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Fantasy football implications of Philip Rivers joining Colts

Indianapolis hopes Philip Rivers can help maximize the potential of the Colts. We break down how he could affect the fantasy impact of key players on the team.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers warms up on the sidelines during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.  Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts’ long-term plan was disrupted when Andrew Luck retired ahead of the 2019 season. Luckily for them, Jacoby Brissett already had starting experience from when Luck sat out all of 2017 with a shoulder injury, but he was only good enough to lead the team to a 7-9 record in his second year running the show.

Indianapolis has come to the conclusion that signing Philip Rivers to a one-year, $25 million deal will help it improve in 2020. This move could affect the fantasy football impact of multiple players on the team, aside from himself.

Philip Rivers

Although Rivers had a down year last season, he still threw for 4,615 yards and 23 touchdowns. His mark of 23 touchdown passes was his lowest total since 2012, when he threw for 3,606 yards and 26 touchdowns. Rivers tallied three touchdown passes in a single game three times last season, and the Colts receiving corps isn’t nearly as good as the one he had with the Los Angeles Chargers. He also won’t have the versatile Austin Ekeler — who nearly notched 1,000 rushing and receiving yards last season — in his backfield. Rivers might be an upgrade from Brissett, but you should expect his fantasy production to be about the same as last year or worse.

T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal

Hilton is the best receiver on the team but was banged up for all of 2019. He only played in 10 games and recorded career lows in receptions (45) and receiving yards (501). But he still managed to score five touchdowns. When Hilton is healthy, he’s one of the most dynamic players in the league. Rivers should be able to make the most out of Hilton’s talents, so expect the wideout to make significant jumps across the board in 2020. Hilton will most likely be a top 15 receiver with potential to crack the top 10.

Pascal had a team-high 72 targets last season, but Pascal emerged as Indianapolis’ lead receiver with 607 passing yards and five scores in year two. He could become a legitimate WR2 in 2020, but he’ll have competition from another up-and-coming wideout.

Parris Campbell

Campbell was projected to be a solid starter as a rookie in 2019, but had his first pro season derailed by a series of injuries. He only tallied 18 receptions for 127 yards and a score last year, but has the best chance to have a breakout year in 2020. He has blazing speed, good size, and an impressive vertical leap. It’s hard to evaluate how productive he’ll be in his second NFL campaign, but he’s a sleeper you should keep an eye on.

Eric Ebron, Jack Doyle

Ebron fell off the map in 2019 after performing like a top five tight end in 2018. He tallied 750 receiving yards with an eye-opening 13 touchdowns two years ago. But that was with Luck as the Colts’ quarterback. He didn’t have the same connection with Brissett, and only finished with 31 receptions for 375 yards and three scores in 2019 while playing in 11 games. His season was ended prematurely by an ankle injury that caused him to miss five games. He could climb back into the top 10 with Rivers — who worked well with Hunter Henry in Los Angeles — under center.

Doyle tied Pascal’s team-high 72 targets last season and ranked third on the team in receiving yards (448) alongside four scores. But he should take back seat to a healthy Ebron in 2020.

Marlon Mack

Mack has barely cracked the top 20 in each of his last two seasons but has been more involved in Indianapolis’ offense as he gains experience. The fourth-year back rushed for 908 yards and nine touchdowns in 2018, and 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019. He also notched a career-high 247 carries last season. Rivers has benefitted from using his running backs as escape outlets in the passing game over the years, so Mack could be more involved here.