Matchups: Thursday Night Football - Colts at Titans


Week 10's Thursday Night Football game features the Colts and Titans in an AFC South showdown in Tennessee. It should be a good one for football fans, but doesn't look like it'll be great for fantasy purposes with one of the slates lowest over/unders (48.5) and neither team expected to score a crazy amount of points. Here is how I expect each fantasy-relevant player to perform on Thursday night...


Indianapolis Colts

QB - Philip Rivers

The matchup is probably better than it appears on the surface for Philip Rivers against a Titans defense that allows the 14th most points per game to QBs (19.79). That ranking is probably so "low" because they intercept the ball a lot (1.1 times per game to be specific), only allow 11.5 rushing yards to QBs per game, and have not allowed a single rushing TD all year.


All of that is fine, of course, because Rivers is the dad runnerest of dad runners on the planet. Throwing the ball is his game, and that is where the Titans melt so far; they've allowed the 5th most passing yards (284.8 per game) and are tied for the highest TD rate in football (2.4 passing touchdowns allowed per game).


I also like the matchups for all of Rivers' weapons (even if I don't like the individual weapons themselves since he spreads the ball around so much).


Rivers is averaging 13.66 points and 260.88 passing yards per game with a 10/7 TD/INT ratio in 8 games (1.25 to .88 per game).


Individual QB performances against the Titans to date include:


- Drew Lock (216 passing yards, 1 TD, 0 INT)

- Gardner Minshew (339/3/2)

- Kirk Cousins (251/3/2)

- Josh Allen (263/2/2)

- Deshaun Watson (335/4/0)

- Ben Roethlisberger (268/2/3)

- Joe Burrow (249/2/0)

- Nick Foles (335/2/0)


RB - Jordan Wilkins, Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines

I guess I have to take Jordan Wilkins seriously after leading the Colts backfield in touches 2 games in a row.


So far this season, the Titans are a better matchup for RBs with rushing volume than for RBs who catch passes. The Titans allow the 9th most PPR points per game (25.96) which includes the 12th most rushing yards (99.3) and 3rd highest TD rate (1.4 per game...note that .5 of those are receiving however) but just the 10th fewest catches (4.5) and 9th fewest receiving yards (32.9). Combined, they're offering the 14th fewest touches (26.8) and 15th fewest scrimmage yards (132.1). Silver lining, as mentioned, they DO allow RBs into the end zone at the 3rd highest rate in football.


On the one hand, that might indicate more of a Wilkins day than Nyheim Hines day. On the other hand, the Colts are expected to lose which might lead to heavier passing script (advantage Hines) if they fall behind early.


Regardless, here's what we do know; in the last two games, Jordan Wilkins has handled 52% and 50% of the team's RB touches. Nyheim Hines has handled 16% and 19% of the touches. And Jonathan Taylor has received 32% and 31% of the touches.


That means if the Titans hang around their average of 27(ish) touches allowed, we should expect Wilkins to get 14(ish), Taylor to get 9(ish) and Hines to get 4(ish).


Other backs to get the ball between 12-17 times against Tennessee include:


- Devin Singletary (12 touches, 1 catch, 33 yards, 0 TD)

- David Montgomery (17/3/42/0)


WR - TY Hilton, Michael Pittman, Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson, DeMichael Harris

The Indy WR room is an absolute nightmare for fantasy purposes, with not a single one of them averaging 6 targets, 4 catches, 50 yards or even 9 PPR points. Hell there's only been TWO WR TDs all year. Here's the breakdowns we DO have:


Zach Pascal is averaging:

- 8.21 PPR points

- 5 targets

- 3 catches

- 37.13 yards

- has 2 TDs in 8 games


TY Hilton is averaging:

- 6.73 PPR points

- 5.57 targets

- 3.14 catches

- 35.86 yards

- has no TDs in 7 games


Marcus Johnson is averaging:

- 7.42 PPR points

- 4.6 targets

- 2.6 catches

- 48.2 yards

- has no TDs in 5 games


Michael Pittman is averaging:

- 5.5 PPR points

- 4 targets

- 2.8 catches

- 27 yards

- has no TDs in 5 games


DeMichael Harris is averaging:

- 7.7 PPR points

- 3.5 targets

- 3.5 catches

- 28 yards

- has no TDs in 2 games


The matchup itself is terrific against a Titans defense that allows the 2nd most PPR points per game to WRs (46.13) which includes the 2nd most catches (17.9), 3rd most yards (200.5) and 9th highest TD rate (1.3 per game).


