INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts play host to the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium this Sunday afternoon in an exciting matchup featuring two divisional rivals jockeying for early-season playoff positioning.
These two teams face off at least twice a year, and there always seems to be some explosion on the offensive side of the ball. If this week's game falls in line — which it very well should — then we could be looking at some nice fantasy football numbers to be rewarded to team owners.
Here's what you might expect from the Colts players on your rosters this week against the Texans.
*Weekly positional rankings from FantasyPros.com, based on Half-PPR scoring. Ranks as of Thursday morning of game week.
QB Jacoby Brissett
- Last week: 18-of-29 passing (62.1%), 151 yards, 6 carries, 9 yards, 1 total TD, 1 total TO — 10.9 FP
- Last three weeks avg.: 23.3-of-37.3 passing (62.5%), 242.0 yards, 4.7 carries, 10.7 yards, 6 total TD, 2 total TO — 21.1 FP
- FantasyPros Week 7 Position Rank: QB15
- Texans vs. QBs: 23rd (20.2 FPPG)
Brissett has been one of fantasy's pleasant surprises this season, putting up at least 20 points and multiple touchdowns in every game except for Week 5 (the Colts ran the ball 45 times). Heading into that game, Brissett was tied for the league lead in touchdown passes (10) and was the longest-lasting player with multiple touchdowns in each game.
Against the Texans this year, three of six opposing quarterbacks have had at least 300 passing yards, and four of the six had multiple touchdowns.
In three games last year, former Colts quarterback Andrew Luck diced up the Texans' defense. He totaled 890 yards of offense and six touchdowns in the first two games before the Colts threw a curveball in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs, their third matchup. The Colts ran the ball 35 times that day, totaling 200 yards while Marlon Mack ran for a season-high 148 yards. Both the team and Mack's totals were the highest Houston had allowed all season.
RB Marlon Mack
- Last week: 29 carries, 132 yards (4.6 avg), 3 catches (3 targets), 16 yards (5.3 avg) — 16.3 FP
- Last three weeks avg.: 18.7 carries, 81.7 yards (4.2 avg), 1.7 catches (2.0 targets), 10.0 yards (6.0 avg), 1 total TD — 12.0 FP
- FantasyPros Week 7 Position Rank: RB20
- Texans vs. RBs: 13th (18.0 FPPG)
Mack is fresh off of a huge performance, as Week 5 brought a new single-game career high in carries for him as well as his fourth-most rushing yards in a game. So far this season, Mack has had games with 18, 22, 25 and 32 touches, and both he (94.0 YPG) and the Colts as a team (142.0 YPG) rank in the top five in rushing yards per game.
The Texans are respectable against the run, ranking eighth (88.0 YPG), but there is a way for the Colts to get the upper hand asid from the fact their offensive line is often dominant. Although Houston has yet to allow any 100-yard runners, opposing running backs Austin Ekeler had 81 yards of offense, Leonard Fournette had 87, Alvin Kamara had 169, and Christian McCaffrey had 179 yards and a touchdown. Teams only run the ball against Houston 19.8 times per game, which is the second fewest, but they're also near the bottom of the league in run plays of 20-plus yards allowed (five). The Colts, meanwhile, run the ball 31.8 times per game (fourth-most) and are tied for the sixth-most runs of 20-plus yards (five).
WR T.Y. Hilton
- Last week: 4 receptions (4 targets), 37 yards (9.3 avg) — 5.7 FP
- Last three weeks avg.: 5.3 receptions (6.7 targets), 48.3 yards (9.1 avg), 2 total TD — 11.5 FP
- FantasyPros Week 7 Position Rank: WR8
- Texans vs. WRs: 25th (26.8 FPPG)
It's T.Y. Hilton Week for the Texans, which is a real bummer for them if the past seven years are any indicator. In 14 career games against them, Hilton averages 5.4 receptions (8.7 targets) for 103.2 yards and has scored nine touchdowns. Injuries aside (he missed a game and a half with a quad injury) Hilton's gotten off to a hot start to the season, averaging 6.9 receptions (8.3 targets) for 66.3 yards and has scored four touchdowns (again, based on 3.5 games rather than a full four). When he's in the game, he is clearly the offense's top option in the passing game.
The Texans have definitely surrendered some big performances to opposing receivers this year, as Michael Thomas (10 receptions for 123 yards), Ted Ginn Jr. (seven receptions for 101 yards) and Keenan Allen (13 receptions for 183 yards and two touchdowns) all went over 100 yards, and Calvin Ridley (five receptions for 88 yards and one touchdown) and Tyreek Hill (five receptions for 80 yards and two touchdowns) had at least 80 yards.
TEs Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle
- Last week: Ebron — 1 reception (4 targets), 8 yards (8.0 avg) — 1.3 FP | Doyle — 3 receptions (3 targets), 19 yards (6.3 avg) — 3.4 FP
- Last three weeks avg.: Ebron — 1.7 receptions (4.3 targets), 34.3 yards (20.6 avg), 1 total TD — 6.3 FP | Doyle — 3.7 receptions (5.0 targets), 29.0 yards (6.3 avg), 1 total TD — 6.7 FP
- FantasyPros Week 7 Position Rank: Ebron TE15 and Doyle TE18
- Texans vs. TEs: 4th (3.8 FPPG)
The Colts' tight ends have been tough to peg from a fantasy perspective so far, but they remain playable due to how shallow the tight end position is across the league. The Colts do a fair amount of scoring in the red zone, the Texans are in the bottom half of the league in red zone defense (23rd, 61.1 percent), and tight ends are a big part of it. Both Colts tight ends have 20 targets on the season, which ranks tied for third on the team. With a tough run defense like Houston coming up, perhaps the passing game is opened up a little more in this game. Doyle didn't play in the three games against the Texans last season, but Ebron averaged 4.0 receptions (8.0 targets) for 43.7 yards and scored a touchdown in each game. The Texans haven't allowed any huge games from tight ends this season, but Austin Hooper and Travis Kelce had modest performances against them in the last two weeks.
Colts Defense/Special Teams
- Last week: 324 yards allowed, 13 points allowed, 4 sacks, 1 takeaway
- Last three weeks avg.: 366.0 yards allowed, 22.7 points allowed, 5 total sacks, 3 total takeaways
- FantasyPros Week 7 Position Rank: DST21
- Texans vs. DSTs: 16th (6.0 FPPG)
The Texans have a very dangerous offense, but they've actually been a unit you can start a fantasy defense against. They haven't been sacked in two weeks, but they were sacked 18 times in the four games prior. They have also had starting right tackle Tytus Howard (knee) and reserve interior lineman Greg Manz (concussion) missing practice this week, so they could be short-handed in this matchup. The Texans also turned the ball over in all but one game.
The Colts, on the other hand, have forced a turnover in all but one game and are fresh off of a four-sack game against the Chiefs, who had only allowed one sack in the prior two games. So, the Colts should be able to put up a respectable stat line. Every year is a new year, but the last time the Colts faced the Texans back in January, they held the Texans to only seven points, 322 yards, had three sacks and forced a turnover.