Colts at Texans (-1.5) 48.5
Expected to return for this game.
WR KeKe Coutee
- The Texans pass success rate jumps from 50.8 percent to 55.2 percent when Coutee is on the field, and the explosive pass percentage jumps three percent as well.
- Deshaun Watson’s aDot drops from 9.23 to 6.59, but his YPA goes up. Coutee provides a nice underneath, run after catch insurance blanket
- DeAndre Hopkins sees 24.6 percent of the targets when Coutee is on the field compared to 35.2 percent when Coutee is off the field.
S Clayton Geathers
- This is a massive upgrade to the Colts Defense as the numbers improve across the board
- Explosive Run Percentage with 3.2 percent without 6.8 percent
- Explosive Pass Percentage with 13.2 percent without 19.6 percent
- Sack Percentage with 8.1 percent without 3.2 percent
- YPC with 3.85 without 4.07
- YPA with 7.69 without 8.09
- Negligible impact on his offense outside of the fact that Andrew Luck’s TD rate when Grant is off the field is 8.3 percent compared to 4.5 percent with him on the field.
- Slight uptick to opposing passing game with him off the field.
- YPA jumps from 7.77 to 8.19 with him off the field.
Watson has completed 70 percent of his passes against the Colts this year and has rushed 11 times for 76 yards and a touchdown in two games this year. That Colts gave up four rushing touchdowns this season to opposing QBs, a 19th percentile score. The Colts defense improved as the season went along and finished 38th percentile or better in every pass defense category in the TQE head-to-head tool. The key to this game will be how much volume Watson gets. The Colts can still give up big plays, giving up 7.45 YPA and 251.81 yards per game, and in the last three weeks, the Colts have run the 7th most plays in the NFL. On the seaosn Watson has been extremely efficient, averaging just 31.56 pass attempts, but scoring 22.54 DK points per game. In the two games against the Colts, he has averaged 40 attempts and on the season when he has attempted at least 40 pass attempts, he has averaged 32.39 DK points per game. If the Colts push the pace in this game and Watson gets the volume uptick, he has slate breaking ability.
The Houston Texans have had the easiest passing defense schedule in the NFL. Their weakness is the secondary with the front seven being one of the toughest in football. If the Colts line can protect Luck, he is capable of having a big game. The Texans are a pass funnell defense, giving up 36.94 pass attempts and 273.44 yards per game, while Andrew Luck is averaging 39.94 attempts and 287 yards per game. In his two games against the Texans this year, Luck has combined to throw the ball 103 times, finishing with his best and fourth best fantasy games of the season. The volume should be there for Luck in a potential shoot-out and he is a top two play on the slate.
Lamar Miller is the guy and should be highly involved in this game. With the division on the line last week, he played 83 percent of the snaps, and despite being back healthy, Foreman never even touched the field. The Colts run defense can be stout, they have only allowed Miller to go for 82 yards on 28 carries this year; however, the Colts funnel targets to backs. On the season, 8.75 targets per game against the Colts go to running backs, and they have the highest weighted opportunity score against in the NFL. As a workhorse back on the team with the highest team total on the slate, Miller is an excellent floor play at his price due to volume and potential in the receiving game and has 20+ point upside in this one.
He has only broken double-digit DraftKings points once this year, and it took 28 touches to do so. He simply isn’t involved enough to be considered.
The Houston Texans allow the lowest rushing success rate against and the least amount of yards per carry of any team in the NFL. Where the Texans have been most vulnerable is to pass catching backs, allowing 7.62 targets per game, but Mack has yet to see more than three targets in a single game this season. The Colts are 10-2 when Mack plays this year and a positive game script has been the key to his success. In games the Colts have dominated, such as the Cowboys and Titans in the last few weeks, he has seen 52 carries in two games. In games where the Colts battled back and forth, he saw 34 carries in three games combined versus the Texans, Jaguars, and Giants. Ultimately between the matchup, the lack of passing game work, and the likelihood this is a back and forth affair, Mack is best left off rosters outside of MME or if you think Colts win big.
Hines is the PPR punt play in this game. At just 3,500 on DraftKings, Hines has seen five-or-more targets in five straight games, including a combined 16 in the two games versus Houston. Hines should play 40 percent of the snaps, and if Houston goes up early, that number could climb even more. The best way to use backs against the Texans is through the air, and Hines is the most capable receiver in the Colts backfield and worth a punt in GPPs as cheap exposure to the highest total game.
