All the Indianapolis Colts had to do was beat the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. That’s all they had to do, and we wouldn’t talk about them as the team that almost made the playoffs. They would be in! But, the universe does not always cooperate. What should we remember from this iteration of the Indianapolis Colts as we look forward to 2022’s fantasy football draft season?
- Jonathan Taylor. That’s it. That’s the fact. Jonathan Taylor absolutely dominated the NFL in basically every statistic you want to see from a running back. He was first in juke rate, evaded tackles, yards created, breakaway runs, dominator rating, goal-line carries, carries, red zone touches, rushing yards, touchdowns, and, of course: fantasy points per game (all per com). Jonathan Taylor is the prohibitive 1.01 pick next season, and with good reason. The 353.1 half-PPR fantasy points he scored this year would have been first in four out of the last five seasons. The only problem? He still scored fewer fantasy points per game than Derrick Henry in all formats.
- We all sort of wrote off Michael Pittman after his rookie year in 2020, wherein he finished with 503 yards and 40 catches in thirteen games. Fast forward to 2020, and he doubled both those figures, notching 88 receptions and 1,082 receiving yards. He also jumped from one touchdown to six. The jump from 101.9 PPR fantasy points to 244.6 PPR fantasy points. Over the last five years, eighteen sophomore wide receivers had at least 200 fantasy points and 1,000 receiving yards. When controlling for rookie year injuries (looking at you, Tyrell Williams), Pittman had the second-highest sophomore jump of this group, with 142.7 fantasy points. He trailed behind just DJ Chark’s 204.4 fantasy point jump.
- Every year, T.Y. Hilton has his best games against the Houston Texans. While that remained true in 2021, his “best game” wasn’t all that exciting. Hilton, who missed the first five weeks of the season with a neck injury, debuted in week six with four catches for 80 yards against the Texans, in a 31-3 rout. Unfortunately, those 80 yards and four catches both marked season highs (though Hilton had four catches in three of his ten games). Following that stretch, he was Mr. Irrelevant, posting two catches and 28 yards per game. But hey, he had his highest yards per target since 2018!
- In 2020, Nyheim Hines had two double-digit fantasy games in the first three weeks, notching 27.3 points, 1.4 points, and 10.1 points in his first three weeks. In 2021, he played that game again, notching 14.2, 3.2, and 18.9 fantasy points. Unlike 2020, where he faded in and out of relevance, Hines was completely backburnered by Jonathan Taylor. Hines had one PPR game over 9 points for the rest of the season, and it was a 20.8 point outburst against the league’s worst run defense, the New York Jets. This is also the only game outside of the first three contests where he topped 40% of snaps. Taylor shoved Hines all the way into his locker, so I wouldn’t look his way in 2022, except as a late handcuff dart throw.
- The Eagles traded Carson Wentz to the Colts this offseason with the idea that the Colts would utilize Wentz to get to the playoffs, and with Wentz playing a ton, that would trigger a second-rounder converting into a first-round pick. Well, that pick converted, but the Colts could not, missing the playoffs. Wentz was a major part of the problem, but also part of the solution. His money pass rate equaled his danger pass rate, and they were both inside the top ten among quarterbacks. That means that Carson Wentz was the ultimate live by the sword, die by the sword quarterback in 2021. He can thank his wide receivers for the “live by the sword,” though, as he had the 31st catchable pass rate according to playerprofiler.com. Side note: there are 32 starting quarterbacks.