The Indianapolis Colts enter the 2023 season as one of the most intriguing offenses in Fantasy Football after making the decision to draft quarterback Anthony Richardson in the first round. If and when Richardson wins the starting job, everything changes for the Colts offense. The expectation is that coach Shane Steichen will bring over concepts he learned running the Eagles offense with Jalen Hurts, and that could mean a massive Fantasy Football opportunity for Richardson as a rookie. But how will Steichen's offense impact Michael Pittman, Alec Pierce and Jonathan Taylor?
Below the CBS Sports Fantasy staff will take a look into the Colts' entire team outlook, including a burning question for Fantasy Football managers that needs to be answered, key player projections, a review of their draft class, strength of schedule, and individual player outlooks for notable Colts players who may end up on your Fantasy rosters.
Fantasy Football Today Newsletter
Know What Your Friends Don't
Get tips, advice and news to win your league - all from the FFT podcast team.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Colts 2023 team outlook
By Chris Towers
The Colts are hoping the game of QB musical chairs they've been playing since Andrew Luck's retirement is over with the decision to draft Anthony Richardson. This team made the playoffs with Philip Rivers three years ago and was a Carson Wentz collapse away from doing it again in 2021. If Richardson is even decent, this should be a very competitive team.
Burning question: How good can Richardson be?
The rushing production should make Richardson a viable starting Fantasy option right away, but the impact he has on the rest of the offense will be tied to how good he can be as a passer. Richardson has all the physical tools, including a rocket arm, but accuracy was an issue at times in college. Colts receivers are used to that, of course, but if Michael Pittman is going to live up to his potential, he'll need Richardson to be at least passable, especially in what should be a low-volume passing offense.
Colts player projections
|QB||Anthony Richardson||PA: 450, YD: 3100, TD: 18, INT: 12; RUSH -- ATT: 133, YD: 729, TD: 4|
|RB||Jonathan Taylor||CAR: 318, YD: 1527, TD: 13; TAR: 50, REC: 38, YD: 302, TD: 2|
|RB||Zack Moss||CAR: 80, YD: 318, TD: 3; TAR: 15, REC: 12, YD: 97, TD: 1|
|WR||Michael Pittman||TAR: 131, REC: 85, YD: 936, TD: 6|
|WR||Alec Pierce||TAR: 81, REC: 44, YD: 620, TD: 3|
|WR||Isaiah McKenzie||TAR: 66, REC: 45, YD: 445, TD: 3|
|TE||Jelani Woods||TAR: 40, REC: 26, YD: 319, TD: 2|
|TE||Mo Alie-Cox||TAR: 45, REC: 33, YD: 402, TD: 2|
2023 NFL Draft class
1. (4) Anthony Richardson, QB
2. (44) Julius Brents, DB
3. (79) Josh Downs, WR
4. (106) Blake Freeland, OL
4. (110) Adetomiwa Adebawore, DL
5. (138) Darius Rush, DB
5. (158) Daniel Scott, SAF
5. (162) Will Mallory, TE
5. (176) Evan Hull, RB
6. (211) Titus Leo, LB
7. (221) Jaylon Jones, DB
7. (236) Jake Witt, OL
Projected Strength of Schedule rankings by Dave Richard
- QB PSoS: 6h easiest
- RB PSoS: 14th easiest
- WR PSoS: 6th easiest
- TE PSoS: 8th easiest
|1||Sep 10, 2023||vsJacksonville||1:00 pm||FOX||Lucas Oil Stadium|
|2||Sep 17, 2023||@Houston||1:00 pm||FOX||NRG Stadium|
|3||Sep 24, 2023||@Baltimore||1:00 pm||M&T Bank Stadium|
|4||Oct 1, 2023||vsL.A. Rams||1:00 pm||FOX||Lucas Oil Stadium|
|5||Oct 8, 2023||vsTennessee||1:00 pm||Lucas Oil Stadium|
|6||Oct 15, 2023||@Jacksonville||1:00 pm||TIAA Bank Field|
|7||Oct 22, 2023||vsCleveland||1:00 pm||Lucas Oil Stadium|
|8||Oct 29, 2023||vsNew Orleans||1:00 pm||FOX||Lucas Oil Stadium|
