[sc name=”Author Adam Hammer”]
Happy Monday RotoBallers! Another week, another Monday. That means more football!
This week’s Monday Night Football pits the bottom of the AFC South against each other as the 2-3 Colts head to Tennessee to take on the 2-3 Titans. In a division that is very much still up for grabs, both teams are still looking to overcome unfortunate quarterback situations, although Marcus Mariota is expected to return to the field tonight. The Titans are 0-2 since he went down with a hamstring injury, including a 57-14 throttling at the hands of the Texans in Week 4. Meanwhile, the Colts are still awaiting Andrew Luck to return from an offseason shoulder surgery. Jacoby Brissett has been surprisingly okay since taking control of the starting job, but there haven’t been many wins to show for it.
It’s hard to say that the winner of tonight’s game will be in any sort of driver’s seat at just 3-3, but with the Jaguars and Texans at the same record, Monday Night Football’s winner will automatically be tied in first atop one of the worst divisions in football.
Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans
Date and Start Time: Monday, October 16th at 8:30 p.m. EST
Game Spread: Titans -7.5
Notable Injuries and Status:
- Andrew Luck (QB, IND) – Shoulder – OUT
- Marcus Mariota (QB, TEN) – Hamstring – Expected to Play
- Corey Davis (WR, TEN) – Hamstring – OUT
Offensive and Defensive Rankings (based on per game stats through Week 5):
Top Players That You Should Have In Your Lineup
T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)
After the first two weeks of the season, it looked like Hilton was going to fall firmly into the bust category. The targets were there, but the Colts quaterback play was shaky at best and Hilton was catching just 54% of the balls thrown his way. Since Brissett has stablized, Hilton is catching over 70% of his targets and has the big games to go alongside. Coming off a 177 yard performance against the Niners, Hilton is back to every-week WR1 value.
Marcus Mariota (QB, TEN)
A welcomed return to the Titans offense, the Colts defense is a great spot for Mariota to continue the string of solid performances that he started the season with (I’ll give him a pass on Week 4, when he exited the game in the first half). Indy is in the bottom third of the league in passing yards allowed, and the only dual threat quarterback that they have faced so far (Russell Wilson) torched them. I wouldn’t expect Mariota to be running around too much in an effort to stay healthy coming off an injury, but his floor is high enough that he’s probably a QB1 this week.
Players To Avoid Putting In Your Lineup
Frank Gore (RB, IND)
I talked a little bit about Gore in this week’s mailbag, but in four of the five games played this year, he’s carried the ball 10-14 times for between 40-50 yards. He’s good for a touchdown every other week or so, but his upside is (always) pretty limited. Couple that with a solid Titans run defense and a possible game flow where the Colts need to throw, and I don’t like this spot very much for him. I called Jerick McKinnon over Latavius Murray last week, and I also prefer Mack over Gore this week.
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Which Players Will Have Solid Games and Which Could Surprise?
Solid Option – Delanie Walker (TE, TEN)
In a year where the tight end position has been particularly bleak, Walker’s consistency shouldn’t be overlooked. He has yet to top 80 yards in a single game, and his numbers aren’t great while Mariota was out, but the targets are always there and he is one of Mariota’s favorite red zone targets. He continues to be a mid-TE1 in a year where there are very few reliable options on a week-to-week basis.
Sleeper – Marlon Mack (RB, IND)
I mentioned Mack in the Gore blurb above, but there’s a good chance the game flow is going to be in his favor tonight as the Colts could be playing from behind all night. He’s only caught one pass in each of his three games played this year, but he’s the preferred passing down back and showed his big-play ability last week with 91 yards on just nine carries against the Niners. Gore is still the preferred early down back, but look for 10-12+ touches for Mack this week.
Sleeper – Rishard Matthews (WR, TEN)
If you’re sensing a theme here, it’s because everyone in the Titans offense is going to benefit from Mariota’s return. Matthews is quietly putting up a pretty good year, and he averaged nearly 70 receiving yards in the first three games of the year with Mariota under center. Corey Davis remains sidelined with a hamstring injury and Eric Decker has been just about nonexistent, so Matthews will continue to be option #1 or 2 on most passing downs (with Walker). Fire him up with confidence tonight. He should return at least WR3 value.
Note: I have no idea where to classify DeMarco Murray tonight, but if you have him you’ve probably already benched him, or at least considered it. I’m okay giving him a shot tonight with Mariota back, but it’s clear he’s not the RB1 you drafted him as.
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