The Indianapolis Colts had a much better offseason this year than they did last year. Andrew Luck retired, sending the team into a tizzy. They leaned on Jacoby Brissett, but he wasn’t ready for primetime. This offseason, they put Philip Rivers behind his best offensive line ever and added Jonathan Taylor to run behind said line. They also threw in Michael Pittman into the mix in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. All-in-all the Indianapolis Colts added some quality players to their roster, and have an outside shot at 13 wins. But what about their fantasy football value? Who are their sleeper, breakout, and bust candidates?
Sleeper – Jack Doyle, Tight End (TE19, 164 overall)
Jack Doyle, like the rest of the Indianapolis Colts, had a disastrous 2019 campaign. I’m willing to give Doyle, like the rest of this squad, a massive break for that. After all, how often does a 29-year-old franchise quarterback suddenly retire in August before the season? The entire Colts roster was left scrambling and reeling. Let’s take a look at what Jack Doyle did before that: in 2018, he was the #9 tight end in points per game, and in 2017 he was the #7 tight end overall (injuries cut his 2018 short).
Jack Doyle has been good and has the skills to be Philip Rivers’ short-area target. The Colts threw to the TE at the third-highest rate last year, but that included targets to Eric Ebron, who is off to the Steelers. This centers Rivers’ tight end target volume straight onto Jack Doyle. He should produce well as a backend PPR TE1 but doesn’t have top-five tight end upside. Still, you can punt tight end in a deeper PPR league and be happy with the #19 tight end to produce well for you this year.
Breakout – Jonathan Taylor, Running Back (RB24, 53 overall)
My love for Jonathan Taylor and my hatred for Marlon Mack has reached a fever pitch in the last week or so. Jonathan Taylor is so good! He’s being listed in some places as a sleeper, but I wouldn’t call a fifth-round pick a sleeper. Jonathan Taylor has a chance to follow in the footsteps of guys like Alvin Kamara and Nick Chubb, second-round running backs who take over for a feckless starter partway through the year and end the season as league winners. Taylor was one of the best backs in the 2020 class (by a lot of smart people’s reckoning, he was the best) and Marlon Mack is a slightly above average guy.
Nyheim Hines also limits his ceiling, as Hines is slated to be the passing downs back, turning Taylor into a two-down banger. Still, he is going to be so good with those two downs that it almost doesn’t even matter. If you get Taylor, you’ll have to wait for him to get the green light, so be patient. Once he gets that green light, however, it’s off to the races for him and for your fantasy football squads.
Bust – Marlon Mack, Running Back (RB33, 87 overall)
My love for Jonathan Taylor and my hatred for Marlon Mack has reached a fever pitch in the last week or so. Marlon Mack is fine. He’s an above-average two-down running back. But at this point, there’s not much in his profile that screams to me that he’s a player that can keep Jonathan Taylor off the field for more than four or five weeks. It seems weird to jettison Mack at this point in his career, especially since he’s averaged over 1,000 yards each of the last two seasons. But, as I noted, he isn’t talented enough to keep Taylor off the field for very long. This talent disparity becomes especially troublesome when considering that Mack has missed six games in the last two years.
My fear with drafting Mack is that cracking the door for J.T. to go through will end with him kicking the door down, leaving Marlon Mack in his dust. It is a matter of when, not if, Jonathan Taylor takes over as the Indianapolis Colts’ lead back. Personally, I don’t like drafting players with a ticking clock. I’m not going to own Marlon Mack anywhere if I can help it, Taylor’s time is coming, and Mack has an expiration date for 2020 fantasy value.