The Indianapolis Colts have officially placed Anthony Richardson on injured reserve (IR), which will sideline him for (at least) the next four contests.
What is the fantasy football impact that we need to know about, and should we be panicking on these players with Richardson now set to miss some time? Let’s find out.
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Anthony Richardson Injury Fantasy Fallout
Gardner Minshew, QB, Indianapolis Colts
With Richardson now out, the Colts will turn to veteran QB Gardner Minshew to command the offense over the next four games. In that time frame, Indianapolis has matchups against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, and Carolina Panthers.
The Browns and Saints defenses are stout units, but the Jaguars and Panthers should be solid enough matchups where Minshew can be looked at as a fine mid-range QB2 for those games. Otherwise, he’s not someone that fantasy managers in 1QB leagues need to rush out to pick up.
Zack Moss, RB, Indianapolis Colts
The fantasy impact of Richardson doesn’t necessarily carry over to Zack Moss here as much as the presence of Jonathan Taylor does. Moss has been stellar so far this season, and it’s resulted in him being the RB6 in all of fantasy football through five weeks.
However, the Colts didn’t hand Taylor a solid contract extension just to have Moss handle a significant workload each week. We should still see Moss involved, but his days as a reliable fantasy starter appear to be numbered.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Taylor is a difficult fantasy asset to figure out right now. With him coming off of an extended absence, Moss playing well in front of him, and now Richardson out of the lineup, there’s a wide range of outcomes here for the now well-compensated RB.
Richardson’s mobility certainly would have opened up some rushing lanes for Indianapolis’ running backs, but the team may need to lean even more on JT and Moss to help take pressure off of Minshew.
Taylor’s a solid buy in fantasy football leagues right now if you can get him cheap — test out some trade offers in our free Trade Analyzer — and he’ll get back up to full speed here soon to take over the RB1 role in this backfield.
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, Indianapolis Colts
Michael Pittman Jr. has been playing incredibly well so far this season. Whether it’s with Minshew or Richardson as his QB, he’s getting the job done for fantasy football and is seeing a consistent target workload.
This route from @MikePitt_Jr 😮💨
— NFL (@NFL) October 8, 2023
With a less-mobile QB, though, Pittman’s upside suddenly ticks back up as the pass volume should only increase for this offense.
Minshew’s shown that he can move the ball on offense and get the ball into the hands of his playmakers, so there’s actually the possibility that Pittman moves up fantasy rankings slightly with this news.
Josh Downs, WR, Indianapolis Colts
The rookie WR was featured in my Week 6 waiver wire rankings and has shown that he’s not having an issue adjusting to the NFL stage after his time in college at North Carolina.
Josh Downs has shown a solid connection with Minshew, and he could be peppered with targets over the next several weeks, as the Colts’ QB will look to get the ball out of his hands quickly. Especially in a matchup against the Browns that have a fearsome pass rush, Downs could easily see eight or more targets in that contest.
If he’s still available on your waiver wire, Downs is worth scooping up now and playing as early as this week against Jacksonville as a high-end Flex play that gets a bump up in full-PPR formats.