Alec Pierce Fantasy Outlook: A Good WR in a Tough 2023 Fantasy Environment

    Alec Pierce is a second-year WR in a crowded Indianapolis Colts corps, playing with a raw rookie QB. What is his fantasy outlook in 2023?

    At PFN, we’ve researched more than 350 fantasy football players, trying to identify which ones are overrated, underrated, and priced right. With that in mind, here is Indianapolis Colts WR Alec Pierce’s fantasy outlook for 2023.

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    Alec Pierce’s 2023 Fantasy Outlook

    Pierce is already in the midst of an enigmatic career, and he’s only one year into it. Sounds strange? Well, this entire Colts offense is a bit strange at the moment.

    Michael Pittman Jr. is the oldest starting skill player at 25. Bell cow Jonathan Taylor – assuming he’s with the team in 2023 – and ascending TE Jelani Woods are 24. Pierce is 23. Rookie wideout Josh Downs is 22, while rookie QB Anthony Richardson is 21.

    Making matters more confusing, Richardson is an extraordinary prospect who also has completed only 215 passes since graduating high school. To put it kindly, he’s a work in progress as a passer, with enough accuracy woes to alarm fantasy managers who are considering investing in any Indy receiver this year.

    Richardson’s struggles included throwing two picks in a three-point win over South Florida, which ended the season with a 1-11 record. He even threw an interception against Eastern Washington, which plays in the Football Championship Subdivision (previously known as Division I-AA).

    Those aren’t cherry-picked stats. Richardson is one of the most exciting young quarterbacks to join this league in a while, and he also might not be the answer in Indy. It’s that simple, and it’s also that complicated.

    Let’s be frank: the Colts drafted Richardson not to win this year but to establish a foundation alongside a youthful corps ahead of a more focused postseason push in 2024 and beyond. This franchise hopes he’ll develop by then. They’re not going to rush him. So coming anywhere close to last year’s team passing yardage (3,854) seems like a longshot.

    What does this mean? He might not be able to feed more than two players per game. One presumably will be Taylor, if he’s in Indianapolis, whose targets per contest jumped to a career-high 3.6 last season. As a dump-off target for the raw Richardson, Taylor could shine in fantasy, even if the offense frequently stalls.

    This also means the Colts almost certainly will throw less than they did last year when they averaged the ninth-most pass attempts per game with 604. That could realistically drop to 525 or lower with Richardson at the helm.

    Combined with a presumably lower completion percentage, this team’s skill players will be trying to get a share of a much smaller pie.

    And, of course, Pittman remains the alpha receiver. He played with a different QB in each of his first two campaigns and then played with three last season. But that didn’t prevent him from posting career-highs in targets, receptions, and catch percentage.

    He keeps getting better, even as his quarterbacks get … not any better. Of all the receivers on this team, Pittman should still be able to carve out a fairly consistent role.

    But there’s no assurance that Pierce will. He frequently struggled alongside Pittman and frequently took a backseat to Parris Campbell. Although Campbell is now with the Giants, the rookie Downs poses an immediate threat to Pierce’s standing in the depth chart. Is the second-year pro the No. 2 WR or the No. 3?

    The answer to that question will inform us whether he’s draftable (and largely benchable) in mid-sized leagues or better left for the waiver wire.

    That’s not to say Pierce doesn’t have a bright future in the NFL. He’s simply in a tough spot to dominate or even consistently produce. Despite getting drafted in the second round last year, he’s one of five young mouths to feed via a quarterback who — as discussed above — probably won’t be able to feed three.

    His fantasy outlook might be much brighter on a dozen or more teams. But not on the Colts. Not this year, at least.

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