What We Saw: Week 7

The What We Saw team recaps everything you missed from Sunday's action

Colts @ Titans

Final Score: Titans 19, Colts 10

Writer: Brett Ford (@fadethatman on Twitter)

 

If you enjoy fantasy football, you probably didn’t enjoy this game. With only one offensive touchdown scored in the entire contest, both defenses outscored their fantasy projection for the week while only one offensive player exceeded expectations. In a war of attrition, it was the Titans who finally prevailed, outlasting the Colts, 19-10.

Tennessee jumped out to an early 13-0 lead in the first half, thanks in large part to a pair of Matt Ryan turnovers, including an interception returned for a touchdown. The Colts made it a one-possession game in the third quarter with a long touchdown drive but the Titans iced it with a pair of fourth-quarter field goals.

Hold your nose. Let’s dig in.

 

 

Indianapolis Colts

 

Quarterback

 

Matt Ryan: 33/44, 243 Yards, TD, 2 INT | 1 Carry, 2 Yards

 

Matt Ryan finished with a 32.1 QBR in this one, completing 75% of his passes, but only for 5.5 yards per completion. Ryan was sacked three times and hit a whopping 10 times. The constant pressure from the Titans’ defense must have given the veteran quarterback PTSD from his most recent seasons in Atlanta where he was sacked over 40 times in each of his final four seasons with the Falcons.

Ryan threw two first-half interceptions, both the direct result of poor protection and pressure in his face. Bud Dupree came untouched from Ryan’s left, and the quarterback tried to get the ball out quickly. His receiver missed the memo though as the wideout never broke his route and the ball went right into the arms of linebacker Andrew Adams, who returned it 76 yards for a defensive score.

 

 

Ryan’s second pick came on the very next possession as pressure closed down the pocket quickly. Ryan tried to step up and get the ball to Pittman on a short crossing route, but he lost his footing as he threw and it went straight to linebacker David Long for an easy pick.

 

 

Matty Ice rebounded in the second half with a 12-play, 58-yard touchdown drive, but couldn’t muster enough second-half offense to lead a comeback. Despite his passing volume (40+ passes in each of his last three games), Matt Ryan is nothing more than a weak streaming option in deep leagues. And it’s a shame to see how far he has fallen.

 

Running Back

 

Jonathan Taylor: 10 Carries, 58 Yards | 8 Targets, 7 Receptions, 27 Yards

Ny’heim Hines: 4 Carries, 2 Yards | 5 Targets, 5 Receptions, 41 Yards

 

Jonathan Taylor, arguably the best running back in the NFL entering this season, received just 10 carries toting the ball for a meager 58 yards. On the bright side, he did catch seven balls on eight targets for another 27 yards but this is not the usage that fantasy managers were expecting for what was likely the number-one overall pick in drafts this fall. Perhaps it was the negative game script or Tennessee’s presumed porous passing defense, either way, head coach and play-caller Frank Reich decided not to dial his all-pro running back’s number very often.

Ny’heim Hines was back in action after missing week six with an injury. He received exactly half the chances that his backfield-mate did, nine opportunities to Taylor’s 18, hauling in five receptions for 41 yards. Hines is still a flex option during bye-week scarcity in PPR leagues, but that’s about the extent of his usefulness from a fantasy perspective.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Michael Pittman: 9 Targets, 6 Receptions, 58 Yards, 1 Fumble (Lost)

Alec Pierce: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 37 Yards

Kylen Granson: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 6 Yards

Jelani Woods: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 4 Yards

Parris Campbell: 12 Targets, 10 Receptions, 70 Yards, TD

 

The Colts deserved to lose this game. Indianapolis did not force-feed the ball to their best playmakers nearly enough and it showed, as the offense stagnated on the majority of its drives. For the first time this season, Michael Pittman did not lead the Colts in targets and was outpaced by his teammate Parris Campbell, who registered a team-high 12 targets. The distribution is slightly concerning, but hopefully something the team will correct moving forward since clearly it was not a successful offensive approach.

Pittman caught six balls for 58 yards, but most were underneath on short-yardage plays likely due to the pressure generated by Bud Dupree and the Titans’ front four. Pittman’s longest gain was just 14 yards, while Ryan’s longest completion of the entire day was a 20-yard strike to Alec Pierce. Pierce finished with just three catches for 37 yards, his lowest output since week one.

And then there was Parris CampbellThe lone bright spot in the Colts’ offense from a fantasy perspective, Campbell hauled in a career-high 10 catches for 70 yards and a score. This performance looks to be an outlier, as Campbell practically scraped his fantasy ceiling. Don’t go chasing this performance with a bloated FAAB bid this week.

 

 

Typically a strong position group, the Colts’ tight ends combined for practically nothing as Jelani Woods and Kylen Granson had one reception each while Mo-Alie Cox did not record a target for the second week in a row. All this against a Tennessee defense that had given up the fifth-most points to tight ends entering week seven.

 

Tennessee Titans

 

Quarterback

 

Ryan Tannehill: 13/20, 132 Yards | 4 Carries, 6 Yards, 1 Fumble (Lost)

 

Ho hum.

Ryan Tannehill was entirely pedestrian in this game, completing 13 of just 20… yes, 20 … pass attempts for 132 yards. Please don’t start Ryan Tannehill in your fantasy lineup. He has not reached 30 passing attempts in a game since week one and has yet to reach double-digit rushing yardage this season. Don’t do it. Just don’t do it.

Literally the most exciting thing for the Titans’ quarterback room this week was that Malik Willis was on the field for a handful of snaps – though he was only called into action on two of them. The first came after an injury to Tannehill, where he completed a read-option handoff up the middle to Dontrell Hilliard. The second came in the fourth quarter, Tennessee split Willis out wide and motioned him across the formation for what was intended to be a jet sweep – Willis and Tannehill completely botched the handoff resulting in a fumble recovered by the Colts. I don’t think Vrabel will be asking his coordinator to call Willis’ number again any time soon.

 

 

Running Back

 

Derrick Henry: 30 Carries, 128 Yards | 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 10 Yards

Dontrell Hilliard: 1 Carry, 4 Yards | 2 Targets

Hassan Haskins: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 5 Yards

 

Derrick Henry is the king of running back usage in the NFL. He carried a whopping 30 times for 128 yards and even hauled in three catches for 10 yards. The only mark against Henry in this one is that he didn’t find the end zone despite his heavy usage. Henry was like a battering ram against a castle wall, ceaselessly throwing himself forward at the Colts’ defense, making progress little by little until he burst out for a big gain. Without a score, he didn’t quite hit the point total that fantasy managers were looking for, but his managers should certainly be encouraged by his usage.

 

 

Dontrell Hilliard and Hassan Haskins received a combined two touches on offense and are probably not even worth rostering as handcuffs. This offense will likely fail entirely without a healthy Derrick Henry anyway.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Austin Hooper: 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 56 Yards

Cody Hollister: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 32 Yards

Robert Woods: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 26 Yards

Mason Kinsey: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 3 Yards

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine: 2 Targets

Geoff Swaim: 1 Target

 

Robert Woods saw a team-high 20% target share… which amounted to a whopping four targets. Austin Hooper was the highlight of the Titans’ passing attack, catching all three of his targets for 56 yards. Hooper is a decent streaming option, especially as we move through the coming bye weeks with Tennessee facing the Texans, and Chiefs in weeks eight and nine, respectively.

With Treylon Burks still on IR, this receiving corps is overall pretty boring, especially when Tannehill only throws the ball 20 times. Move along.

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