Tonight’s “Peyton Manning Bowl” features two teams who at this point are just playing for pride. Regardless, this is a game that many will be following due to fantasy football implications and it does have the potential to be a game that comes down to the end.
The Bronco offense after an eight game losing streak finally showed some life last week. Trevor Siemian who began the year on the Broncos’ quarterback carousel has a nice matchup against a banged up Colts secondary. Despite the matchup, I don’t have enough trust to use Siemian for fantasy purposes unless you start two quarterbacks.
At this point the majority of the work on the ground for the Broncos has gone to C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker. The past few weeks, Anderson has seen more playing time and total touches so if you think that’s for real he should be a serviceable flex option this week. Booker in the meantime does figure to see at least ten touches or so. Somehow Mike Shanahan’s tenure as the Broncos head coach ended a decade ago, but the weekly questions about who is the lead back remain.
While he hasn’t put up the touchdown numbers fans became accustomed to, Demaryius Thomas is still the clear number one option in the passing game in terms of volume. With 68 catches on the year, Thomas has still been a very serviceable option in points per reception leagues even if the four touchdowns are below expectations. Figuring to see ten or so targets in this one, he should be started in all formats. Despite the recent production, don’t start thinking that Emmanuel Sanders has lost it. Between dealing with a high ankle sprain and the ever changing quarterbacks, he has had a tough go lately with less than 20 yards in each of the last four games. The good news is this is a prime matchup to bounce back, so as a flex or third receiver Sanders is worthy of some consideration.
Considering the circumstances of being traded after training camp and being asked to start almost an entire year, what Jacoby Brissett has done for the Colts is admirable. Unfortunately, he has been sacked a league high 46 times in the process. After a rough stretch, the Bronco defense showed some life last Sunday which could mean Brissett is under pressure yet again tonight. In what could be a tough matchup, he’s off the fantasy radar.
Frank Gore is coming off a game Sunday where due to the elements he saw 37 total touches. With less than a week to rest and against a tough Bronco run defense, you might have better fantasy options available. If you’re playing Gore, odds are is it will be due to the projected volume. If it weren’t for some recent errors, this would be the perfect time to see what Marlon Mack could do. The rookie back has really shown some flashes in space, and with nothing to play for and Gore’s massive workload less than a week ago, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s more involved.
T.Y. Hilton has been more of a boom-or-bust player in terms of weekly production in 2017. The good news is, he usually fares better at home and receivers that have had individual success against the Broncos this year have some similar traits to Hilton. While he certainly has the talent of a top tier fantasy option, Hilton should be treated more as a third receiver in fantasy formats this week. Chester Rogers has seen a bigger role of late with Donte Moncrief out, but not enough to count on for fantasy production. The safest pass catcher from a fantasy standpoint on the Colts seems to be tight end Jack Doyle. Having allowed the third most yards to opposing tight ends, the Broncos will be without free safety Justin Simmons who assists in coverage. Having already set a career high for receptions, Doyle figures to add onto that figure tonight.
While this should be a close game, I am giving the edge to the Broncos here. Von Miller and company are certainly capable of adding on to the amount of sacks Brissett has taken, and the Thomas/Sanders duo can take advantage of the injured secondary. My prediction is Broncos 21 Colts (+2.5) 16.