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Indianapolis Colts Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Fantasy Football News 2022

Most Recent Fantasy Football News & Updates

Colts beat writer Zak Keefer calls Phillip Lindsay the team’s 3rd RB “right now.” That was the expectation after signing a 1-year deal in May, but it’s good to know he’s not falling out of favor. After all, the 28-year-old hasn’t been fantasy relevant since 2019 in Denver. Lindsay would likely enter a timeshare with Nyheim Hines should Jonathan Taylor miss games.

There has been plenty of buzz about the Colts planning better production for RB Nyheim Hines this season. One key factor in making that happen should be his usage in WR spots. Here's what OC Marcus Brady had to say back ahead of training camp, according to SI.com's Horseshoe Huddle: "We can put Nyheim in the slot and run routes. He runs routes like receivers well. We're going to spread him out. ... Nyheim's ability to play both [RB and WR] essentially allows us to be a little more creative." Hines hit career lows in targets, receptions and yards last season, despite the extra game. His route rate also dipped to a career low, according to Pro Football Focus, with a career-high percentage of his time spent pass-blocking. But the Colts also jumped Hines' time in the slot to a carer-high 23.2% from a previous high of 11.8% (and just 8.9% in 2020). In total, Hines lined up at WR on 36.7% of snaps, vs. a previous high of 25.9% in 2019. It's clear that coaches are expecting QB Matt Ryan to leverage Hines' receiving skills more than Carson Wentz did. The WR usage explains how Hines can get a boost without hurting Jonathan Taylor's opportunity.

Colts HC Frank Reich spoke positively this week about LB Shaquille (Darius) Leonard staying involved in training-camp practices despite not taking part physically, as he works back from June back surgery. But it still doesn't sound like the team knows exactly when he'll be back. "I know he is continuing good rehab, having progress, but we are still not in that mode," Reich said, per SI.com's Horseshoe Huddle. "I don't think it is imminent, but I think he is making progress." Jake Arthur told us Friday on the podcast that he doesn't think Leonard would need much practice time to be ready for the season once his body's good to go. We'll keep watching, though, for some indication of when that will be.

The Athletic's Zak Keefer expects RB Nyheim Hines to be used "substantially more" this year than last. "It’s been obvious from the install days over the past week how much usage he’ll get, both with Jonathan Taylor on the field and off it," Keefer adds. "Hines has been heavily involved in the run and pass games." We don't expect Hines to steal much, if any, rushing work from Taylor. But his role should rebound in the passing game after he averaged a career low 2.4 catches and 18.2 receiving yards per game last year. Consider Hines a nice RB4 target in PPR drafts.

Colts TEs Kylen Granson and Jelani Woods have been "up-and-down so far, and need to stack more consistent days together," The Athletic's Zak Keefer writes. "Granson had too many drops in the spring and hasn’t flashed much in Westfield," Keefer adds. "Woods, a rookie, is probably coming along a little slower than the team would like. He’s looked lost at times." It's not a major surprise that Granson and Woods, 24 and 23 years old, respectively, are off to slow starts. We'll continue to monitor their progress, but Mo Alie-Cox looks like a safe bet to open the season as Indianapolis' lead TE.

Colts HC Frank Reich talked up WR Ashton Dulin's role on offense this season. “I cannot emphasize how strongly we feel about Ashton Dulin," Reich said. "He’s going to play a role in this offense. He’s proven it and he’s earned it. He’s going to have to continue to prove it to earn it, but this guy has toughness, the smarts, he plays all the positions, he knows what to do, he’s a competitor, it’s not too big for him, he’s a playmaker. We love him. We are all planning on him making a significant contribution, not only on special teams, but on offense, too.” Dulin went undrafted back in 2019 and has just 18 catches through 3 NFL seasons. So we're not ready to call him a fantasy-draft target just yet. But he's on our radar for the rest of training camp and preseason action.

Colts QB Matt Ryan threw to WR Parris Campbell multiple times this offseason, and the duo is off to a strong start in training camp. "When I'm lined up in the slot running those crossers, that's Matt's bread and butter," Campbell said. "I think that's my bread and butter, too." Campbell, of course, has been limited to just 15 games by multiple injuries through 3 NFL seasons. But he's still just 25 and is running as Indianapolis' #2 WR at the start of camp. "This is his year for him to show out. We're ready for that," OC Marcus Brady said. "He's been looking great — he had a great offseason, he's had a great few days here. I thought he made some nice catches, run some great routes, you can feel his speed out on the field." Campbell is an intriguing late-round flier in fantasy drafts.

Colts HC Frank Reich discussed the offense’s up-tempo style at training camp. “It’s unbelievable,” Reich said of new QB Matt Ryan pushing the pace. “We’ve never practiced like this. It’s a mentality, a confidence. It’s ‘we got to keep up and play.’ We are dictating tempo from the huddle to the ball and we are going. (Ryan) told me at the start, ‘I’m going to push the tempo. I said, ‘We will follow your lead.’” Indy ranked 21st in plays per game last year, so perhaps we see a bump up in 2022. While we’re not targeting Ryan in fantasy drafts, we do like his presence for 3rd-year WR Michael Pittman.

The Colts have activated DE Tyquan Lewis and S Rodney McLeod from the physically unable to perform list. Each guy has been working back from a knee issue, and it appears each is now ready for regular training camp participation.

The Colts have placed LB Darius Leonard on the PUP list to open training camp. It's not a surprise. Leonard had back surgery in early June, and it was reported at the time that he'd miss some of camp. Lingering trouble with the ankle that has been bothering Leonard since before last season started might be the bigger concern, though. We'll see how long the star remains on the PUP list, from which the team can activate him at any time. If Leonard winds up on the regular-season PUP list, he'd have to miss at least 4 games. To date, we haven't seen that reported as a possibility. The Colts also placed S Rodney McLeod (undisclosed) and DE Tyquan Lewis (knee) on the PUP ahead of camp starting.

