There’s a lot that I like about the Indianapolis Colts’ chances this week as they host the San Francisco 49ers. All weekend, downtown Indy is going to be abuzz and that will carry into the game.
On Saturday, Peyton Manning’s statue is going to be unveiled outside of Lucas Oil Stadium. On Sunday, his jersey will be retired and he will be put into the team’s Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony.
Frank Gore will be facing the 49ers for the first time, the team in which he spent 10 years with and holds their all-time rushing record.
On top of all of that, the Colts are getting healthier, and it’s breeding optimism. Andrew Luck began practicing this week for the first time since December. Star center Ryan Kelly will make his season debut. Stud rookies Quincy Wilson and Marlon Mack both returned to practice this week as well.
Let’s also put it this way: Chuck Pagano doesn’t want the problems that would come with an embarrassing loss in this specific game. Peak “furious Jim Irsay” would almost certainly be achieved.
Enough with this long-winded intro. Let’s take a look ahead to this week’s matchup.
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: C
Last three weeks average: 18-of-30 passing (60%), 211 yds, 7.3 YPA, 1 TD, 1 INT, 82.6 rating, 5 carries, 23 yards, 1 TD per game
Last week: 16-of-29 passing (55.2%), 157 yds, 5.41 YPA, 1 TD, 1 INT, 67.7 rating, 3 carries, 33 yards
Brissett is an obscure fantasy player, but I actually highlighted him as a player that I like this week in “Fire or Flop”. The last time he went into a good matchup (Week 3 vs. Cleveland Browns), he put up 273 total yards and 3 TD. That game and this week’s matchup with San Francisco were also both in the home confines of Lucas Oil Stadium. The 49ers are giving up 17.61 FPPG to QB’s.
I totally understand concern over starting a second-year backup QB, but this is the type of move that us fantasy geeks thrive on. There aren’t a ton of times throughout the season where you get to pull a real slick move like this that winds up benefiting you, but I feel good about this one. I would start Brissett in leagues where you have been streaming QB’s already this year and if you are confident about the rest of your roster this week.
RB Frank Gore: B
Last three weeks average: 36 snaps, 17 carries, 50 yds (3.1 avg), 1 TD, 1 catch (1.0 tgt), 11 yds per game
Last week: 35 snaps, 12 carries, 46 yds (3.8 avg), 3 catches (3 tgt), 34 yds (11.3 avg)
Situational football dictates a team’s run game every week, but seeing as the 49ers should not be blowing out the Colts, it just seems right for Gore to get fed the ball this week.
We’ll start with the fact that the 49ers give up the seventh-most FPPG to RB’s (21.0). Gore has also had his two most productive games of this young season at home, averaging 52 yards from scrimmage and scoring a TD in both. You never have to worry about Gore’s effort, and he’ll especially give everything he possibly can in this one. Leading up to it, this game has a similar feel as Week 16 of 2015 against Gore’s hometown Miami Dolphins. He went for 95 total yards on 17 touches (5.6 avg) and 2 TD’s.
RB Robert Turbin: C
Last three weeks average: 23 snaps, 5 carries, 12 yds (2.6 avg), 1 catch (1.0 tgt), 3 yds per game
Last week: 19 snaps, 6 carries, 8 yds (1.3 avg), 1 TD, 0 catches (0 tgt)
I’ll admit that Turbin has not been as involved as I initially thought he would be this season. His snaps (20.5 avg) and touches (4.8 avg) have been inconsistent. Especially with Marlon Mack potentially returning to game action this week, Turbin is no more than a TD vulture. And since Gore is likely to be very involved this week, I don’t see much TD vulture-ing happening.
WR T.Y. Hilton: B
Last three weeks average: 60 snaps, 5 catches (7 tgt), 77 yds (15.4 avg), 0 TD per game
Last week: 51 snaps, 3 catches (6 tgt), 30 yds (10.0 avg)
Unsurprisingly, until Luck gets back, it looks like Hilton is only going to be a good option when he has a favorable matchup. He had one against Cleveland and gashed them for 153 yards and 1 TD. The 49ers are actually much worse against WR’s (24.20 FPPG) than the Browns (18.83 FPPG).
This is a great matchup in what should be a big game for the Colts. I’m actually confident in Hilton this week.
WR Donte Moncrief: C
Last three weeks average: 51 snaps, 2 catches (5 tgt), 31 yds (15.5 avg), 0 TD per game
Last week: 43 snaps, 3 catches (3 tgt), 30 yds (10.0 avg), 1 TD
Moncrief has been kind of productive since flopping the first two games of the year. He caught just 27% of his targets (3-of-11) those first two weeks but has since caught 83% (5-of-6), including his first TD of the year. Brissett looks to Moncrief to make big plays, targeting him downfield a few times over the last few weeks. His TD against the Seahawks was also from 18 yards out.
I don’t consider Moncrief a safe bet by any means because if he’s not scoring TD’s, he doesn’t have much value. However, if you’re in injury and/or bye week hell at WR this week, you can give Moncrief a start.
TE Jack Doyle: C
Last three weeks average: 62 snaps, 5 catches (7 tgt), 41 yds (8.2 avg), 0 TD per game
Last week: 48 snaps, 5 catches (7 tgt), 27 yds (5.4 avg)
Doyle still has to actually clear the concussion protocol before being an option this week, but on the plus side, he has been a limited participant in practice all week. He had a rare bad game last week, but that is far from the norm for him.
San Francisco is the stingiest Def/ST in the league against TE’s (1.93 FPPG), but Doyle is targeted 6 times per game and is rarely shut out.
K Adam Vinatieri: B
Last three weeks average: 1-of-1 FGA (100%), 2-of-2 XPA (100%), 5 points per game
Last week: 1-of-1 FGA (100%), 1-of-1 XPA (100%), 4 points
Vinatieri is a good option every week, and he hasn’t missed a kick since Week 1. He’s always going to give you something. He averages 5.3 PPG and the 49ers give up 11.0 FPPG to K’s.
Colts Def/ST: B
Last three weeks average: 404 YA, 30 PA, 3 sacks, 2 TA per game
Last week: 477 YA, 46 PA, 3 sacks, 2 TA
Those yardage and points allowed averages are absolutely awful. However, the Colts’ defenders can get after the QB and take the ball away, giving the group some fantasy value. Despite the yardage and point red flags, the Colts Def/ST is still among the top 20 at the position, averaging 7.3 FPPG in the last three weeks.
*Statistical averages rounded up to nearest whole number for clarity.
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