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Indianapolis Colts Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Fantasy Football News 2024

Most Recent Fantasy Football News & Updates

We knew WR Alec Pierce brought downfield speed when the Colts drafted him in Round 2 last April. His 12.2-yard average depth of target led the team in his rookie campaign. Pierce's 16.8-yard college aDOT says that number could rise even higher. And new QB Anthony Richardson specialized in deep passing as a collegian. According to Pro Football Focus, Richardson ranked 25th among 148 qualifying FBS QBs last year in total deep attempts (20+ yards downfield), 20th in deep-passing grade and 16th in deep-passing yards. We'll see about the pass-run split between the strong-running rookie QB and the new coaching staff. But Pierce is a low-risk option in best ball drafts at his later-round ADP. Read more about him and see where he sits in our 2023 fantasy football rankings.

Colts RB Jonathan Taylor (ankle) is "healed up," owner Jim Irsay said Monday on The Pat McAfee Show. Taylor underwent right-ankle surgery early in the offseason to address a lingering issue. He missed offseason workouts, but it sounds like he'll be ready to roll come training camp. We'll keep an eye on Taylor throughout the summer, but that ankle shouldn't impact his 2023 fantasy value.

Colts rookie QB Anthony Richardson has already cracked the top 12 QBs in Underdog Fantasy ADP. Drafters are obviously chasing his rushing upside, and he'll need big ground production to deliver for fantasy. There have been seven rookie-QB seasons in NFL history that would have ranked among last year's top 12 QB scores. That group had a median of 34.0 rushing yards per game (578 yards over a 17-game season) and a median of 234.8 passing yards per game. All seven of those rookie QBs averaged at least 213.3 passing yards per game. That would obviously be an easier level for Richardson to reach right away. And he's capable of smashing that 34-yard rushing benchmark. Justin Fields, Lamar Jackson, and Jalen Hurts all exceeded 50 rushing yards per game in 2022. Colts owner Jim Irsay recently reiterated that the team won't be scared to play Richardson early. The rookie doesn't sit as high in our 2023 fantasy football rankings as he does in Underdog ADP. But he certainly has the upside to deliver QB1-level production. Read more about his upside (and downside) in our Richardson profile.

Colts owner Jim Irsay hinted on Monday that his team plans to get rookie QB Anthony Richardson on the field early. "We know it’s going to be tough. But he has to play to get better," Irsay said on the Pat McAfee Show. "There’s no question. Gardner [Minshew] could play better early on, him just being a veteran. But we have to get Anthony on the field." Irsay added that HC Shane Steichen will ultimately decide when Richardson takes over as the starter. But Steichen had a similar message back in April, saying, "the development of players comes with more experience." We just bumped Richardson's projection up to 14 games played -- and that might still be conservative. His rushing ability gives him obvious QB1 upside whenever he takes the field.

Colts beat writer Kevin Bowen considers WR Josh Downs “the ideal slot receiver complement.” While Michael Pittman will kick inside some, Downs’ path to playing in 3-WR sets (with Alec Pierce) looks clear. Bowen adds that the rookie showed a “strong early connection” with QB Anthony Richardson, with Downs “easily creating space in those short areas of the field.” Colts area scout Chad Henry shared the same sentiment. “He’s a playmaker,” Henry said of Downs. “We don’t have a whole lot of guys like him. He’s sort of a human chain mover. Good luck covering him in a short area.” Downs missed part of the spring with a knee issue, but all indications suggest it’s minor. Depending on the play of Richardson, Downs could become a deep-league PPR spot starter. For now, though, he’s not someone to circle on your cheat sheet.

Colts WR Michael Pittman got plenty of target and reception volume last season. He finished 16th among WRs in target share and 10th in the league in receptions. But his yardage efficiency tumbled. Pittman's yards per catch fell from 12.3 in 2021 to 9.3, with poor QB play a (the?) primary culprit. His average depth of target fell by more than 2 yards, with QBs Matt Ryan, Sam Ehlinger and Nick Foles all ranking 28th or worse in Pro Football Focus passing grade. Pittman also produced his lowest mark yet, though, in yards after catch per reception. According to PFF, he tied for just 53rd in yards per route and ranked 44th in receiving grade, among 97 WRs with 40+ targets. Pittman did, at least, rank a decent 26th in targets per route, matching his 2021 ranking. Rookie QB Anthony Richardson should be good for Pittman's aDOT. But we'd bet on the WR coming down from last year's 70.2% catch rate. Overall, it's tough to bet on big upside for Pittman from his WR3-level ADP. Read more about the outlook for Indy's lead wideout and see where he lands in our 2023 fantasy football rankings.

