This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NBAandNFLInfoor on the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more Indianapolis Colts Rumors and News visit Fantasy Football Overdose.
In three of their last four games the Indianapolis Colts have been just barely getting by. They've won every game and had a nice explosion over the Washington Redskins, but they haven't really been that elite, potent offense in the other three contests.
They should be forgiven. Indy did have to travel to Cleveland against a solid Browns pass defense in one of those games, while the divisional duels with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans also ended up being defensive battles. That's partially thanks to Indy's shaky pass protection and horrid run game, but also had a lot to do with the Jaguars being underrated defensively and the Texans simply being backed by the unstoppable force that is J.J. Watt.
While the less than elite fantasy football results can be explained away to this point, fantasy owners won't want to hear it come week 16. The fantasy playoffs are here, and a lot of teams are preparing for their league's title game this week. So, can you count on your Colts? Let's break down their week 16 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys and find out:
Airing it Out
Andrew Luck has been a man amongst boys for most of the 2014 season. Heading into week 16, he boasts a gaudy stat line of 4,492 passing yards, 38 passing touchdowns, 268 rushing yards and another three scores on the ground. He's virtually unstoppable, but he and his Colts have been slowed down a bit over the last four games. That probably stops this week.
It's true that Indy doesn't have a whole lot to fight for with the AFC South and a playoff spot locked up, but they could still improve their seeding. They face a Dallas Cowboys defense that really isn't very imposing and specifically has been the fifth worst unit against fantasy quarterbacks over their past four games. Dallas also oddly doesn't play well in their own stadium, so you shouldn't be worried about Luck and co. being on the road, either.
With Luck bouncing back, we can naturally expect his passing weapons to excel with this matchup, too. T.Y. Hilton's status is something to watch, but if he's active you need to start him with confidence, as usual. If he's out, Donte Moncrief gets a major boost in value, as he can crack big plays and the Cowboys are giving up over 24 fantasy points to wide receivers over the past four weeks.
Indy has two tight ends you can consider using, but they too often cancel themselves out. That being said, you should think about which one you prefer, as Dallas is third worst in the league against fantasy tight ends. Dwayne Allen is the obvious choice because he's on the field more, but you can't ignore Coby Fleener, either.
Running the Ball
If the Colts can get things going in the air like it appears they should, their running backs will have it a little easier. I still don't trust Trent Richardson at all (25 total touches in last three games), as he doesn't have a great role and he's not scoring. Daniel Herron is the definition of a pedestrian talent, but he fights hard for yardage and he's got solid vision. He also is handling a much larger role than T-Rich and has a better shot at scoring.
Dallas can be decent against the run if they keep their defense fresh, but with DeMarco Murray (hand) not quite 100%, they might not be as effective at doing that. That could lead to them performing closer to what we've been seeing out of them lately, which is them being the seventh worst against fantasy running backs.
Stopping the ‘Boys
I don't see the Colts shutting down Dallas at Jerry World. The Cowboys have a very talented offense and are at home in a huge game they need to make sure they don't let the NFC East slip away. It would be hilarious if Jerry's boys did collapse under the pressure, but we might actually have a new Dallas team on our hands. If we believe that even a little, we can't use the Colts defense with much confidence.
They haven't been terrible, but on the year they're still just 25th against fantasy running backs, don't get a ton of sacks (26) and are a middle of the ground unit in points per game allowed (22.6). You could do a lot worse, but this really isn't the week to bank on a big performance out of the Colts' fantasy team defense.
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