Ahmad Bradshaw’s signing with the Colts was one of the biggest moves since the NFL draft and seems to be a great player/team match that could change fantasy draft tactics for fantasy owners.
Bradshaw will be a change of pace RB and could add a elusive pass catching RB element. He’s known as a back that gets receptions and that should continue with the Colts, right? Maybe not…
Last year the Indianapolis Colts got a combined 34 RB receptions from Vick Ballard, Donald Brown and others. This RB reception total was dead last in the NFL. The Redskins finished second to last with 43 and the Cardinals had just 51.
Many were encouraged by the Colts hiring Pep Hamilton as their Offensive Coordinator this off-season. Hamilton was Andrew Luck’s OC at Standford in 2011. Under Hamilton, Standford accounted for 46 RB receptions in 13 games by the 4 players (running backs), each with 55 or more carries. This adds up to 3.5 RB receptions per game. Passes to the RB are not a big part of a Luck/Hamilton offense. That takes a little upside away from Bradshaw.
With a RB like Bradshaw in the mix, the Colts might want to use the RB pass more often, but that’s a real question mark due to the team’s coaching history. Bradshaw will likely not be the PPR choice he once was. In fact, over the past four years Bradshaw has only averaged 31 receptions per season.
Fortunately, Bradshaw is a great blocker, so that can help him earn playing time over Ballard. He can pick-up the blitz and help keep Luck’s jersey clean.
Ballard was an unimpressive starting RB for the Colt’s since he stepped into the role in week 7 last year. His numbers were good, but by no means great. Ballard rushed 211 times for 814 yards and a pair of scores. That 3.9 yards per carry is not what a team wants from its starting RB.
The Colt’s Luck led passing attack is something that defenses will need to respect and about on par with what Bradshaw had with the Giants. He will have room to run. Luck is very good about keeping all his receivers active and defenses will be spread out.
Ahmad Bradshaw Career Stats
Ballard is Bradshaw’s main competition, but there are other RBs in the picture. Donald Brown is possibly the Colts’ 2012 version of what Bradshaw could be this year. They are about the same build and have similar skill sets, only Bradshaw is a notch or two better across the board. Don’t be shocked if Brown is not a Colt when week 1 kicks off. Kerwynn Williams was something of a steal in the 7th round of April’s draft. He had very impressive stats at Utah State last year and racked up over 2,000 total yards (1,512 rushing and 697 receiving) and had 15 TDs on the ground and 5 more through the air. Williams is worth keeping an eye on and a great dynasty league sleeper, but since he’s a rookie he will not be a big threat. Delone Carter is entering his third season with the Colts and for the most part has under achieved. His career 3.8 per carry is meager, but he has some value as a goal line RB after scoring all three of his 2012 TDs on one-yard runs.
Health is a big question with Bradshaw. Last year he missed two games and he missed four in 2011. At 27, he’s young, but has six seasons and 921 carries worth of mileage. His injuries were both knee and foot related.
Bradshaw is a fairly safe bet as the Colts’ 3rd down RB, but could get more carries if Ballard does not improve. If he manages to stay healthy all season, he could be the top RB for the Colts and be a legit fantasy RB2 and maybe even a RB1, but that’s unlikely. Realistically, he’s a flex play this season. He also causes Ballard to drop from a RB2 to flex.