Forced to choose, I'd probably go Hilton>Pittman>Pascal>Johnson>Harris. Hilton and Pittman carry the most upside of the bunch.


Individual performances against TEN include...


Explode:

- Justin Jefferson 7/175/1

- Will Fuller 6/123/1

- Diontae Johnson 9/80/2


Hit:

- Keelan Cole 6/58/1

- Stefon Diggs 10/106

- Brandin Cooks 9/68/1

- JuJu Smith-Schuster 9/85

- Tee Higgins 6/78

- Tyler Boyd 6/76/1

- Auden Tate 7/65

- Allen Robinson 7/81


Meh:

- Jerry Jeudy 4/56

- DJ Chark 4/84

- Adam Thielen 3/29/1

- Gabriel Davis 5/58

- Cole Beasley 6/53

- Randall Cobb 3/17/1

- Anthony Miller 5/59

- Darnell Mooney 5/43


Bust:

- Tim Patrick 4/29

- Laviska Shenault 3/35

- Chase Claypool 1/-2

- AJ Green 2/19


TE - Trey Burton, Mo Alie-Cox

The bad news is that Trey Burton, Mo Alie-Cox and Jack Doyle are all severely limiting each other's fantasy potential.


The good news is that Doyle will likely miss this one, freeing up an exciting (sarcasm) 2.5 targets to be redistributed.


Mo Alie-Cox is averaging:

- 8.06 PPR points per game

- 3 targets

- 2.43 catches

- 39.14 yards

- has 2 TDs in 7 games


Trey Burton is averaging:

- 6.64 PPR points

- 4.8 targets

- 3 catches

- 24.4 yards

- has 1 TD in 5 games.


Forced to choose, I'd go Burton over MAC because he's heavier targeted and has been used as a rusher in the red zone as well so could sneak in a rushing tiddy.


The Titans are a mediocre foe for TEs, allowing the 12th most PPR points per game (13.89) including the 14th most catches (5), 15th most yards (51.4) and 11th highest TD rate (.6 per game).


Individual performances against Tennessee include:


- *** Noah Fant 5/81/1

- The Jaguars 7/76/1

- Kyle Rudolph 2/11/1

- Dawson Knox 1/15

- *** Darren Fells 6/85/1

- Eric Ebron 6/50

- Cethan Carter (the Bengals) 1/2

- *** Jimmy Graham 6/55/1


Tennessee Titans


QB - Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill is averaging 20.72 fantasy points, 247.63 passing yards and 13.13 rushing yards per game with 1 rushing TD and a 19/3 TD/INT ratio in 8 games (2.38 to .38 per game).


This is a tough spot for Ryan Tannehill against a terrific Colts defense that ranks 2nd against opposing QBs in points per game (14.16) including the 3rd fewest passing yards (221.1) and 4th lowest TD rate (just 1.3 passing TDs allowed per game.


They just held the reigning MVP, Lamar Jackson, to 170 yards with no TDs last week. Other individual performances vs Indy include...


- Gardner Minshew (173 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT)

- Kirk Cousins 113/0/3

- Sam Darnold 168/1/3

- Nick Foles 249/1/1

- Baker Mayfield 247/2/2

- Joe Burrow 313/0/1 plus a rushing TD

- Matthew Stafford 336/3/1

- Lamar Jackson 170/0/0 plus 58/1 rushing


RB - Derrick Henry

Volume will always keep King Henry in play (he's averaging 18.8 PPR points, 24 touches, 1.25 catches and 115.5 yards with 8 TDs in 8 games), especially in matchups where they're favored to win at home like this one, but there's no denying this is a brutal matchup for the King.


