Fantasy Football: Week 11 Thursday Night Preview
Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) at Tennessee Titans O/U 42.5
In the first of two meeting over the next three weeks, the Colts will make the trip south to take on the Titans, both coming off of disappointing losses in Week 10. The Colts swept the Titans last season's series with their divisional foe, coming back from behind in both contests in Andrew Luck's first year under center. Both teams have issues to overcome the Colts being in the running game and the Titans in their passing game, now that Jake Locker has been placed on Injured Reserve.
With the fantasy playoffs only four weeks away, tonight's game may have a lot on the line for some owners, especially those teetering between a playoff spot and or the consolation round. While I don't expect this game to be a shootout bases on the point total posted in Las Vegas, there is still a good chance the top fantasy options in the game can be productive. So sit back and enjoy as we kickoff Week 11, let's just hope we get as good of a game, if not better, then what we saw a week ago.
Andrew Luck (IND)--Coming off of his worst game in three weeks, Luck draws a tough Titans defense that has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Having allowed only one passing touchdown over the last five weeks, expect the Colts to try and beat the Titans on the ground, which has been a thorn in the team's side for much of the season. With that said, it is unlikely we see Luck attempt more than 40 passes in this contest, unless the Colts are behind at any point in the second half. Although Luck has yet to have two bad games in a row, it is hard to imagine he is going to go over 20 fantasy points tonight, unless he is able to add a touchdown with his legs, which he has shown the ability to do in the past. If the Colts can establish the run early on in this contest, there is a chance the passing game could open up for business, I just don't see it happening, at least in the way we have seen from him thus far in 2013.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (TEN)--After losing Jake Locker for the season in the early going in Week 10, Fitzpatrick did an admirable job in his spot, finishing with three total touchdowns and a spot in the top five among fantasy quarterbacks. Now with even more practice with the first team this week Fitzpatrick should have a better feel for the Titans offense while increasing his relationship with the team's pass-catchers. Leading up to Week 7, the Colts had allowed only four passing touchdowns on the season, but since then they have given up eight touchdowns through the air in three games. While I don't think that Fitzpatrick will end up in the top 10 among fantasy quarterbacks in back-to-back weeks, the matchup is definitely a favorable one, and he has the arm to make it happen. Those who have Tony Romo on a bye-week or lost their starting quarterback, either Aaron Rodgers or Jay Cutler, may want to give Fitzpatrick a look tonight if he is still available on the waiver wire.
Chris Johnson (TEN)--Right when we thought the players we grew to love a few years ago was back after a few good games, he failed to keep the streak alive, finishing with five fantasy points in standard leagues. Heading into Week 10, the Jaguars defense had allowed seven rushing touchdowns over their last three games, so if Johnson couldn't do anything against them, it is hard to be optimistic for tonight's contest. The Colts have given up five rushing touchdowns on the season, but only two over their six games, while allowing opposing running backs to reach 20 fantasy points only once (last week). Now that the Titans will not have their top quarterback under center, the team may choose to run the ball more, but with the presence of Shonn Greene and the team dedicated to giving him the carries near the goal line, it is hard to imagine Johnson will finish tonight with above average fantasy production.
Trent Richardson (IND)--The Browns knew something that no one else knew about Richardson, that being he only fits offenses similar to the one that was being used in Cleveland. Since being traded to the Colts, Richardson has just one double-digit scoring week, and has yet to surpass five fantasy points over the team's last five games. He is now arguably the biggest bust of the 2013 season, after going off draft boards as high as the middle of the first round. However, if there was a week to bounce back and try to prove yourself to your new team, it would be this week. The Titans have allowed two multiple rushing touchdowns in four straight games, resulting in 20 or more fantasy points given up to opposing rushing back in each contest. It should be noted that the Colts will get Donald Brown in the mix as well, but he is used more in passing situations, so he should not have too much of an effect on Richardson's touches. I am not saying he will have a top 10 finish this week, but if there was a defense to go off on, it would be this one.
Donald Brown (IND)--Although Brown has been passed by three running backs on the depth chart since training camp (Ahmad Bradshaw, Vick Ballard, Trent Richardson), he has still found a way to get on the field, either by way of injury or unproductive performances. He has only one game in which he has reached double-digit carries, but his work in t he passing game has made him a low-end flex option, especially in PPR leagues. As mentioned in earlier, the Titans have had a rough time defending opposing running backs of late, and considering how well they have been defending the passing game, there is a chance for a lot of check downs that will likely be headed in Brown's direction.
