What We Saw: Colts at Titans

The Colts peg back the Titans in an entertaining Thursday Night Football encounter.

Colts @ย Titans

 

The Indianapolis Colts climbed level with division rivals the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South after a commanding 34-17 win in Nashville. The Colts completely dominated the time of possession up until the 4th quarter, and their defense and special teams accounted for a blocked punt that was returned for a defensive touchdown at a crucial moment in the game. It was a surprising night for fantasy owners as the underdogs shined through. Oh, and you should be searching out rookie Michael Pittman Jr. in all your leagues right now!

 

Indianapolis Colts

 

Quarterback

 

Philip Rivers: 29/39, 308 yards, 1 TD, 1 sack

Jacoby Brissett: 1 carry, 2 yards, 1 TD

 

The old stalwart still has some gas in the tank โ€“ Philip Rivers (16.32 fantasy points on Yahoo!) rolled back the years on the night he passed the legendary Dan Marino (61,361 yards) for the 5th-most passing yards in NFL history. One of the main reasons was this phenomenal Colts offensive line, who protected the pocket for Rivers all night against this tough Titans defense, allowing him the time to show off his incredible ball placement skills that have served him so well throughout the years.

 

It has been a case of “Jekyll and Hyde” at times for the ageing Rivers, and his arm strength continues to be an issue when the Colts fall behind in games (as shown in the defeat to the Ravens last week). He has only topped 20+ fantasy points in 2 of his 9 games this season. Still, he is a viable streaming option going forward with his 22% rostered status.

“Loveable back-up QB gets his moment in the sun” is the headline for Jacoby Brissett (6.20 fantasy points) who scored on his lone carry of the night, a designed quarterback run to put the Colts in an unassailable position in the middle of the 4th quarter.

 

Running Backs

 

Nyheim Hines: 12 carries, 70 yards, 1 TD | 6 targets, 5 receptions, 45 yards, 1 TD

Jordan Wilkins: 8 carries, 28 yards | 1 target

Jonathan Taylor: 7 carries, 12 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 25 yards

 

Nobody and I really mean nobody, had Nyheim Hines (28.50 fantasy points) as the focal point of this Colts attack going into the season โ€“ leading the backfield, and amazingly leading the team in receptions coming into Week 10, Hines had a stellar night in Nashville. His motion out of the backfield is elite, and Frank Reich has supreme confidence in him both on passing downs and around the redzone.

 

Hines was a happy man on his birthday, notching a second touchdown to put the Colts ahead at the end of the 3rd quarter thanks to his nifty feet and a courageous leap. He is the man to own in this running back by committee Colts offense.

 

It was another disappointing night for rookie Jonathan Taylorย (5.70 fantasy points), who averaged just 1.7 yards per carry and looks to be off the menu for work near the goal line. The rookie will still get plenty of volume going forward but the production is far from what we expected. Jordan Wilkins (2.80 fantasy points) has also leapfrogged Taylor for short-yardage work in recent weeks, although Wilkins did get stopped twice on 4th and short in this game, once at the goal line when the Colts were still trailing.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Michael Pittman Jr.: 8 targets, 7 receptions, 101 yards | 1 carry, 21 yards

T.Y. Hilton: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 40 yards

Zach Pascal: 5 targets, 4 reception, 33 yards

Trey Burton: 3 targets, 3 reception, 24 yards

De’Michael Harris: 1 target, 1 reception, 21 yards

Mo Alie-Cox: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 19 yards

Marcus Johnson: 1 target

 

Rookie Breakout Game Alert!! Welcome to the NFL Michael Pittman Jr. (19.20 fantasy points)! The 2nd round wide receiver out of USC looked both assured and explosive against a solid Titans secondary and looks to have established himself as the No.1 receiver in this offense. He lit up the field on every reception tonight. Pittman is only 9% rostered in Yahoo! leagues and he is a must-add during waivers this week.

