Punch Drunk Wonderland

Breaking Down the Potential Target Split for the 2015 Colts

The Indianapolis Colts seem to have stockpiled offensive threats in the offseason, and many are high on their 2015 potential. The addition of Pro Bowlers Andre Johnson and Frank Gore along with the drafting of rookie speedster Phillip Dorsett seem to be giving quarterback Andrew Luck more than enough tools to get the job done. But, as fantasy owners we want to know how those tools are going to get used and how targets will be divvied up among the stable. Our friends at numberFire.com have taken a look at the potential target split breakdown for the 2015 Colts.

In January, Aaron Rodgers was named the NFL’s MVP for 2014. The only other quarterbacks garnering votes were Tony Romo and Tom Brady. And yet, Andrew Luck threw for more yards and touchdowns than all of them.

This is partly why if we had to give a quarterback the award for Fantasy MVP, in 2014, it would have been Andrew Luck.

Most of us knew it would only be a matter of time, but in his third year of professional ball, Andrew Luck finished as the top quarterback in fantasy football. He did this while expending almost 30% of his targets to the 36-year-old Reggie Wayne and a Hakeem Nicks who, although was only 26-years-old last year, has the injury history of a nursing home. In the running game, Ahmad Bradshaw — another oft-injured former-Giant — and the poor-man’s Ron Dayne in Trent Richardson have both since been let go as well.

As good as Andrew Luck was last year, he has the potential to be even better this year.

In February, the Colts signed CFL star and son of Cris Carter, Duron Carter. In March, they signed one of the best running backs of the past decade in Frank Gore. Literally the next day, they signed a future Hall-of-Famer (hot take alert) in Andre Johnson. Then, to top it all off, last month they surprised everyone and drafted wide receiver Phillip Dorsett in the first round.

Between T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett, Duron Carter, Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, and Frank Gore, Andrew Luck now seems to have a surplus of options to choose from in the passing game. This makes projecting targets and production in this offense incredibly difficult.

Luckily for you, numberFire’s got your back.

The Projections

In 2012, Luck’s rookie season, the Colts threw the ball 628 times, ranking sixth in the league. The next year, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was replaced, and Luck was reunited with Pep Hamilton, Luck’s offensive coordinator at Stanford. That year, the Colts finished 15th in attempts with 582. Then, last year, the Colts finished first in the league with 661 pass attempts.

I took a look at these 1,871 targets and broke down by position where those targets went.

WR RB TE Other
2012 72% 8% 19% 0%
2013 61% 16% 19% 4%
2014 57% 17% 25% 0%

Wide receivers have accounted for more than half of the total targets in every year since Luck was drafted. That number, however, has also decreased every year since Bruce Arians’ departure. Meanwhile, the target share for running backs has more than doubled, while the target share for tight ends remained stagnant in 2013 and then jumped by six percentage points in 2014, despite Dwayne Allen playing in only 14 of those 32 games due to injury. Finally, outside of fullback Stanley Havili’s 21 targets in 2013, Luck rarely ever looked at anyone other than a wide receiver, running back, or tight end.

These numbers are interesting but need to be broken down even further. For fantasy purposes, I’ve divided these numbers down from just “wide receiver” to WR1, WR2, etc., where WR1 represents the wide receiver who accounted for the most targets and WR2 represents the wide receiver who accounted for the second most targets.

WR1 WR2 WR3 WR4 WR5+
2012 32% 20% 15% 4% 2%
2013 24% 11% 10% 7% 9%
2014 20% 18% 11% 8% 0%

In 2012, T.Y. Hilton’s rookie year, Reggie Wayne finished as the WR1 (remember we’re talking only in terms of targets here), Donnie Avery was Indy’s WR2, and Hilton finished as the WR3. In 2013, Hilton finished as the WR1, Darrius Heyward-Bey finished as the WR2, and Reggie Wayne (who only played in 7 games due to injury) finished as the WR3. Last year, Hilton finished again as the WR1, Wayne finished as the WR2, Nicks as the WR3, Moncrief as the WR4, and then interestingly enough, there were really no other relevant fantasy wide receivers on the team.

Continue reading at numberFire.com… (@numberfire)


K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...