Shark Bites

Colts QB Andrew Luck threw in practice last week for the 1st time in about 8 months. Insider Albert Breer reports that Luck is now "deeper into his rehab without a major hiccup" than he's been since undergoing surgery on his throwing shoulder in January 2017. He's traveled this offseason to Los Angeles to work on his mechanics and to Amsterdam to learn about alternative training techniques, according to Breer. Luck still hasn't thrown in 11-on-11s, and his reps will be closely monitored when training camp opens. But he certainly seems to be trending in the right direction. Luck's ADP is sitting in the 11th round as the 17th QB off the board. He's a fine shot to take at that price tag.

Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins have been garnering the fantasy attention in the Colts backfield. But insider Stephen Holder warns not to rule out Robert Turbin. "If there’s one thing this offseason has shown, it’s that Turbin seems to have an important place on this football team," Holder writes. Turbin has been getting a bunch of 1st-team snaps this spring. But we wouldn't consider that a surprise considering Mack is sidelined after shoulder surgery and Hines and Wilkins are rookies. Still, HC Frank Reich talked up Turbin's "size and power and strength" this week. Holder believes Turbin is in line to play a short-yardage, goal-line role in what will be a full-blown committee backfield. It'll certainly be a situation to monitor when training camp opens, but we're not ready to call Turbin an option in fantasy drafts.

Colts QB Andrew Luck threw at Tuesday's minicamp session. (Here's video proof.) As far as we know, it's the 1st time Luck has thrown a football in about 8 months. The Colts have played it extremely safe with his rehab this time around, but owner Jim Irsay said that Luck "won't have any limitations" when training camp opens next month. We'll continue to keep a close eye on him throughout the summer, but Luck has turned into a risk worth taking at his current 11th- or 12th-round price tag. He finished 4th among QBs in fantasy points when we last saw him in 2016.

Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) has yet to resume throwing a football and isn't expected to do so until training camp, according to insider Kevin Bowen. As far as we know, the last time Luck did any extensive throwing was the middle of last October. He hasn't played in a game since January 1, 2017. Throwing at the start of camp would give him about 6 weeks to get ready for Week 1. As Bowen notes, "the window for any hiccup in his rehab is all but closed at this point of the offseason." Luck's ADP has dropped into the 11th round of recent best-ball drafts.

Colts RB Marlon Mack underwent offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder, GM Chris Ballard revealed on SiriusXM radio. Mack reportedly played his "entire" rookie season with the injury. Ballard expects Mack to be a full participant in training camp, although it's unclear what he'll be able to do before then. Any missed time is bad news for a 2nd-year player looking to capture a bigger role in 2018. The Colts cut ties with Frank Gore this offseason but added Nyheim Hines (4th round) and Jordan Wilkins (5th) in the draft. This backfield is trending toward a committee, but exactly how the team is planning to divvy touches will be worth monitoring closely this summer.

The Colts picked Ole Miss RB Jordan Wilkins in Round 6 of the Draft, 2 rounds after they selected RB Nyheim Hines. Wilkins stands bigger at 6'1 and 216 pounds. He posted a 4.53-second 40-yard dash, a 72nd-percentile SPARQ score and a 102.6 speed score. Wilkins totaled only 130 touches over his 1st 2 seasons and spent 2016 on academic suspension. But he tallied a 155-1,011-9 rushing line with 26 catches for 241 more yards as a senior. Wilkins averaged 6.3 yards per rush and 10.1 per reception across his college career. He'll be worth watching in what should be a wide-open backfield competition.

The Colts spent an early 6th-round pick on Clemson WR Deon Cain. The 6'2, 202-pounder ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the Combine and finished the 3-cone drill in 6.71 seconds. Both numbers rate 77th percentile or better among Combine wideouts since 1999. Cain's production proved inconsistent, though he put up a nice 15.4% career TD rate and topped 17 yards per catch in each of his 1st 2 seasons. He joins a Colts offense with little proven ability behind T.Y. Hilton at WR.

The Colts selected North Carolina State RB Nyheim Hines in the 4th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Hines blazed a 4.38-second 40 time at the Combine and plays just as fast. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry and 10.5 yards per catch over his 3-year college career, while also scoring 3 times in the return game. Hines goes just 5’8, 198 pounds and never reached 200 carries in a season at N.C. State. But he caught 20+ balls in all 3 campaigns, including 43 in 2016. He has the look of at least a pass-catching, change-of-pace asset as a pro, with the potential to emerge as a committee back on the Gio Bernard-Duke Johnson spectrum. He joins Marlon Mack in a relatively wide-open Colts backfield. Mack looks like the early favorite to lead the team in carries, but there’s plenty of room for Hines to carve out a significant role.

The Colts picked up Ohio State DE Tyquan Lewis after trading up to the final spot in Round 2 of the NFL Draft. Lewis delivered a 91st-percentile SPARQ score in predraft testing after tallying 23 sacks over his final 3 college seasons. Lewis figures to be a rotational player with the Colts, though, and will turn 24 before the end of his rookie season.

