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Mining your way to fantasy gold - Colts Edition

Well, I can certainly understand if the last thing on anyone's mind right now is fantasy football, especially with the preseason officially started.  However, I have a job to finish in the AFC South, and today that means the Colts.  Indianapolis is surely a fantasy juggernaut with the talent on the roster, so I'll take a look at the big names.  Before I begin, I'd like to remind everyone participating in my Yahoo! 16-Man League that our draft is tomorrow night at 7 PM (10 EST). 

The Colts of note:

  • Peyton Manning QB - Avg. Selection* 21; 100% drafted
  • Reggie Wayne WR - Avg. Selection 22; 100% drafted
  • Dallas Clark TE - Avg. Selection 57; 100% drafted
  • Anthony Gonzalez WR - Avg. Selection 61; 100% drafted
  • Joseph Addai RB - Avg. Selection 62; 100% drafted
  • Donald Brown RB - Avg. Selection 116; 57% drafted

*-100th selection = 10th pick round 10 (10 man); 6th pick round 9 (12 man); 3rd pick round 8 (14 man)

Stick around after the jump, as I forecast fantasy numbers for Peyton's gang...

The Draftables

Peyton Manning

Taking Manning any year in fantasy football is going to cost you a high selection, but when you take him, you only have to worry about his bye week.  Peyton is such a consistently good QB there's never a time to bench him, even if he's facing the league's best defense.  Manning finished 6th in 2008 amongst QB scoring, but don't let that be of concern.  The Colts signal caller had 9 games in 2008 without an interception, matching his 9 games with mutiple TD passes.  Manning's passing yards were his lowest since 2005, and his TDs the fewest since 2002.  Manning is always a pick worth taking in the top 20.  Fantasy Forecast: 4200 pass yards, 30 PaTD, 12 INTs

Reggie Wayne

Wayne is a guy like Greg Jennings - if you draft Manning, try to snag Wayne.  Again, in most cases I don't like having two players from the same squad, but a QB/WR like Manning/Wayne leaves no question marks any time during the season, except during Indy's bye week.  Wayne's 12th finish amongst WR was a big drop-off from his 4th finish in 2007.  Like Manning, Wayne had smaller totals than he normally has (lowest total of catches, yards and TDs since 2005).  I expect big things from Wayne in 2009, and his numbers should increase considerably.  Wayne may not get 104 receptions (like he did in 2007), but he should put up a good amount of TDs and yards.  I firmly believe Wayne will improve upon his 4 100-yard games as well.  Fantasy Forecast: 1400 total yards, 10 TDs

Anthony Gonzalez

Missing out on Wayne or Manning shouldn't get you too down, there's always Anthony Gonzalez to be had.  Indy's Tony G didn't do too much damage in 2008, but he will arrive in 2009.  Gonzalez is entering critical year 3, and will be featured prominently now that Marvin Harrison is out of the picture.  2008 proved to be an up and down season for Gonzalez, and I expect a much more consistent 2009.  The third year product from Ohio State caught a pass in every game last year, and I expect him to be a reliable weekly WR2 in most leagues for 2009.  Fantasy Forecast: 1000 total yards, 6 TDs

Dallas Clark

As unflashy as Clark is, it's hard not to recommend him as your TE1.  Petyon Manning loves throwing the ball at Clark, as his receptions and yardage totals increased in 2008, despite a drop-off in TDs.  Clark still finished 3rd amongst TEs in scoring, having 5 games with 80 or more receiving yards, and one multi-TD contest.  In 2007, Clark scored 11 TDs compared to last season's 6.  For 2009, I see Clarks yards slipping and TDs increasing, making him certainly worth considering as your number 1 fantasy TE.  Fantasy Forecast: 700 total yards, 9 TDs 

Look Elsewhere

Joseph Addai

Scoring 30 TDs in three seasons is an impressive feat, but Addai struggled with injuries in 2008 and was limited to 12 games (still scoring 7 TDs).  When healthy, there's no denying that Addai is a good runner and receiver out of the backfield.  The big question is, how much will the Colts rely on Addai knowing his health status is a risk?  Indianapolis drafted Donald Brown to help keep Addai fresh, and that limits Addai's fantasy value.  Selecting Addai in the 60s is a risk, because he could will be sharing plenty of carries in 2009.  Try staying away from Addai, even though his career numbers are appealing.  Fantasy Forecast: 700 total yards, 6 total TDs

Speaking of Sleepers

Donald Brown

Anyone that watched the Colts first preseason game saw the glimpse of flash that Donald Brown's game has.  Of course, anyone that followed Brown at UConn already knew this.  The first preseason game isn't much, but Brown is looking explosive as he did while running for over 2000 last season with the Huskies (plus 18 TDs).  I'm not sure what F.O.'s perspective is on college RBs that carry the rock 370 times in a season, but Brown came dangerously close to that number last season, with 367 attempts (more than his previous two season combined).  Luckily, I think the Colts will wisely use Brown and he'll be a sneaky steal around pick 110.  Fantasy Forecast: 850 total yards, 8 total TDs

* all fantasy stats are based on 2007-2008 Yahoo! Standard Public league scoring