INDIANAPOLIS — This weekend, the Indianapolis Colts travel to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs in what should be a very intriguing fantasy matchup.
Two of the league’s best offenses, featuring superstar quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends could mean a lot of points for your rosters. Let’s take a look at how your Colts players should fare.
*Weekly positional rankings from FantasyPros.com, based on Half-PPR scoring.
QB Andrew Luck
- Last three weeks avg: 24.7-of-38.0 passing (64.6%), 288.0 yards, 7 total TD, 3 total TO — 25.0 FPPG
- Last week: 19-of-32 passing (59.4%), 222 yards, 2 total TD, 1 total TO — 20.9 FP
- FantasyPros Divisional Round Position Rank: QB2
- Chiefs vs. QBs: 28th (20.9 FPPG)
All signs point to Luck being able to have a big day. The only hang-up: will the Colts be focused on running the ball? If they are running the ball well then Luck’s passing yards will likely dwindle. The passing touchdowns, however, should be fine.
In five games in which the Colts have run for at least 150 yards, Luck has passed for just 217.4 yards. He has, however, averaged 2.4 touchdowns in those games (a total of 12).
In 2018, the Chiefs have allowed four passers to achieve at least 400 yards and another two 300-yarders. Those players combined for 14 touchdown throws. Overall, the Chiefs are 31st in pass defense (273.4 YPG), so if the Colts aren’t pounding the Chiefs in the run game, we should see a big day from Luck either in yardage and/or touchdowns.
RBs Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines
Last three weeks avg:
- Mack — 46.7 snaps (64.1%), 20.3 carries, 100.3 yards (4.9 avg), 2.0 receptions (3.0 targets), 3.0 yards (1.5 avg), 3 total TD, 1 total TO — 16.7 FPPG
- Hines — 22.0 snaps (30.8%), 1.0 carry, 2.0 yards (2.0 avg), 2.3 receptions (3.3 targets), 22.0 yards (9.4 avg), 1 total TD — 5.6 FPPG
- Mack — 53 snaps (67.1%), 24 carries, 148 yards (6.2 avg), 2 receptions (3 targets), 6 yards (3.0 avg), 1 total TD — 22.4 FP
- Hines — 14 snaps (17.7%), 0 carries, 0 targets — 0.0 FP
- FantasyPros Divisional Round Position Rank: Mack RB6, Hines RB11
- Chiefs vs. RBs: 28th (19.9 FPPG)
The most glaring advantage the Colts have on Saturday is with Mack and the run game. Kansas City is 27th in the NFL against the run (132.1 YPG), 31st in yards per carry allowed (5.0) and has given up 20 touchdowns to running backs. They have allowed 11 opposing running backs to reach 100 yards from scrimmage, those players averaging 19.0 touches for 125.1 yards and scoring nine touchdowns. Since Week 13, the Chiefs have given up 164.2 yards rushing per game and six touchdowns on the ground.
The Colts have run for 358 yards (5.0 avg) and two touchdowns in the last two weeks alone against two teams who were solid against the run. With center Ryan Kelly back in the lineup, the offensive line is a threat for a 200-yard game any week.
Individually, Mack has reached 100 yards in three of the last four games and has scored a touchdown in five straight games. Hines’ opportunities have been slowed lately because of Mack’s dominance, so he is a FLEX option if needed.
WR T.Y. Hilton
- Last three weeks avg: 4.7 receptions (8.0 targets), 94.7 yards (22.4 avg) — 11.8 FPPG
- Last week: 5 receptions (10 targets), 85 yards (17.0 avg) — 11.0 FP
- FantasyPros Divisional Round Position Rank: WR3
- Chiefs vs. WRs: 24th (37.5 FPPG)
Hilton was already giving defenses fits the last month or so on a bum ankle, but he told the media this week that it’s beginning to feel better.
“Yeah, I mean it’s getting better. As long as I keep taking it how I am doing I will be fine,” Hilton said.
It’s well documented that The Ghost has been on fire in the second half of the season, averaging 111.3 receiving yards per game since Week 10.
The Chiefs are an intriguing matchup for Hilton, who had three catches for 63 yards in the Colts’ first drive alone last week. Kansas City has allowed nine receivers to go over 80 yards this season, and they’ve allowed 18 receivers to have at least 10.0 fantasy points against them.
TE Eric Ebron
- Last three weeks avg: 3.3 receptions (5.7 targets), 38.0 yards (11.0 avg), 2 total TD — 9.5 FPPG
- Last week: 3 receptions (6 targets), 26 yards (8.7 avg), 1 total TD — 10.1 FP
- FantasyPros Divisional Round Position Rank: TE2
- Chiefs vs. TEs: 32nd (16.1 FPPG)
The Chiefs have been the most generous defense in the league to tight ends this year, as the position averages 5.4 catches for 66.7 yards per game and has scored 10 touchdowns against them this year.
There’s no reason to overthink this one. Ebron scored his tight end league-leading 15th touchdown of the season last week and is now up against the team that ranks worst against tight ends. The matchup couldn’t be better.
K Adam Vinatieri
- Last three weeks avg: 0.7-of-0.7 FGA (100.0%), 3.3-of-3.7 XPA (91.7%), 5.3 points
- Last week: 3-of-3 XPA (100.0%), 3 points
- FantasyPros Divisional Round Position Rank: K5
- Chiefs vs. Ks: 8th (7.0 FPPG)
This matchup doesn’t look great for Vinatieri, but it does for the Colts offense overall. For starters, it's going to be cold and there is a possibility of snow in the forecast, which is an automatic deterrent for fantasy kickers. However, the Colts are also excellent in the red zone (69.1 percent) while the Chiefs defense is not (72.4 percent allowed). That means that Vinatieri is more likely to be booting extra points than field goals.
Colts Defense/Special Teams
- Last three weeks avg: 324.0 yards allowed, 17.0 points allowed, 1.0 sack, 1.7 takeaways
- Last week: 322 yards allowed, 7 points allowed, 3 sacks, 1 takeaway
- FantasyPros Divisional Round Position Rank: DST8
- Chiefs vs. DSTs: 1st (0.4 FPPG)
I’ve been in favor of starting the Colts DST just about every week this year, but Kansas City’s offense is a tough draw. The Chiefs' offense renders opposing fantasy defenses almost completely ineffective, as they don’t even average a full fantasy point per game. The Los Angeles Rams' DST in Week 11 was the only group to have a good game against the Chiefs, and it's because they returned two takeaways for touchdowns.
The Chiefs rarely turn the ball over (tied for the seventh-fewest turnovers ) and have given up the fifth-fewest sacks (26). Those are the types of opportunities that salvage fantasy performances for a defense when the offense is gaining yards and putting points on the scoreboard. Not to be forgotten, the Chiefs are also first in total offense (425.6) and scoring (35.3), so there really are almost no weak spots to take advantage of from a fantasy perspective.
It’s not all negative, however. The Colts defense has had a sack in 12-of-17 games and a takeaway in 16-of-17 games, tying for 10th overall with 26. If there's a defense that should be able to come up with some combination of sacks and takeaways, it's this one.