Colts HC Frank Reich said Monday that he's expecting TE Trey Burton to step into the role Eric Ebron played the past 2 seasons. "Trey is a big-time playmaking tight end," Reich said. "He’s an incredible route runner. He’s a very smart, instinctive player. I think he fits a big need in our offense. You know that spot in our offense gets a lot of attention ... that role gets highlighted schematically, in certain ways. I expect Trey, assuming he’s going to stay healthy, will have a very productive year.” Burton battled groin and calf injuries last year but posted a 54-569-6 line back in 2018. He also has experience with Riech after spending 2016 and 2017 with him in Philadelphia. Ebron averaged 6 targets per game over the last 2 seasons -- a 16-game pace of 96. We wouldn't bet on Burton seeing that much volume alongside Jack Doyle, but it's certainly possible that he re-emerges as a fantasy factor in 2020.
The Colts selected Washington QB Jacob Eason in the 4th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Eason looks the part. He’s 6’6, 231 pounds and might just have the biggest arm of anyone in this year’s QB class. But his accuracy comes and goes, and he struggles under pressure. “He’s the prototypical bust,” an anonymous scout told The Athletic’s Bob McGinn. “He’s big and he’s tall and he’s pretty lookin’. He can throw it through a brick wall. But knowing how to play the position, having poise, mental processing … it’s just not there.” A big-time high school recruit, Eason started as a true freshman at Georgia back in 2016, completing 55% of his passes, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt and tossing 16 TDs vs. 8 INTs. After hurting his knee early in the 2017 season, he lost the starting job to Jake Fromm. Eason then transferred to Washington, where he threw for 3,132 yards, 23 TDs and 8 INTs on a 64% completion rate and 7.7 yards per attempt this past year. He ranked just 22nd among draft-eligible QBs in Pro Football Focus’ adjusted completion rate and 2nd-to-last in passing grade under pressure. Eason needs development and will get it in Indianapolis, where he'll sit behind Philip Rivers for at least 2020.
The Colts selected Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor with the 41st overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Taylor is as strong a rushing prospect as we’ve seen come into the league in recent memory. He ran for 1,977 yards as a true freshman, 2,194 yards as a sophomore and 2,003 yards in his 2019 junior campaign. Taylor won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top RB in both of the last 2 years and holds the NCAA record with an average of 2,058 rushing yards per season. He leaves Wisconsin with a big 6.7 yards-per-carry average and 50 total rushing scores. Taylor also blew up the Combine, running a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at 226 pounds and earning a 90th percentile SPARQ (athleticism) score. The knocks: ball-security (18 career fumbles) and pass-catching ability (42 career catches). We’ve seen plenty of RBs improve their ball-security as pros, though. And Taylor took a big step forward as a receiver this past year, posting a 26-252-5 line and ranking 14th among draft-eligible RBs in yards per route run — notably ahead of D’Andre Swift and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. We’d expect Taylor to pretty quickly beat out Marlon Mack to become the Colts’ lead ball-carrier. We’ll see what kind of receiving role he can capture, but he’ll be running behind a strong offensive line.
The Colts selected USC WR Michael Pittman with the 34th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. The 6’4, 223-pounder impressed at the Combine with a 4.52-second 40 time and 36.5-inch vertical. He finished with an 86th percentile SPARQ score. Pittman improved his numbers in each of his 4 seasons at USC, culminating with a big 101-1,275-11 line in 2019. He ranked 4th in the nation in catches, 10th in receiving yards and 19th in TDs. His market shares — 28% of the receptions, 29% of the yards and 31% of the TDs — are just mediocre, though. And Pittman’s 2.32 yards per route run ranked 22nd among 30 of this year’s top WR prospects. He’s a strong route runner, especially for his size, and has a reliable pair of mitts, dropping just 2.8% of his catchable targets over the past 4 years. There’s just very little explosion to Pittman’s game, which would seem to limit his fantasy upside. He does have a clear path to a rookie-year role, though, with T.Y. Hilton the only established WR in Indianapolis.
The Colts have signed TE Trey Burton to a 1-year deal after he was released by the Bears earlier this week. He'll reportedly make the veteran minimum this season. Burton missed 8 games with groin and calf injuries last year but posted a 54-569-6 line in 2018. He's also familiar with HC Frank Reich's offense after spending 2016 and 2017 with him in Philadelphia. Burton will battle with TE Jack Doyle for snaps and targets in Indy.
The Bears have released TE Trey Burton. The move seemed inevitable after Chicago forked over a 2-year, $16 million deal to TE Jimmy Graham earlier this offseason. After posting a decent 54-569-6 line and TE8 PPR finish in 2018, Burton missed 8 games with groin and calf injuries and totaled just 14 catches this past year. He's currently recovering from hip surgery. We'll see where Burton latches on next, but he's not worth a pick in early best-ball drafts.
