Sun Aug 25 2:11pm ET
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck shakes hands with Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay after a news conference following the team's NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Indianapolis. The oft-injured star is retiring at age 29. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard, left, and owner Jim Irsay, second from left, listen as Colts quarterback Andrew Luck speaks during a news conference following the team's NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Indianapolis. The oft-injured star is retiring at age 29. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard speaks during a news conference after the team's NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Indianapolis. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck announced that he his retiring at age 29. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
The injured ankle of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is seen as he speaks during a news conference following the team's NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Indianapolis. The oft-injured star is retiring at age 29. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich speaks as team owner Jim Irsay listens following a news conference after the Colts' NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Indianapolis. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck announced that he his retiring at age 29. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck speaks during a news conference following the team's NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Indianapolis. The oft-injured star is retiring at age 29. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Andrew Luck was unique.
He loved football. He loves life even more.
So when the 29-year-old Luck thought another long, laborious comeback journey jeopardized his future plans, he believed walking away from the sport and potentially hundreds of millions of dollars was the only logical choice.
''For the last four years or so, I've been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab - injury, pain, rehab - and it's been unceasing, unrelenting, both in season and off season,'' Luck said following Saturday night's loss to the Chicago Bears. ''I felt stuck in it, and the only way I see out is to no longer play football. It's taken my joy of this game away.''
The announcement and the timing - two weeks before the Indianapolis Colts' season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers - shocked the football world.
But this was not a spur of the moment decision.
After three injury-plagued seasons, Luck returned last year with a new perspective about the physical pain, mental fatigue and emotional agony it took to keep fighting his way back. Late last summer, he described his state of mind throughout the continual rehab with words such as `sad,' `miserable' and `scared.'
Last month, as the lingering pain in his lower left leg forced him off the practice field yet again, Luck told reporters he promised himself after playing through the shoulder pain in 2016 and missing the entire 2017 season, he would be honest with himself, his coaches, teammates and the organization about how his body felt.
At the time, Luck said he thought even limited practices were detrimental to himself and the team.
While some fans booed Luck as he left the field Saturday night, other players supported him. They understand how dangerous and debilitating the sport can be, which is why some are quitting at earlier ages.
Luck just happens to be the biggest name yet on that expanding list.
''I think it takes an immense amount of courage, an immense amount of self-reflection and a lot of guts to do what he is doing,'' Houston defensive end J.J. Watt said. ''I am sure people have their ways of looking at it and their ways of trying to say what they would do in his shoes. But the truth is, no one is in his shoes. Nobody has to go through what he has had to go through. Nobody has been through the rehab and the injuries. ... I respect the hell out of it. I think it takes a whole lot to walk away from a ton of money like that.''
Colts owner Jim Irsay estimates Luck could have made as much as $500 million if he lasted as long as Brett Favre, Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, Luck's predecessor.
But Luck was never in it for the money or the fame - like others who left the game on their terms and in their prime.
Barry Sanders retired at age 31 after winning four NFL rushing titles and within reach of breaking Walter Payton's career rushing record. At age 30, Calvin Johnson called it quits after his sixth straight Pro Bowl appearance. Jim Brown walked away at age 30 for a budding movie career, less than a year after winning his third and final MVP award.
They never came back, and Luck said he doesn't anticipate a return, either, though he's young enough to do it.
Many others, such as Hall of Famers Gale Sayers and Terrell Davis, were forced out by injuries or age.
Luck seems to be a combination of the two, largely the result of a porous offensive line that allowed the top overall draft pick in 2012 to take more hits than any quarterback in the league during his first five seasons.
He was good enough to lead the Colts to playoff appearances in each of his first three seasons, the 2014 AFC Championship game and orchestrate the second-largest comeback in playoff history. And when he returned healthy last season, he took the Colts back to the playoffs and was a runaway winner in the league's Comeback Player of the Year award balloting.
It just wasn't enough for Luck.
''We all expect we're going to play this game forever,'' Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. ''The reality is for most players, it's not very long. No matter how good we are, or whatever it may be, there's life after this game, too. I think that's a thing we always have to balance and always have to weigh.''
