The NFL was hit with a couple of bombshells yesterday. The biggest one being the retirement of Andrew Luck from the Indianapolis Colts at the age of 29. It was made official today as Luck was put on the reserve / retired list. While there are many questions about why the QB is hanging up his pads, especially considering the timing, there is still football to be played.
The main question for the Colts now, especially for fantasy football players, is, “How does this affect the rest of the Colts’ offensive players?” Let’s take a look at a few of the bigger players who will be impacted by Luck’s retirement with Jacoby Brissett now taking the reigns.
In my opinion, Hilton is one of the players who will be impacted the most by the retirement of Andrew Luck. The speedy receiver had developed a great rapport with Luck since they both entered the league in 2012. Outside of his rookie season, the only year Hilton had less than 60 catches and 1000 yards was in 2017 when Jacoby Brissett had to start the entire season due to Luck’s shoulder injury.
There are a few differences between how the Colts look now compared to the 2017 season. They have a better defense, better offensive line, and likely a better rushing attack. As long as the offensive line can protect Brissett, he should be able to make the reads necessary to get the ball to Hilton more often this season. Hilton runs a lot of deep routes which is why his average yards per catch is always one of the best in the league. However, since Jacoby Brissett does not have the arm and accuracy of Andrew Luck TY Hilton’s numbers are likely to come down from his career averages. I have personally move ty Hilton down in my rankings from WR12 to WR20 in Half-PPR.
One of the positives for Marlon Mack in terms of the luck retirement is that Indianapolis may have to rely on the run game a little more in 2019. That being said, Mack’s production struggled when the Colts were not in the lead. His numbers benefited a lot when the Colts we’re playing from ahead and running down the clock on their opponents.
With Jacoby Brissett as the quarterback for the foreseeable future, I can see defenses stacking the box against the Colts’ running backs and forcing the young QB to beat them with his arm. That could make for some very difficult games for the Colts sophomore running back in 2019. In my rankings I have moved Marlon Mack down from RB12 to RB16.
As the pass-catching RB in the Colts’ offense, Hines may actually have gotten a little bit of a boost for Fantasy purposes. With how often Jacoby Brissett would throw to his dump off option in 2017, Heinz could have more fantasy relevance without Marlon Mack being injured. Hines is currently the RB40 in SkullKing’s consensus rankings.
As far as the TEs go, my initial reaction is that Jacoby Brissett will have a greater impact on Jack Doyle than on Eric Ebron. In 2017 Doyle finished with 80 receptions on over 100 targets, with 690 yards, and 4 TDs. He was the main check down receiver for Brissett in the offense. If Doyle can stay healthy, I can possibly see similar numbers for him in 2019.
In terms of Eric Ebron, he was already in line for a regression in production. His reception to TD ratio was almost 20% which was already close to unsustainable. He was a trusted Target of Andrew Luck in the red zone and I am just not sure how the chemistry between Ebron and Brissett is going to work out in 2019.
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