The Colts selected Rutgers EDGE guy Kemoko Turay in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft. Turay topped out at 7.5 sacks as a freshman but dealt with injuries in his sophomore and junior seasons. He carried some buzz in pre-draft season but didn't workout beyond running the 40 at the Combine. Turay joins a quietly solid EDGE group in Indy and could have trouble generating worthwhile fantasy production.

The Colts spent their 1st of Round 2 in the NFL Draft on LB Darius Leonard. The FCS defender was the MEAC defensive player of the year in 2017, racking up 114 total tackles. That included 12 for loss and 8.5 sacks. Leonard figures to take over a starting job right away in the Colts' 4-3 and projects as more of an OLB.

The Colts plan to switch to a 4-3 base front on defense this season, which will include shifting OLB John Simon to DE. GM Chris Ballard spoke to that Friday and said he expects it to be a positive move for his top 3 edge players. “At the end of the day, even in the 3-4, you’re still in a four-man front," Ballard said, per the Indianapolis Star. "It’s the difference between putting your hand on the ground and standing up. John Simon played in a 4-3 at Ohio State, so he’s done it before. Great effort, he’s strong. He’ll fit in.” Simon tallied 16 sacks and 30.5 total tackles for loss over his final 2 Buckeye seasons. At 6'1, 250 pounds, though, he'll be challenged as a full-time DE -- especially on the right side. We'll see exactly how the playing time breaks down among Simon, Jabaal Sheard and 2017 rookie Tarell Basham. Sheard has played various schemes and delivered 13 sacks over 2 injury-impacted seasons as a 4-3 DE with the Patriots. Basham played 4-3 DE in college and reportedly struggled with the transition to standup rusher last season. There's potential IDP value to all 3. We'll evaluate the situation as we move into summer.

Colts QB Andrew Luck told reporters Monday that he still has yet to get back to throwing a real football following last year's shoulder surgery. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Luck says he's not freaking out because he's "very, very optimistic" and making progress. It is only April, but today's quotes sound a lot like what we were hearing last spring when we fantasy owners tried to downplay our own concerns. Luck will be among the most closely watched players in the league until he proves he's all the way back.

The Colts announced Wednesday that they have re-signed RB Christine Michael. The 27-year-old joined Indy last offseason but went on IR after suffering an injury in June minicamp. Michael's notable at the moment only because the Colts backfield looks far from set. Frank Gore is a free agent who doesn't look like he'll return. That leaves Marlon Mack, Robert Turbin, Josh Ferguson and Matt Jones with Michael at the moment. Indy should be adding to that group early in the upcoming NFL Draft.

The Colts have signed WR Ryan Grant to a 1-year, $5 million deal. It's much less than he was set to make before his deal with the Ravens was voided due to a failed physical, but this contract is a much better proxy for what Grant's actually worth. That said, there's opportunity in Indianapolis, where Grant is currently set to compete with Chester Rogers for #2 WR duties behind T.Y. Hilton. We'll see if the Colts make a significant addition at WR in the draft.

11:03pm EDT 3/19/18

The Colts on Monday signed TE Eric Ebron to a 2-year deal. With incentives, it could be worth as much as $15 million. It’s a disappointing landing spot for several reasons: Jack Doyle remains locked in as the Colts’ lead TE after re-signing last offseason. Ebron’s likely to siphon some receiving value from Doyle and also blocks the ascension of intriguing youngster Eric Swoope. Doyle’s presence obviously caps Ebron’s upside as well. The former Lion looks like a low TE2 for fantasy football owners in 2018

WR Ryan Grant failed his physical with the Ravens, voiding his new contract. Given that Baltimore quickly turned it’s attention to Michael Crabtree and signed him for 3 years, don’t bet on another shot for Grant here. He’s also unlikely to find as friendly a target situation as he appeared to land in earlier this week. We’ll see where Grant ultimately sticks

WR Ryan Grant's 4-year, $29 million deal with Baltimore has been voided due to a failed physical, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. It might turn out to be a lucky break for the Ravens, who seemingly overpaid for a replacement-level talent. We'll wait for news on Grant's health. Baltimore, meanwhile, is left with WRs John Brown, Breshad Perriman and Chris Moore atop the depth chart.

The Lions have released TE Eric Ebron. The 10th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft -- 2 spots ahead of Odell Beckham -- flashed at times but was largely a disappointment in 4 seasons in Detroit. Ebron missed 8 games and totaled just 11 TDs. He did come on over the 2nd half of last season, though, catching 38 balls for 414 yards and 3 scores over his final 9 games. Ebron turns just 25 in April, so we're not ready to throw in the towel on him just yet. We'll see where he lands.

The Ravens have agreed to a deal with free-agent WR Ryan Grant. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that it's a 4-year, $29 million deal with $14.5 million guaranteed -- including a $10 million signing bonus. Grant has looked like a solid player at times, but he has also tallied just 84 receptions and 6 TDs across 4 seasons -- while playing in all 64 possible regular-season games. Still, he could be headed for top-wideout status in Baltimore. Mike Wallace is a free agent. Jeremy Maclin looks like a cut candidate. And Breshad Perriman needs to prove that he's no bust. We'll see how this offense shakes out, but don't chase any pass-catchers too aggressively if you're doing early best-ball fantasy football drafts.

 
 
 

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