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Fantasy Football News 2021

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Colts TE Kylen Granson got work with the 1st-team offense in Wednesday's training-camp practice. In fact, he caught a team-high 3 passes from QB Carson Wentz. "Granson may be more involved than I initially thought," Sports Illustrated's Jake Arthur writes. "He was very much in the mix throughout practice and is the clearest choice for the Colts' athletic 'Y' tight end." It's rare for a TE to make a fantasy impact as a rookie. But Granson might be an exception. The Colts absolutely love him, HC Frank Reich's offense tends to target the TE at an above-average rate, and TEs Mo Alie-Cox and Jack Doyle aren't exactly stiff competition. Keep an eye on Granson over the next month.

Zak Keefer of The Athletic reports that the Colts say RB Marlon Mack is back to 100% health for the start of camp. That's noteworthy, given Mack missed last year with a torn Achilles' tendon. Of course, being 100% healthy does not necessarily equal being back to your original performance level. But this is a big step for the veteran back. Mack still can't hope to be more than the #3 RB on this year's Indy roster, but his return could leave Jordan Wilkins without a spot. A near full-strength Mack could also stress the workload for Jonathan Taylor.

Colts GM Chris Ballard says LB Darius Leonard has had an ankle "procedure" in early June, according to Mike Chappell of FOX59. Ballard said the team will monitor him but that there's "no reason for concern," despite conceding that the LB will miss some early practices. Leonard missed 2 games last season, but a groin injury was the culprit. We'll keep an eye out for anything further on this situation. For now, though, we'll take Ballard at his word and not adjust our outlook for Leonard.

Colts WR Parris Campbell has been limited to 9 games over his first 2 NFL seasons due to a plethora of injuries. But, according to The Athletic's Zak Keefer, the team still believes he'll "become a vital player in their offense." The Colts made Campbell the 59th overall pick of the 2019 draft after he caught an Ohio State-record 90 balls as a senior and then blazed a 4.31-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. Campbell has flashed in those 9 games he's played so far, catching 5+ balls 3 times and also carrying 6 times for 50 yards. "If Campbell exits camp without any setbacks, he’ll have a big role in 2021," Keefer adds. Campbell remains super cheap in drafts, with an ADP sitting outside the first 12 rounds.

The Athletic's Stephen Holder predicts that Michael Pittman will become the Colts' #1 WR this season. "If he wants to become the Colts’ go-to wide receiver, the opportunity is there," Holder writes. "And I happen to think he’s very much up to the task." Pittman didn't stuff the stat sheet as a rookie. But his development was stunted in September by a significant calf injury. He returned to play 72+% of the Colts' offensive snaps in each of the final 10 games -- and went for 90 yards in the playoff loss in Buffalo. With T.Y. Hilton past his prime and Parris Campbell's already lengthy injury history, Pittman certainly has a chance to lead this team in targets. We like him as an upside pick at his 8th- or 9th-round price tag.

Colts WR Parris Campbell said he's been cleared after last September's knee injury and is back to 100%, per The Athletic's Stephen Holder. The Week 2 sprained MCL and PCL cost Campbell the rest of the 2020 season -- after he missed 9 games with a multitude of injuries during his 2019 rookie campaign. So we just haven't seen much of this guy on an NFL field yet. Campbell does have 3 games of 5+ catches among his 9 outings, so there's certainly some sleeper appeal here. We'll see how the summer goes for him.

Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star believes 4th-round TE Kylen Granson could quickly impact the Colts offense. Beat writers can get caught up in hype at times, but Erickson's article provides some interesting quotes from Colts decision makers. "When you watch the tape, you see that he has explosive speed," HC Frank Reich said of Granson. "He has quickness, foot and body quickness. He's also dynamic with the football in his hand. That can be a great element for our offense." Assistant director of college scouting Matt Terpening added: "He's a total mismatch tight end. This kid has big-time sped, he can get down the seam. He makes really big plays. He's got excellent hands, and he's got route instincts and route feel." Granson will be worth watching through the offseason and summer. Indy has elected not to re-sign Trey Burton so far, leaving Jack Doyle (23 catches in 2020) and Mo Alie-Cox (31) atop the TE depth chart.

The Colts signed K Eddy Pineiro to a 1-year deal. It's a curious move with K Rodrigo Blankenship coming off a strong rookie season (32 of 37 on FGs). Pineiro was out of work last year but connected on 23 of 28 FGs for the Bears back in 2019. Blankenship remains a heavy favorite to be the Colts' kicker in 2021, but he carries a bit more risk in fantasy drafts right now.

The Colts selected SMU TE Kylen Granson in the 4th round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Granson, a Senior Bowl participant, stands just over 6’1 and 241 pounds. A strong athlete, he played WR for 2 seasons at Rice but left the program due to a coaching change. He spent the past 2 seasons at SMU, racking up 78-1,267-14 in 23 games. Indy’s current TE depth looks thin with Mo Alie-Cox and Jack Doyle, but Granson profiles more as a part-timer/H-back.

