First of all, let me just say that the illustration above is NOT supposed to look so threatening. I'm not a crazed assailant with an anti-Indianapolis agenda. In fact, I own Austin Collie(notes) in several leagues, so even if I were a crazed assailant — which I'm not — I would pose no threat to him.
The point of the big red Xs is to indicate Colts skill players who are dealing with serious multi-week injuries. Indianapolis has used the bye week to deteriorate, not recuperate. Things are suddenly looking grim, even if the team is 4-2.
These are the big issues:
• TE Dallas Clark(notes) is dealing with a hand/wrist injury that team president Bill Polian described as "rather rare." ESPN's Adam Schefter tweets that Clark's season is over. Brutal news. We're talking about a player who leads all NFL tight ends in receptions, a guy who caught 100 passes last year. His production and versatility can't be adequately replaced by any reserve tight end on the Colts' roster. The team will roll with Jacob Tamme(notes) and Brody Eldridge(notes); fantasy owners in standard leagues don't need to jump on either player. (Note: A few commenters are rather bullish on Tamme, a former fourth rounder. We should all be willing to keep an open mind here, given the stats produced by this offense. Pro Football Weekly suggests that a TEBC approach is on deck, however. That's been my assumption, too).
• WR Austin Collie has undergone surgery on his thumb, and will reportedly miss several games. Here's more Polian: "I don't think it's season-ending. Nobody has said there's any long-term significance to it." There's plenty of short-term significance for the fantasy community, however. Blair White(notes) belongs on the radar again, but the priority pickup here is Anthony Gonzalez(notes). He's been sidelined by an ankle injury, but there's hope Gonzalez will be able to return in Week 8, following the bye. Collie presently ranks second in the NFL in receptions (44), fifth in yards (503) and he's tied for second in receiving touchdowns (6). His absence leaves a pile of stats for someone else.
• RB Joseph Addai(notes) apparently has a "dead" left shoulder at the moment (his words). He can't raise the arm beyond shoulder level. "It's just the nerve," Addai told the Indianapolis Star. "That's the biggest thing, that and getting the strength back. It could come back any time between now and four or five weeks." It's safe to assume that Addai will miss time with the injury — NFL Network's Jason La Canfora suggests it could be "several weeks." Donald Brown(notes) has been dealing with a hamstring injury, but he's expected to return following the bye, just like Gonzalez. Brown needs to be owned in any format right now. Mike Hart(notes) is a reasonable add, too.
So the Colts will need to find a way to replace three players who've combined for 99 receptions, 1,374 scrimmage yards, and 12 TDs this season. That's all. No big deal.
Again, you're adding Gonzalez (8 percent owned), you're adding Brown (25 percent), and you're taking a long look at both White (1 percent) and Hart (6 percent). Act now, while the team is on a bye. The bidding will intensify next week.
Photo via US Presswire, altered terribly by Roto Arcade