The Indianapolis Colts are an intriguing team. With the addition of Matt Ryan this offseason, there is more optimism and hope for this offense in 2022. By trading Carson Wentz for a third-round pick to the Washington Commanders, Owner Jim Irsay and GM Chris Ballard needed that leader at the QB position. Colts also have a wonderful supporting cast around Matt Ryan, mainly the explosive and dangerous threat of Jonathan Taylor. There is a lot to look over when preparing for your upcoming fantasy drafts, so let’s take a deeper look at these Colts players — in the hope of giving you the winning edge.
If anyone is poised for a breakout season in 2022, it’s Matt Ryan. He holds the keys to an offense with the highest potential to explode this season. GM Chris Ballard did an exceptional job keeping and adding pieces in the offseason to build around Ryan. From Jonathan Taylor to Michael Pittman Jr., there is a lot to be excited about with Ryan at QB. High expectations in the passing attack are a major reason these players could explode. HC Frank Reich wants a more balanced approach this season, rejuvenating a more consistent passing game. Ryan is expected to perform highly efficiently and bring the best out of Colt’s offense. Ryan’s rank is currently 19th for fantasy QBs and 150 in ADP. He should be an interesting pick for fantasy footballers during draft season.
The consensus #1 fantasy draft pick in 2022, Jonathan Taylor, is poised for another solid season. Over the past two seasons in Taylor’s NFL career, he has put up an astounding 2,980 rushing yards and 29 TDs, while also catching 76 of 90 balls thrown his way – a catch rate of 84%. Last season, Reich had to take more of a run-centered approach because of their inconsistent passing game led by Wentz.
On the contrary, Ryan has shown his ability to elevate the passing game, especially involving RBs. Last season, Falcons RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson had 52 receptions on 69 targets for 548 yards and five TDs. This is proof that Ryan loves to get the ball to his RBs. Reich wants to be as balanced as possible with his offense – taking the load off of Taylor’s carry usage. This could lead to more opportunities for Taylor in the passing game. And we all know Taylor can be just as dangerous as a receiver compared to his abilities as a runner. Let’s look at what he did last season in the Monday night match against Baltimore.
It’s safe to say Taylor is as electric as they come! No wonder he is going #1 in fantasy drafts this season.
On the flip side, Nyheim Hines is more of a “gadget” or “slasher” type of running back than Jonathan Taylor. However, this does not mean Hines lacks in the explosive department. He is as effective as any receiver in the game and incredibly elusive when he has the ball in space. Unfortunately, we fantasy fans could not see that side from Hines last season because of his lack of usage in the passing game. Again, this was a result of the inconsistencies in the Colts’ passing game. But Reich has bigger plans for Hines this 2022 season. In an article on CBSSports.com by Jordan Dajani, Coach Reich shares his thoughts about Hines for this upcoming season:
“I was just laughing with (senior director of football communications Matt) Conti coming in here, talking about Nyheim, and I said, ‘If I was a fantasy owner, if I was going to be in a fantasy league, I think I’d pick Nyheim this year. I think I’d consider drafting Nyheim. I think it’s worth [it] to consider drafting him.’”
Fantasy owners should take Reich’s advice regarding this, especially those in PPR formats. And here’s just a slight reminder of what Hines can do as a receiver.
I expect him to be involved in a lot of slot receiver type roles and third-down backfield sets this season – being that reliable target for Matty Ice in the passing game.
Michael Pittman Jr.
Michael Pittman Jr. is entering his third season in the NFL as the Colts’ primary option at WR. Pittman and Ryan are building great chemistry together on the practice. With Ryan’s veteran leadership and experience, he points out many factors and minor details that can improve Pittman’s overall performance. They’ve constantly built that chemistry in all aspects of training camp, whether in team period or 1-on-1s – Ryan and Pittman are locked in. This year, Pittman is trending towards a breakout season, with Ryan commanding the offense. According to Zak Keefer from The Athletic, Pittman looked real unstoppable in the recent Colts-Lions joint practice sessions and is poised to build off of his 1,000-yard performance from last season.
Another receiver looking to make his mark in the NFL is Cincinnati Bearcats rookie Alec Pierce. Pierce’s 6’3” frame presented many problems for his opponents in college, especially in the red zone area. Pierce is notorious for “mossing” players in the end zone – using his aggressiveness, frame, and vertical ability to win the ball at the highest point. He displayed his abilities in the Colts-Lions joint practice by dominating the defender in the endzone.
Pierce is very quick with his releases at the line of scrimmage. With the new coaching addition of Reggie Wayne, Pierce has learned a lot about the subtle nuances of playing the receiver position. He is quickly learning how to use his skills at the NFL level. Look for Pierce to become an immediate threat in the Colts’ passing game, especially when it comes to jump ball in the endzone. Alec Pierce’s ADP is currently at 172. A fantasy sleeper at the WR position.
Parris Campbell and Ashton Dulin
Forgotten receivers like Campbell and Dulin are also making an impact in the passing game, primarily as deep threats. Campbell has not been able to put together a healthy season in the NFL since he got drafted in 2019. Campbell is known for his speed and explosiveness on the field. He can threaten any secondary in the NFL with his ability to track the deep ball and outrun defensive backs. The only question is can he remain healthy throughout the season – only time will tell.
On the other hand, Dulin is making a name for himself as an explosive threat at the slot position. Dulin fights for the ball in contested catch situations and has reliable hands as a receiver. If he keeps showcasing these skills in camp and throughout the season, he will add to the overall effectiveness of Indy’s passing game. Both Campbell and Dulin could make a case for solid fantasy flexes in 2022, but there are too many weapons in the Colts’ passing game to draft them.
With the retirement of Jack Doyle this offseason, Mo Alie-Cox (6’6” 260lbs) steps in as the Colts TE1 this season. Mo Alie presents a huge target for Matt Ryan in the passing game, especially in the red zone. ‘Big Mo’ is known for making spectacular catches and being a mismatch against smaller defensive backs. For example…
‘Big Mo’ surely be a sleeper at the TE position this upcoming fantasy season! It will be interesting how his connection with Ryan will be this season.
Kylen Granson and Jelani Woods
If that’s not enough, Colts can also deploy double TE sets with a deceptively faster Granson (6’2” 242lbs). A savvy route runner at the TE position – Granson is more of a receiver in a TE’s body. He looks to be featured more on passing downs this season. Colts also drafted Woods (6’7” 253lbs) out of Virginia. Similar to the size and athletic ability of ‘Big Mo’ – Woods can be a threat in the red zone against smaller defensive players that line up against him. However, Woods is still learning the ropes of the NFL and needs to find his groove before making an impact in this game. Woods’ future as a Colt is promising.
There are a lot of gems to be found in the Colts’ offense this season. The addition of Ryan elevates this Colts offense – giving players like Pittman, Hines, and Taylor an uptick in fantasy value. It’s also evident that this Colts team has a lot of potential for breakout performers like rookie Pierce, ‘Big Mo,’ Campbell, and Dulin. Ryan is the big winner as he gets to spread the wealth amongst his new weapons and create something special with this Colts offense. Whether you are a ‘seasoned vet’ or a ‘newbie’ in fantasy football, these Indianapolis Colts players are worth snagging in your upcoming drafts!
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