So, the Colts are planning on running a lot of 3 and 4 wide receiver sets. That is pretty much a spread offense, which will allow Frank Gore to take advantage of the lightest boxes he’s lined up against in years. The back-breaker? The moment Andrew Luck uses his legs, when everything appears to be covered, by eluding a sack to pick up a first down and then some. The addition of Andre Johnson is an upgrade for T.Y. Hilton to be paired with. Remember, both of those targets have gone over the 200-yard mark in a single game. This shift in game plan became evident when Indianapolis used their first round pick on Phillip Dorsett. Gore, Johnson, and Dorsett all went to the University of Miami, by the way.
The other notable wide outs are Donte Moncrief and Duron Carter, son of Hall of Famer, Cris Carter. Please do not forget the tandem that caught 8 scores each a season ago, the first tight end teammates to accomplish that in NFL history, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener. What a great decision it was to bring Luck and Fleener’s coach at Stanford, Pep Hamilton, to be the offensive coordinator in Indy. Just like you can draft a defense in fantasy football, the Colts make me wish that I can draft their entire offense.
No wonder the Bolts are talking up tight end Ladarius Green. He started to show some flashes in 2013, before being hampered by minor injuries in 2014, but good thing Antonio Gates had a bounce-back season. Well, with Gates suspended for the first month of action, San Diego has no choice but to give Green all of the snaps now. How do the future Hall of Famer and this 4th-year prospect’s features compare?
Gates: 6’4 260 lbs. with a 4.5 40-yard dash and 39-inch vertical leap.
Green: 6’6 238 lbs. with a 4.53 40-yard dash and 34.5 vertical leap.
These days, Gates is running or jumping at those numbers anymore, so their abilities may be closer than we would assume. Green has been in the film room and position group learning from Gates since day 1, now he gets the opportunity to take the baton. I can see some fantasy football players drafting this duo and letting the picture unfold, just beware if Green starts strong, they may very well wind up splitting the targets.
Regardless of the outcome, Tom Brady is going to miss action at the beginning of the season. I don’t think anyone would rank their receiving corps very high, and the backfield is one of the worst in the league on paper. That offensive line was off to a humiliating start last season too, highlighted by that prime time embarrassment against the Chiefs. Obviously, they turned things around for the Super Bowl.
These are all examples as to why Brady is a future Hall of Famer, he’s done more with less of a supporting cast throughout his career. This could very well be the season that it all catches up with the Patriots, mainly from Brady’s suspension. If he were to miss 4 games, well, just look at how all the division rivals have improved. You can say that the Bills and Jets still have question marks under center, which is very true, but all three have improved at the skill positions and are projected to have top-10 defenses.
Nobody is ranting and raving about 2nd year quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, nor should they be since they haven’t put on the pads yet. I did read that he threw a lot of picks early in camp. Taking everything into consideration, the reigning champions will be led on opening day by a first-time starter. Their opponents to start out the 2015 season:
- vs Pittsburgh
- at Buffalo
- vs Jacksonville
- at Dallas
Would I even give them the benefit of the doubt to beat the Jaguars? No, I would not. I mean, New England lost both starting corners in Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, nose tackle Vince Wilfork, and Brady won’t be on the field. At best, I see the Pats going 1-3, unless the suspension were to get reduced.
For fantasy football purposes, of course you draft Rob Gronkowski, but you better believe that he’s going to be double and triple-teamed during Brady’s absence.