2014 Outlook: Looking for return on investment? Luck could be your guy. He placed fourth in quarterback fantasy points last season (279) despite losing WR Reggie Wayne for nine games. The free agent addition of Hakeem Nicks, the emergence of T.Y. Hilton, the development of promising second-year receiver Da'Rick Rogers and the 1-2 tight end punch of Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener reflect the Colts' commitment to surrounding Luck with targets. Combine those receivers with a highly favorable schedule -- three games against teams that finished in the bottom five in fantasy ppg allowed -- and that should help Luck once again contend for a top-five QB finish.
2014 Outlook: Oy. Last season T-Rich cratered harder than The Lone Ranger at the box office. After finishing his rookie season as fantasy's No. 11 running back, Richardson wound up being traded to Indianapolis, where he averaged an atrocious 2.9 yards per carry and lost work to Donald Brown (yes, that Donald Brown). But his skills didn't just vanish. He's still big, he still has some wiggle and he still can catch. With Brown gone and only a combination of Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw in his way, Richardson has a chance to erase his miserable 2013 in a Pep Hamilton offense begging to emphasize the run game.
2014 Outlook: Here's a fun fact: Hilton had only two games with more than 15 fantasy points last season. Two! Granted, he was absolutely breathtaking in those two games, shredding Seattle and Houston for 12 catches, 261 yards, 5 TDs and 56 fantasy points. The problem? He had only 76 points in the other 14 games combined. So which Hilton will show up this season? More than likely, he will probably be a mixed bag again. That's just the reality for a receiver who's so dependent on big plays to put up double-digit fantasy points.
2014 Outlook: Before last season, Wayne hadn't missed a game since his rookie year ' in 2001. That trend continued through Week 7, and he put up decent numbers -- 38 catches for 503 yards and 2 TDs. But a torn ACL cost Wayne the rest of his season and will likely rob him of some of his remaining explosiveness. That, combined with the continued development of T.Y. Hilton, could cap Wayne's fantasy value. But remember: since Andrew Luck arrived in Indy, Wayne has been targeted on 30.6 percent of his routes run, ninth highest in the league.
2014 Outlook: Paydirt was the missing ingredient in Nicks' fantasy season last year. He was the only wide receiver to score more than 50 points without registering at least one receiving touchdown. The Colts don't shy away from throwing in the red zone (74 attempts last season, tied for 13th), so Nicks should be able to end his scoring drought. If he does, it won't take much to move him into flex territory; a mere 4 TDs last year would have placed him 32nd in WR fantasy points.
2014 Outlook: It's an understatement to say the microscope will be focused on Trent Richardson this season. In fact, if the Colts hadn't given up a first-round pick for him, the job might be completely up for grabs. But Richardson's only competition is Bradshaw and Vick Ballard, each of whom is coming off a serious injury. Bradshaw, who's returning from neck surgery, has a long history of foot and ankle problems. When healthy, he's a fine player and an every-down threat. But we fear the healthy ship has sailed for Bradshaw.
2014 Outlook: Vinatieri is proof that age ain't nothing but a number. With 2,006 career points, he is the active scoring leader among all NFL players and fifth all time. And you could argue that last year was his best season -- 139 points despite missing a game. He also was fantasy gold on attempts between 40 and 49 yards, racking up 60 points on those kicks. No other kicker even topped 50. One cause for concern is Vinatieri's lack of PATs, with only 34 makes. The Colts' offense doesn't look like it'll be markedly better, so Vinatieri would have to duplicate near-career-best figures on field goals to get to 139 points again. That's a tall order.
2014 Outlook: Fleener should've been better in 2013. His TE running mate in Indy, Dwayne Allen, suffered a season-ending hip injury in Week 1, and later Reggie Wayne tore his ACL. Yet Fleener topped 77 yards and five receptions in a game exactly once and found the end zone only four times. A fast player for his size, he doesn't make the open-field plays you'd expect and isn't physical at all. With Allen returning, Wayne healthy and Hakeem Nicks aboard, Fleener's slice of Indy's offense probably gets smaller in 2014. Don't trust him as your fantasy starter.
2014 Outlook: For someone who's averaged 31.8 receiving yards in 17 career games, Allen is awfully important to the Colts' attack. It's no coincidence Indy's rushing offense sputtered after Allen suffered a season-ending hip injury in Week 1. A road-grading run blocker, he also has only two career drops on 67 targets. Overall, he's just more consistent than Coby Fleener. Of course, with Fleener as the "move" tight end, you'll continue to see Allen blocking a bunch. But we expect him to be a big red zone weapon, making him somewhat of a boom or bust start.
2014 Outlook: The Indy defense was weird in 2013, looking tremendous in stuffing the 49ers and Chiefs, then getting eviscerated by the Rams and Cardinals. The one constant was OLB Robert Mathis, who led the league with 19' sacks at age 32 but will be suspended for the first four games of 2014. Top corner Vontae Davis and DE Cory Redding also showed some flashes, but really, there wasn't much else to be wowed by, especially in the run game. Indy's 125.1 rushing yards allowed per game ranked 26th. And while the signing of DE Arthur Jones should help in that regard, we're not sold that the run defense is completely fixed.