2009 Indianapolis Colts Fantasy Football Preview
The year 2008 was kind of a down year for the Indianapolis Colts. For the 6th time in his career Peyton Manning was one and done in the playoffs losing 23-17 to the San Diego Chargers in the Wildcard round. Moreover, last year was somewhat of an off year for Manning statistically despite winning his 3rd league MVP award and I witnessed firsthand what it is like to have a QB that is trying to shake the rust off after having off season knee injury. Manning heated up later in the year but unfortunately many owners did not have the supporting cast that I had to hold the fort down and thus missed out on the post season party.
In fact my Manning experience of last year has soured me on Tom Brady this year. You just cannot afford to play without a QB for the first 4 or 5 https://itcscore.com/ of the season and that is what I endured last year. Furthermore, Brady’s injury is said to be far more serious than Manning’s was a year ago. The Colts will once again be good but will they make the playoffs? I am not so sure as Tennessee is already solid and both Jacksonville and Houston are primed to be far better this upcoming season. But again this is fantasy so I will focus my energy on the Colts position players and what they offer up in terms of fantasy potential in 2009.
As mentioned Manning did not have one of his best statistical outings of his career but he did enough to secure his 3rd league MVP award. I lived and died with Manning for the first 6-7 weeks before he finally started to heat up down the stretch. The Colts are heading into a major transformation this year as Head Coach Tony Dungy has retired and has been replaced by Jim Caldwell and 2 other prominent members of their staff as offensive coordinator Tom Moore and offensive line coach Howard Mudd are expected to retire due to changes in the NFL’s pension policies. Moore would be a huge loss for Manning as he represents the only offensive coordinator that he has worked with in the NFL. Nonetheless, despite all of the turmoil in the coaching staff and the departure of Marvin Harrison look for Manning to continue his assault on the NFL’s passing records.
Why? For starters, Manning is just that good and he still has most of his weapons at his disposal including Reggie Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez, and Dallas Clark. Furthermore, another major variable in Manning’s favor this year is that center Jeff Saturday will be healthy. Ahhh I know what you are saying. “What could a center possibly have to with fantasy performance”? TONS!!!!! I watched most of the Colts games last year and it was painfully obvious that the whole offensive line was completely out of sink without Saturday’s presence and this lead to a lack of continuity and rhythm from the whole offense. The Colts will not have it easy this year.
The AFC South is markedly improved than in previous years. You know Tennessee is solid but Jags and the Texans both look to be much improved this year and the Texans in particular are specifically addressing their defense year in and year out in an all out effort to stop Manning and the Colts. Expect Manning this year to post his usual numbers in 2009 of about 4000-4500 yards passing and about 30-35 TD’s. Look for Manning to be either the 2nd or 3rd QB taken this summer behind Drew Brees somewhere in the middle of round 2.
Joseph Addai is a complete joke. I have thought Addai has been overrated since his inception into the NFL in 2006 and now I pretty much think he just plain sucks. The Colts were obviously hoping that Addai would be the next Edgerrin James but has not even come close to living up to that standard. For starters, he is injury prone and it seems like he truly doesn’t want to play with pain. Furthermore, Addai also vanishes from far too many games for my liking leaving Dominic Rhodes (who has since departed to Buffalo) to do the dirty work. If you remember that is exactly what went down in the Super Bowl against the Bears a few years ago. Rhodes was clearly the main back n that game and I think it is funny because this year someone inevitably will draft Addai high simply because he is a RB. WHY?????? Again, read my article “Draft RB’s Early? Buyer Beware” to gain some insight as to why that is NOT a good idea.
Apparently, I am not the only one not sold on Joseph as the Colts used their first round selection on the stud RB Donald Brown out of Connecticut. Brown will immediately step in and at least split carries with Addai if not more and to be quite frank I look for him to be the much more polished back by the end of the year. Personally, I think Addai is no more than a number 3 back or a Flex option for 2009 but you can mark my words he will be gone in most drafts no later than the early 3rd round. I could be wrong but I doubt it. As for Brown, keep an eye on him in the middle rounds and don’t be scared to take a chance on him this year. Why??? Well, let me just say Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, and Steve Slaton. Nuff said.
Obviously, all the Colts receivers are solid fantasy options. Wayne, is a surefire number 1 WR and is a model of consistency much in the same manner Harrison was for so many years. Although, Wayne is solid I would caution not to select him ahead of the following receivers: Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, or Randy Moss. That is the crème of the crop in terms of NFL receivers these days but if you go a different route on draft day and get some RB’s early you may be looking at the likes of Wayne, Steve Smith, Greg Jennings, or Marques Colston as your number 1 WR. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that but don’t expect Wayne to be a Fitz or Megatron in terms of his big play ability.
Watch out for Gonzalez this year. The former Ohio State product is heading into his 3rd NFL season which is historically when many receivers break out. Add to the equation that Harrison is gone and you realize that ’09 could be Gonzo’s year. I look for Gonzalez to break the 1000 yard plateau this year for the first time and to pop it in the end zone 8-10 times. Those numbers would make him a nice number 2 fantasy wide out though on draft day don’t give him that much respect. Not yet. A year from now may be completely different as we may be talking about Gonzalez in the stud capacity. For now, treat Gonzo as a number 3 WR with plenty of upside and expect him to go around the mid-way point of most drafts this summer probably around the 7th-8th round. The Colts also drafted WR Austin Collie out of BYU in the 4th round of this year’s draft. Keep an eye on Collie as he essentially fills the role Gonzalez did a couple years ago when he first broke into the league.
Dallas Clark presently remains one of the elite TE’s in the NFL along with Jason Witten, Antonio Gates, and Tony Gonzalez. Not much to say here about Clark. A surefire number 1 fantasy option that will continue to catch all kinds of passes from Manning and well worth the 5th-6th round pick it will take to secure his services this fall.
Adam Vinatieri is a number 1 fantasy kicker based on his reputation, he plays in a dome, and the Colts score a lot of points. That is pretty much my equation for kickers and the ALWAYS represent my final pick in drafts. The Colts DST is intriguing because of Bob Sanders, and Dwight Freeney and can be used in a pinch depending upon the match up. However, in terms of nabbing a week in and week out DST there are far better options at this point than the Colts. Next up: The Houston Texans