Fantasy Impact: Andrew Luck's retirement
The Andrew Luck retirement news is still too fresh for me to put my thoughts into words. So let’s do what we do best and talk numbers. Here’s my initial take on the fantasy impact of this bomb …
We’ve seen Brissett in this spot before. When Luck missed the entire 2017 season with his shoulder trouble, Brissett replaced QB Scott Tolzien late in Week 1 and started the final 15 games.
He finished that year 276-of-469 (58.8%) for 3,098 yards (6.6 YPA), 13 TDs and 7 INTs. The 2017 Colts ran it on 48.1% of their offensive snaps — the 6th highest run rate in the league. So Brissett ranked just 20th in pass attempts. He finished 22nd in passing yards and 26th in TDs.
The volume wasn’t great. And the efficiency wasn’t, either. Among 29 QBs with 300+ pass attempts in 2017, Brissett ranked 28th in completion rate and 23rd in yards per attempt. He finished 25th in Pro Football Focus’ passing grades.
Brissett was a 3rd-round pick back in 2016 after completing 59.9% of his passes and averaging 6.8 yards per attempt in 2 seasons as North Carolina State’s starter. While the overall sample is still relatively small, everything points to Brissett being a backup-caliber NFL QB.
The good news is he takes over the starting job on a loaded offense. He’ll be working behind 1 of the league’s best offensive lines and with a strong group of weapons.
Brissett also brings some rushing ability. He cranked out 899 yards and 9 TDs on the ground over those 2 seasons at N.C. State. And he posted a 63-260-4 rushing line in 2017. That propped him to a QB22 finish in fantasy points.
The rushing ability and supporting cast could make Brissett a spot starter this season. But he’s not worth rostering outside of 2-QB leagues and deep 1-QB setups.
Hilton has finished 19th, 11th, 5th and 14th among WRs in PPR points in Luck’s last 4 healthy seasons.
In 2017 with Brissett? 27th.
Hilton led the Colts with 109 targets that year — a nice 22.4% share. But that was his lowest total since his rookie season — a result of the Colts going so run heavy.
And Hilton managed to corral just 52.9% of those targets. That catch rate was the 2nd lowest mark of his career and ranked 69th among 84 WRs with 100+ targets. Hilton did average a big 16.9 yards per catch. But he also set a career low with just 4 TDs.
Hilton has reportedly had the best training camp of his career this summer and will remain the top option in this passing game. But the QB downgrade lowers his weekly and season-long ceiling.
Hilton sunk from WR13 to WR19 in our PPR rankings.
Here’s 1 guy who enjoyed 2017 with Brissett. Doyle finished just behind Hilton that year with 108 targets. Only 4 TEs saw more. Doyle also led the Colts and finished 2nd among all TEs with 80 receptions. That helped him to a TE6 PPR finish.
Doyle’s efficiency was mediocre with Brissett, though. He posted a 74.1% catch rate but a sluggish 8.6 yards per catch. Among 32 TEs with 40+ targets in 2017, Doyle ranked 25th in yards per target — although he did finish up at 8th in yards per route run.
We’ll see if Doyle and Brissett still have chemistry from that 2017 campaign. But that 2017 squad had guys like the Colts are more loaded with pass-catchers now with guys like Donte Moncrief, Kamar Aiken and Chester Rogers behind Hilton and Doyle on the target totem pole. They’ve since added Eric Ebron, Devin Funchess and Parris Campbell.
So we’re not expecting Doyle to see anywhere close to the type of volume he saw 2 years ago. He remains just a mid-range TE2.
Brissett and Ebron connected for a 12-yard TD in the 2nd preseason game. But that’s about all we can say for the rapport between those 2. Ebron was still in Detroit in 2017.
35% of Ebron’s PPR production last year came from TDs. His scoring chances figure to take a big dip with the downgrade from Luck to Brissett. So Ebron’s fantasy value takes a big dip.
He dropped from TE8 in our PPR rankings to TE14.
Devin Funchess and Parris Campbell
We liked these guys as upside picks in the double digit rounds of fantasy drafts with a healthy Luck. Now tied to a questionable QB, neither guy is a recommended late-round target.
Funchess has at least spent the offseason working with Brissett. Campbell has missed the majority of August with hamstring trouble.
We had the Colts projected as 1 of the league’s pass-heaviest offense before Luck’s retirement. We now have them at 56% pass, which would have ranked 20th last year.
That, of course, means more carries for Mack. Volume trumps all in fantasy football, so it’s not insignificant.
But that’s where the good news ends. Mack will face more stacked boxes without Luck threatening defenses, which figures to ding his yards per carry. And his scoring chances will likely take a dive after he ranked top 9 league-wide in both carries inside the 10- and 5-yard lines last year.
Plus, if the Colts are trailing more often with Brissett under center, it could mean less time on the field for Mack and more for pass-catching RB Nyheim Hines.
Although we added a handful of carries to Mack’s projections, he sunk from 20th to 25th in our PPR RB rankings.