When it comes to fantasy football, it’s okay to be unreasonably superstitious. For example, if all my guys are playing at 1 o’clock on Sunday, I’m bound to lose. There’s no doubt about it. I know I’m not the only crazy person who adjusts their roster in order to have at least one guy play in the late games.
Likewise, having multiple players on Thursday when your opponent has none is like being up on election night when you know there’s hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots still left to be counted. It doesn’t usually work out.
However, you can’t let superstitions run fantasy football. And you can’t take a stat correction all the way to the Supreme Court. Believe me, I’ve tried — your kids will be reading about Hart vs. Wentz in their U.S. history classes one day.
In preparation for tonight’s Week 10 divisional matchup between the Colts and the Titans, here’s this week’s Thursday Night Preview.
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- Line: Even
- O/U: 48.5
- Home: Titans
- Smart Money: 20 bones on TEN money-line
I think Vegas has been giving the Colts a little too much credit this year. Their defense is certainly one of the best in the league, but their offense has consistently underperformed. And even though the Titans’ entire team has underperformed the last three weeks, the fact that they’re not favored at home is ludicrous. Tennessee is clearly the more talented team, and I’d wager 20 bones that they win this game.
The OVER/UNDER is a bit trickier — I’d probably stay away from it entirely, though I’m leaning the OVER. The Titans have started slow the last couple games, and I’d expect that to continue against the tough Colts defense.
- Start: Ryan Tannehill
- Sit: Philip Rivers
Ever since he became starter last season, Ryan Tannehill has been absolutely electrifying in home games against divisional opponents. He’s averaging 28 POINTS PER GAME (!) against AFC South opponents when playing in Nissan Stadium. Because of the Colts solid defense, I’d temper expectations a little bit, but he’s still a great starting option with a safe fantasy floor. He’s only got one game this year without multiple passing TDs, and he rarely turns the ball over. Expect Tannehill to get back on track and outperform his projection.
Philip Rivers, on the other hand, has been playing a Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde routine in his first season with the Indianapolis Colts. He’s caught fire a couple times this year, but he’s also had plenty of duds. Even against a weak Titans defense that rarely pressures the quarterback, I don’t trust Old Man Rivers at all in this game.
- Start: Derrick Henry
- Sit: Jonathan Taylor, Jordan Wilkins, Nyheim Hines
Even in a tough matchup, Derrick Henry is an obvious must-start. No further questions, please.
The Colts backfield is where things start to get dicey. Rookie running back Jonathan Taylor has ceded snaps each week to Jordan Wilkins, and that trend will probably continue. Taylor will always get first crack at it, as he did with his first-quarter TD run last week, but he has an extremely short leash right now. Frank Reich won’t hesitate to bench Taylor when he fucks up, as he did after his second-quarter fumble last week.
With Nyheim Hines in the fold, I wouldn’t feel confident starting any Colts RB right now. Taylor is probably the safest bet so long as you don’t have any better options. As I said, he’s the starting RB until he gets yanked. Unfortunately, he’s been yanked two games in a row.
- Start: A.J. Brown
- DraftKings sleeper: Zach Pascal
- Sit: T.Y. Hilton, Corey Davis, Michael Pittman Jr., Adam Humphries, Marcus Johnson
A.J. Brown has scored a TD in five straight games. Don’t you dare sit his ass. With Tannehill expected to outperform his projection, Brown should have an easy time making it six in a row. The other Titans WRs — the Corey Davis’ and Adam Humphries’ of the world — are non-factors in both real and fantasy football. It’s the A.J. Brown show, and the likes of Davis and Humphries shouldn’t even be rostered.
The Colts WR corps is just like their backfield: a cluster-fuck of epic proportions, as far as fantasy football is concerned. T.Y. Hilton is expected to play, but you probably won’t notice he’s out there. Michael Pittman, Jr. and Marcus Johnson have both been very inconsistent. The only WR possibly worth starting — if you’re REALLY desperate, mind you — is Zach Pascal, who has gotten at least six targets in each of his last three games. He’s good for around 50-yards and maybe a TD. How lucky do ya feel?
- Sit: Jonnu Smith, Mo Alie-Cox
Sadly, it looks like we have to close the lid on the Mo Alie-Cox era. It was fun while it lasted, but he’s just too dependent on TDs. Even though Mo Cox is getting mo’ catches over the last two games, he’s not a good start.
Jonnu Smith finally found the end zone last week against the Bears after three games of godawful fantasy production. So, can you start him with confidence again? No, not this week. The Bears have been extremely generous to tight ends this season, while the Colts have been AMAZING against TEs. They haven’t allowed a TD to the position ALL SEASON, and opposing tight ends are only averaging 3.8 fantasy points against them. Upgrade A.J. Brown, and expect Smith to return to the meager 20-yard production he was averaging in October.