Kickoff: Sunday, October 24th at 7:20 PM ET
Location:Levi’s Stadium, San Fransico, California
Betting Odds: IND -4, 45 total via Oddsshark
San Fransico 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo (Start, QB2) Trey Lance (sit)
Jimmy Garoppolo looks to make his return to the 49ers starting roster after week 6 bye. The bye week gave him time to recover from the calf injury that cost him the game in week 5. Garoppolo has been a serviceable fantasy quarterback. He has at least 1 touchdown in each of his games. He faces a very weak defense in the Colts on Sunday night and should continue to sling the ball. Trey Lance played well in his relief of Garoppolo in weeks 5 and 6 but suffered a knee sprain in week 5. While Jimmy G was starting Lance did have a package of plays getting him looks near the goal line. Garoppolo is on a short leash but will be given the opportunity to keep his job in week 7. If something were to change and it was Lance he would be a start as well. I think the 49ers use Lance less with Jimmy G starting due to Garoppolo’s injury history and not wanting to hurt the quarterback of the future in Lance.
Eli Mitchell (Start, RB2), Trey Sermon (Sit) Kyle Juszczyk (Sit)
In the first game with both Sermon and Mitchell starting it was Elijah Mitchell who saw the most carries. I don’t want to call him a work horseback just yet. He only received 9 carries in a game where Lance had 16. I expect that number to go up. The lead rusher for the 49ers ahs had on average 17 carries in the game. Against a tough run defense in the Colts, Mitchell should have opportunities but might find yards hard to come by. The usage for Trey Sermon in week 5 makes me question if he will be a part of the offense with people healthy. It was predicted by QBlist’s own Justin Dunbar in his bold prediction article that Mitchell would be the lead back in SF. Mitchell also offers some passing upside which will be key for Garoppolo in his first game back and against a tough run defense. If it’s Trey Lance starting, which I doubt, I still think Mitchell is an RB2 based on even fewer rushing attempts for running backs so he will get all of them. In week 5 Mitchell got 44 snaps and Sermon only got 2. The lack of touchdowns from the running back position could be cause for concern but that’s something they will get more cracks at with Garoppolo. Mitchell is tied for the team lead with 4 red zone carries with Lance. Kyle Juszczyk has been getting carries which is great to see a full back get some work. He’s always a red zone touchdown vulture play but he doesn’t get enough volume to be startable or even rosterable for fantasy unless you are desperate, desperate. He has 4 red zone opportunities. 2 carries and 2 receptions.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Brandon Aiyuk (Start, WR2) Deebo Samuel (Start, WR1), Trent Sherfield (Sit), Mohamed Sanu (Sit, flex), Ross Dwelley (Sit, TE2)
The Colt’s pass defense has been horrible. CBS has them ranked 26th in terms of giving up points to the wide receiver position. Deebo Samuel has been the lead dog by far on the team. He has 52 targets. The next closest is injured tightened George Kittle with 28. He is 11th in the league in targets and 5th in yards. He hasn’t seen less than 8 targets in a game and never under 58 yards. He is also playing 83.9% of the team’s snaps which like targets is a wide lead over the next player. That next player is Brandon Aiyuk. Aiyuk is playing 65.8% of the team’s snaps. He is tied with Samuel for 4 red-zone targets which give him some upside. Coming out of a bye the 49ers will be looking to adjust now that Kittle is out for a few more weeks. Ross Dwelley steps into the Kittle role and has performed admirably. He doesn’t have the pass-catching ability that Kittle has. He did play 91% of the team’s snaps in week 5 when Kittle was out. That amount of snaps makes him interesting but nothing more than a bold play. Even with all the byes, there are better options out there in a one-off position. Mohamed Sanu has seen an increase in targets the past 3 weeks before the byes but the 10-year vet doesn’t project to be a main player in the offense. Without an injury in front of the guys like Trent Sherfield and Jauan Jennings aren’t worth rostering.
Carson Wentz (Start, QB1)
The rumors of Carson Wentz‘s demise might have been exaggerated. In the past 3 games, he has 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. He rides that wave into week 7 against a 49ers defense that is ranked 23rd worst giving up points to the quarterback position. He seems to be clicking with his receiving weapons and the Colts have been using their star running game to take some pressure off Wentz. His completion percentage has gone up slightly since coming to Indy. in his 5 years in Philly Wentz completed 62.7% of his passes. So far in 2021, he has completed 64.2% of his passes. He’s getting plenty of opportunities having over 30 passing attempts in every game so far this season except one. He’s a good start in week 7 with other options on bye and he is headed to being a weekly fantasy starter.
Jonathan Taylor (Start, RB1) Nyheim Hines (Sit) Marlon Mack (Sit)
Jonathan Taylor has been on a tear for the past 3 weeks. He comes off a week 6 performance where he rushed for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns on only 14 carries. He has scored in the past 3 games. He is 5th in the league in rushing yards. He is averaging 5.4 yards per carry. He comes into week 7 against a middle-of-the-road rush defense. The 49ers have had the bye week-to-game plan against Taylor but his talent should overcome that. What is also exciting about Taylor is how he has been worked into the passing game. He is averaging only 3 targets over the past 3 weeks but that is similar to what pass-catching back Nyheim Hines is getting. Marlon Mack has been part of trade rumors and since then has started to see more carries. He saw 10,5, and 5 in the past 3 weeks. He hasn’t scored this season but it’s exciting to see him get involved after missing all last season with a knee injury. I don’t expect the Colts to be rushing a ton against the 49ers considering they are playing a defense that gets beat best by the pass and a game where it could be close on the scoreboard.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Michael Pittman Jr (Start, WR1) Zach Pascal (Start, flex) Parris Campbell (Sit) T.Y. Hilton(Start, WR 3) Jack Doyle (Sit) Mo Allie-Cox (Sit, TE2)
The Colt’s passing game has been hitting the past few weeks. The bigger issue is knowing who to start. The obvious choice is Michael Pittman Jr. He has been consistent with targets up until week 6. He has been also very efficient with his passing catching 67.2% of his passes. He has only scored 1 touchdown so far this season but the volume is encouraging. He is playing on 91.6% of the team snaps and has 6 red-zone targets coming into week 6. Zach Pascal has led the team in red-zone target with 9 and has 3 touchdowns. He is second on the team with 29 targets which only trails Pittman who has 46. Both Pittman and Pascal had down weeks in week 6 where Parris Campbell scored a touchdown on his one pass before leaving with a foot injury and veteran T.Y. Hilton came back from injury and lead the team with 4 targets and receptions. The return of Hilton puts a huge question on the pass-catching option in Indy. The Colts are really balanced in terms of pass-run ratio. Tight ends Jack Doyle and Mo Allie-Cox have been equal in terms of targets and receptions. The big difference between the two is Allie-Cox having 3 touchdowns and Doyle having none. They steal enough work from each other that it makes neither fantasy startable unless you are desperate. Hopefully, we get some clarity on the passing game as a whole now that T.Y. is back and fantasy managers can plan accordingly.
-Dustin Ludke (Dunit13dl on Reddit)