We want to stay away from committees, but we might be able to identify a guy or two who can be fantasy relevant. The Colts lost their short-yardage and third down back in Robert Turbin for four games, so those goal line carries can be given to another back while he’s out. Turbin was effective with those short yardage situations too; on attempts that were 3 yards or less, he either converted a first down or scored a TD on all 28 of his attempts last season.
Mack had an up and down rookie season. He didn’t play behind the best offensive line, which I’m sure contributed to some of him having the 2nd biggest percentage of runs that went for no yards or less. When asked about his role in the offense, he said, “Me in this offense, I feel like I can be that explosive guy.” I would’ve loved for him to say that he can do it all, so that doesn’t give me too much confidence in a huge role, but he wasn’t lying – he did lead the league with 5.4% of his runs going for 20 or more yards.
The Colts drafted Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins, two guys who have playing styles compared to Darren Sproles and Matt Forte, respectively. With Frank Gore leaving 261 carries left for the taking, there doesn’t seem to be anyone on the roster who can shoulder that type of workload. Not to mention the Colts’ new coach Frank Reich was the offensive coordinator (even though he didn’t call the plays) of Doug Pederson’s offense, where there was a clear committee in the backfield over the past two seasons. It helped win them a Super Bowl, so no reason to shy away from that strategy in Indy. Just not what we want to hear for fantasy.
With Hines potentially lining up all over the field, he has PPR value, especially since the Colts don’t have a clear slot WR. Luck has been someone who targeted the slot often (23.6% of his throws), albeit TY Hilton did just recently move to the outside from the slot position, so take that stat with a grain of salt. Mack has serious playmaking ability and should be the primary back on early downs. He was a liability in pass protection, so I expect Hines to come in on third downs, and Turbin to take back that role (including goal line carries) once he’s back.
It’s shaping out to be a serious committee in Indy, but the upside of a guy like Mack or Hines is real because Andrew Luck potentially can make this offense dangerous and put them in good positions to score. I’m okay spending a 10th round price tag on Hines if I’m shooting for real upside in PPR, but Mack in the 6th-7th round might be too much for me considering we have to hope for improvement in play and have to hope that he’s on the field for a real majority of offensive snaps. The offensive line has improved, so it should help some, but give me these guys instead, who are being drafted around his ADP: Sammy Watkins, Michael Crabtree, Julian Edelman, and Emmanuel Sanders.