This game lost a little bit of its shine for me once it was reported that Andrew Luck would be forced to miss his second consecutive start due to injury.
Not to say there still isn’t plenty of intrigue.
I’ll go ahead and state this early: I didn’t list any Colts receivers among my audibles. Dwayne Allen had a point this week when he called out the Colts as whole for their lack of an identity on offense. That’s a question fans, analysts, and other teams have been asking for a while. Many expected the star power of Luck, Frank Gore, Andre Johnson, and T.Y. Hilton to be Super Bowl ready and, so far, have made my assessment of them in the preseason no less true.
This matters to you the fantasy owner because if you’re a team that’s 2-2, 1-3, or 0-4 do you really want to play the guessing game with any of these pass catchers and risk a deeper hole? I wouldn’t. nor should you.
Tonight’s game in Houston has divisional implications and receivers worth rolling the dice on, but none of them are from play wide receiver for Indianapolis until shown otherwise.
To the audible calls.
Matt Hasselbeck, QB
How dare you. Yeah, you. Look at me with that look of confusion wondering why Hasselbeck should be considered a start in your leagues. I’ll tell you why: because with Cam Newton on Bye are you really going to start perennial waiver stream candidate Kirk Cousins against Atlanta? Sure he played well last week against Philadelphia but who hasn’t played well against Philadelphia? You going to start Colin Kaepernick even though he’s, inexplicably, forgotten how to throw the forward pass no matter the mechanics?
Or are you going to trust me when I say that if you don’t have a better option, and knowing what Kansas City, Atlanta, and Carolina have done to this defense that Hasselbeck (who totaled 282 yards and a touchdown through the air on Sunday) can be a serviceable fill-in?
Dwayne Allen, TE
Allen is coming back from injury to play this game so I’ll toss that disclaimer out there. I’ll also say that, when right, he’s a better all-around player than Fleener and could see serious red zone targets if the Texans secondary don’t account for him.
Indianapolis Colts, D/ST
The Colts defense probably couldn’t ask for a better Thursday after Sunday set up (unless Arian Foster is fully healthy). In the passing game the combination of Ryan Mallett and Bobby Hoyer aren’t getting it done consistently even with Hopkins’ torrid start. Could be a sneaky solid play if you’re looking to account for the Jets and Panthers on Bye.
Arian Foster, RB
I’m not saying the Arian Foster we saw against Atlanta will be the same one we see against Indianapolis. I’m not even saying he won’t exploit the Colts defense for what it’s been all year against the run. I am saying I would caution running him out there as an RB1 with confidence until he proves fully healthy and capable of performing as before.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR
If someone is going to get his tonight it will be Hopkins. Mallett has wisely leaned on Hopkins as his go-to guy and he’s been a WR1 since 2014 ended.
Jaelen Strong/Keith Mumphrey, WR
Nate Washington (kind of the Tedd Ginn, Jr. of fantasy options in that he just keeps popping up on teams) and Cecil Shorts aren’t playing tonight; that means the two 2015 draftees will get their shot to take someone’s place tonight. You’ve got one of two options with Strong and Mumphrey.
Option one: You pick one and hope that’s the guy that goes off opposite Hopkins tonight. For my money Mumphrey (five catches, 56 yards week 4) would be the guy to get those looks first after Hopkins.
Option two: snag both, play one, and if the one or the other goes off (say Jaelen Strong, the higher touted of the two) then you have a hype machine on your roster someone is going to be willing to trade you for in their constant quest to find the “next Odell Beckham, Jr.”
Whichever option you choose, commit to it. Like Mike Tolbert does in this .gif of his ridiculous touchdown celebration. (seriously, what is this?)