INDIANAPOLIS — Picking which Indianapolis Colts players may have big games for your fantasy teams has been tough sledding this year. Some games they run it down opponents' throats, sometimes it's an air attack.
This week's opponent in the Pittsburgh Steelers presents another talented defense with not many clear ways to attack it. What might be the Colts' strategy in this one? Here's what you can expect from the Colts players on your rosters this week.
*Weekly positional rankings from FantasyPros.com, based on Half-PPR scoring. Ranks as of Thursday morning of game week.
QB Jacoby Brissett
- Last week: 15-of-25 passing (60.0 percent), 202 yards, 6 carries, 34 yards, 1 total TO — 9.4 FP
- Last three weeks avg.: 19.7-of-31.0 passing (63.4 percent), 226.3 yards, 5.7 carries, 16.3 yards, 5 total TD, 3 total TO — 18.6 FP
- FantasyPros Week 9 Position Rank: QB19
- Steelers vs. QBs: 10th (15.8 FPPG)
After a very consistent start to the season, Brissett's fantasy numbers have had some peaks and valleys in the last few games — including a career-best fantasy day just two weeks ago — due to the team's attention to the run game, as well as some tough defenses to pass against. However, this week's matchup is an opportunity for some more fantasy success.
First, what Pittsburgh does well against the passing game: the Steelers are very productive both as ballhawks (tied-second in interceptions ), and as pass-rushers (tied-6th in sacks ). They are also sixth in red-zone scoring allowed (47.8 percent).
There are counters to this, though. While the Steelers' defense ranks high in sacks, interceptions and red-zone defense, the Colts' passing offense ranks tied for fourth in sacks allowed (11), tied for fifth in interceptions thrown (3) and is fifth in red-zone scoring (66.7 percent). On top of that, all but one of Brissett's 14 touchdown passes have come in the red zone.
On the season, Pittsburgh has surrendered four games with more than 250 passing yards, including two with more than 300. They've also allowed multiple touchdown passes in four-of-seven games.
RB Marlon Mack
- Last week: 19 carries, 76 yards (4.0 avg.), 1 catch (1 target), 14 yards (14.0 avg.), 1 total TD — 15.5 FP
- Last three weeks avg.: 22.0 carries, 84.0 yards (3.7 avg.), 2.3 catches (2.3 targets), 14.0 yards (6.0 avg.), 1 total TD — 13.0 FP
- FantasyPros Week 9 Position Rank: RB13
- Steelers vs. RBs: 7th (15.5 FPPG)
Mack has been startable each week, and this matchup is no different. He's the no-doubt lead back for the Colts, totaling at least 20 touches in five games including the last three games, averaging 106.2 yards of offense in those games and scoring twice. In seven games, the Colts have run for at least 100 yards in four of them, as Mack ranks No. 8 in the league in rushing yards (590).
Pittsburgh has allowed three games of more than 100 rushing yards (and another with 99 yards), so the opportunity is there. Opposing runners Rex Burkhead (13 touches for 85 yards), James White (nine touches for 82 yards), Rashaad Penny (11 touches for 65 yards and one touchdown), Chris Carson (18 touches for 87 yards), Jeff Wilson Jr. (eight touches for 18 yards and two touchdowns), Matt Breida (16 touches for 88 yards) and Mark Ingram II (21 touches for 49 yards and one touchdown) have all had quality fantasy performances against the Steelers.
WR T.Y. Hilton
- Last week: 2 receptions (6 targets), 54 yards (27.0 avg.) — 6.4 FP
- Last three weeks avg.: 4.0 receptions (7.0 targets), 55.0 yards (13.8 avg.), 1 total TD — 9.5 FP
- FantasyPros Week 9 Position Rank: WR13
- Steelers vs. WRs: 18th (23.0 FPPG)
*Hilton has some missed some practice time this week with a calf injury. Monitor his status throughout the week.
Appropriately for Halloween week, The Ghost is due for a big performance, averaging 55 receiving yards per game over the last three weeks and scoring just once. He also has no 100-yard games yet this year, which is almost unheard of for him. Even though he hasn't had any huge performances yet, he's been very serviceable for fantasy lineups, scoring at least 10 fantasy points in four of the six games in which he's appeared this season.
The Steelers have allowed some nice performances this season — Phillip Dorsett's four catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns, Josh Gordon's three catches for 73 yards and one touchdown, Julian Edelman's six catches for 83 yards, D.K. Metcalf's three catches for 61 yards and one touchdown, and Tyler Lockett's 10 catches for 79 yards — but haven't surrendered any receiver performances of much substance since Week 3.
TEs Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle
- Last week: Ebron — 3 receptions (4 targets), 26 yards (8.7 avg.) — 4.1 FP | Doyle — 4 receptions (5 targets), 61 yards (15.3 avg.) — 8.1 FP
- Last three weeks avg.: Ebron — 2.7 receptions (4.3 targets), 34.7 yards (13.0 avg.), 1 total TD — 6.8 FP | Doyle — 3.3 receptions (4.3 targets), 33.7 yards (10.1 avg.) — 5.0 FP
- FantasyPros Week 9 Position Rank: Ebron TE11 and Doyle TE19
- Steelers vs. TEs: 26th (8.5 FPPG)
*Ebron has some missed some practice time this week with an ankle injury. Monitor his status throughout the week.
For a team like the Colts who use a lot of two and three-tight end sets, this could be a great fantasy week for them. The Steelers rank near the bottom of the league against tight ends in fantasy, and the Colts have the deepest group in the league. With how productive the Colts are as passers in the red zone, the tight ends could be very productive Sunday at Heinz Field.
The Steelers allowed a big performance to a tight end just recently in Week 6, with the Los Angeles Chargers' Hunter Henry catching eight passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Colts Defense/Special Teams
- Last week: 279 yards allowed, 13 points allowed, 3 sacks
- Last three weeks avg.: 331.3 yards allowed, 16.3 points allowed, 10 total sacks, 3 total takeaways, 1 safety
- FantasyPros Week 9 Position Rank: DST17
- Steelers vs. DSTs: 9th (4.9 FPPG)
Given its track record over the last few games, the Colts' defense is very playable against Pittsburgh this week. The only hangup is that it's on the road, but the Colts have been very impressive defensively recently.
Although the Steelers offensively are first in sacks allowed (7) and second in turnover differential (+10), the Colts have three games with four sacks and two games with three. The Steelers also have at least one turnover in every game even though they have a great differential.
Pittsburgh starting interior offensive linemen Ramon Foster (concussion) and Maurkice Pouncey (calf) have missed practice time this week. The Steelers' running backs are also very banged-up currently, as James Conner (shoulder), Jaylen Samuels (knee) and Benny Snell Jr. (knee) are all dealing with injuries, and Trey Edmunds is their only healthy back. The Colts have also done well against the run game recently. Since giving up 188 rushing yards to the Oakland Raiders in Week 4, the Colts are allowing just 83 yards per game in their three games since.
Pittsburgh ranks 24th in rushing (88.1 YPG), 26th in passing (205.1 YPG), are tied-27th in passing yards per attempt (6.6), 28th in overall offense (293.3 YPG) and 28th in red-zone scoring (41.2 percent). Unless this one of those random games where the road team just doesn't show up, the Colts D/ST should be able to deliver for your rosters in this one.