The Indianapolis Colts host the Houston Texans in the NFL’s final week of the regular season. Both teams’ hopes of making the postseason have been dashed for quite some time, so there’s not much to play for this week outside of pride.
Let’s take a look at if any Colts have a chance at fantasy relevance 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: 14.7-of-28.3 passing, 147.3 yards, 4.98 YPA, 0.7 TD, 0.0 INT, 3.7 carries, 12.0 yards, 0.3 TD per game
Brissett has been anything but hot lately, failing to eclipse 20.00 fantasy points in the last five weeks. However, this matchup looks like a good one for him.
Overall, the Texans are 30th against QB’s (19.78 FPPG). If that wasn’t bad enough, they are (expectedly) even worse on the road (22.99). Brissett had his best game of the season against the Texans back in Week 9, totaling 320 yards, 2 TD’s, 0 INT’s and a 122.6 passer rating.
In games indoors this season, Brissett is averaging 18.4-of-30.7 passing for 223.6 yards, 7.51 YPA, and 4.8 carries for 16.8 yards. He has 5 passing TD’s, 4 rushing TD’s and 3 INT’s. With both teams just playing for pride in their final game, we may see Brissett let ‘er rip on Sunday.
RB Frank Gore: B
Last three weeks average: 42.7 snaps, 21.0 carries, 76.3 yards, 0.0 TD, 2.0 catches (2.3 targets), 21.7 yards, 0.3 TD per game
I have a very good feeling about Gore this week. Last week, head coach Chuck Pagano said, “We’re playing to win. Frank’s the bell cow right now. Until the wheels totally come off, which they’re not going to, we’re going to keep the rotation (at running back) as is.”
The Colts have showed zero concern for how many touches their 34-year-old back can handle. He has at least 15 touches in 9-of-15 games this season. In those nine games, he is averaging 21.2 touches per game. Gore is 139 yards away from 1,000 rushing yards on the season. He has mentioned multiple times in the last few weeks his desire to reach that goal. Since Pagano and the Colts coaching staff seems to put Gore before almost everything else, I could totally see them giving him 20-plus carries on Sunday, let alone how many looks he gets in the passing game.
Only three RB’s have had at least 20 touches against Houston this year (Gore was one of them), but they averaged 105.7 total yards.
WR T.Y. Hilton: B
Last three weeks average: 53.7 snaps, 4.3 catches (7.7 targets), 53.7 yards, 0.0 TD per game
Hilton has dominated the Texans in his career. In 11 games, he averages 5.5 catches (8.8 targets) for 101.5 yards and has scored 9 TD’s. He is also fresh off of his fourth 100-yard game of the season last week against the Baltimore Ravens. This week could be another big game for him.
The Texans give up the fifth-most points to WR’s (35.6 FPPG), and Hilton has already contributed to that, racking up 175 yards and 2 TD’s in Week 9. Houston has allowed seven WR’s to get to at least 100 yards this year, and they’ve done it in a big way. Those seven WR’s averaged 142.1 yards and scored 9 TD’s.
TE Jack Doyle: B
Last three weeks average: 62.3 snaps, 4.7 catches (7.0 targets), 30.7 yards, 0.3 TD per game
For starters, Doyle’s 7.3 targets per game are a near certainty that he’s going to continue getting his looks. He’s struggled getting the yardage up there in recent weeks but has had back-to-back 40-yard outings.
The Texans are 26th against TE’s (14.2 FPPG). If you read this piece on a regular basis, you know that I recommend Doyle almost every week. He’s fantasy’s TE8, so you’re going to want to start a top-10 player pretty much as often as possible. He doesn’t blow up the box score, but he’s dependable to get you something just about every week.
K Adam Vinatieri: B
Last three weeks average: 1.7-of-3.0 FGA (53.3%), 1.0-of-1.0 XPA (100.0%), 6.0 points per game
If you’re looking at the averages, Vinatieri’s recent production has been brutal. However, I’m going to discount the fact that he played in several inches of snow three weeks ago and a rain storm last week. This week is indoors at Lucas Oil Stadium, so this is much more in his favor. The Texans give up the second-most points to K’s (10.0 FPPG), and Vinatieri averages 7.4 FPPG at home this year. Start ‘em.
Colts D/ST: B
Last three weeks average: 368.0 YA, 20.3 PA, 1.0 sack, 1.0 takeaway per game
It’s looking like Houston’s best offensive player, WR DeAndre Hopkins, may not be able to give it a go on Sunday. With him out of the way, the Colts really only need to focus on RB’s Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue. QB T.J. Yates isn’t going to strike fear into the Colts’ heart. Since Yates took over as the Texans’ QB, they only average 241.3 YPG and 9.7 PPG. They’ve been sacked 14 times and have turned the ball over 4 times as well. I fully expect multiple sacks and/or takeaways for the Colts defense.