|9||Nov 5, 2023||@Carolina||4:05 pm||Bank of America Stadium|
|10||Nov 12, 2023||@New England||9:30 am||NFLN||Deutsche Bank Park|
|12||Nov 26, 2023||vsTampa Bay||1:00 pm||Lucas Oil Stadium|
|13||Dec 3, 2023||@Tennessee||1:00 pm||Nissan Stadium|
|14||Dec 10, 2023||@Cincinnati||1:00 pm||Paycor Stadium|
|15||Dec 17, 2023||vsPittsburgh||TBA||—||Lucas Oil Stadium|
|16||Dec 24, 2023||@Atlanta||1:00 pm||FOX||Mercedes-Benz Stadium|
|17||Dec 31, 2023||vsLas Vegas||1:00 pm||Lucas Oil Stadium|
|18||Jan 7, 2024||vsHouston||TBA||—||Lucas Oil Stadium|
Colts 2023 player outlooks
By Dan Schneier unless otherwise noted
QB Anthony Richardson
Richardson immediately enters the NFL as one of the most intriguing high-upside, if-you're-not-first-you're-last kind of draft picks.
The same people who targeted Trey Lance in the back-end QB1 range last season with hopes of a breakout will be targeting Richardson in a similar range. Richardson joins a Colts offense that swapped out Parris Campbell for some combination of rookie Josh Downs and Isaiah McKenzie, and with both Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce returning as big-bodied vertical threats -- the profile that fits Richardson's skill set best -- we could see him live up to his hype in Year 1 if the offensive line has a bounce-back season.
If you draft him as your QB1, pairing him with a higher floor QB like Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins or Dak Prescott makes a lot of sense. In rookie-only drafts, Richardson should be a top-five pick in one-QB formats and the No. 2 overall pick in two-QB or Superflex formats.
By Jamey Eisenberg
Minshew signed with the Colts this offseason, and he could be a bridge quarterback in Indianapolis if Richardson doesn't start early in the year.
Most likely, Minshew will be No. 2 on the depth chart, and he's not worth drafting in the majority of leagues. In 2022 with the Eagles, Minshew started two games for an injured Jalen Hurts, and Minshew averaged 20.0 Fantasy points per game against the Cowboys and Saints.
He has potential to be a low-end starter in all leagues if he starts any games, but you shouldn't anticipate that on Draft Day given the Colts' commitment to Richardson. In deep Superflex and two-quarterback leagues you can take a flier on Minshew, but he's not worth drafting in any one-quarterback formats.
RB Jonathan Taylor
What is it with the consensus RB1 overall failing to finish on top the majority of the time?
Taylor's 2022 season was marred by injury and the collapse of the once-dominant Colts offensive line. It certainly didn't help having Sam Ehlinger, Matt Ryan and Nick Foles attempting to keep the offense on the field, and of course, the interim coaching situation was a mess too. While Taylor averaged just 12.2 PPR points per game (33rd-most), this number was dragged down by games he left early with an injury. He averaged the most PPR points per game in 2021 (21.9).
The offensive line may never return to 2021 level, and the passing game involvement may not return either, but with Richardson's rushing threat, Taylor should be one of the first five running backs drafted and a front-end first-round pick.
RB Zack Moss
Moss saw an extended opportunity in the final few weeks of the 2022 season with Taylor sidelined, culminating with a 21.1-point PPR performance in Week 18 after most Fantasy seasons had finished. He didn't hit the double-digit point mark (PPR) in any other week and is unlikely to make any kind of Fantasy impact in 2023 with competition for passing-down work (Deon Jackson, rookie Evan Hull) unless Taylor gets sidelined again.
