Here’s an analysis of my IDP Fantasy outlook for the 2021 Indianapolis Colts and who you should have on your dynasty team. The Colts have traditionally been a powerhouse on offense, but their defense is improving every year. The IDP scoring is referring to IDP123 scoring.
2020 Recap on the Colts Defense
The 2020 Colts defense helped the team make it to the playoffs, although they did not last long. Nonetheless, the season highlighted the potential and vast improvement of the defense. The Colts ranked tenth (22.63 PPG) in points per game allowed, eighth (332.13 YPG) in passing yards allowed, and second (90.5 YPG) in rushing allowed. The Colts were dominant in stopping the run and preventing teams from scoring big. They ranked in the top half of the league in takeaways and passing touchdowns. The Colts were led by dominant IDP players Darius Leonard, Justin Houston, DeForest Buckner, and surprise standout Kenny Moore. Indianapolis Colts had great health last year from their defense as well.
The Colts did have weaknesses too. Their pass-rushing was poor except for Houston who is currently a free agent. They lost their defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon to the Eagles as well as starting linebacker Anthony Walker to the Browns.
Defensive Line/Edge Rushers
The Colt’s Defensive Line is set up to be a force again with a couple of contingencies. First, Houston is still a free agent and they have yet to truly replace him. There is always the chance he comes back but his eight sacks will be missed if no one replaces him. The Colts did draft two edge rushers with their first two picks in the 2021 NFL draft, Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo. The Colts only had 40 sacks last season, twentieth in the league.
DeForest Buckner is their centerpiece on the line after they gave him a huge contract. They acquired him from the 49ers after they deemed him to be expendable after the 2019 season. He did not disappoint as he led the Colts in sacks, tackles for loss, and QB hits. He plays Defensive Tackle (DT) and while his tackles were a career-low, he impacted the Line of Scrimmage (LOS) plenty.
His 37 solo tackles were second-most at the DT position and there is plenty of reason to believe he will improve on that. He had 40+ solo tackles his first three seasons in the league. His combined tackles (58) might have been a career-low, yet that is only his career-low by two tackles. So long as he is healthy, he will be his usual top DL self.
In my personal belief, Buckner was a top-5 DL in IDP scoring. He will continue to be so this year as well. He ranked second on the Colts in IDP scoring as well. I would be shocked if he is not top-3 on the Colts, so long as this next gentleman can get to the QB enough to keep the offensive line’s attention. I would treat him as a high-end DL1.
Paye has an amazing story on his journey to the NFL (worth a read). He was drafted in the first round, the twenty-first overall pick of the NFL 2021 Draft. He is expected to step into the vacated starting spot left by Justin Houston. Paye displayed his talent at Michigan on their defense. In the shortened 2020 season, he garnered over 25 pressures on the QB. This should make you excited as if he can routinely get to the QB, that makes Buckner’s life so much easier. That means more IDP points for everyone!
Paye also exhibited elite skills at his pro day where he ran a 4.57 40 yd dash at 261 pounds. He is speeding semi-truck on the field. He also muscled up 36 bench press reps. Paye is a strong, exploding, and technically sound technician on the field as a press rusher. Our Jordan Rains ranked Kwity Paye as his sixth-best rookie IDP player in his rankings. He should be high ranking after this season in IDP scoring. If I am playing IDP, I want Paye on my team, especially if you’re playing dynasty, which if you are not, you really should. I would draft him as a late first/early second in rookie drafts. That’s how I value him in trades too (Hint: Do not trade him). Paye has unlimited potential and should be giving QB’s nightmares very soon.
This is easily the Colts’ best position group on their defense. It’s led by the two-time ALL-PRO Darius Leonard and returns their main players minus Anthony Walker who left for the Browns.
Leonard is the star of the defense. He is an IDP darling. If you have him, you are not trading him unless you get a “blow your socks off” offer. He has 416 tackles, 7 INTs, and 15 sacks in his three years in the league. He led the Colts in forced fumbles (3), fumble recoveries (2), combined tackles (132), and solo tackles (86). He had 18 more tackles than the next closest player. Leonard is the leader and Quarterback of the defense. We are seeing a generational type of talent at the linebacker position right now.
While he did miss time last year due to an injury, he still finished third in the NFL in IDP scoring per game. Leonard attacks whoever has the ball, and he does not stop until they are on the ground. He puts up stats consistently. He is easily my dynasty LB1 and quite possibly IDP overall #1 player for me. If you find someone who is tempted to sell him because he has missed a few games last two seasons with injuries, BUY HIM. In fact, I just took him in the third round in an IDP Mixed league. That’s how high I am on him. The Colts will not let him get away from them after this season. He is perfect for them and for your fantasy team.
This guy not only has the most enjoyable name to say, but he is also very talented at football. If you have yet to watch Pat McAfee announce him as the pick, please watch now. He will be replacing Walker as the MIKE linebacker. This gives a huge opportunity to blow up this year. Okereke is a sleeper, but one who is about to become wide awake once this season starts. Bobby O was a rookie last year and started eight games. Okereke had 72 combined tackles, the fifth-most on the team. That is a great starting point for only starting eight games.
