He’s not the new wide receiver who many call the best player in Houston Texans franchise history. He’s not the dynamic weapon fresh off his first Pro Bowl appearance. He’s not the first-round draft pick with speed that rivals some of the NFL’s fastest players.
As a 21-year old rookie last season, Moncrief forced his way into the lineup and gave Colts coaches enough of a look to feel just fine in increasing expectations for No. 10.
“Moncrief has big play ability and we saw him do that,” Chuck Pagano said back at the League Meetings in March. “He’s going to have more opportunities going forward.
“He’s got such a high ceiling and room for improvement. The sky’s the limit for him.”
There's no question Moncrief has talent, but rookie Phillip Dorsett is getting a lot of press so far this offseason and he could battle Moncrief for the WR3 spot - assuming T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson are the top two. In a news article from earlier this month, we thought it was possible Johnson, Moncrief, Dorsett and TEs Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener rotate through the other three positions in one running back sets.
When Colts QB Andrew Luck worked out of a three-receiver formation during Wednesday evening’s work at Lucas Oil Stadium, it primarily was T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson and Donte Moncrief. But rookie Phillip Dorsett is going to cut into somebody’s playing time this season. That might be Moncrief. And it might be either Coby Fleener or Dwayne Allen as Hamilton uses more three-wide alignments than two-tight end formations.
The Colts are loaded with talent, but they can't play everyone all the time. We would expect T.Y. Hilton to play a ton, but Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief, Dorsett and the two tight ends, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener, could rotate through the other three positions in typical one-running back sets.
But the Colts didn't spend a first-round pick on Phillip Dorsett for him to sit on the bench. If he proves ready for playing time, it's likely going to come quickly. And that will have a considerable impact on certain players' snap counts and their number of targets.
Hilton's snaps figure to be safe, but if the Colts bring Dorsett along quickly, the playing time of both Johnson and Moncrief will be affected. If he plays big snaps, it could have a ripple effect on Fleener and/or Allen, assuming Hamilton calls fewer two-TE sets to get his receivers on the field. The pick is certainly a boost for QB Andrew Luck, but it's hard to see how it helps any of the other Colts receivers.
“This guy can make plays. He’s big. He’s fast. He can stretch the defense, all those types of things,” said Pagano. “It’s a learning process, and he’s going to be better in year two than he was in year one. He’s going to have more opportunities.”
Overall, Moncrief played more than 50% of the snaps in just six games (week 8 at Pittsburgh when Reggie Wayne was out & the last five weeks of the season). In those six games, Moncrief accumulated 18 receptions, 301 yards, and all 3 of his TDs.
That’s more than 56% of his catches for the year, about 68% of his yards, and 100% of his touchdowns for the season...in just six games, the only games where Moncrief played a majority of the snaps. The picture is getting clearer as to why the 6’2”, 221 pound burner is expected to get more opportunities in 2015.
In those six games, Moncrief averaged 3.0 catches for 50 yards and 0.50 touchdowns, but that split includes both huge games (3-134-2 vs. Washington, 7-113-1 vs. Pittsburgh) and disappearing acts (a goose egg vs. Houston, 2-5 vs. Dallas, 3-16 vs. Tennessee), so his production was all over the place. Moncrief's ADP took a two-round hit (6th to 8th) once the Colts signed Andre Johnson, and the signing certainly takes some of the wind out of Moncrief's sails. But both Reggie Wayne (859 snaps) and Hakeem Nicks (576 snaps) are gone, so there may be room for both Johnson and Moncrief to play starter's snaps. The question is how often the Colts go to two-TE sets since Dwayne Allen should be healthy after missing six games last season. When either Allen or Wayne were out, Nicks played 59% of the snaps. When both were in the lineup, Nicks played just 45% of the snaps. Moncrief is still going to be a breakout candidate, but his playing time is up in the air.
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Colts TE Dwayne Allen (knee, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 17. With Allen out, Coby Fleener should get the start, though it’s tough to trust any of the Indianapolis players given their performance against Dallas last week. The Colts are locked into their playoff spot, so they don’t have anything to play for except for momentum.
With Hilton inactive, Donte Moncrief draws the start and is a fantasy WR2 start with Reggie Wayne (PPR) and Hakeem Nicks having Sneaky Start appeal. Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen also get a bump. Andrew Luck's ranking takes a slight hit with Hilton out, but he has enough weapons and should be able to manufacture plenty of fantasy points against Dallas.
"For some," Pagano responded. "This guy is pretty special. Don't count him out."
As we reported yesterday, those around the team consider him doubtful even though his official status is questionable. If he’s out, Donte Moncrief becomes a fantasy WR2 with Reggie Wayne (PPR) and Hakeem Nicks having Sneaky Start appeal. Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen would also get a bump. Andrew Luck’s ranking takes a slight hit with Hilton out, but he has enough weapons and should be able to manufacture plenty of fantasy points against Dallas.
Friday, December 19, 2014, 6:02pm
Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring, questionable) missed practice all week and is questionable for Week 16. The beat writers are describing Hilton as doubtful, though he’s officially questionable. We currently do not expect him to play, since Indianapolis doesn’t have a whole lot to play for. If he’s out, Donte Moncrief becomes a fantasy WR2 with Reggie Wayne (PPR) and Hakeem Nicks having Sneaky Start appeal. Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen would also get a bump. Andrew Luck’s ranking takes a slight hit with Hilton out, but he has enough weapons and should be able to manufacture plenty of fantasy points against Dallas.
Friday, December 5, 2014, 6:38pm
Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 14. Allen will be back this week, and his return will put a big dent in Coby Fleener’s fantasy value. Allen was the #7 TE prior to his injury, so he should return to TE1 status in Week 14.
Thursday, December 4, 2014, 5:59pm
Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) took full practice reps again Thursday. Allen is expected back this week, and his return will put a big dent in Coby Fleener’s fantasy value. Allen was the #7 TE prior to his injury, so he should return to TE1 status in Week 14.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 6:30pm
Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) practiced fully Wednesday. Allen is expected back this week, and his return will put a big dent in Coby Fleener’s fantasy value. Allen was the #7 TE prior to his injury, so he should return to TE1 status in Week 14.
Friday, November 28, 2014, 6:04pm
Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 13. Coby Fleener is locked in to heavy snaps with Allen out.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 6:20pm
Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. We’re assuming Allen is out until he starts practicing. Coby Fleener was a disappointment last week, but he’s still a low-end TE1 against Washington this week.
Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:26pm
Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 12. Coby Fleener can be dialed up as a top 5 option against the Jaguars. Fleener has gained 64-plus yards and/or scored a touchdown in six of his last eight games, and is the #8 TE over that span.
Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:26pm
Dolphins TE Charles Clay (knee, doubtful) missed practice again Friday and is doubtful for Week 12. Midweek downgrades due to new injuries typically result in a missed game and the doubtful tag confirms that he’s likely to miss Week 12. There are no good alternatives in Miami, though owners could pickup and start someone like Coby Fleener, Niles Paul or Marcedes Lewis.
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