WR Michael Pittman
Pittman's stock skyrocketed last August following constant training camp reports of his budding rapport with Matt Ryan, but the breakout never happened.
The entire situation couldn't have been worse for Pittman, changing quarterbacks and play-callers during the season. In Week 1 his 27.1 points in PPR made it look like he was on route to besting his WR21 per-game finish during his breakout 2021 season, but he topped 20 points just once after that and had five games where he didn't even reach double-digit points. The silver lining despite all of the chaos is that Pittman earned a 25.6% target share (17th-best) and nearly reached the triple-digit receptions mark (99).
Rookie QB Anthony Richardson can get the ball to Pittman on the vertical plane and rookies tend to lean on one target, so Pittman has a strong opportunity to best his ADP and return value as soon as the middle of the fifth round of your drafts.
WR Alec Pierce
Don't be fooled by the final numbers that were dragged down by the Sam Ehlinger games -- Pierce is a vertical threat. He topped 20 yards per reception (PPR) four times from Weeks 3-9 as a rookie. Pierce finished as a WR2 or better (PPR) just twice in 2022, but Richardson is a vertically-oriented thrower and that fits Pierce's skill set as a size/speed weapon who dominated on the vertical plane at the collegiate level.
Pierce is coming off the board in Round 14 and he makes for an excellent late-round sleeper target with an upgraded offensive system and a quarterback who fits what he does best.
WR Josh Downs
Downs brings a complete profile to the mix after dominating in the slot playing for Phil Longo at UNC. He caught just under nine passes a game, racking up over 1,000 yards and 11 TDs in 2022.
Downs demanded similar volume playing with Sam Howell in 2021. He has a natural feel for how to beat zone and the lower ankle flexion to create consistent separation against man coverage. Downs' size (5-foot-9), small catch radius, and lack of vertical speed (testing time) could potentially be viewed as red flags in translating to the NFL, but he erases most doubts about his speed on game film. Downs' ability to win early in the route with his separation could make him a favorite for rookie Richardson -- the easy "lay up" throws are often a big part of the game-planning mix for first-year quarterbacks.
If you see Richardson and Downs developing an early rapport in training camp, get Downs on your radar as a late-round target. In rookie-only drafts, he's a solid second-round pick.
TE Jelani Woods
It's important to note that the best bets at tight end are the prospects who carry over elite athletic traits to the NFL versus production. Woods fits that billing with 4.61 speed, elite size (6-foot-7, 265 pounds) and a massive catch radius (98th percentile). Add that to a few flashes as a rookie, including a 98-yard performance in Week 12, and you have the profile of a tight end worth gambling on with your last-round pick if you don't invest early in the position.
TE Will Mallory
Mallory offers a different skill set to others in the Colts' tight end room as more of a move tight end rather than an in-line Y like Woods and Mo Alie-Cox. This could provide an easy outlet for a rookie quarterback like Richardson when the Colts run designed bootleg rollouts if Mallory can carve out a regular role as an H-back. Unfortunately, that role is highly unlikely to provide any Fantasy value. He is best left undrafted.
K Matt Gay
Gay made 60 of 64 field goals (94 percent) and 79 of 81 PATs (98 percent) over his past two seasons with the Rams before earning a contract with the Colts this offseason. However, in 2022 he averaged just the 21st-most Fantasy points per game while kicking for a struggling Rams offense. The Colts are no guarantee to boost his scoring opportunities. You can swing higher at kicker on Draft Day.
The Colts lost a key piece to their defense (inside linebacker Bobby Okereke) this offseason and will be installing a new defensive system, but they return one of the NFL's elite interior defensive lines, and a healthy Shaq Leonard should be a big boost. They averaged the 15th-most Fantasy points per game in 2022 and are best left undrafted, but could be worth streaming as early as Week 2 against the Texans.