Week Twelve Analysis:
Usually when I'm talking about Andrew Luck, I take the opportunity to take some cheap shots at Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, the guy responsible for turning back the clock in Indianapolis. The forward pass is only a dim notion for Hamilton. This week's matchup will really challenge Hamilton. The Cardinals are a great run defense, and a very dubious pass defense. Will Hamilton insist on running the ball on the No. 1 run defense? Or will he let the ball fly against the No. 24 pass defense? My guess is that Hamilton will try, futilely to run for about a half, before giving the reins to Luck. Almost every quarterback throws multiple touchdowns or 300 yards against Arizona. Let's hope Luck is allowed to.
Week Eleven Analysis:
Andrew Luck had a horrible game last week, and was actually in negative point territory until the very end of the game when he finally got a garbage time score. And, now he faces a dramatically better secondary, Tennessee's, led by superstar corner Alterraun Verner. Tennessee ranks No. 8 in passing yards allowed, and No. 1 in passing touchdowns allowed. They're allowing less than one passing touchdown per game. Only one quarterback has managed more than one touchdown against the Titans all year, and that was way back in week two. What's more, Luck managed just one touchdown in both Tennessee matchups last year. It's very possible that your backup quarterback starts over Luck this week.
Week Ten Analysis:
Finally, Pep Hamilton has allowed Andrew Luck to throw the ball, and voila, his Colts team pulled out two epic wins. He's threw 38 and 40 times over the past two games, after not throwing for more than 31 in back to back games all year. Sure enough, he tallied six touchdowns. Let's hope that kind of usage is a trend that continues. The Rams secondary was murdered early in the year by some decent quarterbacks. Their numbers have improved since then, but haven't seen many quality passers since then: Blaine Gabbert, Matt Schaub/TJ Yates, Cam Newton, and Jake Locker. When they faced Russell Wilson, a good (not great) passer two weeks ago, they gave up two touchdowns. Luck is a better passer than all those guys. He's thrown multiple touchdowns in four of his last five games, and will do so again here.
Week Nine Analysis:
Andrew Luck has thrown multiple touchdowns in three of his last four games, but this is his first game without Reggie Wayne, by far his most dependable receiver. Losing Reggie Wayne means losing 45% of Luck's wide receiver receptions and yardage. Ouch. Let's hope fantasy football nemesis Pep Hamilton spent the bye week figuring out ways to keep Indy's passing offense vital. Hamilton has had his foot on Luck's throat all year, and I fear that the Wayne injury will be all he needs to turn a vanilla offense into a tap water offense. Especially against Houston, the NFL's No. 1 pass defense, allowing just 158 passing yards per game. Only one quarterback has topped even 195 passing yards against Houston.
Week Seven Analysis:
I've been complaining about the new Pep Hamilton offense in Indianapolis for weeks now. He's killing the fantasy value of Andrew Luck, whose attempts are down from almost 40 a game last year to 31 this season. Hamilton may have no choice but to air it out this week, as Peyton Manning will score points, and Hamilton will be forced to keep pace with Luck. Any, why not let Luck throw? Denver's secondary is allowing the most passing yards by a mile, 355 per game, 24 more than the next worst defense. And, Denver ranks No. 1 against the run, so Hamilton would be a fool to handcuff his best players, Luck, Reggie Wayne, and TY Hilton.
Week Six Analysis:
Wow, the Chargers secondary is really bad. They're allowing the fourth most quarterback touchdowns, 2.4 per game. Baked into that number are the two rushing touchdowns they've already allowed, and Andrew Luck is an underrated rushing quarterback. I bring up his rushing prospects for two reasons. 1) Luck has already scored on the ground twice, while topping 24 rushing yards in four of five games. And 2) He's throwing fewer passes this year, and his overall passing productivity is just okay. He's averaging a modest 230 passing yards and 1.4 passing touchdowns per game. Fortunately, even if Luck is wearing cement shoes, he'll pass his way to fantasy success against a defense giving up 308 passing yards per game.
Week Four Analysis:
The Jaguars' rebuilt secondary was obliterated in Seattle last week, giving up four touchdowns to Russell Wilson, a passing touchdown to Tarvaris Jackson, and a rushing touchdown as well to T-Jack. This is a young secondary that is stuck learning on the job. And they'll take a beatdown from Andrew Luck in his most favorable matchup of the season. Luck's been a solid fantasy producer, but less because of his arm, and more because of his two rushing touchdowns. He's failed to top 180 yards in two of three games. And his attempts are way down thanks to Pep Hamilton's crappy new offense. He's thrown 27 or fewer passes in two of his three games. All of last year, he only did that two times. Still, it's the Jaguars, and even Pep Hamilton can't throttle Luck enough to make him a bench candidate.
Week Two Analysis:
I expected a huge game from Andrew Luck last week against Oakland, and while he did end up having one, it wasn't in the way I expected, as he threw two scores, and ran in another score. He played really well, completing 78% of his passes. I expect another big game from Luck this week against a familiar opponent. He faced Miami last year, and posted his best game of the year, 433 yards and two scores. Miami held Brandon Weeden in check last week, but this is a much tougher matchup for last year's sixth-worst pass defense.
Week One Analysis:
Andrew Luck should have no problem continuing the remarkable strides he took as a rookie last year as he faces the worst team in the NFL, the Oakland Raiders. The team's secondary is a train wreck of washed up has-beens that nobody else dares trot out onto the field: Mike Jenkins, Charles Woodson, and Tracy Porter. How bad is it in Oakland? Even one of their former receivers, Darrius Heyward-Bust, isn't a half bad play. With sophomore TY Hilton surging, and both tight ends healthy, Luck should have no problem getting to multiple touchdowns, and three isn't out of the question.
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At this point, you know that Andrew Luck threw for the most yards of any rookie every last season, as he brought a two-win team to the playoffs in his first season. More importantly, looking forward, there's plenty of reason for continued optimism. His only offseason loss was the forgettable Donnie Avery. Meanwhile, returning young players like TY Hilton, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener should all be better this year. Reggie Wayne remains a solid, productive receiver. Importantly, the offensive line is much improved with tackle Gosder Cherilus and guard Donald Thomas. When this line settles in, Luck will enjoy a much improved pocket. And, don't forget that he's a decent runner, scoring five times on the ground last year.