August 03, 2011
OK, so maybe "elite" is getting tossed around a bit too often lately. (Like on Tuesday, when Mike Martz used the term to describe Roy Williams. That seemed reckless). But the word is entirely appropriate to use as a description of Austin Collie's(notes) performance in 2010, before the injuries.
Collie opened the season with six touchdowns over the first six weeks for Indianapolis, catching 44 passes on 54 targets, averaging 83.8 yards per game. At that point, with the Colts headed into their bye, the second-year receiver had caught 11 TD passes over his previous 14 NFL games, playoffs included. He was a machine. We all agreed. Collie was an elite fantasy asset, a high-volume receiver in a high-yield offense. And he was producing while Clark, Addai, Garcon and Wayne were all active, just for the record. It's not like his early performance was some injury-related accident, where the depth chart simply coughed up his name. No, with the Colts' offense at full strength, Collie was a monster.
But then there was the thumb injury. And then a wicked helmet-to-helmet hit in a November loss to Philly, resulting in a concussion. And then, in December, a forearm from Jaguars' linebacker Daryl Smith(notes) ended his season.
For the year, Collie actually finished as the No. 5 per-game fantasy scorer at his position (12.5 PPG), not that anyone noticed. He's returned to action at Colts camp, unrestricted, full of sunshine. The image above is from Tuesday's practice. Early fantasy drafters are letting Collie fall outside the top-25 wide receivers, where he could be a filthy steal. (Yahoo! ADP 71.7, MDC 63.2). I won't try to convince you that he doesn't present elevated injury risk -- multiple concussion history, makes his living over the middle -- but there's serious potential here, too.
In our next round of position ranks (ETA Thursday), I'll have Collie slotted well ahead of his current average draft position. Don't bury the guy on your cheat sheet. There's every-week TD upside here.
Photo via US Presswire