Team Preview: Indianapolis Colts

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Since Peyton Manning became the quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, this team has become a fantasy gold mine.

Manning has consistently been either the number one, or number two rated fantasy QB and his offensive counterparts have also vaulted to the fantasy elite.

The skill positions are extremely strong fantasy options and are all ranked in the top ten at their respective positions. Pay attention to these players because 2008 will be another great year for the Colts.

Quarterback

Peyton Manning
2007 stats: 4,040 yds, 31 TD, 14 INT, 3 rushing TD

What is there really left to say about Manning?

He's thrown for over 4,000 yds in eight out of his ten years in the league, and delivers at least 26 TD per season.

However, Mr. Consistent is going to face a new challenge this season after having surgery on his left knee. Coach Tony Dungy is confident Manning will be ready to roll opening day and the injury shouldn't really slow down a guy that hasn't missed a game since entering the NFL.

He will be the second quarterback drafted behind Tom Brady and will not last past the second round.


Running Back
Joseph Addai
2007 stats: 1,072 yds rushing, 12 TD, 364 yds receiving, 3 TD

Truth be told, I'm a huge fan of Joseph Addai.

He's the perfect back for the Colts because of his ability to employ both a North-South and East-West running style to rack up big yards for this offense. Addai is also adept at catching balls out of the backfield, making him the dual threat fantasy owners drool over.

Without question he's a worthy of a first round selection.

Kenton Keith
2007 stats: 533 yds rushing, 3 TD

Addai's backup found a way to carve a small niche for himself last year. Keith had some very nice performances and would be a great pickup if Addai goes down with an injury or if you prefer to handcuff your starting running backs on draft day.

Also, the Colts selected running back Mike Hart out of the University of Michigan in this year's draft. He's in no way a valid fantasy draft selection, but keep an eye out for his progress through camp and the preseason.

Wide Receiver
Marvin Harrison
2007 stats: 20 receptions, 247 yds receiving, 1 TD

Reggie Wayne
2007 stats: 104 receptions, 1,510 yds receiving, 10 TD

Anthony Gonzalez

2007 stats: 37 receptions, 576 yds receiving, 3 TD

While Marvin Harrison's name is etched all over the NFL record books, it's Reggie Wayne that has ascended to the number one status in the Indianapolis receiving corps.

Wayne led the NFL in receiving and finished ninth in total TD. He's big, tall and fast, always capable of making a gamebreaking play for the Colts. Manning depended on Wayne in a big way when Harrison when down with an injury last season and things shouldn't change too much this season.

There are a lot of question marks surrounding Harrison this year. For the first time in his career he's battling back from an injury that kept him on the sidelines for all but five games last season. Not to mention a very serious off the field issue that involved a shooting that he may or may not have played a role in.

Despite these issues, Harrison is reportedly looking good in camp and is very determined to put last season behind him. Even when Harrison was healthy and Wayne was on the field, Manning still found a way to spread the ball around enough to make both extremely solid fantasy options.

If given the choice, select Wayne ahead of Harrison. But don't fret if Harrison falls into your lap because there is no doubt he could vault back into the fantasy elite as long he remains healthy.

Gonzalez is the interesting option on this Colts team. He filled in nicely for Harrison and put himself on the fantasy map with a 134 yd, 2 TD performance against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14. He's not a bad fourth WR option for your fantasy squad and if either Wayne or Harrison go down with an injury, Gonzalez could quickly become apart of your starting lineup.


Tight End
Dallas Clark
2007 stats: 58 receptions, 616 yds receiving, 11 TD

Won't spend too much time talking about Dallas Clark because his stats simply speak louder than words.

He finished seventh in the NFL with 11 TD, as well as the seventh ranked tight end overall. Manning trusts him to make the big plays in the clutch and consistently finds the soft spots when opposing defenses go to zone in an effort to slow down the Colts QB.

Defense
2007 stats: 28 sacks, 22 INT, 2 TD, 28.1 ppg

Statistically this defense finished ranked third in the league overall despite missing DE Dwight Freeney the last seven weeks of the season.

Freeney never looked himself in 2007, finishing with only 3.5 sacks in the games he played. Having a healthy Freeney and S Bob Sanders is crucial to this defense and both look to be ready to go on opening day.

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Matt Wood is a web editor for suntimes.com and editor of CenterstageChicago.com. He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Olsen published on July 23, 2008 12:13 PM.

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