This year, he should start all 17, barring injury. Okereke needs to prove that he is as talented as he seems to be. This is his chance to do so. He will, at least in my opinion. “Okur” is talented in pass coverage and able to tackle well. Bobby is also young, so he has yet to enter his prime.
Okereke is perfect for your dynasty team as he is going to be on the field often, is young, and cheap. He is going mid-rounds in an IDP-mixed start-up draft. Bobby could easily outperform his cost with how much playing time he will have. This is only his second year in the league, but he is a valuable player to build your dynasty team with and around. I predict him to be the third-highest scoring IDP player on the Colts.
The Colts have a defensive back group that has traditionally struggled. However, after last year, they are on the up and coming. Stand-out performances by Moore and Khari Willis, and the return of near-prime Xavier Rhodes boosted this group into one of the stronger pass defenses. Rock Ya-Sin needs a rebound performance but has the pedigree to do so.
It might have taken Kenny Moore four seasons to break out, but man, did he break out last year. He had career highs in INTs (4, most on team), pass deflections (13, most on team), and tackles (80 combos, 68 solos). He’s a rare blitzer (31 blitzes, 2 sacks last year) from the CB position which will allow him to continue racking up points in IDP, tackles, and even a few QB sacks. Kenny Moore ranked eighth in total points and twelfth in PPG. Those are fantastic numbers for a guy many of you probably got off the waivers or in the last few rounds of a start-up draft. Those pass deflections are huge in IDP scoring which bode well for him to keep scoring high.
Moore is just now entering his prime it seems as he is 25 and signed to a long-term deal with the Colts. He is one of the few CBs who you should target for your DB position in IDP. Moore is a top-10 DB to have this year and for dynasty. Yet don’t just take my word for it, take one of our resident IDP expert’s words, Jordan Rains, where he profiles Moore as one of the top-10 DBs in dynasty to have. Get Moore in the mid-later rounds of a start-up IDP draft this year. If someone is selling him for a third-round rookie pick, I would gladly scoop up Kenny.
Now for one of my personal favorites, Willis. This safety is a hard-hitting, fast, tackling machine. Willis had 85 combined tackles, 65 solo tackles, two INTs, six pass deflections, and two sacks. He was not spectacular in any one specific area. Yet he was good in all of them. At least for the DB category. He dramatically improved his pass coverage by decreasing his completion % allowed from 83 to 59 over one year. This is his third year in the league, and he just turned 25. He should be entering his prime with a defense that should be one of the top ones in the NFL. Khari can fly around the field towards the ball or get up in the tackle box and rush the passer/runner.
Khari ranked eighth in IDP scoring on a PPG basis and twenty-second in overall scoring. That can be attributed to him missing a few games due to injury. He is legit and you need to draft him in the middle rounds of an IDP-mixed draft. He’s a talented DB that you can build your DBs around. The Colts sure think so. Dynasty Nerds has him #15 in the DB rankings. That’s right around where I would take him in the range of DB #12-15.
Sleepers on the Colts for IDP
The Colts are filled with sleepers that could pop this year, or in the case of one, pop in a year.
Odeyingbo was drafted in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft by the Colts. He is an extremely talented pass rusher who could help the Colts tremendously this year if he were able to play. Unfortunately, during a pre-draft workout, he tore his Achilles. If you have IR or taxi spots, I’d grab him and stash him there or in your taxi. He might’ve gone first round if not for the injury and you can get him deeply discounted at the very end of drafts. Do it and see the rewards for your patience in a year or so.
Franklin is projected to be the third linebacker on the field, replacing Bobby Okereke’s spot after Anthony Walker left. He has not done much on the field yet, but he also has never had as much opportunity as he does now to succeed. Walker leaves 92 combined tackles that need to be replaced. Yes, Okereke will take some. But Franklin should take the majority. He has the explosiveness, fluidity, and mentality to succeed now that his time has come. He will not win you weeks, but he should be a capable flex or bye-week cover in IDP.
Franklin is widely beloved on the team as he was elected a team captain last year, despite being a backup. He is beloved by fans as well for his charitable work and interaction with them. Zaire can be had in one of the last rounds of an IDP-mix draft, if not on waivers after the draft. Do not wait for training camp when the coaches start singing his praise.
The Indianapolis Colts have plenty of players you should look for in your upcoming IDP draft. It is filled with established guys such as Leonard or Buckner, up-and-coming guys like Willis, Moore, and Okereke, and an exciting rookie in Paye. I would focus on getting at least one of these guys on all my IDP teams. These guys will all do good in IDP scoring this year. This defense is young, hungry, and ready to compete at an elite level. Grab a piece of this team before they become expensive.
As always, thank you for reading this article and my opinions about the Colts IDP fantasy outlook. Follow me on Twitter @DarthDbacks and I’m always happy to talk sports, life, fantasy advice, or Star Wars with you!
May the Force Be with You…
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