Kickoff: Sunday, October 2nd at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Betting Odds: IND -3, 42.5 total via Oddsshark
Ryan Tannehill (Sit)
This marks the fourth consecutive week I’ve covered the Titans, and my opinion of each player’s fantasy viability has yet to change. Through three weeks, Ryan Tannehill has finished 10th, 34th, and 8th in traditional fantasy-scoring leagues. A rushing TD saved his Week 3 line or he would have been 21st. Tennessee’s offense runs through Derrick Henry and this will forever cap Tannehill’s production. The Colts are 17th in pass defense right now at 238 passing yards per game and just held Patrick Mahomes to 262 yards with one TD and one INT. Once again, keep Tannehill on your bench this week.
Derrick Henry (Start, low-end RB1), Dontrell Hilliard (Sit)
While we haven’t returned to the glory days, the production from Derrick Henry last week was nice to see for fantasy managers who trusted him this season. Henry still has yet to eclipse 100 rushing yards in a game this season but did find quite a sizable role in the passing game against the Raiders with six targets. Henry managed five receptions for 58 yards through the air, and when combined with his 85 rushing yards and one TD, Henry finished in the RB1 rankings for the first time this season. The Colts have surrendered a rushing TD in each of the last two weeks and there’s a good chance Henry makes it three in a row this week. Henry can still be started as an RB1 with his rushing volume, but his potentially increased role in the passing game gives him a very solid RB1 floor. Start him with confidence again this week.
After missing Week 2 with a hamstring injury, Dontrell Hilliard returned for Tennessee’s Week 3 tilt against the Raiders and saw his usual workload of about a dozen snaps. Hilliard had a career week back in Week 1 with two receiving TDs, but that is by far the exception as opposed to the rule when looking at his career stats. Hilliard was only involved (target or carry) on three plays last week, and it was only five attempts in Week 1, so unless Henry misses any extended time, Hilliard is no more than a handcuff and can’t be started in Week 4.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Robert Woods (Sit), Treylon Burks (Sit), Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (Sit), Kyle Philips (Sit), Austin Hooper (Sit), Geoff Swaim (Sit)
I’m not going to spend much time on Tennessee’s receiving options this week because none of them can be trusted in your fantasy lineups. Robert Woods leads the WRs in all statistical categories with 16 targets, nine receptions, and 137 yards in three games. Fantasy WRs need more than five targets a game to deserve consideration for fantasy lineups. Tannehill hasn’t settled on a “favorite” WR yet, though it looked like Treylon Burks might be trending in that direction in Week 2 after his six targets but he was back to two targets last week. Kyle Philips struggled on punt returns against Buffalo and missed Week 3 with a shoulder injury while Nick Westbrook-Ikhine has managed just five receptions on nine targets in his three starts. It’s a mess at the WR position in Tennessee for fantasy managers and nobody is much more than bench depth right now, and none can be started this week.
Geoff Swaim has the only other receiving TD for the Titans and he’s arguably the second option to Austin Hooper at the TE position. Swaim has a route running percentage of 68.8% compared to Hooper’s 87.1%, and Hooper has the advantage in ADOT with 8.6 yards to Swaim’s 2.4 yards. Hooper is the better option every week but neither is a reliable starting option for fantasy managers this week.
Matt Ryan (Sit, QB2)
I saw many in the fantasy community laud the Colts for their acquisition of Matt Ryan this offseason as he was viewed as a clear upgrade at the position and possibly the piece to push the Colts into serious contenders for a Super Bowl. Ryan has one of the best RB duos in the NFL behind him, but he’s still struggling as a passer with career lows in almost every statistical category. Ryan has become a game manager in his 15th NFL season and has disappointed fantasy managers with his performance to date. Ryan is simply not asked to do enough with Indianapolis to endorse him as a starter in traditional fantasy leagues this week.
Jonathan Taylor (Start, RB1), Nyheim Hines (Sit, low-end Flex)
After being the near-consensus #1 player in fantasy drafts heading into the season, Jonathan Taylor has been a bit of a disappointment after a promising Week 1. Taylor has managed just 115 rushing yards in his past two games – well shy of his 161-yard outburst in Week 1. Tennessee has been vulnerable to RBs this season as Saquon Barkley gashed them for 194 total yards in Week 1, and Josh Jacobs had similar success with 97 total yards last week. Taylor is closer to Barkley than Jacobs and, like Henry for the Titans, is the primary offensive weapon for the Colts. Expect another RB1 day from Taylor in this divisional matchup this week.
Taylor’s backfield mate, Nyheim Hines, was talked up by HC Frank Reich this offseason and Reich indicated they wanted to get Hines more involved in the offense this season. Hines has been a frequent target for Ryan with 17 this season putting him at second in targets for Indianapolis. Hines doesn’t get many carries (just seven attempts through three games) but his role in the passing game keeps him in the fantasy conversation, especially in PPR leagues. Hines doesn’t see quite enough opportunities to be an every-week starter, but he does provide some Flex appeal in larger leagues or for managers with injury concerns.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Michael Pittman (Start, WR2 with WR1 upside), Parris Campbell (Sit), Alec Pierce (Sit), Ashton Dulin (Sit), Kylen Granson (Sit), Mo Alie-Cox (Sit), Jelani Woods (Sit)
The Indianapolis offense is much like Tennessee’s with their focus on the running game, but the big difference is at the WR position as Ryan has a clear favorite target with Michael Pittman. Pittman, despite missing Week 2, already has 22 targets on the season and has converted them into 17 receptions for 193 yards and one TD. Pittman’s 22 targets make up 18.8% of Ryan’s passes this season and he has shown the potential to finish in the WR1 ranks in Week 1 when he finished as the WR5. Ryan might not have another game with 40 or more passing attempts, but Pittman is as solid a WR2 you’ll find given the volume and, as mentioned, could produce WR1 numbers any given week. Start him with confidence in Week 4.
The rest of Indianapolis’s WR corps is a bit of a crapshoot when it comes to fantasy production. Parris Campbell has started all three games, but has just eight targets on the season and had zero catches in Week 2. Alec Pierce seems to have secured the third WR role ahead of Ashton Dulin but Dulin has been the more efficient player with his targets. All three of these guys are behind Pittman in the pecking order and probably are behind Hines as well. As such, it’s hard to tell which, if any, will produce for fantasy managers every week and therefore it’s hard to recommend any as a viable starting option this week. I’d rank them in the order I listed them, but still wouldn’t start any of them.
There was a time when Ryan had a fantasy stud at TE in Atlanta, but those days are long gone and so is any significant fantasy production from the TE position with Ryan’s new team. And if you try to tell me you knew Jelani Woods would haul in two TD receptions last week, I want you to send me the Powerball numbers for the next drawing! After the first two weeks, it looked like Kylen Granson was going to dominate the majority of the production at TE for Indianapolis, but in Week 3, Mo Alie-Cox had more snaps (42 to 30) and more routes run (23 to 13), and we saw the emergence of Woods as another viable option at the position. Unless one of these players pulls ahead of the others and dominates the snaps or targets, it’s a guessing game as to who will have the best statistical game each week. Avoid the headache and avoid the TEs on this team when considering your starting lineup this week.