INDIANAPOLIS — When the Indianapolis Colts host the Tennessee Titans this Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, they'll be looking to bounce back and have a complete team effort after losing three of their last four games.
When we have seen the Colts pull together and click in all three phases of the game, it's brought some fruitful fantasy football results to those that have some of their players in their lineups. Could this Sunday be another one of those days? The Colts have had good fortune against the Titans for quite some time now, winning 14 of the last 16 matchups, so the signs are there for this to be a positive outcome for the Colts.
What should you expect from the Colts players in your lineups this week? Let's take a look.
*Weekly positional rankings from FantasyPros.com, based on Half-PPR scoring. Ranks as of Thursday of game week.
QB Jacoby Brissett
- Last game: 16-of-25 passing (64.0 percent), 129 yards, 4 carries, 20 yards, 1 total TD — 13.0 FP
- Last three games avg.: 15.3-of-24.7 passing (62.2 percent), 159.7 yards, 4.0 carries, 22.0 yards, 3 total TD, 2 total TO — 12.9 FP
- FantasyPros Week 13 Position Rank: QB19
- Titans vs. QBs: 16th (17.4 FPPG)
While the Colts have leaned heavily on the run game in the last month, Brissett's fantasy numbers have slimmed down a bit. For example, over the last five games the offense is averaging 162.8 rushing yards and 163.4 passing yards per game. For those doing the math at home, that's not even an entire yard.
Brissett's numbers in his last three starts are pretty similar to his Week 2 performance against the Titans, so there's not much reason to expect much different. The main difference is that he carved Tennessee's defense for three red-zone scores in Week 2, which is always possible again this week as the Colts rank seventh in the NFL offensively in the red zone (63.4 percent) while the Titans' defense is 30th (64.5 percent).
The Colts' passing game is likely to take on a new look going forward, as tight end Eric Ebron has been placed on injured reserve with reported injuries to his ankles, receiver Devin Funchess remains out while his collarbone heals and T.Y. Hilton suffered a setback with his calf injury and is out this Sunday (and considered week-to-week). Speedy rookie wide receiver Parris Campbell, meanwhile, is hoping to return to the lineup this week after suffering a broken hand Week 9 against the Pittsburgh Steelers; he's labeled as questionable for the game.
While predicting the Colts' passing game to suddenly bloom again is risky, Tennessee is an opponent against which it's completely possible. Before their bye week in Week 11 and subsequent domination of the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, the Titans allowed their last four opposing quarterbacks to have multiple passing touchdowns. Three of those four quarterbacks went over 300 yards, and the four as a group averaged 327.0.
Even though the Colts' run game is clicking, they would like to capitalize more in the passing game, so they could emphasize it this week. Here is Reich talking to reporters about the Colts' passing game earlier this week:
“To me the big thing is – and you guys all know this – the big stat in the pass game is yards per attempt. That is no secret. Everybody knows that. So we just need to get our yards per attempt up. You get that by chunk plays, but not just by chunk plays. You get that by being efficient in the passing game. I mean you could throw it short and have a long run. You could throw it short just to have a high completion percentage and you’re still going to get your yards per attempt up. So it is just overall efficiency of the pass game. So we just need to be a little more productive there.”
Week 2 statline: 17-of-28 (60.7 percent) for 146 yards (5.2 YPA), 3 pass TD, 1 INT, 7 carries for 25 yards (3.6 avg.), 1 FL — 21.5 FP
RB Jonathan Williams and Nyheim Hines
- Last game: Williams — 26 carries, 104 yards (4.0 avg.), 3 catches (3 targets), 17 yards (5.7 avg.), 1 total TD — 19.6 FP | Hines — 9 carries, 51 yards (5.7 avg.), 2 catches (3 targets), 10 yards (5.0 avg.) — 7.1 FP
- Last three weeks avg.: Williams (two games) — 19.5 carries, 110.0 yards (6.5 avg.), 2.0 catches (2.0 targets), 24.0 yards (12.0 avg.), 1 total TD — 17.4 FP | Hines — 5.0 carries, 25.3 yards (4.7 avg.), 3.0 catches (4.7 targets), 21.3 yards (7.1 avg.), 1 total TD — 8.2 FP
- FantasyPros Week 13 Position Rank: Williams RB18 and Hines RB45
- Titans vs. RBs: 17th (18.6 FPPG)
Despite only starting one of the last two games, Williams has eclipsed 100 yards in both contests. While it's unreasonable to expect that kind of production every week, are we sure we're not witnessing a player who finally got an opportunity and has now shown he's the real deal?
With starter Marlon Mack out with a hand injury, Williams has been outstanding. Not only was he given the starting role last week in Mack's absence despite being the shortest-tenured running back on the roster, but he had almost 30 touches in the game. That's trust.
Nyheim Hines saw his biggest workload of the season last week, getting 12 touches. That could continue, but Jordan Wilkins may get more involved now after being another week removed from his ankle injury.
“Yeah, I’m hoping so. I’m hoping so," Reich said about Wilkins getting some playing time this week after logging just one offensive snap last week. "I just think that it was really important that we got him back to full strength and I think he is there. So hopefully he will be a little bit more involved this week.”
The Titans have only allowed one 100-yard rusher this season (Christian McCaffrey had 24 carries for 146 yards and two touchdowns). However, there's been about nine running backs to have nice fantasy games against them, including five who have had at least 100 total yards of offense. Those players scored six touchdowns.
Week 2 statline: Hines — 2 carries for 9 yards (4.5 avg.), 1 catch (2 targets) for 5 yards — 1.9 FP | Williams — DNP
- FantasyPros Week 13 Position Rank: Zach Pascal WR61, Chester Rogers WR92 and Marcus Johnson WR96
- Titans vs. WRs: 18th (22.7 FPPG)
Hilton returned last week from a three-game absence due to a calf injury, but suffered a setback and is now out for an undetermined amount of time.
Without Hilton, the Colts' passing game has primarily leaned on Zach Pascal, the tight ends and Hines. Chester Rogers and Marcus Johnson will also see action, while undrafted rookie Ashton Dulin could see added snaps, and there's a chance that the Indy offense could get a boost with the potential return of Campbell.
Since Week 8, Tennessee has allowed three 100-yard receivers: Mike Evans' 11 catches for 198 yards and two touchdowns, D.J. Moore's seven catches for 101 yards and Tyreek Hill's 11 catches for 157 yards and one touchdown.
Week 2 statline: Rogers — 3 catches (4 targets) for 24 yards (8.0 avg.) — 3.9 FP | Campbell — 1 catch (1 target) for 12 yards and 1 TD — 7.7 FP
TE Jack Doyle
- Last week: 3 receptions (4 targets), 28 yards (9.3 avg.) — 4.3 FP
- Last three weeks avg.: 2.0 receptions (2.7 targets), 24.0 yards (12.0 avg.), 1 total TD — 5.4 FP
- FantasyPros Week 13 Position Rank: TE11
- Titans vs. TEs: 22nd (7.9 FPPG)
Doyle's fellow starting tight end, Ebron, was placed on season-ending IR this week with reported injuries to his ankles. Although they didn't play the same role, that obviously puts a little more of a workload on Doyle's plate, potentially giving him a couple more targets per game. He's already had at least four targets in 7-of-11 games this year.
The Titans have given up some nice fantasy performances this season, including David Njoku's four catches for 37 yards and a touchdown, Ebron's three catches for 25 yards and a touchdown, Austin Hooper's nine catches for 130 yards, Hunter Henry's six catches for 97 yards and Travis Kelce's seven catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.
With the Colts' effective red zone offense going against the Titans' shaky red zone defense, this could be a nice day for Doyle and/or any of his fellow tight ends.
Week 2 statline: 2 catches (3 targets) for 21 yards (10.5 avg.) — 3.1 FP
Colts Defense/Special Teams
- Last week: 396 yards allowed, 20 points allowed, 1 sack, 1 takeaway
- Last three weeks avg.: 311.0 yards allowed, 16.3 points allowed, 6 total sacks, 4 total takeaways, 1 two-point conversion return
- FantasyPros Week 13 Position Rank: DST18
- Titans vs. DSTs: 15th (7.1 FPPG)
The Titans have kicked their game up a notch since switching to Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. They averaged 16.3 points per game before making the move and now average 29.4 since. They are also up to 237.6 passing yards per game after averaging 187.7 before, and they are sacked 2.8 times per game now after being sacked 4.8 times per game previously.
The sacks are still an issue, however, as they'e been sacked in 10-of-11 games, and have been sacked at least three times in eight games. In their last six games, they also have 11 turnovers. Overall, they rank 24th in total offense (333.2 YPG), 25th in passing (210.4 YPG), are tied for 25th in third-down conversions (34 percent) and 29th in fourth-down conversions (20 percent), and are 27th in time of possession (28:31).
The Colts defense has been a playmaking bunch, especially in the second half of the season. Since Week 8, no opponent has reached 300 net passing yards against them, and three of them didn't even reach 200. In terms of the ground game, since Week 5, the Colts are only allowing 76.7 rushing yards per game, which would rank first in the NFL if it were their number for the whole season.
They have a tough challenge ahead of them this week against Titans running back Derrick Henry, who has run for 347 yards and four touchdowns on 42 carries (8.3 avg.) in the last two games. His 991 yards on the season currently ranks fourth in the NFL.
Week 2 statline: 243 yards allowed (119 passing and 124 rushing), 17 points allowed, 4 sacks