The Colts have reached agreement with QB Philip Rivers on a 1-year deal, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. It's been a long-anticipated move that should upgrade the QB play for Indy. Of course, Rivers is 38 and coming off 1 of his worst seasons -- both of which surely factor into the Chargers letting him go. Rivers over Jacoby Brissett should help WR T.Y. Hilton and TE Jack Doyle, but we're not sure about him leading an enormous rebound for the Colts offense on whole. Over the past 4 years, Indy has ranked top 10 in scoring and yards in the 2 seasons Andrew Luck has played; 25th or worse in yards and 16th or worse in scoring in the 2 years Luck missed. Colts HC Frank Reich does have experience with Rivers, coordinating his Chargers offense in 2014 and 2015, and spending 2013 as the QBs coach. San Diego finished 2014 ranked 17th in scoring and 18th in yards; 2015 found the Chargers 9th in yards but just 26th in points.
The 49ers on Monday traded DT DeForest Buckner to the Colts for a 1st-round pick. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Indianapolis is also extending Buckner's contract at a $21 million-per-year average salary. The move obviously sets up Buckner as a keystone in what should be an improving Colts offense. We'll see how losing Buckner affects San Francisco's top-shelf defense.
The Chargers have "moved on" from QB Philip Rivers, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer. Rivers has spent the past 16 seasons with the franchise after being traded from the Giants during the 2004 draft. The 38-year-old reportedly wants to continue playing, so we'll see who he draws interest from in free agency. The Chargers, meanwhile, are now obviously a candidate to take a QB in the 1st round of April's draft. They currently hold the 6th overall pick.
Bears GM Ryan Pace revealed that TE Trey Burton had surgery to repair a labrum injury in his hip. The hope is that the procedure fixes the issue that has lingered since the 2018 season. Burton's 2019 was a complete disaster: 14 catches for 84 scoreless yards in 8 games. He's still just 28 but will be nothing more than a late-round flier in 2020 fantasy drafts.
Colts CB Kenny Moore (ankle) is inactive for today's game against the Jaguars.
Colts LB Darius Leonard returned to full practices Thursday and Friday and finished the week off the injury report. So he should be good to go for IDP lineups in Week 17. S Khari Willis (shoulder) is doubtful after missing practice all week. CB Kenny Moore (ankle) returned to limited practice Friday after missing the previous 2 days and is questionable for the game against Jacksonville. Moore makes for a shaky bet after missing the past 3 games.
The Colts have several defensive starters who sat out practice Wednesday and will bear watching this week. LB Darius Leonard (back) joined the injury report after not appearing on it last week. CB Kenny Moore remained out with the ankle injury that cost him the previous 3 games. DL Denico Autry remained out with the concussion that kept him out of Week 16. S Khari Willis (shoulder) sustained his injury in Sunday's win over the Panthers. All will bear watching on the IDP front, and their statuses could impact the outlook for the Indy team defense against the Jaguars on Sunday. With both teams playing for nothing this week, don't be surprised if Indy deactivates any starters with even minor injury questions
Colts HC Frank Reich said Wednesday that WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) avoided a setback in Monday night's loss to the Saints and will get more playing time in the final 2 weeks of the season. Hilton played just 52% of the offensive snaps in New Orleans but racked up 9 targets. Assuming he's closer to a full-go against the Panthers this weekend, Hilton will jump back into the fantasy-starter mix.
Colts CB Pierre Desir is active for tonight’s game against the Saints. If you waited for him, keep him in your IDP lineup
Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) is active for tonight's game against the Saints. He's been dealing with this calf injury since October and only got in 2 limited practices this week. He's a risky fantasy play tonight.
Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) is "trending in the right direction" for Monday night's game against the Saints, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. A final decision won't come until pregame warmups, though. The last time we saw Hilton, he played just 37% of the Colts' offensive snaps and caught 3 of 6 targets for 18 yards. Don't expect him to be a full-go if he's active tonight.
Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) is listed as questionable and will be a game-time decision for Monday night's tilt with the Saints, HC Frank Reich said. Hilton didn't practice on Saturday after limited workouts the prior 2 days, but he told the media that it was a scheduled day off and not a setback. The late kickoff makes Hilton a tough guy to count on in Week 15 fantasy lineups. Even if he ends up playing, he'll be a shaky fantasy start at risk of being limited and/or aggravating the calf injury.
The Colts have ruled slot CB Kenny Moore (ankle) out for Monday night's game against the Saints. It'll be his 2nd straight missed game. CB Pierre Desir (groin) is questionable for the game. Desir was limited in practice Thursday and Friday but returned to full participation Saturday. If he's active, he'll carry bit IDP upside in likely shadow coverage on New Orleans WR Michael Thomas. If you need insurance to wait on Desir, check for Colts S Khari Willis, Colts CB Rock Ya-Sin, Saints S Marcus Williams or Saints CB Eli Apple on your waiver wire.
Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) put in his 2nd straight limited practice on Friday. He appears to have a shot to return for Monday night's game against the Saints. We'll get another update on his status tomorrow.
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