 

The writing is on the wall for both T.Y. Hilton (8.00 fantasy points) and Zach Pascal (7.30 fantasy points) with the emergence of Pittman tonight. Both receivers are free agents at the end of the season and the Colts will likely allow them to walk away. This might not be the worst thing for fantasy production, however. Rivers is going to hurl every week and these two guys will look to impress in the shop window. They are a hold through the next couple of weeks as they may have FLEX value.

Neither tight end in this offense capitalized on the absence of Jack Doyle through injury and both should not be considered fantasy relevant.

 

Tennessee Titans

 

Quarterback

 

Ryan Tannehill: 15/27, 147 yards, 1 TD, 1 sack | 2 carries, 9 yards

 

It was a rough night for Ryan Tannehill (10.78 fantasy points) as the Colts hogged the ball for much of the game, and when he did get an opportunity to stand in the pocket and throw downfield to his receivers, he ended up taking some nasty licks from this ferocious Colts defensive line. DeForest Buckner laid a couple of big hits on him and this speaks to the pressure Tannehill was under all night.

 

It just didn’t click tonight for Tannehill and that is not surprising given this Colts defense gives up the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. Arthur Smith failed to draw up anything that allowed Tannehill to be effective.

 

He did throw a perfect pass to A.J. Brown on the Titans’ second drive of the game but the big man juggled it clumsily before allowing it to fall out of bounds on what should have been a 72-yard TD pass to extend the Titans lead to 14-0. It is a totally different ball game if that play comes off.

 

Running Backs

 

Derrick Henry: 19 carries, 103 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 6 yards

Jeremy McNichols: 3 carries, 28 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 8 yards

D’Onta Foreman: 7 carries, 18 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 5 yards, 1 TD

Khari Blasingame: 1 target, 1 reception, 13 yards

 

Another healthy night for Derrick Henry (11.90 fantasy points), despite the game script forcing the Titans to turn to the passing game in the 2nd half, was soured for fantasy owners by the realization that 10 carries and 3 targets went to no-names when the Titans were trailing and needed to make a splash to get back in the game. I don’t know whether it is a case of the Titans trying to be too cute with their offense but it was certainly frustrating to watch, especially when Henry looked his powerful self against a top Titans defensive front.

 

Don’t be fooled, this is not Henry running in the Titans’ opening score, it’s TD sniper D’Onta Foreman (9.30 fantasy points). Why? Arthur Smith, why?!

 

This is not an encouraging situation for Henry. Hopefully, this coaching staff comes to their senses down the stretch and give him the opportunities he deserves. In other words, 100% of touches out of this backfield. It is something to watch out for with Henry in the coming weeks.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Corey Davis: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 67 yards

A.J. Brown: 4 targets, 1 reception, 21 yards

Jonnu Smith: 6 targets, 2 receptions, 14 yards

Cameron Batson: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 8 yards

Anthony Firsker: 3 targets, 1 reception, 5 yards

Nick Westbrook: 1 target

 

A difficult night for Tannehill translated to his receiving corps, who had a 50% completion rate catching just 11 passes on 22 targets. Everyones’ favorite fantasy bust Corey Davis (11.70 fantasy points) led his team in targets, catches, and yards in a gutsy performance only a few days removed from losing his brother. Davis is barely fantasy relevant due to the Titans heavy rush attack.

 

It was a hugely disappointing week for A.J. Brown (3.10 fantasy points). We talked above about the dropped pass from Tannehill that should have given Brown a 72-yard TD. In fact, he didn’t haul in a catch after the first drive of the game and cut a frustrated figure for most of the night, complaining to officials and looking exasperated with his team’s offense. Brown had amassed 20+ fantasy points in 4 of his last 5 games, including a receiving TD in each of them so this outcome was disastrous for those who had him rostered and started him as their WR1.

The quiet night for the receivers did not affect the production of tight end Jonnu Smith (9.50 fantasy points), who found paydirt with another rushing touchdown. Smith is a solid TE1 option every week.

 

Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

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