NFL free agency started on March 18th, but technically does not end until the end of the season. However, after a firehose of news the first week, and another run the second week, things quiet down to a trickle. There are still big names out there, but it’s going to take some time to get them signed, sealed and delivered.
With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at where teams stand after the early rush of free agency and what it means for fantasy football. We’re going to take a look at the skill positions, breaking down what the starting lineup and reserves will look like to assess fantasy value heading into August drafts.
Today, we’re taking a look at the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts’ biggest offseason move has been signing Philip Rivers to start under center, but they also traded away a first-round pick to bring in defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. They retained some role players and lost a few as well ahead of the 2020 season. Does the team have enough talent to make the playoffs in the AFC South? Production from the wide receiver group will be critical.
Starter: Philip Rivers
Backups: Jacoby Brissett, Chad Kelly
Rivers was QB18 in season-long formats and QB14 on DraftKings last year after throwing for 4,615 yards and 23 touchdowns with 20 interceptions. But now his former quarterback coach Frank Reich. Reich told ESPN’s Mike Wells that Rivers already knows 85 percent of Indianapolis’ offense, which should simplify the transition.
The Colts receiving corps pales in comparison to what the Chargers had to offer, but Rivers shouldn’t throw nearly as many interceptions. The signal caller threw 93 touchdown passes with 42 interceptions in the three years Reich was with the Chargers. Rivers should bounce back a little and finish in the top half of the league among starters in terms of fantasy football production.
Starter: Marlon Mack
Backups: Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins, Bruce Anderson
Mack was RB17 in standard leagues and RB22 in PPR leagues last year. He also ranked 22nd on DraftKings. He has continued to see his role become more important to the Colts’ offense, and that trend should continue in 2020.
Mack has gotten more touches each year since entering the league in 2017. He tallied 245 carries in 2019 and eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards for the first time in his career while scoring eight touchdowns. He’s on track to have his best season yet in 2020, but don’t expect him to finish much lower than RB20. He should be in about the same area as he was last year and has the potential to jump a few spots.
Starters: T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, Parris Campbell
Backups: Ashton Dulin, Chad Williams, Daurice Fountain
Hilton’s fantasy production took a blow last season because of how often he was hurt, but Jacoby Brissett also lowered the wideout’s ceiling. The four-time Pro Bowl player only tallied 57 receptions when Brissett took over for Andrew Luck in 2017. He caught a career-low four touchdown passes and tallied 966 receiving yards while playing 10 games due to injury — breaking his four-year streak of at least 1,000 receiving yards. Rivers has the tools to make use of his top target, so expect Hilton to get back within the top 15 at his position.
Campbell is one of the players I think will be one of the biggest risers at wide receiver in 2020. He played in less than half of Indianapolis’ games last year because of injury and tallied 18 receptions for 127 yards and a score and has the tools to be the Colts’ WR2. His limited snaps make it hard to predict where he finishes, but I’ll set the bar at top 40 for the second-year pass catcher. He’ll be better suited for DFS than season-long fantasy. If he gets hot he could become a desirable waiver wire target at some point.
Starter: Jack Doyle
Backups: Mo Alie-Cox, Billy Brown, Xavier Grimble
Doyle was TE18 in standard leagues, TE14 PPR leagues, and TE17 on DraftKings last season. Eric Ebron joined the Pittsburgh Steelers, so Doyle should start for all of 2020. He tallied 43 receptions for 448 yards and four scores in 2019, but don’t bank on him becoming a go-to guy. He could drop a few spots but has a good chance and retaining his spot among the top 20 in most formats.