This Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts host the Pittsburgh Steelers in a tough matchup both for their offense and defense. However, after some decent fantasy showings from some of their players recently, let’s take a look at what you can do with your Colts players in fantasy this week.
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: 22.3-of-35.3 passing, 247.0 yards, 7.22 YPA, 1.3 TD, 0.3 INT, 2.7 carries, 16.3 yards, 0.0 TD per game
This is a bad matchup for a young QB, so the smart money says “no way”. However, Brissett has played better lately, and this game is at home.
While the Steelers have been stingy against QB’s (they rank third with 11.8 FPPG), this is based off of facing bad QB’s early on. DeShone Kizer, Case Keenum, Mike Glennon, Joe Flacco and Blake Bortles averaged 9.76 FPPG against the Steelers while Alex Smith, Andy Dalton and Matthew Stafford averaged 15.19. Stafford even threw for over 400 yards. Brissett himself has averaged 22.72 FPPG the last two weeks.
You may need a streamer this week at QB with Carson Wentz, Alex Smith and Derek Carr on a bye, but Brissett is a stretch. You better be confident in the rest of your lineup’s matchups if you are going to pull the trigger.
RB Frank Gore: C
Last three weeks average: 32.7 snaps, 14.0 carries, 55.7 yards, 0.0 TD, 2.3 catches (2.7 targets), 15.0 yards, 0.0 TD per game
I pause to recommend starting either Colts RB this week for two reasons. First, we don’t know if the Steelers are going to just stomp the Colts or not. While not a certainty, we all know that this has the potential to be a total blowout. In that event, the Colts will abandon the run game.
Second, the Colts have not shown consistency in how they use their RB’s situationally. Marlon Mack led the RB’s in snaps in Weeks 7 and 8, but then Gore did in Week 9. Gore has led the backfield in touches each of those weeks, and that is unlikely to change.
The Steelers have allowed four opposing RB’s to eclipse 10.0 fantasy points, but all had downfield speed. Gore no longer has that. I think it’s very likely we see your typical Gore game this week, which is an average of 16.0 touches for 66.67 yards.
RB Marlon Mack: C
Last three weeks average: 32.7 snaps, 8.3 carries, 27.3 yards, 0.0 TD, 2.3 catches (3.7 targets), 25.3 yards, 0.3 TD per game
The Colts RB with more potential to have a big game is Mack because of his ability to break away. On 62 touches this year, he has seven 20-yard plays and twelve 10-yard plays. Still, he is nowhere near Gore in touches since Robert Turbin was lost for the year, Gore having 49 to Mack’s 32. Because the Colts coaching staff still won’t give Mack enough touches, I can only recommend starting him if you need to.
WR T.Y. Hilton: C
Last three weeks average: 61.7 snaps, 3.0 catches (8.0 targets), 72.3.0 yards, 0.7 TD per game
Oh, the saga of TY Hilton. Last week, he exploded for the third time this season, putting up 175 yards and 2 TD’s. It was a great matchup against the Texans, as were the other two huge games he’s had this year. However, in bad matchups, his play is reflective of it, averaging about 4.47 FPPG in those contests.
I want to think he’ll have a good game due to growing chemistry with Brissett, but there’s no getting away from the fact that Pittsburgh is the second-stingiest D/ST against WR’s (23.3 FPPG). The Colts know that Hilton is their most valuable offensive player, so he’s going to get his looks.
TE Jack Doyle: B
Last three weeks average: 62.3 snaps, 8.7 catches (10.0 targets), 76.0 yards, 0.3 TD per game
Doyle has basically been matchup-proof this season, averaging 9.76 FPPG. He’s also averaging 7.9 targets per game, so he’s always going to be a big part of the Colts’ passing game. I typically start him with confidence in PPR formats, even this week against Pittsburgh’s ninth-ranked D/ST against TE’s (10.3 FPPG).
K Adam Vinatieri: B
Last three weeks average: 2.7-of-2.7 FGA (100%), 1.7-of-2.0 XPA (83.3%), 9.7 points per game
Like Doyle, I don’t usually worry about Vinatieri’s matchup unless it looks like the Colts won’t do anything against the opposing defense. Pittsburgh’s defense isn’t a total shut-down unit, so I’m good to plug-and-play Vinatieri this week. He’s only scored less than 7 points twice this season.
The Steelers defense actually has the fourth-best red-zone percentage on the road this year, so this may turn out to be a big game for Vinatieri.
Colts D/ST: D
Last three weeks average: 360.7 YA, 21.7 PA, 2.0 sacks, 1.7 takeaway per game
You obviously don’t want to start a D/ST going against Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. However, if I’m playing devil’s advocate...
The Colts have performed better on defense as of late, allowing just 282.0 total yards and 19.0 points in the last two weeks. Before you say, “But it was against Andy Dalton and Tom Savage,” the Colts defense got their ass kicked by every QB they’d faced to that point. In fact, all except two QB’s had thrown for over 300 yards on them until Week 8.
Also, there have only been three games this season in which Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has not thrown an interception. He’s only been sacked 10 times, but the Colts have had at least one sack in every game this year. So, the chances are pretty decent that the Colts come up with some kind of turnover as well as a sack.
Still, there’s too many ingredients there for this to be a bad time for the Colts as a whole on Sunday.