The Colts spent a 2nd-round pick on Vanderbilt DE Dayo Odeyingbo. That makes 2 straight picks spent at the position, after Indy started its draft with Kwity Paye. Odeyingbo isn't likely to contribute this season, though, as he's coming off an Achilles' tear. That has to ding his dynasty value as well. Odeyingbo did tally 20 tackles for loss in 20 games over the past 2 years. We'll see about his recovery and IDP outlook for 2022 and beyond.

Kwity Paye has joined the Colts as the 21st overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Paye hits the NFL with loads of speed and athleticism. His 114.6 speed score ranks 89th percentile among NFL edge defenders. Paye stands a bit on the small side, though: 6’2.5 and 261 pounds. He enjoyed a nicely productive junior campaign in 2019, including 6.5 sacks and 12.5 total tackles for loss. But Paye played in only 4 games this past season. On tape, he looks like he’ll need some work developing that athleticism into NFL productivity as a pass rusher.

WR T.Y. Hilton has agreed to a 1-year deal with the Colts. His agency reports that it's a $10 million pact, with $8 million of that guaranteed. That's similar to what JuJu Smith-Schuster got to return to Pittsburgh. Hilton's yards per catch and per target rebounded last year vs. 2019, with the QB upgrade from Jacoby Brissett to Philip Rivers. But he doesn't look like the same big-play threat he was earlier in his career. Staying with the Colts gives Hilton a chance to continue leading the team in targets, but healthier seasons from young wideouts Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell figure to challenge Hilton's share. The veteran looks fine as a fantasy option in the double-digit rounds of best-ball drafts.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that the Colts are retaining RB Marlon Mack on a 1-year, $2 million contract. Fantasy owners everywhere wanted Mack to be leaving in free agency, but it makes sense for Indy to keep a reserve RB they trust at low cost. Mack, of course, is coming off the Achilles' tendon tear that ended his 2020 season in Week 1. If he's all the way back, his presence will threaten the rushing workload of Jonathan Taylor and add risk to Taylor as a Round 1 fantasy pick (while Nyheim Hines challenges in targets). We'll probably have to wait until the summer to see whether Mack is back to full strength, though.

The Colts have slapped TE Mo Alie-Cox with a 2nd-round restricted free-agent tender. It's a relatively aggressive move and makes it highly unlikely that Alie-Cox signs elsewhere this offseason. The former college basketball player has taken a while to get going in the NFL but is coming off a career-best 31-394-2 line this past year. He ranked 4th in yards per route run among 43 TEs with 30+ targets. With Trey Burton a free agent, it might be just Alie-Cox and Jack Doyle vying for TE targets in Indianapolis this season.

The Colts have tendered WR Zach Pascal at the 2nd-round level, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. That means any team that signs Pascal away would need to surrender a 2nd-round pick to Indy. We're not betting that another team will pay that price, so expect Pascal to remain a Colt. He ranked 2nd on the team in receiving yards (629), 3rd in targets (71) and 3rd in receptions (44).

RB Marlon Mack expects to be "full go" for the start of training camp, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. Mack is recovering from last September's torn Achilles and will hit the free-agent market this coming week. He might need to wait until deeper into the offseason before landing a deal, though, as he attempts to return from such a serious injury. The 25-year-old at least has age on his side and a 1,000-yard season on his resume. We'll see where Mack lands, but he's just a late-round flier in early fantasy drafts.

ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen report that the Eagles have agreed to trade QB Carson Wentz to the Colts for a 3rd-round pick this year and a conditional 2nd-rounder in 2022. That pick could reportedly turn into a 1st-rounder, likely depending on Wentz's performance in the coming season. The Wentz we watched in Philly last season wouldn't be an upgrade over 2020 Philip Rivers, but Wentz still brings more upside than most other options available to Indy this offseason. He did enough before last year to garner a 4-year, $128 million extension before the 2019 campaign. Wentz -- who just turned 28 in December -- delivered top-10 fantasy finishes in 2019 and 2017. He'll join a Colts offense with better surroundings than Philly boasted last year. Perhaps most importantly, Indianapolis ranked 7th in pass blocking according to Pro Football Focus, vs. 16th for the Eagles. Philadelphia now figures to give Jalen Hurts a shot to open 2021 as the starter -- unless the franchise chooses a new QB in Round 1. (The Eagles pick 6th.) We'll watch how each situation develops this offseason. Both Hurts and Wentz carry top-12 fantasy upside at the position, though we wouldn't select either quite that high in current best-ball drafting.

Colts DT DeForest Buckner (ankle) is active for today's game against the Bills. He's probably somewhere short of full strength, but his presence makes a big difference for the Colts' defense vs. both the run and pass.

Colts DT DeForest Buckner is questionable for Saturday's playoff opener against the Bills with an ankle injury. He has been listed with the same issue since Thursday of Week 15 but has yet to miss a game. Buckner followed the same practice participation this week as last -- out-out-limited -- but he finished last week with no injury designation. So it's possible the ankle is a bit worse this time around. Any limitation to Indy's best defensive lineman can obviously only help the Bills. We'll check his status when the inactives come out late Saturday morning.

Colts WR Michael Pittman (concussion) is active for today’s game against the Jaguars. It’s a great matchup, but Pittman has seemingly fallen behind T.Y. Hilton and Zach Pascal on the totem pole, totaling just 7 catches on 14 targets over the past 3 weeks.

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