Andrew Luck had a big year for the Indianapolis Colts as a rookie quarterback in the NFL, throwing for 4,374 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. Despite the mistakes and his shortcomings as a youngster, Luck helped lead the Colts into the playoffs where they eventually lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the wildcard round.
We all know how good Andrew Luck is supposed to be, but how good can he be for the Colts in 2013? Will he hit the sophomore slump? Will the loss of Bruce Arians hurt more than people think?
While I don’t think it’s necessarily the greatest thing that Luck is having to change offenses in 2013, new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has to find a way to make the offense flow through Luck, to minimize his mistakes and maximize his limitless skill set.
The West Coast offense should be very favorable to Luck and the Colts, especially with some of the dynamic playmakers they’ve added to this team. The protection should be better as well, with the Colts having spent some money in free agency on Gosder Cherilus, formerly of the Detroit Lions. Here are my projections for Luck this year in fantasy football:
4,400 passing yards, 28 TDs, 15 INTs; 300 rushing yards, 3 TDs
I think Luck is due for a pretty big breakout year. The Colts have a really underrated group of targets, and Luck is the catalyst that will make this offense go. Right now, he’s projected by most to be a lower-tier QB1 in most fantasy leagues, and I would mostly agree with that. There are some stellar QBs in fantasy football this year, led by guys like Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and even fellow classmate in 2012 Russell Wilson. Still, I think Luck is getting overlooked a bit more than he should be. He is a very smart player who made a ton of progress as the season wore on in 2013, and he showed that not only is he able to grow over the course of the season, he has the ability to lead his team from behind.
While his 2013 stats weren’t great for fantasy, I think if you snagged Luck in your dynasty league last year you are going to be set for a long time. In a normal league, you should be able to get Luck in the middle-later rounds depending on how favorable your league is for quarterbacks, and I think he would be a great option as a weekly starter in 2013.
We will dig a bit further into the targets Luck has at his disposal later in this series, but even having lost Donnie Avery, I love the addition of Darrius Heyward-Bey at the WR position. He might drop some passes, but I think he can offer the Colts something similar to what Pierre Garcon used to offer them. It will be really interesting to see how the former top 10 pick performs with a QB like Luck throwing him the football.
Reggie Wayne is a stalwart, and the best playmaker on the team still, but the Colts also have a dynamic young receiver in 2012 third round pick T.Y. Hilton. Hilton is ready for a breakout season, and Luck got him the ball quite a bit last year. With Donnie Avery’s 124 targets having to be replaced, Hilton is a guy that Luck could build an even stronger bond with in 2013.
I also love Luck’s options at TE with Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener, who can be big time red zone options. Luck also has a security blanket in Ahmad Bradshaw, who was recently brought on and could wind up as the team’s starting tailback over Vick Ballard. If Bradshaw stays healthy, he brings Super Bowl experience and is a solid receiver out of the backfield as well. Having a potential thousand yard back behind him makes Luck an even more appealing fantasy option.
Luck is a sure-fire top 10 fantasy quarterback this season in my eyes. He has tremendous talent, and his progression over the course of last season was astonishing to me. Watching the Colts come from behind in games they had no business doing so is a testament to the mental toughness of this player, who can hurt you in so many ways. With a more fast-paced offense in 2013, Luck has the potential to hit 30 passing touchdowns, and you can’t forget about his ability to make plays with his legs. This is a great athlete who could rise to the top five of next year’s QB rankings for fantasy football.