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Player Outlooks (2023)
QB Anthony Richardson: You should read our scouting report on Richardson to see the kind of ceiling he has at the NFL level, but we viewed him as a top-five prospect with the talent—including as a passer—to become a dominant player. From a fantasy perspective, the alien-like athleticism should make Richardson a guy with top-12 upside even if he’s not yet polished as a quarterback, and having a season comparable to Justin Fields last year (when he finished as the overall QB5 thanks to 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground) is within his range of outcomes.
QB Gardner Minshew: The Colts not starting Richardson would be a surprise, but Minshew is a top-end backup that could make starts for one reason or another and has a ton of confidence in himself. Of course, the supporting cast for Indy won’t be what it was in Philadelphia when Minshew subbed for Jalen Hurts late last season, so it’d be difficult to rank him as anything more than a low-end QB2 option.
RB Jonathan Taylor: Taylor was obviously a major disappointment last year, partly due to dealing with a tricky high-ankle sprain and partly due to the Colts’ dysfunction—both in terms of ineffectiveness on the offensive line and chaos in the organization. It would be foolish to fade him from the high-end RB1 ranks based on how last season went, though, as Taylor is an elite player that will be leaned on with Anthony Richardson under center, and having a mobile option at quarterback should open more running lanes with defenders being forced to respect Richardson’s legs. He brings a high floor and massive weekly upside.
RB Zack Moss: Moss got a shot to show what he could do over the final four games last season—and he performed very well with 69 carries for 334 yards (4.8 YPC) and one touchdown as a solid FLEX in the fantasy playoffs (especially for those who play through Week 18). A healthy Jonathan Taylor might not leave much on the table for Moss, but he’s one of the league’s top pure handcuffs with Indianapolis knowing he can carry the load on early downs and preferring him over Deon Jackson in 2022.
RB Deon Jackson: Coming off a season in which he caught 30-of-34 passes, Jackson will now be pushed by rookie Evan Hull for some work in the passing game, but the backfield will be clearly led by Jonathan Taylor. Also, Anthony Richardson probably won’t take the checkdowns as much as Matt Ryan and others did for the Colts last year.
RB Evan Hull: A fifth-round pick out of Northwestern, Hull caught 55 passes for 546 yards and two touchdowns last season—with the passing game being his clearest path to seeing snaps as a rookie. Hull also showed he can carry the load on the ground (417 carries over the past two seasons), but there likely won’t be enough touches up for grabs to see meaningful redraft value behind one of the game’s best running backs.
WR Michael Pittman Jr.: Pittman racked up 141 targets last season, but a measly 9.3 yards per reception kept him below 1,000 receiving yards, and the Colts now handing the reigns of the offense to Anthony Richardson could keep his numbers down with the overall passing volume set to drop. In 2022, the production following the firing of Frank Reich might have been a preview as Pittman totaled just 375 receiving yards in eight games under interim head coach Jeff Saturday, and the consensus ranking of WR30 feels a bit high.
WR Alec Pierce: It was a small sample size before the wheels fell off and Matt Ryan was benched, but Pierce’s stock was heading in right direction to begin his career with a 17-game pace of 71/1,047/3 in the first five healthy games with Matty Ice—and Indy would love for him to emerge as their top wideout to give them an easier decision on whether to re-sign Michael Pittman Jr. Unfortunately, the passing numbers might not be very high in Richardson’s first season, so Pierce might be a shaky FLEX on a run-first offense.
WR Josh Downs: The Colts signed Isaiah McKenzie in the offseason as a player that could have a similar role to Downs, and the third-rounder is locked in as the third or fourth wideout to begin his career on a run-dominant offense with a quarterback that (as much as we love him) only threw 17 touchdowns last season at Florida. Consider Downs more of a dynasty stash that might have some appeal when bye weeks kick in or with an expanded role down the stretch.
WR Isaiah McKenzie: Indianapolis has little invested in McKenzie with less than $500,000 guaranteed on a one-year deal, and the selection of Downs will be another strike against the veteran’s chances of emerging. As a weapon mostly reliant on “gadget” touches (despite going off a couple of times when featured with the Bills), McKenzie’s role is unlikely to result in substantial production.
WR Ashton Dulin: Dulin was a favorite under the previous coaching staff, and he’s been efficient on his opportunities with 13.6 yards per reception and 8.7 yards per target across four seasons. That said, he’s only been targeted 52 times, and the additions/changes made by the Colts on offense will keep his role limited.
WR Breshad Perriman: It’s been nice to see Perriman find some success in recent seasons with work as a situational deep threat, including catching passes from Tom Brady over the past two years. Once again, the Colts being a run-heavy offense will limit the fantasy appeal for the pass-catchers, but Perriman should be monitored if he makes the team as someone that can be on the receiving end of downfield shots by Anthony Richardson.
TE Jelani Woods: Woods is another weapon that might not see a significant uptick in production due to the team’s change in offensive philosophy, and he’s also harmed by a stacked room at tight end with Mo Alie-Cox, Kylen Granson, Andrew Ogletree, and rookie Will Mallory currently on the roster. The touchdown potential at six-foot-seven and as a logical jump-ball target for Richardson is something to be encouraged about, though, so we’ll see if there are enough opportunities for Woods to take advantage of in 2023.
TE Mo Alie-Cox: He made 11 starts last season, but Alie-Cox was limited to a 19/189/3 line, and Jelani Woods should only cut into more work this year. Increased emphasis on 12 and 13 personnel is at least something to consider under new head coach Shane Steichen, and Woods/Alie-Cox would be a very imposing duo.
TE Kylen Granson: Granson was a clear favorite of former head coach Frank Reich, but now his standing could be in question with a new staff coming in. On the bright side, the 25-year-old has more of an on-the-ground skillset that could separate himself from his teammates, and the preseason should give us a clearer picture of how the depth chart might settle.
TE Andrew Ogletree: Drafted in the sixth-round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Ogletree was drawing summer hype last year before suffering a torn ACL in August, so he’s the wild card at the position for Indy. At six-foot-seven, he’s another towering option to pair with Jelani Woods to put a Monstars-type supporting cast around Anthony Richardson.
TE Will Mallory: Mallory is the newest name added to the tight end room as a fifth-round selection earlier this year, but the odds are against him turning into a major Year 1 contributor on a crowded depth chart and run-first offense. However, the Miami product is a very good athlete with 4.54 speed, and dynasty owners should keep close tabs on him.
Best IDP value: LB Shaquille Leonard
Leonard has been a tackling machine to begin his career, and he could be had at a rare discount following a lost campaign in 2022. In addition to an average of 134.5 combined tackles across his first four seasons, Leonard totaled 15.0 sacks, 11 interceptions, 30 passes defended, 17 forced fumbles, and seven fumble recoveries from 2017 through 2021.
Stat to know (via draft guide)
Through three NFL seasons, Jonathan Taylor has a per-17-game-pace average of 299 carries, 1,519 rushing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns, 41 receptions, 317 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown.