Saints @ Colts
Final Score: Saints 38, Colts 27
Writer: Brian Hartman (@TooMuch_Brian on Twitter)
In another hard-fought battle, the Indianapolis Colts continue to score big on gameday; they’re averaging over 25 points a game and are now the only team to score 20 points in every contest. With the win, the Saints returned to .500, and the Colts found themselves at 3-5. The scoring started with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Michael Pittman from a 4th and 1. From there, the Saints found themselves down 17-7 after Zack Moss pounded in a touchdown made possible by a Derek Carr fumble. The Saints’ second-year receiver Rashid Shaheed was the big play guy today, breaking off three impressive plays, including a 53-yarder and another 42-yarder that he ripped from the hands of the Colts defensive back. Taysom Hill continued to shine for the third straight week for the Saints, but his usage was not quite what we had seen in previous weeks. Two rushing touchdowns sparked his bountiful fantasy day and could very well help him finish as the top tight end for Week 8.
- Alvin Kamara – He continues to see an unreal workload in the passing game; today, he added a great ground game as well. The Saints seem inclined to continue making Kamara the focus of the offense.
- Josh Downs – This young, third-round rookie won’t stop. He continues to be heavily involved in the offense, and his playmaking ability and ability to break free from coverage will keep him as a focal point in Indy.
- Jonathan Taylor – The star running back has seen his workload increase each week, and we keep getting glimpses of the rushing champion that he was just two short seasons ago.
- Chris Olave – This is such a hard situation. The talent is there for Chris Olave, but for whatever reason, he has struggled to break out, build on last year’s success, and establish a connection with Carr truly.
New Orleans Saints
Derek Carr: 19/27, 310 yards, 2 TD | 1 carry, -1 yard
It was quite a big day for Derek Carr and the Saints, as this was only their second game this season in which they scored over 24 points. Derek Carr finished with over 300 yards, and nearly half came from three passes to Rashid Shaheed. Despite his good numbers, he didn’t inspire hope for this offense. The amount of skill position players that have to get involved for this offense to compete directly shows how capped this offense is with Carr.
Alvin Kamara: 17 carries, 59 yards, TD | 5 targets, 4 receptions, 51 yards, 1 TD
Alvin Kamara may not be what he was as a young player in the league, but he is still incredibly useful for fantasy football. Since his return to the lineup in Week 4, only Travis Kelce has more receptions. The biggest surprise today was the amount of carries Kamara handled today. The Saints found themselves down 10 points early in the second quarter, but they kept employing the running game and continued to feed him. Both of his scores came from over 15 yards out today.
- The only pass Kamara didn’t pull in was a dump-off that bounced right off his hands. It was a lost chance for a huge chunk play.
Jamaal Williams: 6 carries, 30 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 8 yards
Jamaal Williams came in just enough to give Alvin Kamara a break. He didn’t do anything particularly special and seems to be nothing more than a role player who should be of little interest to fantasy football managers.
Kendre Miller: 3 carries, 10 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 9 yards
The first-year running back for the Saints continues to see minimal work in the rotation. He shouldn’t be rostered in traditional 10 or 12-team leagues.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Rashid Shaheed: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 153 yards, TD
The second-year receiver had a career-high day with 153 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter to retake the lead. The depleted Colts secondary stood no chance of keeping up with the speed and dynamic moves Shaheed put on display in Indianapolis today. The challenge of looking at Shaheed’s future is that the three catches came on just three targets and only 15 routes. This may be a product of the matchup with this Colts secondary.
Michael Thomas: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 68 yards
The eight-year veteran posted a steady 68 yards on four receptions and was second on the team in targets. He has seen over 42 yards in every game this season. Michael Thomas continues to give Derek Carr a security blanket on 3rd downs.
Chris Olave: 9 targets, 5 receptions, 46 yards
We continue to wait for the breakout that most thought would be inevitable this season. Chris Olave is seeing the targets this season, but his inability to connect with Carr is crushing his ceiling. Olave saw a 31 percent target share today, putting him over 24 percent on the season, but even with that target share, he still has yet to break 20 PPR points in a game this season.
- Chris Olave and Derek Carr missed on two deep shots down the field, including one from the 39-yard line, which would have been a guaranteed touchdown.
Taysom Hill: 1/2, 44 yards | 9 carries, 63 yards, 2 TD | 1 target, 1 reception, 14 yards
This guy continues to bring the madness, as he has over the last few years. No one knows how Taysom Hill will score points in any given week; he just does. He found himself contributing through the air in the ground game in Week 8, and he even pulled in his lone target. Hill specifically took advantage of the Colts’ weak run defense and punched in two scores.
- One big takeaway flew under the radar: with fellow tight end Juwan Johnson back in the lineup this week, Hill ran just 12 routes, which is in line with his usage back in Weeks 4 and 5.
Juwan Johnson: 2 targets, 1 reception, 5 yard
Juwan Johnson came back from his calf injury and while he carved away some of Taysom Hill’s routes, the production clearly didn’t follow.
Gardner Minshew: 23/41, 213 yards, 2 TD, INT | 1 carry, 1 yard
The Colts have hit the over in six of their eight games in large part because the defense is bad enough to allow such scoring. Gardner Minshew continues to do what he needs to do to keep this Colts offense in these games. He only turned the ball over once in Week 8, demonstrating much better ball security than he did by turning it over four times in each of his two prior games combined. On the heels of a game in which he scored two rushing touchdowns, he failed to add value on the ground this time around, logging only one carry.
Zack Moss: 11 carries, 66 yards, TD | 1 target, 1 reception, 8 yards
Zack Moss is showing that he will remain a part of a one-two punch in Indy. He’s seeing fewer snaps but is making the most of them. The second effort Moss put in on his goalline touch was incredible to witness from a player who was a question mark not long before the game; he has no quit in him.
Jonathan Taylor: 12 carries, 95 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 2 yards
The overall stat line for Jonathan Taylor is good at first glance, but it’s a bit puzzling when broken down. Taylor finished the day with 95 rushing yards but had accumulated 87 in the first quarter. The nice part is that he out-snapped Zack Moss 41 to 26 and ran 25 routes to Moss’ 13. He only finished with a 5.3 percent target share, the lowest of the season for him. The rest of those numbers are promising enough to show that Taylor is continuing on a path to regain his throne as the unquestioned alpha in this backfield.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Michael Pittman: 13 targets, 40 yards, TD
Michael Pittman had a bit to say after last week’s game and his lack of involvement, but we seemed to rectify that with a game seeing 13 targets. The Colts struggled with big plays in the passing game today, but Pittman was able to cap off his day with a touchdown on 4th and short just outside the endzone. His yardage total seemed inexplicably small for a player who drew so many targets.
Josh Downs: 9 targets, 7 receptions, 72 yards
The huge breakaway play wasn’t in the cards for the Colts’ 3rd round rookie, but Josh Downs continues to be a big part of this passing offense. He continues to find ways to get open, and Minshew can’t help but look his way. He has now caught five or more passes in each of his last four games.
Alec Pierce: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 41 yards
Alec Pierce is always streaking down the field, looking to open a big play for Minshew, but he couldn’t pull them in this week. A pass interference call prevented his biggest play today.
Andrew Ogletree: 3 targets, 1 receptions, 33 yards, TD
This large beast of a tightened is a scary sight when he leaps into the air, but sure hands helped him bring in his touchdown catch, which helped the Colts take the lead.
Mo Alie-Cox: 2 targets, 1 receptions, 11 yards