- Fantasy owners should proceed with extreme caution when considering the Colts' Andrew Luck as their starting quarterback.
Frankie “Fantasy” Taddeo: Taddeo is the 2017 and 2018 PlayFFWC.com Top 100 Players in the World Invitational champion.
Quarterback is easily the deepest position in fantasy football. When creating my big board after the NFL draft, I had reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes as the clear-cut top option. My top five rounded out with Deshaun Watson, Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers and Baker Mayfield. Since that time, Luck has seen the biggest ADP movement in fantasy. Luck, who has a history of shoulder and neck injuries, now has a lower leg injury that the Colts have not been totally forthright about. After only taking part in three practices since April, we were told the talented quarterback was diagnosed with a calf injury. As the summer progressed, the team released the fact that Luck was suffering from a high ankle sprain. Just what exactly is he dealing with? When organizations play the “misdirection game” with the injury report, all fantasy owners should proceed with extreme caution.
After missing all of the 2017 season, Luck returned to the gridiron and shined running Frank Reich’s offense for the first time, with 39 touchdowns and a top-five finish at his position in 2018. When he has been able to stay healthy, Luck has averaged the most passing yards per game (306) in the league and accounted for 130 total touchdowns over a 54-game span dating back to 2014. Reich called more plays involving three- and five-step drops, asking his star QB to get the ball out quicker and to avoid taking hits by holding onto the ball too long. With weapons like dangerous wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (1,270 receiving yards in 2018) on the outside, Luck’s command of Reich’s offense in their first year together brought out the best in former Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron. Ebron finished second among all players with 13 touchdown receptions.
As many of you already know, when Vegas speaks, all fantasy owners should listen. Recently, many sportsbooks around town took the Colts’ opening game with the LA Chargers off the board. That tells us the odds of Luck being under center for Week 1 are in doubt. The boys out in the desert are becoming more convinced every day Luck struggles to move side-to-side in non-contact drills that backup Jacoby Brissett will be the Colts' opening-day starter. Over the past several weeks, I have updated my quarterback rankings with Luck coming in ninth behind Mahomes, Watson, Rodgers, Mayfield, Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, Jared Goff and Jameis Winston. The high-stakes players drafting at the FFWC are taking the same approach. Luck, who many in the fantasy industry had going in rounds 4-6 in the offseason, are now seeing him go in the 10th round and beyond. As of this publication, Luck was seen going off the board as late as the middle of the 12th round (152).
I am not crossing Luck completely off my draft boards, but all owners should demand discounted value and draft him only as your QB2. If you have any plans on investing in Luck, make sure you draft a top quarterback you can depend on. Pairing Luck with perhaps Ryan or Wentz is something I can totally support. In that roster construction, you do not need to depend on Luck, but should he get healthy, getting him at his current ADP could be a steal. However, no fantasy owner should trust a quarterback who missed more than half of the 2015 season and all of 2017. With his documented injury history, the position Vegas has taken, and the knowledge that Luck has only practiced three times over the past five months, creates more than enough red flags. The more prudent approach is to pick among the superabundance of different viable options at the position.
Adam Ronis: Ronis has won six figures playing fantasy football and has hosted fantasy shows on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio since 2010.
Is Andrew Luck a risk? Absolutely. If anyone says he’s not, they’re not paying attention. In fantasy football, there’s some type of risk with almost every player. The key when determining to take on that risk depends on the price and risk tolerance.
If you are a conservative drafter, then it’s easy to avoid Luck. At one point, the Colts quarterback was often the second player off the board at his position. Obviously, the price has gone down. In a Fantasy Football World Championship (FFWC) online draft on Tuesday night, Luck went in the 12th round as the seventh quarterback off the board. Keep in mind, quarterbacks go later than normal in this format, especially compared to home leagues.
The team that took Luck backed him up two rounds later with Ben Roethlisberger. This was smart. If Luck misses time, there wasn’t a big investment, and Roethlisberger is a safe play on a good offense. Even if we adjust and say Luck goes in rounds 8-9 in a league where quarterbacks go earlier, it’s still worth a shot. Go back and look at last season’s drafts and there are a lot of picks in those rounds that don’t work out.
Taking Luck there allows you to take another quarterback a few rounds later. With the depth at the position, landing a Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston, Kirk Cousins or Mitchell Trubisky is likely.
While it’s looking likely that Luck could be out Week 1, there’s a chance he could be ready soon after the opener. Before the Colts’ preseason game in Week 2, Luck was shown warming up and he was moving well. This doesn’t mean much, but it was a good sign. There were no signs of him favoring anything. Why would the Colts put him out there in front of the cameras if they had major concerns?
Of course, the Colts haven’t told us much about the injury. It’s being described as a calf/ankle issue. Luck has a great offensive line and was sacked only 18 times last season. He passed for 4,593 yards and threw 39 touchdowns, second to Patrick Mahomes. The Colts added Devin Funchess, drafted Parris Campbell and have two good tight ends with Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron to go along with T.Y. Hilton. He can finish as a top-five QB again.
To be clear, I am not saying Luck is a target. It depends on the price, but that price keeps dropping. The current ADP of Luck in the FFWC is 121, which is the first pick of Round 11 in 12-team leagues. It’s not a big investment and there’s so much depth at quarterback, another good one can be selected in the next few rounds. It’s about opportunity cost and the price to acquire Luck is cheap. We aren’t talking about making the core of your team in the first seven rounds. Even if he misses a lot of time, it won’t cripple your season. Take the shot if he is late in the 10th round of your fantasy football draft!
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