It’s already Week 11 and it begins with an AFC South matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans. Both teams lost games they should have won last week. The Colts were embarrassed by the St. Louis Rams and the Titans handed the Jacksonville Jaguars their first win.
The Colts are two games ahead of the Titans, but the division isn’t out of reach for Tennessee. The Titans have lost their starting quarterback for the season, adding another name to the long list of injured players. The Colts aren’t the Colts we thought they were. Here is what you can expect from the two teams on Thursday night:
To be perfectly honest, Andrew Luck looked lost last week. Despite throwing for 353 yards, he was picked off three times and only scored 13 fantasy points. It was his second-lowest total of the season. Whenever Luck has had a bad game, he’s bounced back and had a great game. After scoring just seven points in Week 6, he scored 29 the following week.
Unfortunately, that may not be the case on Thursday. The Titans’ defense allow the fourth-lowest to opposing quarterbacks. In addition, Luck hasn’t had the best success against this division opponent. He had only 6.9 yards per completion in two last year.
Projection: 23-of-40, 260 yards, two TDs, one INT (16 points)
This year will go down as the year of season-ending injuries. I can’t remember a season with this many players on the IR. Jake Locker went down last week, bringing in Ryan Fitzpatrick to finish the game. He did really well, scoring 23 fantasy points. Fitzpatrick has had success against the Colts in the past, throwing four touchdowns and one interception in two previous games.
However, I don’t think it will happen. The receivers aren’t there and the running game is practically nonexistent. Fitz will throw it a lot, but without a lot of completions.
Projection: 20-of-34, 200 yards, one TD, one INT (10 points)
This game may feature the worst pair of opposing running backs in any game this season. Trent Richardson may have been better off staying in Cleveland. He had one good game against Jacksonville (then again, who doesn’t?), but has scored five points or less in the last five games.
As a result, Donald Brown has been getting more carries every game. I do think it’s time for Richardson to have a breakout game. The Titans allow a little over 19 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.
Projection: Richardson — 13 carries, 48 yards, one TD (10 points); Brown — six carries, 54 yards (five points)
Chris Johnson is the 12-ranked running back based on ESPN standard scoring, but hasn’t played like it. His scoring has been like a roller coaster — one that starts off very slow. He had just 28 points in the first four games. He has since scored double-digit points in three of the last five weeks. Johnson scored only five points against the Jaguars. Though, I do expect him to get back to 10-plus points against a Colts defense that allows 143 rushing yards per game.
Projection: 14 carries, 73 yards, one TD (13 points)
It’s clear that T.Y. Hilton is the No. 1 target for Luck. He scored 43 fantasy points in the last two games. Unfortunately, the Colts don’t have Reggie Wayne on the field, but it’s good knowing Luck and the Colts will be okay when Wayne is done. He is an automatic start, but keep in mind Hilton had just seven catches for 85 yards in the two games last season.
Opposite of Hilton is Darius Heyward-Bey. Hilton has a bigger chance of going off than DHB, considering the Titans allow just 12.8 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. He isn’t worth starting, let alone owning at this point in the season.
Projection: Hilton — seven catches, 89 yards, one TD (14 points); Heyward-Bey — three catches, 40 yards (four points)
Like I said about the running backs in this game, the receiving corps isn’t that much better. Kendall Wright and Nate Washington had good games earlier in the season. Wright hasn’t scored more than 11 points this season, while Washington’s season-high is 22 points.
The bright side is that Wright has had at least 50 yards in all but one game and he has shown he’s a little better with Fitzpatrick under center. Washington, like DHB, shouldn’t be owned unless you’re in a 16-20 team league.
Projection: Wright — five catches, 61 yards (six points); Washington — three catches, 54 yards (five points)