Andrew Luck will not be on the field tonight when the Indianapolis Colts take on the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback leaves fantasy football owners out to dry, many of whom selected him in the first round of their drafts. Throughout the week, there was optimism that Luck could possibly be ready to go, per NFL.com’s Twitter page.
— NFL (@NFL) October 5, 2015
As more information came out, it was reported by Deadspin that Luck has a partial separation of his shoulder. Whether or not the shoulder injury has anything to do with his poor start to the season is up for debate. While Luck has always been known to carry the Colts on his own, his struggles have gone as far back as the end of last season. He ended the 2014 season with 4,761 yards passing, 40 touchdown passes, and 16 interceptions. Most of his success came in the early portion of the season, though. Throughout his final four regular season games, he threw for six touchdowns and five interceptions. It did not get much better in the playoffs, as Luck threw for only three touchdowns and four interceptions. His quarterback rating was also a very pedestrian 71.8.
Fantasy football owners still viewed Luck as a top option in drafts this year. While many analysts and experts went back and forth between Aaron Rodgers and Luck, they were still the consensus top two quarterback options. As usual, Rodgers is putting up elite numbers for fantasy owners. He has 995 passing yards, 11 touchdown passes, and no interceptions. Luck has 753 yards passing, five touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Many owners viewed tonight’s game against the Texans as a chance for Luck to redeem himself and finally provide first round value. Adam Schefter of ESPN put those hopes to rest earlier today on his Twitter account.
Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck is starting tonight, per source. No Andrew Luck again.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 8, 2015
In his place, 40-year-old Matt Hasslebeck will start. While Hasslebeck was a great player in his prime, he has only played in eight games over the past three seasons. In those games, he has completed 67 passes for three touchdowns and one interception. While the Colts have a chance to win if they can get running back Frank Gore going, Hasslebeck is not a replacement option for fantasy owners that have to sit Luck.
While fantasy owners in two-quarterback leagues will struggle to find a suitable replacement, one-quarterback league owners should be able to find a quality streaming option. In Yahoo! leagues, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is only owned in 36 percent of leagues. Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles is only owned in 22 percent of leagues. While he is off to a slow start, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is owned in only 58 percent of leagues. While none of these quarterbacks are even close to the fantasy option that a healthy Andrew Luck is, they all have the potential to have a huge week.
So when will Luck return? Colts coach Chuck Pagano recently explained the situation in an interview that appeared on the Indianapolis Star.
“He made progress all week. He made progress. So we’re going to continue… he’s getting treatment right now. He’ll work out tomorrow and we’ll just take it day-by-day and see where he’s at. He was trending in the right direction throughout the course of the week. Maybe he could come in this morning, we were going to evaluate him, see how he felt and (he) just wasn’t ready.”
While he is out this week, it appears as though Andrew Luck could possibly return week 6. Until Luck is back, Colts wide receiver and tight end values will take a big hit for fantasy owners.
[Images via Andy Lyons/Getty Images]