The Colts rank 4th against RBs in PPR points per game (18.46) and are stout across the board:

- 6th fewest touches (25)

- 2nd fewest rushing yards (62.6)

- 7th lowest rushing TD rate (.5)

- 12th fewest receptions (4.8)

- 7th fewest receiving yards (29.5)

- FEWEST scrimmage yards (92.1)

- 9th lowest TD rate (.8)


Still, as a home favorite RB, Henry figured to be locked into yet another 20+ touch performance. Other backs to touch the piggy 20+ times against Indy went:


- Kareem Hunt - 23 touches, 3 catches, 93 yards (21 receiving), 1 TD (receiving)

- Joe Mixon - 20 touches, 2 catches, 69 yards (15 receiving), 1 TD)


Some other higher-volume efforts against Indy include:


- James Robinson - 17 touches, 1 catch, 90 yards (28 receiving), 0 TDs

- Dalvin Cook - 16 touches, 2 catches, 71 yards (8 receiving), 1 TD

- Frank Gore - 16 touches, 1 catch, 62 yards (5 receiving), 0 TD


WR - AJ Brown, Corey Davis

AJ Brown is averaging:

- 18.78 PPR points

- 8 targets

- 5.17 catches

- 76.17 yards

- has 6 TDs in 6 games


Corey Davis is averaging:

- 13.98 PPR points

- 7 targets

- 4.83 catches

- 61.5 yards

- has 3 TDs in 6 games


The Colts are a mostly difficult matchup for opposing WRs, ranking 11th against them in PPR points per game (33.79) including the 7th fewest catches (11.6) and 13th fewest yards (157.6).


For what it's worth, they ARE allowing 1 TD per game to WR units, which is tied with 5 other teams for the 15th most (as well as the 13th fewest depending on how you look at it).


Individual performances vs Indy include...


Hit:

- Keelan Cole 5/47/1

- Braxton Berrios 4/64/1

- Allen Robinson 7/101/1

- Jarvis Landry 4/88

- Tee Higgins 6/125

- AJ Green 8/96

- Marvin Hall 4/113

- Marvin Jones 3/39/2


Meh:

- Laviska Shenault 3/37/1

- DJ Chark 3/25/1

- Darnell Mooney 5/52

- Odell Beckham 5/58

- Rashard Higgins 3/31/1

- Tyler Boyd 5/54


Bust:

- Justin Jefferson 3/44

- Adam Thielen 3/31

- Marquise Brown 3/38


TE - Jonnu Smith, Anthony Firkser

Jonnu Smith and Anthony Firkser have morphed into a two-headed monster that's worked well for the Titans but been devastating for fantasy purposes.


Smith is averaging:

- 11.3 PPR points

- 4.63 targets

- 3 catches

- 38 yards

- has 6 TDs in 8 games


Firkser is averaging:

- 7.77 PPR points

- 4.43 targets

- 3.43 catches

- 34.86 yards

- has 1 TD in 7 games


The Colts are a difficult opponent for TEs, ranking 2nd against them in PPR points allowed (just 7.63 per game), including the 9th fewest catches (4) and 2nd fewest yards (36.3). The Colts are ALSO the only team in football that hasn't allowed a single TD to the tight end position yet.


That said, they haven't exactly played any elite TEs (unless you count Mark Andrews), but Jonnu and Firkser aren't elite either. Individual performances include:

- The Jaguars 2/8

- The Vikings 1/3

- The Jets 3/21

- Jimmy Graham 4/33

- Austin Hooper 5/57

- The Bengals 0/0/0

- TJ Hockenson 7/65

- Mark Andrews 3/22


For visual reference, here's where they landed in my Week 10 heat map (will be released later this week!):

Score prediction: Titans 24, Colts 23


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