Colts offense takes another hit with Collie expected to miss several weeks

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Austin Collie (R) carries the football pursued by Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Eric Berry during the first quarter of their NFL football game in Indianapolis October 10, 2010.  REUTERS/Brent Smith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Apparently no hand is safe inside the Indianapolis Colts’ locker room.

A day after reports surfaced that tight end Dallas Clark is out indefinitely with a hand injury, the Indianapolis Star confirms that receiver Austin Collie underwent surgery on his hand earlier this week.

No timetable has been given for Collie’s return, although he’s expected to miss several games. Anthony Gonzalez (ankle) is expected to return to his third receiver role in Week 8 and Blair White will serve as the team’s No. 4 wideout. Peyton Manning has a way of making any receiver look good, but there’s no question Indy’s offense took a huge hit with the losses of Clark and Collie.

Compounding the issue is that leading rusher Joseph Addai’s status for the Colts’ November 1 game with the Texans is uncertain after he suffered nerve damage to his left shoulder last week. He too could miss a couple of games, although it’s too early to draw any assumptions on how long he’ll be out.

The bye week has never looked so good.

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Dallas Clark to miss the rest of the season?

INDIANAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 19: Dallas Clark  of the Indianapolis Colts catches a pass while defended by Kenny Phillips  of the New York Giants during the NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 19, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Dallas Clark is out indefinitely with a hand/wrist injury. There’s speculation that the tight end could miss the rest of the season whether he opts to have surgery or not.

The Indianapolis Star has nothing on its website about Clark’s injury, but they did post an article about the team re-signing tight end Gijon Robinson. The paper is likely waiting for more details before reporting on the severity of the situation.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what this (potential) loss means to the Colts’ offense, as Clark has been one of Peyton Manning’s primary weapons over the years. His injury will likely open up more opportunities for receiver Austin Collie, who will likely be counted on to work the seams in the Colts’ offense. Collie has developed into a nice target, but Clark often presented a mismatch from his tight end spot, as he usually lined up against linebackers and defensive backs that couldn’t cover him one-on-one.

Once something is confirmed, I’ll have an update but this doesn’t look good for Clark and the Colts.

Update: It’s confirmed: Clark placed on I.R. His season is over.

If Clark does indeed miss a significant amount of time, the biggest beneficiary will probably be Austin Collie, who is the best of the Colts’ wideouts at working the short stuff and the middle of the field. Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon will seem more targets as well, but I think Collie will ultimately see a bigger piece of the pie. I’d say this is a slight downgrade to Peyton Manning, who loses one of his favorite targets, but he’s still a no-brainer Top 3 fantasy QB.

2010 Fantasy Football Preview: TEs

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17: Tight end Antonio Gates #85 of the San Diego Chargers makes a catch against the New York Jets during AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

All 2010 Fantasy Football Articles | 2010 Position Rankings

The tight end position is often overlooked in fantasy football, but in leagues that award a point per reception, a stud TE can be quite valuable indeed. Over the past decade or so, NFL offensive coordinators have increasingly built game plans around their talented tight ends. It used to be that the position was meant to block in the running game and catch the occasional pass or two. But, more and more, the tight end has become a spot for a big playmaker with soft hands who can block a little.

The position isn’t nearly as deep as QB, but since many fantasy owners don’t consider taking a tight end until the fourth or fifth round, value is often found in the middle rounds. A vast majority of championship teams will get at least average production from the position, so no matter your strategy, you have to find a decent TE somewhere in your draft if you hope to be hoisting the trophy at the end of the season.

Here are a few TEs I’ll be targeting this season along with the round in which each player becomes a good value.

Antonio Gates in the 4th
With Vincent Jackson prepared for a long holdout, Gates will get a ton of targets from Phillip Rivers. It appears that his foot injury is behind him, so he’s in line for another Top 4 year. Gates is as consistent as they come.

Dallas Clark in the 5th
Clark was a stud last season, but with Anthony Gonzalez back and the continued development of Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie, one wonders if he can post 100 catches again. His previous high was 77, so the gut says ‘no.’ Still, even if he takes a 20% cut in production, that still would have been good enough to be TE3 in ’09.

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Super Bowl XLIV Preview: 5 Potential MVPs not named Manning or Brees

As part of our ongoing coverage of Super Bowl XLIV, here are five potential MVP candidates outside of Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

1. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts
Wayne only caught three passes for 55 yards in the AFC title game, but that was because he was locked up with stout corner Darrelle Revis, who has a habit of limiting a receiver’s impact. But Wayne caught eight passes for 63 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens in the Divisional Round and Revis won’t be anywhere near the field come Sunday. Wayne has five 100-plus yard receiving efforts this season and one more could earn him the Super Bowl’s highest achievement (outside of a ring of course). He only caught two passes against the Bears the last time he played in the NFL title game, but they went for 61 yards and a touchdown. If his quarterback doesn’t yank the award away from him, then Wayne could be taking home the MVP hardware come Sunday night.

2. Marques Colston, WR, Saints
In an era dominated by diva receivers, Colston is one wideout that is easy to root for. He’s quiet, unselfish and brimming with talent. He’s also reliable and if he gets enough opportunities, he might explode on Sunday and earn the MVP award in his first ever trip to the Super Bowl. In the Divisional Round, Colston hauled in six passes for 83 yards and a touchdown, and seems to save his best performances for top competition. In Week 6 of the regular season against the Giants, he caught eight passes for 166 yards and a touchdown, and in Week 12 against the Patriots he hauled in four passes for 121 yards and a score. Even in a losing effort against Dallas in Week 15, he caught five passes for 86 yards, including a 35-yard strike that led to a Saints’ field goal early in the second quarter. Outside of Brees, the only reason Colston might not have a fair opportunity to win the MVP award is because he’s on a team that is loaded with other receiving weapons. This is where the aforementioned unselfishness comes in, because there’s no doubt that Colston would rather catch one pass for 10 yards and win, than catch 10 passes for 150 yards and lose.

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Super Bowl XLIV Preview: 5 Factors the Saints must overcome

As part of our ongoing coverage leading up to Super Bowl XLIV, here are five factors the Saints must overcome to beat the Colts.

1. First time jitters.
Since the berth of the Super Bowl in 1966, only seven teams have won in their first appearance: the Packers, Jets, Steelers, 49ers, Bears, Giants and Buccaneers. The remaining 18 teams appearing in their first Super Bowl all lost, meaning 30% of first-timers fall in the NFL title game. Trends like these mean nothing when it comes to the actual game, but it’s worth noting that this will be Drew Brees’ first Super Bowl, compared to Peyton Manning, who will be appearing in his second in four years. The fact that the Colts have already played once in Miami is an advantage for them as well.

2. Peyton Manning’s quick-release.
Perhaps no team has done a better job this postseason at battering the quarterback than the Saints. But Manning doesn’t make it easy for teams to get to him because he excels at reading the defense at the line of scrimmage, diagnosing the coverage and getting the ball out of his hands as quickly as possible. He also makes adjustments better than any QB in the game, as evidence of how quickly the tide turned in the AFC Championship Game towards the end of the first half. Gregg Williams can boast all he wants about getting to Manning, but his players still have to execute. And that’s easier said than done when it comes to pressuring Peyton.

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