Texans @ Colts
Final Score: Colts 31, Texans 3
Writer: Josh Kurzer (@jkurzer52 on Twitter, jk303030 on Reddit)
The Texans were thoroughly dominated by the Colts in this early afternoon affair. Indianapolis bounced back nicely on a short week after their disappointing loss on Monday Night Football. The Colts held Houston out of the endzone all game by preventing big plays and forcing turnovers. On offense, it was a tale of two halves for Indy. The first half was an all-out aerial attack that included two 50+ yard completions from Carson Wentz. Wentz threw for two touchdowns, the first in the first quarter and the second early in the third. From that point on, it was all Jonathan Taylor. Taylor was nowhere to be found in the first half, picking up just two carries and one reception. But in the second half, he went off. The electric back out of Wisconsin finished the game with 145 yards on the ground and two touchdowns…139 of those yards came in the second half. Houston QB Davis Mills had moments where he looked serviceable, but made too many mistakes and did not get nearly enough help to be productive. Mark Ingram III received 18 carries in the blowout loss and finished the game with 79 yards on the ground. The only real fantasy weapon on the Texans’ offense is Brandin Cooks; he was targeted 13 times and ended up with 9 receptions and 89 yards.
Davis Mills: 29/43, 245 yards, 2 INTs | 2 carries, 5 yards
Rookie quarterback Davis Mills has been thrust into one of the worst situations in the NFL. The organization is bereft of talent on both sides of the ball, and the offense was expected to completely fall apart when Tyrod Taylor went down with an injury. For the most part, it has, but there are some positives to take away from Mills’ performance. He was comfortable throwing the ball on the run and was accurate on short and intermediate passes. Unfortunately, problems with reading the defense and trying to force the ball into tight windows led to two interceptions today.
Mark Ingram II: 18 carries, 73 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 8 yards
Phillip Lindsay: 7 carries, 39 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 15 yards
David Johnson: 2 carries, 7 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 15 yards, 1 fumble
Ingram was the leader of Houston’s running back committee in Indianapolis. He carried the ball 18 times and averaged over four yards per carry but did not look explosive outside of one 24-yard scamper. Phillip Lindsay broke Houston’s longest run of the day at 25 yards, but he managed a total of just 4 yards on his other six carries. David Johnson was briefly featured and lost a fumble on one of his three touches.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Brandin Cooks: 13 targets, 9 receptions, 89 yards
Nico Collins: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 44 yards
Jordan Akins: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 41 yards
Chris Moore: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 14 yards
Chris Conley: 2 targets, 1 reception, 10 yards
Brandin Cooks was the silver lining for Houston’s offense in this one. He was all over the field, finding wide-open patches of turf in the soft spots of Indy’s zone scheme all day long. Cooks has been targeted more than 10 times in three games now and has come up with nine receptions in each of them. This volume alone makes him a fantasy threat, especially in PPR. His high target share gives him a stable floor, but the offense’s inability to score lowers his ceiling tremendously. Cooks has just one touchdown this season, perhaps he will get more chances to score when Taylor comes back in to play quarterback.
Carson Wentz: 11/20, 223 yards, 2 TD | 2 carries, 1 yard
This game was over early, and the Colts let Jonathan Taylor take the reins of the offense in the second half. But before the game was out of reach, Wentz made a couple of beautiful throws down the sideline. He hooked up with Parris Campbell for a 51-yard touchdown and later on found T.Y. Hilton for 52 yards to set up a score. Wentz wound up with 17 fantasy points and could have had a lot more if the game script was different. If you are looking for a quarterback in a pinch, you could do a lot worse than Wentz.
Jonathan Taylor: 14 carries, 145 yards, 2 TD | 2 targets, 1 receptions, 13 yards
Nyheim Hines: 4 carries, 13 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 9 yards
Marlon Mack: 5 carries, 12 yards
As someone who recently traded for Jonathan Taylor, I was fuming at Colts head coach Frank Reich after the first half. Taylor was on the sidelines for most of the first two quarters and had only three touches at halftime. Then on his second carry of the third quarter, he broke off an 83-yard run down the left sideline to set the Colts up with a first and goal. Taylor would finish the job and punch in a touchdown a couple of plays later and would go on to feast from there. Indy’s offensive line was bullying Houston upfront the entire game, driving back the Texans’ front four and opening huge lanes for Taylor to roll through. Taylor has scored 61 fantasy points the last two weeks, finally delivering on his preseason expectations as an RB1.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
T.Y. Hilton: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 80 yards
Paris Campbell: 1 target, 1 reception1, 51 yards, TD
Michael Pittman Jr: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 35 yards | 1 carry, 3 yards
Mo Alie-Cox: 3 targets, 1 reception, 28 yards, TD
Today marked the long-anticipated return of Indianapolis wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, and he looked to be in midseason form after returning from a brutal neck injury. The broadcasters said that Hilton told them he might cry when running out of the tunnel, illustrating how much of a gamer he is. Hilton showed sharp route running and deep-play potential in his return, averaging 20 yards per reception with a long catch of 51 yards. He did leave the game late in the fourth quarter, which will be something to keep an eye on. Hilton is rostered in under 25% of leagues on ESPN and could be a priority waiver wire add next week. This was Michael Pittman’s worst performance of the season, which could largely be attributed to Hilton’s return and the run-heavy game script in the second half. If Hilton stays healthy, Pittman’s fantasy value will likely take a hit.