Colts HC Frank Reich “would like to alleviate some of the load on [Jonathan] Taylor’s shoulders,” per beat writer George Bremer. (To be clear, these are Bremer's words -- not Reich's.) Taylor led the league with 332 rush attempts last year — 25 ahead of #2 Najee Harris. With Matt Ryan in town, the thought is this offense goes slightly more pass heavy. We do project a smaller workload for Taylor, but the decline is negligible. The 3rd-year back remains a top-2 fantasy RB.

Colts WR Michael Pittman discussed “route discipline” as an area of focus this offseason. “Sometimes you just go out there and start playing football,” Pittman said. “Yes, I can make plays like that, but you want to stay on QB timing because it helps everybody else flow, so I’m really working on that.” Pittman’s reportedly meshed well with new QB Matt Ryan, who’s demanded a lot from the USC product. Thin WR depth sets Pittman up for ~130+ targets -- and clear top-10 fantasy upside.

Colts QB Matt Ryan impressed coaches, teammates and the media with his play and leadership this offseason. “Matt was unbelievable,” HC Frank Reich said. “Really, A-Z, he did everything right. Just great leadership, great play. I mean, the whole way he took command … I knew he was good, but his accuracy is insane." OC Marcus Brady said Ryan is "damn near a coach on the field." And rookie WR Alec Pierce said, "He could basically run this offense and this team by himself." We'd expect the 14-year veteran to impress in the intangibles department. But, by all accounts, Ryan's arm strength and accuracy were excellent over the past few months. He's still not an exciting fantasy asset in a run-first offense and without rushing upside. But Ryan's arrival could be a boost for the Colts' skill-position players.

Colts WR Parris Campbell ran "exclusively" with the 1st-team offense and was "featured extensively" in last week's minicamp, The Athletic's Zak Keefer writes. Campbell has been limited to 15 games over the last 3 years by a litany of injuries. But with WR Zach Pascal gone and WR T.Y. Hilton still unsigned, there are 106 targets available in Indianapolis. It sounds like Campbell will have every opportunity to claim a big chunk of them. He's worth a look late in fantasy drafts.

1:50pm EDT 6/15/22

Colts S Khari Willis announced his retirement Wednesday after just 3 years in the league. Willis said he plans "to devote the remainder of my life to the further advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." His retirement leaves an opening in Indy's starting lineup, with Rodney McLeod, rookie Nick Cross and Julian Blackmon looking like the primary competitors. Cross -- a 3rd-round pick out of Maryland -- looks most interesting from an IDP standpoint. He tested great at the Combine -- 98th-percentile 40, 92nd-percentile broad jump, 71st-percentile vertical -- at 6'0, 212 pounds. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein called him "the bouncer of the Maryland defense," lauding his "aggression and explosiveness." Zierlein also highlighted Cross' tackling ability near the line of scrimmage and in the open field, which sounds good for his tackle-collection potential in the pros.

Colts LB Darius Leonard had back surgery Tuesday morning, his agent confirmed. Zak Keefer of The Athletic reports that Leonard will miss "some camp time" but is expected to be ready for the regular season. ESPN's Mike Wells reports it a little differently, saying the team expects "him to [be] back for training camp." We'll see about Leonard's status as camp gets going. At the least, this adds a complication for a star player who has already been dealing with nagging ankle trouble.

Colts WR Parris Campbell has generated a bit of buzz in OTAs this week, with HC Frank Reich saying they still believe in Campbell as both a slot and outside WR. Reich had more to say about Campbell on Thursday, according to The Athletic: “I think we’re all pulling for Parris, but there’s no sentimental favorites here. You have to earn every rep you get on that field. We all love Parris and we all have a lot of belief in Parris and the upside, this is like I said, there’s no sentimental favorites. Every guy is going to get a fair shot to earn a spot to be on the field.” Perhaps the coaching staff isn't giving Campbell extra reps just because they like him. But it seems pretty clear that Reich is hoping we finally get to see Campbell's ceiling. For fantasy football purposes, Campbell is going late enough in best-ball drafts that there's only upside to selecting him. Beyond that, we'll see how the summer goes.

Colts LB Darius Leonard has been on the sideline at OTA practices this week because of lingering ankle issues, according to multiple reports. HC Frank Reich said: “Sometimes when you are going through something you hit a lull and can’t get over that hump. Sometimes you have to pause and say, ‘Why are we not getting over this hump?’ That’s a little bit what it is with Darius. We are just continuing to be cautious with him.” They're reportedly not yet considering another surgery on the left ankle, on which Leonard had surgery last June. Leonard missed only 1 game last season, and that for a stint on the COVID list. We'll see where this goes.

Colts HC Frank Reich admitted that the team is considering adding another WR. To date, Indy’s only noteworthy offseason addition was Round 2 pick Alec Pierce. “That’s what [GM] Chris (Ballard) and I were talking about today, this morning in fact,” Reich shared. “We’ll see how these guys do through all of these (offseason workouts), and then do we need to add somebody? Do we need to talk about T.Y. (Hilton) if he’s still out there?” It’s a possible issue for Parris Campbell, who’s durability concerns have been well documented. Michael Pittman will retain a WR1 ceiling regardless of any move.

The Colts on Tuesday announced the signing of RB Ty'Son Williams. The former Ravens RB failed to take over the top backfield spot when given the opportunity early last season in Baltimore, winding up 5th on the team in carries. With the Colts, Williams figures to compete with Phillip Lindsay for a spot on the game-day roster -- barring further additions at the position. The 2 look like similar special-teams prospects. That could be a key area to determining who sticks on the roster.

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