14th in a series.
What direction does the team go with QB Peyton Manning: keep him or release him?
Everything looks as if it's heading toward Manning being released. The $28 million bonus he's owed appears to be too high a price to risk on a player recovering from a severe neck injury. He has been medically cleared by one report, but all indications are that he's ready to move to the next phase of his rehab. He's now working on getting 100 percent healthy, which includes throwing effectively and at an NFL level. His family expects him to play and state he has the desire to play. Dynasty league owners should hold on to him until this plays out. Manning's value won't be known until he signs with a team, if he doesn't remain a Colt. Look for owners to start picking him off in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts. Until we see him in preseason action no one will know his real value.
The Colts have the No. 1 pick and should take Andrew Luck, leaving this team a huge question mark at all the skill positions. Entering the 2012 season, don't project Luck to post Cam Newton-like numbers. Look for his stats to compare more toward Andy Dalton at best.
Do the Colts try to upgrade their RB corps or re-sign Joseph Addai?
The team is rebuilding and Addai has a price tag not worthy of the numbers he has posted. He missed two games and was active for two more but did not play. He ended with an average of 9.8 attempts for 36.1 yards and 0.08 TDs in 14 games, with 1.2 catches for 7.75 yards and no TDs. He was outplayed by Donald Brown in some games and scored only one TD. Unless he lands on a high-octane offense, we've possibly seen the best of Addai. If he returns to the Colts. you're looking at a late-round pick, as it is likely to be a committee approach.
Brown, considered a disappointment, did not explode in 2011, but showed he has talent and maybe he just needs an opportunity. After not playing in the first four games of the season, Brown was solid in the final 12 games, as he averaged 11.2 attempts for 53.8 yards and 0.42 TDs. He disappointed as a receiver with an average of 1.3 catches for 7.2 yards and no TDs. He'll be part of a committee but the team could bring someone in to compete or start. Brown has never been asked to carry the load and the team also has Delone Carter (101-377-2) to share carries.
Nothing is set, but with Carter's role better suited as a short-yardage specialist and Brown not a proven starter, fantasy owners would like to see someone brought in. Right now, there are no answers until we see how free agency and training camp play out.
Does the team jettison WR Reggie Wayne and look to rebuild with what it has?
Wayne is a free agent, the team is in rebuilding mode and, at times last season, some believe he wasn't giving it 100 percent. He said he can still play with the Colts whether they're rebuilding or not but he's not likely to be re-signed and will wind up elsewhere. Until he signs somewhere, Wayne's value is unknown, especially ending the season with an average of 4.7 catches for 60 yards and 0.25 TDs on 8.2 targets in 16 games. The big drop-off in stats had to do with inconsistent quarterback play, but the 33-year-old has lost a step.
Pierre Garcon, another free agent, will test the market. Garcon will enter his fifth year as a pro and he might not want to spend the next few years out of the postseason. That's speculation but if he's testing the market, he might not have a great desire to remain in Indianapolis. He ended with an average of 4.4 catches for 59.2 yards and 0.4 TDs on 8.4 targets in 16 games. His value will be tied to the offense he's in but he does have talent and fantasy value. Anthony Gonzalez is also a free agent but he lost all appeal, as he can't stay healthy.
There are real questions with the rest of the receiving corps with Austin Collie (54-514-1 on 97 targets) and his concussion history. Even depth players like Blair White, who ended the campaign on injured reserve with a knee injury, have an unknown future. All this tells fantasy owners is that this position won't see anything in the form of a pecking order until training camp begins. The preseason games are where we'll see the WR corps round into shape.
TE Dallas Clark has taken a beating; can he regain his form?
The problem with Clark is that he turns 33 years old in June, has a big contract and statistically his numbers have been in decline with two consecutive seasons of injuries. He only caught 34-352-2 on 65 targets in ’11 and, with the team rebuilding, likely will move on. He will have value if he signs elsewhere but he's no longer an elite tight end based on his last two injury-shortened seasons.
- Peyton Manning
- Donald Brown