Colts RB Jonathan Taylor (ankle) remained sidelined for Tuesday's minicamp practice. He continues to work his way back from January's right ankle surgery. Taylor said at the time of that surgery that he expected to be ready for the start of the season. And, at this point, there's no reason to think that won't be the case. We'll continue to keep you updated on his health.

Colts WR Alec Pierce admitted that he hit the rookie wall in 2022. “I don’t know if I necessarily felt it. But I think looking back on the film [late in the season], I did feel like I just wasn’t moving as good as I was early in the season.” While bad QB play factored in, Pierce mustered only nine catches for 82 yards over the final month. The second-year deep threat also noted an offseason area of emphasis. “I definitely needed to work more on my route-running at the top of routes, creating separation,” Pierce said. He projects as a full-time outside WR for new HC Shane Steichen, but we’re not expecting Indy to resemble a pass-happy offense. Pierce isn’t someone we’re looking to aggressively target in best ball leagues — even with an ADP past WR70.

Colts WR Josh Downs is missing this week's OTAs with what HC Shane Steichen called "a little bit of a knee issue." That obviously doesn't sound like anything significant, but the missed reps aren't ideal for the rookie. We'll let you know when Downs gets back on the field. If healthy, he has a good shot to win the Week 1 starting slot job. WR Isaiah McKenzie is Downs' primary competition for that spot.

Colts OC Jim Bob Cooter gave his early impressions of rookie QB Anthony Richardson. “I think he’s got a really good head on his shoulders. Kind of sees and understands what’s going on around him at a pretty high level,” Cooter said. “I’ve been really impressed with him just dealing with him in meeting rooms and different situations that we all encounter each other in. So (he) just has had a good way about him handling this stuff." Cooter believes Richardson’s experience at Florida will prepare him for life in Indianapolis. “Shoot, playing quarterback in the NFL, you’re usually going to have your ups and your downs. You’re usually going to have some criticism and some praise. I think that’s a really good trait to walk in the door with, the ability to handle what’s coming at you and have a good mindset about it, and I think Anthony’s done a nice job of that so far, at least in my eyes.” Richardson remains the favorite to start at least a majority of the games for Indy in 2023. Looking at fantasy PPG, he projects as a fringe top-15 QB.

The Colts selected RB Evan Hull in Round 5 of the 2023 NFL Draft. Hull is intriguing for 2 reasons. First, he's excellent in the passing game, racking up 88 receptions over the last 2 years at Northwestern. Second, he's a plus athlete, registering a 93rd percentile Relative Athletic Score, highlighted by a 4.47-second 40 time and elite 6.90-second 3-cone at 5'10, 209 pounds. Hull joins a Colts backfield controlled by RB Jonathan Taylor. But the rookie could at least push Zack Moss and Deon Jackson for the #2 spot on the depth chart.

Colts owner Jim Irsay told's Judy Battista that QB Anthony Richardson will start games this season. It's fair to wonder how much knowledge or input Irsay actually has on this. As the team owner, he shouldn't really be involved with on-field decisions. And he certainly doesn't tend to hold back with his public comments. But QBs chosen early in Round 1 historically are likely to take over the starting job at some point in Year 1 -- most commonly before mid-season. Many evaluators think Richardson will need more development time than Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud. But there are others who believe he's much closer to ready. Indy signed QB Gardner Minshew for just $3.5 million on a one-year deal in free agency. That's light even for a backup at this point. So they clearly didn't sign Minshew intending to have him start for a year. We already have Richardson projected to start more than half his rookie season in our 2023 fantasy football QB rankings. And we'll be watching his offseason closely. His rushing ability makes the upside enormous.

The Colts selected North Carolina WR Josh Downs in Round 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft. Downs’ production profile is as strong as any WR in this year’s class. He broke out with a 100-catch, 1,335-yard sophomore season in 2021 and then racked up another 94 catches, 1,029 yards, and 11 TDs this past year. He accounted for a massive 33.6% of North Carolina’s receptions, 30.9% of the receiving yards, and 29.7% of the receiving TDs over the past two seasons. We were a bit underwhelmed by Downs’ tape, though. He struggles against physical coverage, has a relatively small catch radius, and lacks elite downfield speed (confirmed by his 4.48-second 40 time). On the plus side, Downs has no trouble creating separation on short and intermediate routes and is a weapon after the catch. The 5’9, 171-pounder is destined for the slot as a pro. There's room for him to see early work there for a Colts squad that just let WR Parris Campbell walk in free agency. We remain unexcited about the third-rounder's long-term outlook, though. Check out Downs' initial projections in our 2023 fantasy football WR rankings.