Shonn Greene (TEN)--Despite a great matchup against the in Week 10, the Titans running game was a non-factor, totaling 33 rushing yards between Green and Chris Johnson. This week the matchup is a lot tougher, with the ninth ranked run defense of the Colts coming to town. The Titans are dedicated to getting Greene the ball near the goal line, as we saw in Week 9 against the Rams, considering Johnson is more of a flashy runner that is below average running between the tackles. Taking into consideration the matchup and the Titans offense, it is hard to recommend using Greene this week outside of TD-only or deep fantasy formats.
T.Y. Hilton (IND)--After somewhat of a slow start, Hilton has really turned his season around over the last two week, hauling in seven catches for a minimum of 121 yards in each contest. With Reggie Wayne out for the season, Hilton is clearly the No. 1 option in the Colts passing game, leaps and bounds ahead of the next option (Darrius Heyward-Bey). However, that doesn't mean he is a must-start in on a weekly basis. In two games against the Titans a year ago, Hilton finished with seven catches for 85 yards, and this year's Titans secondary is one of the best in the league. The Titans have allowed only two touchdowns to opposing wide receivers all season, with the last coming back in Week 2, while giving up an average of 12.8 fantasy points to whole receiving cores in standard leagues. It is tough to sit a player with the skill set of Hilton, but don't come crying to me if he puts up a dud.
Kendall Wright (TEN)--The Titans passing game has gone through a transition from a season ago, with Wright being the main option their passing attack. Despite recording only one game with double-digit fantasy points, Wright continues to stay involved, having totaled five or more receptions in all but two games this season. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has already taken a liking to Wright, and will likely be looking his way tonight early and often, considering the team's running game has a very tough matchup ahead. After starting the season as one of the top secondaries in the league, the Colts have been exposed over the last few weeks, having allowed seven touchdowns to opposing wideouts since Week 7. There is a chance Wright has his best game of the season tonight considering the matchup, so be sure to get him into your starting lineups.
Darrius Heyward-Bey (IND)--Despite being moved to the No. 2 spot in the depth chart, Heyward-Bey has yet to have a breakout game, totaling four catches for 41 yards since Reggie Wayne went down. This week will likely not be the week for a turn around, considering the Titans have stopped just about every team when forcing them to throw and I don't see that changing this week. Unless you are in a 16-team league or more, Heyward-Bey should not even be in the discussion to take a spot on starting rosters in Week 11.
Nate Washington (TEN)--It has been a tough stretch for Washington over his last five games, having recorded only 10 catches resulting in minimal fantasy production. As mentioned earlier, this week's matchup is very favorable, with the Colts allowed a ton of production to opposing wide receivers over their last few games. There is room for optimism, considering quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has targeted him often while on the field, including 12 targets in his last two starts under center. However, with most leagues winding down over the next few weeks, there are safer options out there to go with, so only use Washington in extreme situations.
Kenny Britt (TEN)--For some reason Britt is still owned in over 50 percent of ESPN leagues, despite only eight catches on the season. Not over the last few weeks, on the season. That is not a typo. If you are in that population, you need to add a relevant option if you want to be taken serious in your fantasy leagues.
Coby Fleener (IND)--It was assumed Fleener and Andrew Luck would make for a great pair in the NFL after being teammates at Stanford, but that has yet to pan out at the next level. Even when playing from behind in Week 10, Fleener failed to be fantasy relevant, catching only four of his 10 targets for 33 yards, in what continues to be another disappointing season. After a slow start against opposing tight ends, the Titans have turned things around, allowing only one touchdown over there hast five games. At this point, even in the best of situations, it is hard to rely on Fleener to be productive, so it it is possible, go with a different option in Week 11.
Delanie Walker (TEN)--Coming off of his best game of the season in which he totaled 12 fantasy points in standard leagues, Walker has a tough task tonight against the Colts. Outside of a touchdown to Julius Thomas in Week 7, the Colts have not allowed a touchdown to opposing tight ends, including only two games of double-digit fantasy production. Although I think Fitzpatrick has taken a liking to Walker, it is hard to imagine he will get many targets in the contest, unless the Titans get down early, so he should remain benched in all but the deepest of fantasy formats.
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