Week 5 NFL DFS gets underway tonight for Thursday Night Football as the Indianapolis Colts travel west to face the Denver Broncos. This game may have had stronger implications when the 2022 NFL schedule-makers put this match-up together, but both teams have gotten off to horrible starts. The Colts will be without star running back Jonathan Taylor and head coach Frank Reich’s seat could not be any hotter than it is right now. Meanwhile, the general public is still calling for Nathaniel Hackett’s head, they lost running back Javonte Williams for the season with a torn ACL and everyone continues to wait for Russell Wilson to start cooking. Regardless, we push on with our DFS Showdown work because, as always, it doesn’t matter how many points are scored; it’s about having those point-scorers in our lineups. Fortunately, we’ve got everything you need right here. You’ve got a full rundown of players and suggestions below and you can always take a look at our Weekly Match-Up Report and use NFL DFS Tools like our DFS Lineup Generator (a.k.a. the DFS lineup optimizer). We have everything you need to build a winning DFS lineup.
Now before we begin, for those who are new to the process, please take a moment to understand what exactly you are getting yourself into by playing single-game Showdown Slates. We love to have some skin in the game, for sure, but these slates are, for all intents and purposes, a lottery ticket. Sure, there are times when the chalk hits and everyone shares in the prizes, but, more often than not, you need to hit on that random dart-throw that differentiates your lineup from that of the herd in order to claim the top prize. As a result, we encourage you to play responsibly and not over-invest. Stick to the GPP contests (single-entry preferred), don’t blow your whole bankroll, and understand that, unless you are a max-entry player, you should prioritize having fun.
OK. Lecture over. Let’s get to tonight’s action.
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos
Spread: Broncos -3.5
Weather: Mostly sunny with temperatures in the high-60s w/ winds blowing NE at 7 mph
- Jonathan Taylor, RB – ankle (out)
- Tyquan Lewis, DL – concussion (out)
- Shaquille Leonard, LB – concussion (out)
- Julian Blackmon, FS – ankle (out)
- Javonte Williams, RB – knee (out for season)
- Tyrie Cleveland, WR – hamstring (questionable)
- Quinn Meinerz, RG – hamstring (out)
- Billy Turner, RT – knee (questionable)
- P.J. Locke, FS – concussion (out)
- Darius Phillips, DB – hamstring (questionable)
2022 DVOA Defensive Rankings
- vs Pass: 27th
- vs Run: 2nd
- vs Pass: 6th
- vs Run: 20th
**Please note that players not listed below are not necessarily a complete fade and any player listed can certainly be used as the MVP/Captain. These are merely suggestions for players to use when setting Showdown lineups.
Courtland Sutton, WR DEN – Pretty obvious that he is the go-to guy as Sutton leads all Broncos receivers in snaps, routes run and targets. He’s been building a solid on-field rapport with his quarterback and after three weeks of respectable receiving numbers, he finally found the end zone in Week 4. It will be a tough battle against Stephon Gilmore and Brandon Facyson, but the Colts do rank dead-last in DVOA against the opposing No. 1 receiver, so it’s obviously not an insurmountable mountain to climb.
Nyheim Hines, RB IND – The expectation is that Hines will see the majority of the work out of the backfield with Taylor out and him really being the only one who has spent any time on the field during the games this season. The Broncos have allowed 114 rushing yards per game with two touchdowns, but we just watched Josh Jacobs run all over them in Week 4 which is likely to continue this week. The Broncos also rank just 15th in DVOA against running back pass-plays, so given how strong a pass-catcher Hines is, we expect a strong effort from him tonight, worthy of the captain’s seat.
Russell Wilson, QB DEN – The Colts pass defense has only allowed an average of 207.5 passing yards per game, but they’ve allowed seven touchdowns through the air and opposing quarterbacks have posted a 104.0 passer rating against them. There don’t seem to be any concerns regarding his shoulder for this game so look for him to continue the in-season improvements we’ve seen.
Mid-Tier DFS Plays
Melvin Gordon, RB DEN – It could be some tough sledding for Gordon and the rest of the Broncos running game as the Colts are allowing fewer than 90 rushing yards per game. However, with Shaq Leonard out with a concussion, the Colts don’t get that extra push up the middle that lends a hand to DeForest Buckner, so if the Broncos offensive line can move the defensive linemen laterally, Gordon will find some holes.
Michael Pittman, WR IND – He is Ryan’s go-to-guy and will continue to lead the team in snaps and targets. Coverage from Ronald Darby and Patrick Surtain on the outside will be tough, but he is easily the Colts most dangerous weapon so expect him to be heavily involved and work for each and every yard he picks up.
