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Buying into Wayne's world
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If you're planning on selling high on Indianapolis Colts receiver Reggie Wayne coming off his huge Week 5, stop what you're doing, take down the signs in your front yard and delete the craigslist post advertising the availability of a "future Hall of Fame receiver still in good condition."

Sure, Wayne is currently on pace for a ridiculous 144 receptions and 2,024 yards receiving so there's going to be some drop-off, but why can't the veteran set new career highs at age 33?

Andrew Luck is not Peyton Manning, at least not yet, but that might actually be better for Wayne's fantasy value. Whereas Manning was going to look for the open man whether it was Wayne, Austin Collie or Blair White, Luck seems to think Wayne is always open. Call it a rookie flaw, but Luck's reliance on Wayne guarantees the veteran receiver at least 10 targets a game.

So far, he's been used even more heavily than that.

The Colts receiver ranks first in the league with 60 targets, a number that becomes even more impressive when you realize Wayne has only played four games while every other player in the top 10 has played five.

Wayne was targeted a season-low seven times in Week 2; he's been thrown at 15 times or more in each of the other three games, including 18 in Week 1 and 20 last week.

Indianapolis' shoddy defense and below average running game has made throwing the football even more imperative than it would normally be.

The Colts have allowed 27.5 points per game and have trailed by large margins in games against the Bears and Packers.

In the two games Indianapolis played that were closely contested throughout, the Colts rushed for 208 yards on 59 carries, a 3.5 ypc average, but 71 of those yards were picked up by Luck, on eight carries. Take away Luck's rushing contributions in both of those games and Indy only ran for 137 yards on 51 carries (2.7 ypc).

With that type of production in non-QB running, it's no surprise that Luck is averaging 44 passing attempts per game.

Wayne has been incredibly consistent, catching no less than six passes for no less than 71 yards in any game, so it's not like the bulk of his production came from his 13-catch, 212-yard effort last Sunday.

Of course, the veteran's numbers look a bit fluky after he put up just 75 catches and 960 yards last season, but that was with Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky throwing him the ball.

Perhaps those numbers shouldn't count when assessing Wayne's value. After all, if you put Calvin Johnson with that trio, even he's going to look like he's on the decline. Or maybe it's a testament to Wayne's talent that he was actually able to exceed 950 yards receiving and catch 75 of those poorly thrown passes with those three playing QB.

Going into last season, Wayne was coming off two consecutive 100-catch seasons, including a career-high 111 in 2010-11, and seven straight 1,000-yard seasons, so he's far from washed up.

If anything, I'm buying high on Wayne if his owner is putting up the "for sale" signs. It's not often you want to pay peak value for a player, but I doubt owners will be disappointed when Wayne posts top-five receiver numbers the rest of the season.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.


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