I wrote last week that I no longer believed that Andrew Luck was a must-start quarterback in standard fantasy football leagues and despite his big game against the Cincinnati Bengals, I still believe him to be a borderline starter at best for Week 15. Andrew Luck finished last weeks game with 326 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, zero turnovers and 32 rushing yards — it’s a pretty impressive box score.
If you watched the game though, you’ll know that the box score fails to tell the whole story. Two of Luck’s touchdown throws were lucky, fluke plays that should never happen in an NFL game.
The first fluke touchdown: Luck dropped back and threw a five-yard slant to Da’Rick Rogers. When Rogers caught the ball, he was hit immediately by two Bengals defenders, but neither of them decided they wanted to wrap the receiver up. Rogers turned upfield to find absolutely nobody in front of him and ran it in easily for a 69-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
The second fluke touchdown: Lavon Brazill ran five yards in and caught the ball 15 yards away from the end zone. Seven Bengals proceeded to then completely whiff on tackles, and they allowed him to somehow score on what should have been a routine five-yard gain.
Both of these plays were two of the worst displays of tackling you’ll see all season. They were absolute gifts to both the Colts and Luck’s fantasy owners, and they’re the types of plays that you just simply cannot count on from week to week. The problems that existed for the Colts heading into Week 14, however, are still there heading into Week 15.
The main problem with the Colts’ offense continues to lie within the offensive line. The Colts line had a pretty good day protecting Andrew Luck last week against the Bengals, but Geno Atkins‘ absence has been obvious. Ever since he went down with a season-ending ACL injury, the Bengals’ pass rush has suffered greatly.
This week, the Colts face the Houston Texans and as bad as Houston has been this season, they have been solid on defense and they still boast one of the premier pass rushes in the NFL largely thanks to the brilliance of J.J. Watt. The Texans are allowing the second fewest passing yards per game (184) and Watt and Antonio Smith have combined to pressure the quarterback on 112 drop-backs, which is second only to Robert Quinn and Chris Long’s total of 119 for the St. Louis Rams.
I believe that the Texans should have no trouble at all getting to Luck this weekend — they pressured Luck on 17 of his 48 drop-backs when these two teams met in week nine — which could lead to another poor fantasy day for the Colts quarterback. Luck’s completion percentage is 66.3 percent this season when he isn’t under pressure, compared to just 43.2 percent when he is.
Oh yeah, and have I mentioned yet that Da’Rick Rogers and Lavon Brazill were each on the field for more than 66 percent of the Colts’ offensive snaps last weekend? If you’re asking yourself who either of those guys are, it’s because Rogers had never had an NFL target going into last week and Brazill has just 22 catches in almost two seasons, with nine of those coming in his last three games.
These guys obviously have to have some talent just to make it into the NFL and could someday be productive players, but neither of them are close to filling in the void left by Reggie Wayne.
Listen, I’ll be the first person to tell you that Luck is a transcendent, once-in-a-generation talent who will likely end up on a plaque in Canton Ohio. He is without a doubt one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL. Football is a team sport though and the team surrounding him at the moment is way, way below average. Luck is a phenomenal football player, but due to circumstances outside of his control, he may be better off on your bench in Week 15.