Jerry Jeudy, WR DEN – He may be second in targets, but Jeudy has been playing as hard as Sutton and continues to be a factor both in the short passing and the looks downfield. He’s only average between five and six targets per game, but he’s got multiple red zone looks and the two touchdowns to his credit so far. As Wilson gets more and more comfortable (and a little more autonomy at the line), Jeudy should continue to show steady improvement and production.
Matt Ryan, QB IND – While the Colts have been a veritable disaster, you cannot argue against two 300-yard efforts and the fact that he is coming off back-to-back multi-touchdown games. With no Jonathan Taylor, the Colts are going to have to lean a little more on Ryan and his passing, so, despite the fact that Denver ranks sixth in DVOA against the pass, expect a strong effort through the air, including all those valuable dump-offs to the running backs.
Deon Jackson, RB IND – He’s only taken two snaps through the first four games of the season, so there is a strong unknown-factor we are dealing with here. Coming out of college (Duke), he was lauded for his vision, his patience to let the holes develop and find his way through defenses and his speed – not explosive but fast enough to beat the edge rushers outside. He was criticized for not picking up yards after contact, so it should be interesting to see how the Colts deploy him. Hines won’t carry the full load, but if the Colts don’t activate Lindsay, Jackson could see some decent touches.
Mike Boone, RB DEN – It’s difficult to know just how much of a workload Boone will get but he seems to be the complementary back for the Broncos this week. They’ll keep him as involved as he needs to be behind Gordon, but Boone can catch passes out of the backfield so he could see a 35-40% share of the snaps and touches, depending on how Gordon is performing.
Eric Saubert, TE DEN – Slowly but surely, Saubert has surpassed Albert Okwuebunam as the Broncos lead tight end. Last week, he actually saw 77-percent of the snaps and was the only tight end targeted in the passing game. The Colts have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the tight end and rank 28th in DVIA against the position this year, so if Saubert is the one seeing all the work, he makes for a solid pay-down tonight.
Mo Alie-Cox, TE DEN – Locking in Alie-Cox into your lineups feels like chasing after his two-score game last week, but he does garner the most snaps and has run the most routes of any Colts tight end. The Broncos rank 15th in DVOA against the position so look for more red zone targets from the big guy.
Alec Pierce, WR IND – The rookie came back from his injury after Week 2 and continued to earn roughly 45-percent of the snaps while also receiving the second-most targets of any of the Colts receivers. He’ll also be dealing with Darby and Surtain, but Ryan continues to look in his direction, especially when he needs to move the chains on third down.
Kendall Hinton, WR DEN – He seems to have surpassed Hamler as the No. 3 receiver and he’s being used primarily out of the slot where he’ll match up with Kenny Moore, an advantageous match-up if you study the coverage numbers. With an increasing target share, he’s a little better than a dart-throw here.
KJ Hamler, WR DEN – But we don’t want to forget Hamler, especially if he is working out of the slot against Moore, simply because his speed with get him the separation he needs. The targets are few and far between, but in the right coverage, Wilson can lead Hamler with a pass and then it’s off to the races.
Parris Campbell, WR IND – He’s borderline dart-throw material because, while he plays a ton of snaps, he doesn’t really see the targets. Maybe Ryan doesn’t pay the slot receiver much mind or maybe they just haven’t been able to carve out a relationship on the field, but if you’re looking to get a little weird with your lineups, here it is.
Dart Throws DFS Bargains
Aston Dulin, WR IND – While he’s seeing fewer than 30-percent of the snaps, Dulin seems to find his way into Ryan’s sight-lines and the two have connected a few times. The first two games were much more encouraging, but he’s only seen four targets over the last two. Perhaps we see a rekindling tonight.
Kyle Granson, TE IND – He runs the second-most routes and is No. 2 in targets at the tight end position. We know the Colts like to use 2-TE sets on the regular, so he’s worth shot if you want to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack.
Really Deep DFS Bargains
Latavius Murray, RB DEN – We watched Murray rumble into the end zone for the Saints during the London game, but they put him back onto the practice squad where Denver was free and clear to sign him for depth. He’s obviously in game-shape, so perhaps he gets the ball near the goal line as his size could help him push through for a short touchdown.
Philip Lindsay, RB IND – A super-deep dive as Lindsay, at the time of writing this, is still on the Colts practice squad. But how about the ultimate revenge-game narrative that put the former Bronco into the end zone against his former team?