The Indianapolis Colts finished 10-6 last season, second place in the AFC South. Yet they steamrolled the Houston Texans, 21-7, in the Wild Card game before ultimately falling to the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-13, in the Divisional Round. The Colts rode quarterback Andrew Luck all season, with Luck finishing second in the NFL in passing touchdowns (39) and passing attempts (639). What made the Colts a dangerous team was the late-season surge by Marlon Mack, who gave the Colts a legitimate threat in the run game. In his final 10 regular season games, Mack found the end zone a total of 10 times. Mack also shredded the Texans for 148 yards and one touchdown in the Wild Card game.
The Colts used their second-round pick on wide receiver Parris Campbell, who has a chance to grab the No. 3 receiver role as a rookie. Tight Ends Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle are working through offseason surgery, but should they return to 100% health by Week 1, this team will be a fantasy goldmine with multiple DFS options to choose from on a weekly basis. Even if one or both should struggle, fellow tight end Mo Alie-Cox is waiting in the wings.
Key Departures:Ryan Grant, WR; Dontrelle Inman, WR; Erik Swoope, TE
Key Acquisitions:Devin Funchess, WR; Kenny Moore, CB; Spencer Ware RB
2019 Fantasy MVP
Andrew Luck, QB
I really wanted to put someone other than Luck here, but the fact of the matter is that this offense should once again revolve around Luck and the passing game, giving him an elite ceiling on a weekly basis. Luck played all 16 games last season, reaching 20-plus DKFP in 12 of them. The floor with Luck is so safe and his ceiling is 30-plus DKFP, which is crazy for a quarterback on DraftKings. There was even an eight-game stretch last season where he threw three or more touchdowns. Luck’s health is always going to be a concern, but he played behind the best offensive line last season when he was sacked just 18 times, the fewest in the league.
Luck did lose wideouts Ryan Grant and Dontrelle Inman this offseason to free agency, but the Colts brought in Devin Funchess on a one-year deal to start opposite T.Y. Hilton. Funchess struggled with consistency in 2018, but he caught eight touchdowns just two seasons ago and is a perfect fit for this offense as he doesn’t have to deal with the pressure of being the team’s No. 1 guy like he was at times in Carolina. Between Hilton, Funchess, Campbell and elite fantasy tight ends Ebron and Doyle, Luck will have plenty of weapons to work with.
2019 Fantasy LVP
Nyheim Hines, RB
Hines was a fantasy darling at times last season when the starter Mack was out, but things are trending down for him. While Hines’ skillset of being a catching running back profile well for a full-PPR site like DraftKings, Hines completely disappeared in the playoffs where he wasn’t even targeted or part of the game plan. Making matters worse for Hines this season is that the team drafted rookie slot receiver Campbell, who Coach Frank Reich even admitted will likely impact the playing time of Hines. Unless there’s an injury to Mack that forced Hines into a larger role, Hines is someone I’m down on entering the season.
2019 Breakout Player
Marlon Mack, RB
While I’m down on Hines, I’m high on Mack. Despite missing two games last season, Mack still finished with 195 rushing attempts, which ranked 15th in the league. His nine rushing touchdowns were also tied for seventh most in the NFL. Mack is being talked up as being a potential three-down back as the Colts didn’t bother to bolster their backfield much through the draft or free agency outside of signing Spencer Ware to a one-year contract. This was the ultimate sign of confidence that Mack is their man. Even after the solid 2018 season that Mack had, it seems like the Colts are committed to unleashing him even further. Mack surpassed 22 DKFP in three of his final five games last season, including the playoffs, suggesting they had no problem riding him when it counted. If the Colts find themselves in positive game scripts where they can rely on Mack to pound the ball and run out the clock, he could be in for a monster fantasy year.
The Colts are tied for the seventh-hardest schedule entering 2019, meaning we could see them in a lot of close games. This should allow Luck and company to rack up a boatload of fantasy points. In games where I can potentially see a negative game script and the Colts are forced to air it out, I’ll focus on a Luck/Hilton/Ebron stack. In games where I expect a positive game script, Mack will be my primary target. There’s a ton of fantasy upside on this team, and it’s one I expect to target a lot in 2019.
Be sure to check out the rest of our team previews for the AFC South:
— Houston Texans, July 6
— Tennessee Titans, July 7
— Jacksonville Jaguars, July 8
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is fathalpert) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.