The Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots conclude the NFL's collection of game “across the pond” in England and Germany. The Patriots sit at 2-7 and might just be facing the reality that they're playing for a draft pick at this point, while the Colts have a pulse at 4-5 with Gardner Minshew as their starting quarterback. There was a time when a showdown between these two teams meant something. They met plenty of times during the glory days of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. There's the infamous Deflate Gate narrative. The Colts hanging a banner for simply appearing in the AFC Championship Game almost a decade ago. This game may not be as tasty as last week's matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins but there's still an opportunity to make some money so let's take a look at the top NFL DFS Showdown plays and strategies for Sunday morning's game!
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Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Spread: Colts (-1.5)
Total: 43.5 Points
Weather: This game will be played in a controlled environment.
- Juju Brents, Corner – OUT (Quad)
- Drew Ogletree, Tight End - Out (Foot)
- Josh Downs, Wide Receiver – Questionable (Knee)
- Trent Brown, Offensive Tackle – OUT (Ankle)
- JC Jackson, Corner - OUT (Personal)
- DeVante Parker, Wide Receiver – OUT (Concussion)
- Demario Douglas, Wide Receiver - Questionable (Ankle)
NFL DFS MVP/Captain
The Patriots defense has lost it’s two best playmakers to injury is pass rusher Matthew Judon and rookie corner Christian Gonzalez. That should make life a bit easier for Minshew this week. Jonathan Jones has faired pretty well against top WRs with safety help over the top but Jack Jones and JC Jackson were reprimanded last week for being late and JC Jackson wasn’t even brought with them on the trip this week. The Patriots are actually top five in DVOA against the run but are 23rd against the pass so we are leaning into the narrative that the Colts will go to the air. The one game Jonathan Taylor has played against the Patriots he did have 170 rushing yards but that was back in 2021.
He’s the second most expensive player on DraftKings behind Jonathan Taylor at $15,600 if you want to make him captain and for good reason - the Colts have struggled against the run. They are giving up the fourth most points to the position and are in the bottom third of teas in DVOA. He was able to rip off a 64 yard touchdown in route to a day with 129 total yards from scrimmage. Over on Yahoo, Jonathan Taylor is $25, Zack Moss is $1, Stevenson is $19, and Ezekiel Elliott is $17, making Stevenson the obvious value play on that platform.
Mid-Tier & DFS Value Plays
We like starting Minshew so we need someone to stack him up with. The Pats are 23rd in DVOA vs. the pass but are 2nd in DVOA against WR1s. They are notorious for taking away your top option so Michael Pittman will be a focal point. The injury to Christian Gonzalez has shifted Jonathan Jones into the number one chair. As we mentioned in the Minshew section, the secondary pieces after him have been in rough shape. Alec Pierce did show up late on the injury report and he’s been one of the least efficient receivers with his snaps so he’s not our top choice but that’s also going to have people off him so he’s not a terrible option. Especially since he’s only $800 on DraftKings.
This is our real ringer this week. The Patriots are ranked 30th this year in DVOA against the Josh Downs did not practice once this week with a knee injury. He’s listed as questionable though he probably isn’t going to play and, even if he does, he tried to play last week too and left the game early. The last game Isaiah McKenzie played over 80% of the snaps in a game was actually in 2021 for the Bills. Against the Patriots. He had 11 catches on 12 targets for 125 yards and a TD out of the slot. He caught eight of those passes for 83 yards against Myles Bryant specifically. The NFL passer rating against Myles Bryant this year is 125.8. That’s the matchup this week.
Pop is going to be a pop-ular play this week. And that’s for good reason. He’s led the Patriots wide receivers in routes run two weeks in a row now with Kendrick Bourne out and he’s easily their most explosive player. Not only is Bourne out but DeVante Parker as well so the Patriots don’t really have anywhere else to go. He’s mostly been playing slot this year but last week he played 34 snaps out wide and 19 in the slot which is a good thing because the Colts have allowed the fourth fewest points to slot receivers this year. The key for Douglas is screen passes (of which he leads the team with seven) and he is due to break one off. Just keep an eye on the ankle issue as Douglas was able to get some limited practices in but is listed as questionable. If he’s out then we’ll need to pivot.
Touchdown. That it’s. That’s the game. Only two players on the Patriots have a carry at all inside the 20 yard line. Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott. They both have three carries inside the five, they both have two touchdowns. If Zeke has one carry for one yard for one touchdown he justifies his price on all platforms. No team has allowed more rushing touchdowns this year than the Indianapolis Colts with 15.
With the injuries to Kendrick Bourne and DeVante Parker the Patriots made a big pivot last week to two tight end sets. In fact, Hunter Henry (40 of 47) and Mike Gesicki (41 of 47) led the team in routes run last week ahead of Demario Douglas (39) and Jalen Reagor (32). Where Henry really excels is in man to man coverage which is what leads him to have so much success in the red area where it’s often zero coverage. The Colts are middle of the pack in DVOA vs. the TE and have only let up one touchdown to the position but they have let up the 5th most yards with 530. I know I said “two tight end sets” but Mike Gesicki really lines up at WR (51 snaps a WR, 4 inline). As we mentioned in the Pop Douglas section, teams have not faired well in the slot against this team this year.
We’ve got to mention Kylen Granson here for two reasons. One, Drew Ogletree has already been ruled out leaving Granson as the obvious pass-catching option alongside the blocking tight end Mo Alie-Cox. Second, he’s one of the few viable options at the bare minimum price of $10 over a Yahoo DFS which gives you a lot of flexibility with your lineup. He could run into trouble facing Kyle Dugger but free is free and you really just need a couple of catches to justify that price. A touchdown would be even better
Kickers and D/ST’s
The Patriot's defense is missing some key playmakers like Matthew Judon and Christian Gonzalez so we’re not inclined to use them here. But the Colts are on the table. Mac Jones is tied for the league lead with nine interceptions and the Pats have had 14 turnovers this year. The Colts defense has generated the 8th most turnovers with 14 and they are top 10 in sacks per game with 2.8. Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown didn’t make the trip so the line is not at full strength.
Predicting kicker points is not necessarily an exact science but friend of the Fantasy Alarm Family, Linda Godfrey (@Lindellions on Twitter) is one of the best in the business at it. She has Matt Gay ranked as a top 10 option this week and the Patriots, with their “bend don’t break” mentality, are letting up the fifth most points to kickers this year. The Patriots are actually dead last in this metric so you could pay down to Ryland if you need the money, but I’d wager that Gay outscores Ryland if you want to play the kicker game.