Since 2003, I’ve been involved with a rotating group of friends in a Fantasy Football league. I’ve won this league more than a half dozen times, and Andrew Luck has been a huge part of the two titles I’ve won in the last 3 years. But thanks to his injury situation, I’ve been forced to make some changes that have put my immediate future in jeopardy.
The 1st overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft has had his ups and downs since his days as the golden boy at Stanford. As a rookie, he wowed people with his football IQ and his strong arm. He turned the ball over a bit, but he also showed an amazing knack for rallying his troops in tight games.
In 2014, he led his Colts all the way to the AFC title game. But, Tom Brady and his infamously deflated footballs trounced the Colts, 45-7. Since then, Luck has struggled with injuries and turnovers, and the Colts have failed to return to the postseason.
But, so long as he remained on the field, Luck remained a solid Fantasy quarterback. In most standard leagues, his interceptions would not hurt you. He threw for 300-plus yards most weeks because the Colts can’t run the ball. And their shaky defense keeps the Colts in tight games, forcing Luck to keep putting the ball up. This made him the cornerstone of my championship team in 2014.
It made him a bright spot as a keeper on a poor roster in 2015. I had taken my wife to the movies and forgotten it was our draft day. I emerged from the dark theatre and saw an e-mail on my phone that my team had been selected. Despite hitting pay dirt with Alex Smith and Blake Bortles off the waiver wire, my team finished the year under .500.
Last season, Luck continued to spend most of the year with that dreaded “Q” next to his name. But, he still played on Sunday. And despite the struggles of the Colts on the field, he was again the main reason why my team overcame the horrid season of Todd Gurley and won it all. The plan this year was to keep Luck and Amari Cooper. That is, until Luck’s offseason shoulder injury.
Weeks went by. Months went by. Still no word as to whether or not Luck would be ready for the start of the 2017 season. As the deadline for posting my two keepers in my league approached, I began reading every article I could about the Colts. But none of them could say definitively that Luck would play Week 1. Most of them would not even hazard a guess as to when he might suit up. So, I was forced to move on.
I kept Amari Cooper, and God help me, I kept Todd Gurley. This was less an endorsement on Gurley’s chances at a rebound year and more of an indictment of how poor my roster was in 2016. I looked over it, searching for a 2nd keeper, and could find no one at all worthy. Mark Ingram? No way. Robert Kelley? Hell, he’ll probably be replaced by Week 8. So, I crossed my fingers, thought of the marvelous 2015 rookie season Gurley turned in and put a check mark next to his name.
The Colts are hopeful that Luck will not be long in his recovery, and that he will be a key contributor in taking them back to the playoffs in 2017. But all of that is too late to help me. In a 2 quarterback league, my two best guys are now Cam Newton and Jay Cutler. Newton’s due for a big year, and Cutler is one of the best Fantasy quarterbacks no one talks about (more on that later). But it won’t be the same watching football in 2017, not caring one way or the other how high scoring the Colts games are. It won’t be the same without Andrew Luck.