Fantasy Football 2014 Week 6, TNF – Colts at Texans


Oct 5, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback

Andrew Luck

(12) throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There will be plenty of high profile fantasy football mainstays taking the field tonight in the battle for first place in the AFC South. The Colts travel to Houston for a divisional clash with the rival Texans, and tonight’s game may actually be the first time this year we see a competitive contest on Thursday Night Football. Both teams enter week six with a 3-2 record, with the winner vaulting to the top of the division as we draw closer to the season’s midpoint.

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The Colts are coming off a tough and impressive home win against the Ravens. However, on a short week Indy now faces a tough road matchup with another physical defense. Though the first five weeks of the season, the argument can be made that quarterback Andrew Luck has been the most impressive signal caller in the AFC. After starting the season 0-2, Luck has rallied the Colts to three straight wins behind a rejuvenated running game and potent passing attack. Luck is leading the NFL with 14 touchdown passes, and will look to improve upon that number tonight against the Texans 20th ranked pass defense. Even in down weeks from a passing yardage standpoint, Luck has still managed to account for at least two touchdowns in every game this season, be it through the air or on the ground. Until last week’s tilt against the Ravens, he had thrown for multiple touchdowns in every game. In most formats, he is the number one fantasy scoring quarterback so far this year; continue to fire him up as a high end QB1 without hesitation. With the Colts boasting the #1 ranked passing attack in the NFL through five weeks, I expect that trend to continue all season. On the receiving end, veteran Reggie Wayne has once again proven why his career is worthy of hall-of-fame consideration. With seven catches in each of the last two games, including 196 receiving yards combined in those contests, Wayne is clearly a low-floor WR2 in standard scoring and a borderline WR1 in PPR formats. Fellow wide receiver T.Y. Hilton is living up to his preseason hype as well from a receptions and yardage standpoint, although he has yet to find the end-zone this year. Hilton is still a viable WR2 in standard and PPR formats, averaging nearly seven catches and just under 92 receiving yards per contest over the last three weeks. Hilton is bound to bust out for a signature, long-yardage touchdown catch very soon. On the surface it would appear that tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen are eating into each other’s production. Even though both players are seeing similar snap totals, it is clear that Allen has become a red-zone favorite of Andrew Luck. Allen has crept his way into low-end TE1 discussion. Scoring in four of five games thus far, Allen is a good bet to find the end-zone again tonight. Fleener remains an uninspiring TE2. Even on the off-chance that he finds the end-zone, fantasy owners with big-name tight ends on bye (Jimmy Graham and Travis Kelce) would be wise to look for a more reliable alternative. On the ground, Ahmad Bradshaw has been a highly productive contributor from a rushing and receiving standpoint. Although he is still being highly out-snapped by starter Trent Richardson, Bradshaw has been able to parlay his somewhat limited field time into big time fantasy production for his owners over the first five weeks of the season. Although he loses goal line carries to Richardson, Bradshaw has taken advantage of his opportunities within the red-zone with four touchdown receptions this season. Averaging just under four receptions per game, Bradshaw is a solid RB2 in PPR formats, but still remains a RB3 in standard scoring due to his lack of overall yardage and lack of usage as a runner near the goal-line. Richardson (3.4 YPC on the season) continues to be the primary ball carrier for the Colts, but is no more than a RB3/Flex even in a plus matchup.

In the battle of the Lone Star State, the Texans came up just short last week against the Cowboys. For the most part, both teams relied on their respective rushing attacks to lead the way, with Dallas edging out a 20-17 victory in overtime. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick did not throw a touchdown pass for the first time this year in last week’s loss, and has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns over the past three weeks. Fitzpatrick is off the fantasy radar except in the deepest of formats as a middling, low-ceiling QB2 option. Fitzpatrick’s shortcomings have generally limited the fantasy output of the Texans receiving corps, however, 2nd year standout DeAndre Hopkins has still been able to provide respectable production even with Houston’s run-heavy approach on offense. Hopkins is averaging a healthy 14.8 yards per catch and has already scored three times this year (after only scoring twice in all of 2013). He is the preferred Texans receiver play tonight as a solid WR2. While the torch hasn’t been completely passed, I think it’s fair to start wondering if Hopkins is now the most talented receiver on the Houston team. While he has not missed any games, veteran Andre Johnson has been a regular on the injury report for what seems like multiple years. He has still been a productive receiver in 2014, totaling 27 catches for 320 yards, but he has yet to find the end zone and has not cleared 75 receiving yards since week one. With that being said, Johnson can still be counted on as a reliable WR3 against Indy’s middle of the road (16th in the NFL) pass defense. Recording at least four receptions in every game this season, Johnson’s value gets a slight boost in PPR scoring formats. Tight end Garrett Graham got a bit of sleeper hype heading into this season, but has been a non-contributor to this point. Graham only has 10 catches for 98 yards through the season’s first five games and is not even on the TE2 radar. He is only worth a bench spot in the deepest of leagues that start multiple tight ends. As it seems is the case heading into every new season, running back Arian Foster’s health is always a hot topic of discussion. After missing much of training camp, Foster once again took fantasy football owners for a ride late this summer. However, those who took a chance on drafting him have certainly reaped the benefit (outside of one missed game).  Throwing out one poor performance against Buffalo where Foster was clearly operating at less than 100%, he has otherwise averaged 26 carries in the three other games he’s played. On the season, Foster has already racked up and impressive 404 rushing yards, averaging 4.7 YPC.  It goes without saying that Foster is a top ten, and possibly top five RB1 when healthy. However, owners should secure a bench spot for Alfred Blue if possible given the fact that Foster is still working through a nagging hamstring injury.

Score Prediction: Colts 27, Texans 23