The two teams playing tonight in week 11′s version of Thursday Night Football probably can’t wait to get on the field in order to erase week 10 from their minds. Last week, the Colts were 9 1/2 point favorites at home against the Rams, but they got crushed by St. Louis losing by 30 and being embarressed by Tavon Austin and the Rams emerging defense. In a much closer game, the Titans suffered perhaps an even worse loss as they fell at home to the Jaguars who hadn’t won all year. To add injury to insult, the Titans also lost their starting QB for the season as Jake Locker suffered his second major injury of the year.
As you start to get your lineups together for fantasy football week 11, here is what I expect from the different fantasy-relevant players on each team as they look for a bounce-back effort after a short week.
Indianapolis Colts: If you own Andrew Luck, you just want to look away and hope last week was an outlier. He threw for a healthy 353 yards but only one touchdown with three interceptions. Luck usually bounces back from his bad outings, but he’ll be facing a tough Titans pass defense that has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing QBs. Luck is a borderline QB1 this week with plenty of upside but also quite a bit of risk. I think he’ll have a solid game but not an exceptional one.
Tennessee Titans: With Locker place on IR, Ryan Fitzpatrick gets the call for Tennessee for the rest of the season. Fitzpatrick started two games for the Titans earlier this season, but had his best effort in relief of Locker last week throwing for a pair of scores and 264 yards and adding a rushing touchdown as well. He has run effectively throughout his time this season but has also thrown some interceptions. The last two weeks, the Colts pass defense has been horrible, so Fitzpatrick makes a sneaky start as a QB2 this week.
Indianapolis Colts: The Colts running game has been a mess, and even acquiring Trent Richardson from the Browns hasn’t provided much punch. If you’re a long-suffering Richardson owner, this could be the week patience pays off since he’s in an incredible matchup. The Titans rush defense has allowed at least two TDs and 20 ESPN standard points to opposing RB’s in their last four games. If you need a flex play, Richardson is an attractive play based on matchup. If you’re desperate, Donald Brown has also been getting enough touches to be fantasy relevant.
Tennessee Titans: Tennessee’s running backs have been up and down all season including another rough season for Chris Johnson who had a huge game against the Rams two weeks ago but struggled last week against the Jaguars. CJ is a risky play as a RB1, but is a solid RB2 option against a Colts defense that has been weak against the run. Johnson has lost some carries to Shonn Greene who could continue to emerge if Johnson struggles. I’d avoid starting Greene this week except for emergencies, but he is a interesting sleeper to own going forward.
Indianapolis Colts: The only receiver who is locked into fantasy lineups in this game is T.Y. Hilton who has stepped up since Reggie Wayne’s season ending injury. Hilton has 251 yards receiving the last two weeks and has piled up seven catches in each of his last two games. He is a low-end WR1 this week against Tennessee. I’d avoid Darrius Heyward-Bey who has been wildly inconsistent this season and has struggled despite getting plenty of targets. DHB was potential but hasn’t realized it which is also a fairly accurate summary of his career to this point.
Tennessee Titans: For the Titans, Kendall Wright has been the most consistent receiver but he has yet to eclipse 100 yards and hasn’t found the end zone since week 2. He does get plenty of targets and is a WR3 in PPR leagues and had a solid connection with Fitzpatrick in previous playing time together. As a second WR, Nate Washington had a pair of huge games earlier this season, but has been upder 50 yards in three of his last four games. Washington is not a good option since there’s so much risk in rolling him out as part of your starting lineup.
Indianapolis Colts: As Andrew Luck’s former college teammate, Coby Fleener definitely has a solid connection with his QB. He was targeted a season-high 10 times last week but only was able to catch four passes for 33 yards. The Titans have had trouble defending the tight end this season and are in the top ten in most points allowed per game to opposing fantasy tight ends. Fleener is a low-end TE1 this week, but I think he’ll find the end zone at least once this week making him a definitely top-ten option.
Tennessee Titans: I’ve been touting Delanie Walker this week as the best tight end on the waiver wire. He’s a sleeper play since the Colts have done well against TE this season, but if you need an instant starter Walker’s a solid option with upside in the weeks to come.
Indianapolis Colts: The Colts D/ST showed lots of promise earlier this season but has struggled mightily lately. The Titans have allowed double-digit fantasy points (ESPN Standard) in four of their last five games, so the Colts could be a top ten option based on their matchup but have been getting beaten badly the last couple weeks especially in the passing game.
Tennessee Titans: The Colts hadn’t given up much to opposing D’s util last week when they allowed the Rams 25 points. The Tennessee D/ST struggled against the Jags last week so I’d avoid them this week even though they are at home.
I think the Colts get the win, but not by a lot since they’re on the road and on a short week. I’ll take Indy and give the three points, but in a divisional game it’s definitely not a lock. I’ll go