir apparent or younger project quarterback for your roster, just to be safe when the retirement announcement comes in the next few years.
If you’re a team in rebuilding mode, it’s time to start thinking about getting premier value for him. After all, he’s worth a lot to other dynasty league teams out there. If you’re not a contender, the last thing you want to do is see his value deteriorate and stunt your ability to rebuild your team. After all, dynasty leagues are about long-term strategy and success.
Joseph Addai RB
Addai was an afterthought in most startup drafts last season as most expected Donald Brown to take over at some point in the 2009 season. Addai responded by leading the Colts with 828 yards rushing and ten touchdowns.
While those numbers are nice, Addai has shown some subtle signs of slowing down at age 27. He hasn’t averaged more than four yards per carry in two seasons and he didn’t top 80 yards in a single game last year. Those numbers indicate you may be getting to the point where you should consider moving him if you’re not a contending team.
In the end, the jury is still out on Brown and Addai has served notice that someone will have to outplay him in order to replace him. He’ll likely be in more of a timeshare this season with Brown, but he’ll still have plenty of chances. He’s a pretty solid No. 2 running back in dynasty leagues.
Reggie Wayne WR
It was just another boring season of 100 catches, 1,264 yards and ten touchdowns for Wayne in 2009. He’s become solid as a rock in dynasty leagues. Wayne is squarely in his prime years, but the inevitable regression will come in the next few years.
Wayne is very similar in value to Manning. He’s extremely steady and consistent, but also beginning to get into his twilight years.
If I’m competing in the next few years, I hold on tightly to Wayne and enjoy the consistency he brings as a No. 1 receiver. If I’m in a rebuilding mode, I’m starting to consider selling him while his value is extremely high.
Dallas Clark TE
Clark led many fantasy leagues last season with 100 catches, 1,106 yards and ten touchdowns. This former Iowa Hawkeye is an absolute mismatch for defenses and he’s become one of Manning’s favorite targets.
From a dynasty perspective, there are a few other more desirable tight ends based on their age, like Vernon Davis and Jermichael Finley. However, it would be no surprise if Clark led all tight ends in scoring in each of the next two seasons.
Pierre Garcon WR
When the Colts let Marvin Harrison go, some people raised an eyebrow. Garcon simply raised his game. His 47 catches, 765 yards and four touchdowns in his first regular season as a starter was a success. His 21 catches, 251 yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs was a breakthrough.
Garcon is firmly entrenched as the No. 2 wide receiver in a wide open offense. He continues to improve and grow seemingly by the week. He makes for a solid No. 2 wide receiver in dynasty leagues, with the upside to possibly grow into a No. 1 option in both reality and fantasy.
Austin Collie WR
Anthony Gonzalez was a hot sleeper in dynasty circles around this time last season. After his injury, it was Collie who stepped up and served notice he could really play.
The BYU rookie posted a very impressive 60 catches, 676 yards and seven touchdowns. As if that wasn’t enough to merit a long-term look from the coaching staff, Collie added another 241 yards and two scores in the playoffs.
Collie is worthy of a roster spot as a workable flex option or No. 4 receiver with some very good upside. He’ll face some short-term competition for snaps with Gonzalez, but his 2009 performance coupled with the injury issues with Gonzalez give him a clear edge.
Donald Brown RB
Brown disappointed fantasy owners last year when he produced a mere 281 yards and three touchdowns in an injury-filled rookie season.
He returns this year with renewed hope and vigor. While Joseph Addai enjoyed a solid season in 2009, the Colts have always preferred a two-back running system. Brown should finally see significant carries and have a chance to show he can be the future at running back for the Colts.
Players with Falling Values
Anthony Gonzalez WR
There weren’t too many players who disappointed owners more than Gonzalez last year. Some pundits were predicting Wes Welker-like production from this slot receiving gem, but ended up getting nothing after his injury.
Gonzalez still has talent, but he has a much tougher road to prominence now with Garcon and Collie showing they can be difference makers in the offense.
It’s not close to being time to let him go in dynasty leagues. It’s also not a time to be actively targeting his services, either.
Curtis Painter QB
Painter was given his Jim Sorgi-like duties at the end of the season and the results were disastrous. He finished the season going 8-for-28 for 83 yards and two interceptions. Ouch. Those holding on to Painter in hopes he could emerge as an eventual successor to Manning in dynasty leagues need to temper their expectations.
He has a long way to go and it’s questionable he could ever get there. In fact, there is likely no team out there in more trouble than the Colts if their quarterback was to get hurt.
Mike Hart RB
This former Michigan Wolverine has intestinal fortitude to match his surname. That’s right, Hart has heart. Unfortunately, he’s an undersized workhorse who will likely never carve out a starting role on a team.
Hart has drawn recent praise from the coaches for his goal-line and short yardage ability. It’s feasible he could take that role on in the event of an Addai injury.
Keep your eye on Hart’s progression this Summer. He could even latch on to another team if he shows some promise and is released by the Colts.
Dudley Guice WR
Guice is one of DLF’s long standing favorite super sleepers. This former Northwestern State Demon stands 6’3” and runs a sub 4.4 40. You probably remember him from watching the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers during your recent trip to Canada.
If you don’t know him, look him up. He has some skills for sure and has a shot to impress at camp.
Tom Brandstater QB
Brandstater is likely more prepared than Painter to take on a productive role if Manning was to miss time. If anything, he could be a player to monitor during the key playoff weeks in fantasy football. After all, Manning rarely plays more than a series or two at the end of seasons. Watch the preseason battle between Brandstater and Painter to see who emerges.
The Colts continue to be a hub for fantasy points in dynasty leagues. With one of the league’s true elite quarterbacks and a veritable plethora of skill position dynamos, they should be looked at each and every year for not only frontline talent, but also for sleepers to emerge.
The Manning-led Colts won’t stand on top of the mountain forever, but dynasty league owners will simply be content to keep enjoying the ride.
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