Luck is the sixth quarterback of the 11 selected in 2012 out of football.
Wilson and Nick Foles, both third-round picks that year, own Super Bowl rings. Kirk Cousins, a fourth-rounder, is the starter in Minnesota.
The other two still around - Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill - had promising careers derailed by injuries, too. Griffin, the No. 2 pick who played high school football in Texas like Luck and beat Luck out for the 2011 Heisman Trophy award, is fighting for a roster spot in Baltimore. Tannehill, the No. 8 pick, is the backup to Marcus Mariota in Tennessee.
Luck didn't want to spend more countless hours in the training room now that he's married and will soon become a father.
He'd rather travel the world, watch soccer, put his architectural degree from Stanford to use and suggest good reads for the Andrew Luck Book Club. Perhaps he will come back to football one day. Or maybe he'll choose a new career.
''To step back away from this thing, I honor him. I think a lot of his family, I think a lot of his father, I think a lot of what he's brought to football and wish him nothing but the very best.'' Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. ''I hope he becomes President of the United States.''
But after throwing 171 touchdown passes and for nearly 24,000 yards, Luck found football simply wasn't worth the cost.
''I'm exhausted - and quite tired,'' he said during an emotional farewell speech. ''The only way forward is to remove myself from this cycle.''
Five Sleepers: Week 3
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will face off against the undefeated Packers in Week 3. Brees comes into the contest with just 472 passing yards, three touchdowns and a bunch of questions about his ability to play quarterback at the age of 41. For all the concerns surrounding Brees, his fantasy floor has remained more stable than one would think, with two scores in Week 1 and 312 passing yards in Week 2. He won't put up week-winning numbers against a Packers Defense that ranks 13th in pass DVOA, though he also won't completely filibuster either. Brees is best looked at as a mid-to-high QB2 for Week 3.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (hamstring) hasn't been able to practice this week as he's been dealing with a hamstring injury that he suffered in Week 2. On Friday, head coach Matt LaFleur said that the team would give Adams "the rest of the week" to get back up to speed, but also added that Adams was "probably doubtful" for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints. Fantasy owners should prepare to be without Adams this week. If Adams indeed misses the game, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard would be the biggest beneficiaries.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (knee) has been ruled out for Week 3 against the New York Giants. He will miss his second-straight game while he continues to deal with a sprained left knee. Kittle had been practicing on a limited basis the past few days, but the team is proceeding with caution for the star tight end. Jordan Reed, who caught two touchdowns in Week 2, stands to benefit most from Kittle being sidelined. However, keep in mind that Reed will be catching passes from backup quarterback Nick Mullens in the game, as the team's starter Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) has also been ruled out. Kittle seems to have a decent chance to make his return in Week 4 as long as he doesn't have any setbacks.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) will be sitting out this week's game against the New York Giants. Garoppolo suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 2 against the New York Jets. He sat out the second half of the game while backup quarterback Nick Mullens took over. Mullens will be getting the start in Week 3, which will make things a bit tougher on all San Francisco pass-catchers. Mullens shouldn't be considered a target for fantasy. Jerick McKinnon and Jordan Reed are the two most attractive offensive players in San Francisco this week, while Jeff Wilson Jr. and Kendrick Bourne are potential desperation plays.
The Indianapolis Colts Defense had a great Week 2, allowing just 11 points and grabbing three interceptions. They will look to carry this momentum into Week 3 against the Jets. The Jets are averaging just 15 points per game over the first two weeks, their offensive line is bad and their best offensive weapons are injured. The Colts are also at home, where they played very well last week. They are without safety Malik Hooker for the rest of the year, so it will be a challenge to fill that void on the back end of the defense. With that being said, the Jets are so bad that we should expect the Colts to have a good defensive performance this week. They are the most expensive defense this week at a DFS price of $4,100.
Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines had a bad Week 2, seeing just nine snaps and catching one ball for four yards. Part of Hines' lack of snaps last week were due to Indianapolis getting ahead early and running the ball with rookieJonathan Taylor. Taylor's emergence means even less rushing attempts for Hines, which means he only carries value in the passing game. Playing a bad Jets team likely means he won't see a lot of snaps again, other than some third downs here and there. Hines may have some flex value in deeper PPR leagues if he can see some red-zone time on third downs, but he is probably best suited on the bench this week.
The Houston Texans have no interest in signing free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown. Houston traded All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals in the offseason and have gotten off to an 0-2 start against tough competition. They have a full receiver room, though, with Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller V, Randall Cobb, Kenny Stills, DeAndre Carter and Keke Coutee on the roster. Brown has plenty of talent, but he's become a headache because of off-the-field issues, and the NFL suspended him eight games for the 2020 season. Some teams have interest in the former Steeler for later this season, including the Seahawks, but it appears the Texans won't be one of them. Brown might be worth stashing in deeper leagues for the end of the year, but ultimately his fantasy value will depend on where he lands.
New York Jets head coach Adam Gase said that wide receivers Jamison Crowder (hamstring) and Breshad Perriman (ankle) have been ruled out for Week 3 against the Colts. It'll be Crowder's second straight missed game. The Jets offense is an absolute disaster right now, as running back Le'Veon Bell is also out for multiple weeks. Chris Hogan and Braxton Berrios will be quarterback Sam Darnold's top targets this Sunday, making Indy's defense an excellent streaming option. You'd have to be really desperate to consider Hogan or Berrios in a flex spot in the deepest of leagues. Tight end Chris Herndon had a quiet Week 2, but he has some sleeper appeal with all of New York's pass-catchers injured.
Indianapolis Colts rookie running back Jonathan Taylor will make his second consecutive start against the Jets in Week 3. Taylor had a whopping 26 carries in Week 2 and was able to rush for over 100 yards. The Jets Defense has given up an average of 140 rushing yards per game over the first two weeks, so Taylor will look to build on last week's performance. Taylor's 3.9 yards per carry last week was a bit lackluster, but his heavy workload gives him a great opportunity to put up a respectable amount of fantasy points. He has also shown that he can be an option in the passing game, so he adds some value there. He has a DFS price of $7,000 and should definitely be considered a great starting option this week.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton has not had a great start to the season, catching just seven passes for 81 yards thus far. He has a good matchup this week against the Jets, but it seems as if the Colts are going to be a run-first team after having success last week. With just seven catches over his first two games, Hilton is clearly still trying to build a relationship with quarterback Philip Rivers. He will have a good opportunity to see targets, considering the Colts are banged up at tight end and wide receiver. This will be as good a week as any for Hilton to get his season going. At a DFS price of $5,600, Hilton could potentially be a sneaky good flex option this week.
Indianapolis Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox got the start in Week 2 and took advantage of it, catching five passes for 111 yards. It was his first fantasy relevant game of his career, so it is difficult to expect him to have another strong performance in back-to-back weeks. QuarterbackPhilip Rivers has a good history with tight ends, so it is understandable that Rivers liked Alie-Cox's massive frame. There is a lot of uncertainty for Alie-Cox's snap count this week due to Jack Doyle's status being undetermined at this point. Fantasy owners are probably thinking that Alie-Cox has a chance to have another good performance against a bad Jets team, but there is more bust potential than boom potential.
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said that wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (foot) has been ruled out for Week 3 against the Bengals. Jeffery has yet to play this season but is trending upwards and has a chance to make his 2020 debut within the next few weeks, barring some sort of setback. The Eagles need him back, too, as they put rookie first-round receiver Jalen Reagor (thumb) on Injured Reserve this week. DeSean Jackson, Greg Ward Jr. and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside should operate in three-receiver sets moving forward, with D-Jax being the only real fantasy option in standard-sized leagues as more of a boom/bust WR3/flex for fantasy managers. Philly should continue to target tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert heavily as well.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers is set to face off against the New York Jets this Sunday. The Jets Defense had a miserable Week 1 against the pass when Bills quarterbackJosh Allen shredded their secondary. They had a better Week 2 against the pass, specifically because the 49ers got up early and ran the ball. It is reasonable to expect the same type of performance from the Colts offense this week after they had success running the ball in Week 2. A run-dominant offense makes Rivers a bad play for Week 3 against the Jets. Rivers also has not had a great start to the season, with just two passing touchdowns to three interceptions and an average passer rating of 92.3. Rivers has a DFS price of $6,000, but there are better options out there for relatively the same price.
Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins has clearly taken the reins as the No. 1 tight end for the Texans, playing over 80 percent of offensive snaps in Week 1 and Week 2 this year. Last week against Baltimore, Akins was targeted seven times, catching all of them for 55 yards. This week's matchup with the Steelers is a tough one and we're not quite sold on Akins having the same level of usage in Week 3 that he did in Week 2, but he's trending in the right direction and is an upside streaming play for fantasy managers who find themselves with a need at tight end.
Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks (quad) showed some encouraging signs in Week 2, being targeted eight times and finishing with five receptions for 95 yards. Cooks was eighth in the league in air yards last week. If Cooks is trending towards being quarterback Deshaun Watson's top deep option, he'll always have boom potential, but this receiving corps is just too messy and this Steelers Defense is just too good for us to consider him as anything more than a risky WR3/4 play with some upside on Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers running backs Raheem Mostert (knee) and Tevin Coleman (knee) have both officially been ruled out for Sunday's game against the New York Giants. Both players sustained knee injuries in the team's Week 2 win over the New York Jets. The team has said that they expect to be without Coleman for about four weeks, whereas Mostert, who is dealing with an MCL injury, could be back sooner. Mostert should be held in all fantasy leagues while Coleman should be dropped anywhere he's owned. In the short term, Jerick McKinnon stands to benefit most and is a solid RB2 in Week 3, especially in PPR leagues. Jeff Wilson Jr. is also a potential flex option and rookie JaMycal Hasty will likely get some opportunities as well.
Houston Texans wide receiver Randall Cobb was expected to be a key part of the underneath game for the Texans in 2020, but so far has been an afterthought. After a five-catch, 59-yard Week 2, a few things have become clear. First, Cobb has just enough usage to make him a viable flex option in a 14-team league. Second, Cobb has a low enough floor to make playing him in a deep league still a risky proposition. Maybe his role will grow as the season rolls along, but for now you can consider him a fringe option in full PPR and not worth a play in standard scoring due to his reliance on short receptions.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V was the team's leading receiver in Week 1, then wasn't targeted in Week 2. So, what do we make of this heading into Sunday's Week 3 contest against the Steelers? It should be noted that Fuller dealt with hamstring issues during that Week 2 game against Baltimore and that he seems to be good to go in Week 3. Still, no targets? It's really hard to trust Fuller against a good Steelers secondary, setting him up to be a high-ceiling, zero-floor WR3 option this week. Fuller could break off a 70-yard touchdown, or he could have no receptions for a second week in a row.
The San Francisco 49ers have officially named quarterback Nick Mullens their starter in Week 3 against the New York Giants. Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) will be sidelined for the game as he continues to nurse a high ankle sprain. Mullens isn't someone worth starting in fantasy in Week 3. The 49ers will likely be very conservative on offense, calling a lot of running plays and dump-offs. Mullens played the second half of the team's game in Week 2 against the New York Jets and completed eight of 11 passes for 71 yards and an interception. He was also sacked twice. All 49ers pass-catchers suffer with Mullens under center, though none of them other than George Kittle (knee) if he suits up, figured to be solid starting options this week regardless.
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has had some tough matchups to open the 2020 NFL season and that continues on Sunday as he faces the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh's defense is a talented group that should be able to pressure Watson and force early throws into a strong secondary, limiting his ceiling. Still, Deshaun Watson is Deshaun Watson, a multi-pronged threat who can bide time with his feet and search for mismatches in the deep passing game, so you're definitely playing him in any season-long league where you have him rostered. He's just risky enough to avoid in most of your DFS contests, though.