There will be no acclimation period for him to adjust to the rigors and speed of the NFL game. There is no proven veteran QB on the Colts roster to mentor and prepare him for what lies ahead. For number one overall draft pick Andrew Luck, he will be afforded no such luxuries. He is headed straight into the fire storm that comes with being a starting QB in the NFL. A position that puts him square in the cross hairs of 330 pound defensive tackles that run with the speed of college linebackers and hit like Mack trucks. No longer are the days of picking apart soft zone coverages and obvious blitz packages with ease. That does not exist at this level of football, but that's not to say that Andrew Luck will not eventually rank amongst the elite QBs in fantasy football, because we believe he will, in due time of course.
The consensus on Luck is that he is one of the more “pro ready” QBs to enter the NFL draft in recent memory. For his sake and that of the Colts, he will need to be just that, and then some, to get through his rookie campaign unscathed. While we agree with the sentiment that Luck is about as “NFL ready” as a QB can be coming out of college, he is sure to have a tough row to hoe in Indy in the early stages of his career. Sure, he has elite fantasy potential for the long haul, but it would be a tall order for even the best veteran QBs in the league to find success with the Colts current pool of talent, or should we say, lack thereof.
It does not take a genius to realize that an NFL quarterback requires, at the very least, a marginal supporting cast to be consistently productive. Currently, Indianapolis does not even provide their new franchise QB with that courtesy. The offensive line is shaky at best; a rushing attack led by Donald Brown and Delone Carter has proven to be anemic and the receiving corps features an aging Reggie Wayne who will face constant double coverage. That’s about it, unless you consider WRs Donnie Avery and Austin Collie to be top flight talents.
There is no question that Luck has a high ceiling in regard to his fantasy potential, but it would be completely unrealistic to expect a successful rookie season with an offense so devoid of talent. While Andrew Luck is a far superior upgrade from 2011 starter Curtis Painter, the fact is, Luck will have even less to work with in terms of talent than Painter did in 2011, and we are all familiar with the train wreck that was the Colts offense in 2011. After losing the likes of Pierre Garcon, Dallas Clark, Jacob Tamme, Jeff Saturday and Joseph Addai in the off season, with basically no attempt by the Colts front office to upgrade, or at least adequately refill those spots via free agency; Luck is left with arguably the weakest supporting cast in the NFL.
One could equate the challenge that awaits Luck in the upcoming season to that of a soldier carrying a pellet gun into battle. Think, Matthew Stafford in his rookie year, minus Calvin Johnson and that’s probably a reasonable assessment of what lies ahead for Luck in 2012. That being said, we are fairly confident that the “powers that be” within the Colts organization will eventually build a solid team around Luck in the years to come, much like former Colts GM Bill Polian did for Peyton Manning after drafting him number one overall to be the Colts starting QB in 1998. The circumstances that faced Manning and the Colts at that time are eerily similar to those currently facing Luck and the Colts now. Thus, a blueprint for future success is undoubtedly there, but until that blueprint can be properly executed; Luck’s fantasy expectations should be on the lower end of the spectrum. If you are in a dynasty league and you can afford to have Luck waiting around on your fantasy roster for two or three seasons, the upside is certainly there and he should fulfill your long term fantasy expectations. Otherwise, the NFL’s number one overall draft pick should be avoided in 2012 fantasy drafts.