This Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans face off in their second matchup of the season. The Colts controlled the first half back in Week 6, but the Titans owned the second half, winning 36-22 on Monday Night Football.
Outside of Tennessee RB’s DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, it wasn’t a standout fantasy game for much of anyone. This time could be different. The Colts are at home, coming off of their bye, and the Titans actually have a healthy Marcus Mariota and Corey Davis.
Let’s evaluate what we might see out of the Colts players so that you can set your lineups accordingly.
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: 19.7-of-31.0 passing, 254.3 yards, 8.50 YPA, 2.0 TD, 0.7 INT, 2.3 carries, 8.3 yards, 0.0 TD per game
First thing’s first, Brissett has to clear the concussion protocol. While he has been a full participant in practice and head coach Chuck Pagano expects him to play, that clearance from team doctors and an independent neurologist still has to come. Let’s operate under the assumption that Brissett plays.
The last time the Colts and Titans met, Brissett had an okay, streamer-worthy game (~15.5 points). A lot has changed since then, however. Brissett has come a long way in his development into both the Colts’ system and his role as an NFL quarterback. He stays in the pocket longer and takes more time to look for pass-catchers.
In the last three games, Brissett has averaged 22.3 FPPG. Look for him to utilize his RB’s as check-downs, Jack Doyle in the mid-range with some downfield shots to TY Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Chester Rogers mixed in. I like him this week but don’t love him.
RB Frank Gore: B
Last three weeks average: 36.7 snaps, 16.7 carries, 62.3 yards, 0.0 TD, 2.7 catches (3.0 targets), 17.3 yards, 0.0 TD per game
If your leagues are PPR or have fractional scoring, Gore is a good Flex option pretty much every week. He is averaging 16.2 touches per game this season for 66.1 yards. He is very consistent, having reached at least 50 yards from scrimmage every week since Week 3 except for one.
In his three-year career with the Colts, Gore averages 18.0 touches for 88.2 yards per game and has scored 3 TD’s in five games against the Titans. The Colts tend to feed him in this matchup.
You almost always know what you’re going to get from Gore. If you need somebody to get you by this week, he can be your choice. However, because of his high volume of touches, his chances of hitting the end zone are higher.
RB Marlon Mack: C
Last three weeks average: 30.3 snaps, 9.0 carries, 21.0 yards, 0.0 TD, 1.7 catches (3.0 targets), 18.3 yards, 0.3 TD per game
Let’s all hit our knees and pray to the good Lord that the Colts took the bye week to figure out what to do with Mack. In the last several weeks, only one thing has been consistent with him — he is seeing a decent amount of snaps. However, one week he’ll have several touches and might be involved in the run game. The next, just a handful of carries, all between the tackles.
The Colts can have success with Mack against the Titans, but they’re going to need to get him back outside on the edges. Count on him getting in the neighborhood of 10-plus touches, but I wouldn’t start him with confidence. Only do it if you have to.
The saving grace for Mack’s fantasy value every week is his big-play ability. According to Pro Football Focus, Mack is fifth in the NFL among RB’s in his percentage of carries that result in 15 yards or more (8.5%).
WR T.Y. Hilton: B
Last three weeks average: 59.0 snaps, 3.0 catches (7.0 targets), 71.0 yards, 0.7 TD per game
I put Hilton in the “Fire” section of this week’s “Fire or Flop” series, and here’s why.
To begin with, Tennessee is among the worst D/ST’s against WR’s, ranking 28th (37.2 FPPG). The Colts are at a point where they need to use their superstar to win games. In their only three wins, Hilton has been huge, averaging 6.3 catches for 168.3 and 1.0 TD. So, you would think the Colts formulated a plan for Hilton during the bye week.
Hilton should also have some extra motivation after catching just 1 pass for 19 yards the first time these teams played.
TE Jack Doyle: B
Last three weeks average: 63.7 snaps, 7.3 catches (9.3 targets), 64.3 yards, 0.3 TD per game
Doyle had a pretty standard Jack Doyle game back in Week 6, catching 7-of-11 targets for 50 yards and 1 TD. I am almost always confident in Doyle’s fantasy outlook every week, as he’s Brissett’s most-targeted pass-catcher.
It’s been awhile because of the bye week, but don’t forget that Doyle had a four-game stretch from Weeks 6-10 where he averaged 8.3 catches (10.3 targets) for 69.5 yards and scored 2 TD’s.
K Adam Vinatieri: B
Last three weeks average: 2.0-of-2.0 FGA (100%), 2.0-of-2.0 XPA (100.0%), 8.0 points per game
I don’t usually like this stat until this late in the season, but Tennessee allows the second-most FPPG to K’s (10.4 FPPG). By this point, it’s a trend.
There is no reason that Vinatieri shouldn’t at least give you his average of 6.9 points.
Colts D/ST: C
Last three weeks average: 293.3 YA, 19.3 PA, 2.0 sacks, 1.3 takeaway per game
The Colts defense has been outstanding lately. In the last three games, only one opponent (Pittsburgh, 316) has reached 300 yards of offense, and the Colts have at least 1 sack and takeaway in each game.
Things didn’t go great for the Colts D/ST in these teams’ last matchup, but that was arguably the last time that Tennessee played well offensively. With how well the Colts D/ST is playing, perhaps the tables turn. The Colts do get Clayton Geathers and John Simon back this week.
Last week, the Titans got dominated by the Steelers, losing 40-17, giving up 5 sacks and turning it over 4 times. D/ST’s average 7.6 FPPG against Tennessee. The Colts aren’t a great option this week, but they are worthy of a start if you need them.