Here's what HC Shane Steichen had to say about QB Anthony Richardson's development shortly after the Colts took him with the fourth overall pick on Thursday night: "I think the development of players comes with more experience... I think when you play more, that's how you develop... practice reps, game reps, I think that's how you develop." That sure doesn't sound like the Colts are planning to keep the relatively inexperienced Richardson on the sidelines for long. Indianapolis does have a capable veteran in QB Gardner Minshew, who might still be the favorite to open the season under center. But we're expecting to see plenty of Richardson this year. Our initial projections have him playing 11 games.

The Colts selected Florida QB Anthony Richardson with the fourth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Richardson tested as the most athletic QB in NFL Combine history. A 4.43 forty-time, a 40.5-inch vertical, and a 129-inch broad jump are simply incredible. At 6’4, and 244 pounds, Richardson’s dynamic speed/power combo showed up at Florida. The 21-year-old tallied 654 rushing yards and 9 TDs in his one season as a starter. Inexperience is part of the problem here. But Richardson needs to kick durability concerns after suffering knee, ankle, and hamstring injuries in college. He also needs to show more down-to-down consistency — especially in the short to intermediate ranges. Ultimately, we see the 21-year-old improving over time. With elite rushing ability and plenty of arm talent, Richardson has the high-upside profile you should chase in rookie drafts. Landing on the Colts also turns up a nice schematic fit with HC Shane Steichen, who helped develop Jalen Hurts. Indy added Gardner Minshew this offseason, so the Colts don’t have to rush Richardson on the field. Current projections have the rookie for 11 games.

As expected, QB Anthony Richardson tested as an elite athlete at the NFL Combine. In fact, the Florida product set QB Combine records with a 40.5” vertical and a 10’9” broad jump. He added a ridiculous 4.43-second (official) 40-yard dash…at 6’4, 244 pounds. Insane. While his accuracy turns up as spotty on film, it’d be a shock if he’s not a top-10 pick come April.

The Colts have named Jim Bob Cooter their new OC. He turned in 3 generally underwhelming seasons as Lions OC from 2016-2018, with finishes of 21st, 13th and 24th in total yards. Cooter then bounced to Jets RBs coach to Eagles "consultant" to Jaguars passing-game coordinator this past year, playing a part in QB Trevor Lawrence's breakout season. Cooter will work under offensive-minded HC Shane Steichen in Indianapolis. Steichen is expected to call plays, according to The Athletic's Zak Keefer.

Shane Steichen is set to be named the Colts' HC, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Rumors of the move gained steam in the days leading up to the Eagles' Super Bowl loss, and Steichen is flying to Indianapolis on Monday afternoon to finalize the deal. The 37-year-old spent the past 2 seasons as Philadelphia's OC under HC Nick Sirianni, helping the Eagles to 14th- and then 3rd-place finishes in total yards. Prior to that, he spent the 2020 campaign as Chargers OC, leading that team to a 9th-place finish in yards with rookie QB Justin Herbert. With the 4th overall pick of this spring's draft, there's a good chance that Steichen is again working with a rookie signal-caller in 2023. Shoddy QB play left the Colts among the bottom 6th in both points and total yards last year. But they have an elite RB in Jonathan Taylor and a young, developing WR corps led by Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce.

Colts RB Jonathan Taylor had arthroscopic surgery recently on his right ankle, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and it was about more than just the high-ankle sprain that ended his 2022 season. "That thing had a bunch of junk in it from a bunch of years," Rapoport relayed from Taylor on Sunday morning. The RB is reportedly on track to be fully ready ahead of the coming season, and we just might get a healthier Taylor in 2023 than we got at any point in 2022. Taylor should remain in your Round 1 plans for 2023 fantasy football drafts.

Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr. drew a team-high 8 targets and caught a team-high 6 passes in Sunday's lopsided loss at the Giants. He managed just 41 yards but secured the team's only TD (from QB Sam Ehlinger). Pittman remains among the top 30 WRs in PPR points per game despite playing with 3 separate (poor) QBs this season. We'll see how Indianapolis addresses that position this offseason, after applying different Band-Aids each of the past 3 years. Pittman heads into the final year of his rookie contract -- and age-26 season -- in 2023. WR Parris Campbell led the team with 52 receiving yards Sunday on 3 catches (6 targets).

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