The Indianapolis Colts are hoping the addition of quarterback Matt Ryan will lead to a more stable and productive passing game. In turn, fantasy football managers would welcome that notion.
As the spots in the wide receiver room are up for grabs behind Michael Pittman Jr., there is some potential for a sleeper to emerge as a fantasy relevant player in 2022.
In the opinion of The Athletic’s Zak Keefer, that player to keep an eye on is wide receiver Ashton Dulin.
It’s always a tricky proposition picking a wide receiver in Frank Reich’s offense, because the Colts head coach and play caller has stated time and again his intention to spread the ball around. Now, Michael Pittman Jr. is a solid bet for another 1,000-yard season, but beyond him? It’s a bunch of question marks. New quarterback Matt Ryan will help — his quicker release will allow Reich’s timing-based offense to run more efficiently, plus he sees the middle of the field better than his predecessor, Carson Wentz. Speedster Ashton Dulin is a name to keep an eye on; Reich will dial up some deep shots to him this year. Parris Campbell has looked strong this spring, but the injury question will loom over him until he stays healthy for a full season. Rookie Alec Pierce looked really good in minicamp and could become the Colts’ No. 2 option early in the season if he keeps progressing. Michael Strachan and Dezmon Patmon should fight for the remaining balls, but all told, the group behind Pittman is unproven, and any fantasy impact figures to be inconsistent.
The last sentence of Keefer’s statement is the one to take home. While targets are certainly up for grabs, it may not matter for the sake of fantasy football purposes. There likely won’t be enough consistency on a weekly basis to truly trust any receivers outside of Pittman Jr.
And this is coming from someone who has had Parris Campbell on his dynasty team since 2019.
While Pittman Jr. enjoyed a career-high 25.7% target share, the team WR2 for the Colts in 2021 held a paltry 13.7% target share. That’s not even close to where we want that number for a player who is second on the team in targets.
Dulin is a deep threat and has a chance to ascend up the depth chart but his ceiling is likely the WR4 in the offense behind Pittman Jr., Campbell and rookie Alec Pierce. Realistically, there just doesn’t seem to be room for upside when it comes to fantasy purposes.
It will be interesting to see how different the passing game might be with Ryan taking over, but fantasy managers should steer clear of the deeper options on the roster in 2021.
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