This guy DeAndre Hopkins really didn’t drop a pass the entire season, catching all 115 of his catchable targets. In the last four weeks, Hopkins has led the NFL in target share at 35 percent and is second in the NFL in that time span seeing 47 percent of his team’s air yards. There are two arguments for fading Hopkins, one his 11 percent lower target share with Coutee on the field and two, the Colts have allowed the fewest points to WR1s of any team in the NFL. I am still firing up Hopkins with confidence and in a three max would have him on two of three teams. Watson is going to give Hopkins plenty of opportunities in this one, he has already given him 22 versus the Colts this season. I am expecting Watson to throw more this game and Hopkins opportunity to increase with it. Even as the Colts work to take Hopkins away, he will get his. In addition the volume, the Colts play mostly zone coverage and Hopkins has destroyed zone this year, catching 50 of 63 targets for six touchdowns, 12.7 yards per target and a 150.6 rating.
Coutee is back for the first time since Week 12 and should serve as the underneath security blanket for Watson. On the season, 90.2 percent of Coutee’s targets have come within 14 yards of the line of scrimmage, while 78.2 percent of the targets against the Colts have come within 14 yards of the line of scrimmage. In short, the Colts believe in keeping things in front of them, its part of the reason why they are so susceptible to pass catching backs. Cottee’s run after catch ability makes him essentially an extension of the run game and targets could be funneled his way. He will need to get in the end zone to pay off his his ownership in GPPs but is a strong cash game play.
Vyncint Smith vs DeAndre Carter
Both guys are the definition of fringe plays. However, I think Smith is more likely to retain his role as an outside receiver with Carter moving to the bench due to Coutee returning. Smith played 84 percent of the snaps. Smith is an explosive athlete and if the Colts are able to limit Hopkins at all, he could get a few extra looks. He is an MME punt play hoping he catches a long ball down the sideline for a touchdown.
I don’t know what Hilton eats prior to his games in Houston, but whatever it is, its worked. In his last two games in Houston, he has gone for 374 yards and two touchdowns on 21 targets. He has never seen less than nine targets in a game at Houston since his rookie year, and in four of his last six games, he has gone over 120 receiving yards. Hilton has seen double the air yards of any other Colts receiver in the last four weeks and 23 percent of the total targets. He is the best point per dollar receiver on the slate and should be in as many lineups as possible.
Dontrelle Inman/ other Colts receivers
Only twice since the bye week has any Colts receiver played more than 70 percent of the snaps, as the Colts have rotated guys. If Grant misses this game, its a bump up for Inman, who should see the highest uptick in snaps and targets. In the last four weeks, Inman is fourth on the team in target share, but second among receivers. However, that has been just 11 percent of the targets and even if you project Luck for 40 passes, that is just 4-5 targets. The Texans have allowed the fewest targets to opposing WR2s of any NFL team this season and Colts secondary options are best left alone outside of MME.
Ryan Griffin, Jordan Thomas, Jordan Akins
Griffin has led the Texans in snaps at tight end in every single game this season, but has only seen seven percent of the targets when Coutee is on the field. A Texans tight end has only seen more than five targets once this entire season. If you play one, you hope he falls into the end zone, but there are higher floor and ceiling punt plays on the slate.
Second on the team in target share and air yards the last four weeks, Eric Ebron has seen less than five targets just once this season. In his two games versus the Texans, he has seen 18 total targets and gone for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Ebron has already had success against the Texans in both games this season, and I expect that to continue, as the Texans funnel 19 percent of the targets against them to tight ends and have given up more touchdowns to opposing tight end ones than any other team in the NFL. Meanwhile, Ebron has seen 21 percent of the Colts’ red zone targets and has 13 total touchdowns this season. Ebron is one of two safe tight end plays this week, and if the punts fail, paying up at tight end could put a huge gap between you and your opponents this week.
Deshaun Watson has not thrown an interception since Week 12, and only has one fumble since that time. The Colts defense is in play for one reason and it is the Texans offensive line. They have the highest pressure rate allowed in the NFL at 44.7 percent and Watson has been sacked four-or-more times in six straight games.
The Texans are averaging 10 DK points per game at home this season, allowing just 17 points per game to opponents. The Colts have done a good job protecting luck with just double digit sacks allowed twice since week six, but Luck has thrown six interceptions in his last six games. The Colts have the higher floor in this one, but Luck has been known to make bad decisions and it could lead to a big play for the Texans defense in this one.
Eliot Crist is the Sports Product Manager for The Quant Edge.He is a fantasy analyst with a background in scouting, analytics, and fantasy research. Formerly he has contributed at PFF, 4for4, Bleacher Report, Powerhour, and NDT Scouting. Eliot combines watching tape with analytics to try and take angles that other analysts aren’t to gain an edge for you.