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Colts Week 8 Fantasy Preview vs. Bengals

Breaking down the fantasy prospects of Indianapolis Colts players in Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Wild Card Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Owning any Indianapolis Colts players in fantasy football this year has been a hot mess. There have been some great matchups where they’ve rightfully blown up, and then they just don’t show up at all in other weeks. Your kicker really shouldn’t be your fantasy MVP. Even he didn’t see the field last week!

Moving on, the Colts travel down the road to take on the Cincinnati Bengals.

We'll use a simple rating scale for each player, grading each from A-F:

  • "A" is a 'must start'
  • "B" is a 'recommended start'
  • "C" is an 'if needed start'
  • "D" is 'don't start'
  • "F" is simply not a fantasy option at all this week.

QB Jacoby Brissett: D

Last three weeks average: 21.7-of-36.0 passing, 242.0 yards, 6.8 YPA, 0.3 TD, 0.3 INT, 5.7 carries, 20.0 yards, 0.3 TD per game

Brissett is still a welcomed presence while Andrew Luck is out, but he’s not a productive fantasy player. He’s only exceeded 20.0 points once, and that was at home against the Cleveland Browns. Otherwise, he’s averaging 13.29 FPPG in his other five games. Cincinnati is in the top 10 in FPPG against QB’s (14.21), so this is obviously a poor matchup for Brissett to begin with.

The Bengals have the sixth-most sacks in the league (18) but the second-fewest takeaways (4). The Bengals’ inability to force turnovers helps Brissett, but the constant pressure he is likely to face will make it an uphill battle for him.

RB Frank Gore: C

Last three weeks average: 28.0 snaps, 11.0 carries, 43.7 yards, 0.0 TD, 1.7 catches (2.3 targets), 18.7 yards, 0.0 TD per game

This may be last week being taken out of context, but we may be seeing the downgrading of Gore. Last week, in a 27-0 ass-kicking to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Gore saw just 22 snaps compared to the 32 that Marlon Mack saw. Gore led the Colts’ backfield in snaps every week up until then. Even more surprising was that the Colts were without Robert Turbin last week, who will miss the remainder of the season with an elbow injury.

Gore may be mostly relegated to short-yardage and pass-blocking duties moving forward. This bears monitoring.

RB Marlon Mack: C

Last three weeks average: 21.0 snaps, 5.3 carries, 45.0 yards, 0.3 TD, 1.7 catches (3.0 targets), 14.0 yards, 0.0 TD per game

Obviously, the biggest winner in the Colts’ RB situation is Mack. With Turbin on the shelf, Mack moves up a peg automatically. Now, he may continue seeing the field more than Gore.

Although Gore may be doing the majority of the passing-down work because of his effectiveness as a pass protector, Mack is still involved in the passing game. He was targeted 6 times last week and caught 4 balls for 40 yards. He is most effective when given the ball in space on the outside, so expect his participation through the air to continue.

The Bengals aren’t surrendering much to RB’s so far, ranking ninth (15.5 FPPG), but there have been some dual-threat RB’s like Mack that have caused them some damage. Ty Montgomery, Duke Johnson and LeSean McCoy caught a combined 23 balls against the Bengals and averaged 12.47 FPPG in their matchups.

WR T.Y. Hilton: C

Last three weeks average: 59.3 snaps, 3.3 catches (7.0 targets), 74.3 yards, 0.0 TD per game

Hilton has been a fantasy enigma in 2017. Of course, he gets a small pass for not having Luck at QB. However, there isn’t an explanation for the wild inconsistency. In Weeks 3 and 5, Hilton combined for 46.0 fantasy points, racking up 14 catches (18 targets) for 330 yards and 1 TD. However, in his other five games, he has combined for 13 catches (30 targets) for 182 yards and 0 TD.

This week is another dismal matchup. WR is another position group that the Bengals are top-10 against (17.68 FPPG). With the pressure that Brissett is likely to face, Hilton’s inconsistency and the fact that Cincinnati’s secondary is capable of bottling up good WR’s, I don’t like this matchup for Hilton. However, if we’re looking for a silver lining, it’s that the Colts offense should be pissed off, and when that happens, Hilton is usually on the receiving end of a big game.

TE Jack Doyle: C

Last three weeks average: 53.3 snaps, 6.0 catches (8.3 targets), 40.3 yards, 0.3 TD per game

Oh, look — the Bengals are good against TE’s also. They rank fourth in the league, allowing just 4.88 FPPG to the position. Doyle has had his recent ups and downs on the field but from a fantasy perspective, he’s been arguably the team’s most consistent target. Outside of Week 1 when Scott Tolzien was under center, Doyle has averaged 4.7 catches (6.3 targets) for 36.0 yards and has scored 1 TD. I usually feel best about him than any other Colts pass-catcher on a weekly basis based on his volume of targets and 74% catch rate with Brissett. Still, this is not a great matchup so I would only start Doyle if you’re lacking a TE this week.

K Adam Vinatieri: C

Last three weeks average: 2.3-of-2.3 FGA (100%), 1.0-of-1.3 XPA (75.0%), 8.0 points per game

Here is a position that the Bengals aren’t good against. They allow the seventh-most FPPG to K’s (9.67), and aside from his goose egg last week, Vinatieri has been pretty consistent. He had scored 24 total points in Weeks 5 and 6 and averaged 5.3 FPPG before that. There’s a pretty good chance that the Colts fail to turn red-zone opportunities into touchdowns on Sunday, resulting in more opportunities for Vinatieri. However, since it’s an overall bad matchup for the Colts’ offense, I would only start Vinatieri if yours is on a bye.

Colts Def/ST: D

Last three weeks average: 464.3 YA, 28.7 PA, 1.3 sacks, 1.0 takeaway per game

There are so many ways that this game can get out of hand for the Colts. Their injury report on defense is a nightmare, as starting free safety Malik Hooker suffered a season-ending knee injury last week, and the next two in line to replace him — Darius Butler (ankle) and T.J. Green (hamstring) — are both questionable. The Colts’ best defensive player this year — John Simon (neck stinger) — is out, as is their highest-performing starting cornerback, Rashaan Melvin. Vontae Davis hasn’t been his normal shutdown corner self, so how is A.J. Green not going to go for 200 yards against this defense on Sunday? Don’t forget that I didn’t even mention Joe Mixon until now.

Have any Colts or fantasy football questions? Jake puts out a Q&A video on Facebook Live every week where he answers your questions. Drop him your questions on his Facebook page here.