The Colts hit the road to face the Jaguars on Thursday night. We break down the fantasy implications.
We're surely in for another action-packed matchup with the Colts and Jaguars on Thursday night. It might not be as riveting as last week's Chiefs vs. Chargers showdown, but it's nearly as good.
Alright, maybe this isn't the game everyone is anxious to see in Week 10. Regardless of how bad Jacksonville has been in 2012, all football fans can truly appreciate Andrew Luck's impressive play so far. There may not be fantasy studs left in right here, but we'll certainly see a few special performances.
Let's go ahead and take a look at who you need to start between these two teams, and who you need to keep on your bench, or possibly drop (see: most of Jacksonville).
Andrew Luck, quarterback - The rookie hit a bit of a lull a few weeks ago, but he looked solid last Sunday throwing for 433 yards and two touchdowns against the Dolphins. Jacksonville ranks 25th against the pass. The Jaguars didn't allow a touchdown through the air in Week 9, but they gave up a ridiculous four rushing touchdowns to the Lions of all teams. Luck is worth a start at this point, as he can also add touchdowns with his legs. Indianapolis might end up scoring on the ground like Detroit. It's not a bad bet, though, to go with Luck in Week 10. He put up 313 yards and two touchdowns in Week 3.
Vick Ballard, running back - If Donald Brown doesn't play, Ballard's value will shoot way up. Brown experienced swelling in his surgically repaired knee last week, and he's questionable at this point. Given the short turnaround, it will be tough for him to be prepared for Thursday night. As mentioned above, the Jaguars gave up four, that's right, four rushing touchdowns to the Lions. Ballard has steadily made an impact in recent weeks. He seems to be winning over his coaching staff. Check on Brown's status prior to kickoff, and get Ballard in your lineup if Brown is out.
Reggie Wayne, Donnie Avery & T.Y. Hilton, wide receiver - Wayne has over 70 yards receiving every game this season. Luck is always looking his way, and he's transformed the veteran into a solid starter every week. The Jaguars have no problem giving up big numbers to opposing receivers. Start Wayne with confidence. Avery suffered a hip injury against Miami, but he's been a full participant in practice this week. Both Avery and Hilton benefited greatly from the all-out aerial assault in Week 9. Luck isn't going to throw the ball 48 times against the Jags. If you're in need of a flyer, Hilton has more big-play potential. Also keep in mind he went off against Jacksonville earlier this year. Avery hasn't scored since Week 1.
Dwayne Allen, tight end - Yet another injury for the Colts, Coby Fleener is out for Week 10. Allen also reaped the rewards of Luck's constant passing last week, catching six passes for 75 yards. He's not consistent with his scoring, which has been partly due to Fleener. Allen is worth a look in deeper leagues, but until he proves himself, you can find a better option.
Colts defense/special teams - Mike Mularkey's squad averages right around 15 points per game, nothing that will strike fear in the eyes of opposing defense. The Colts gave up 22 points to the Jaguars earlier in the season, but that was with Maurice Jones-Drew running the daylights out of the ball. Indy's defense looks better these days, only allowing 13.75 points on average over the past four weeks. Given the matchup, go ahead and roll with the Colts D/ST this time around.
Blaine Gabbert, quarterback - The Colts pass defense ranks 11th overall through nine weeks. Gabbert finished with relatively better numbers in his last two games after taking advantage of garbage time in both, but you aren't really going to start him, are you? Unless you are literally down to your last option, look elsewhere for a quarterback.
Rashad Jennings, running back - 104 yards in the past two games left fantasy owners rather disappointed after they expected Jennings to provide solid production with MJD out. Good news, though. Jones-Drew rushed for 177 yards and a touchdown against the Colts earlier this season. Jennings is still getting enough work to become a decent fantasy performer. His value is up to RB2 status in Week 10.
Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts, wide receiver - With Gabbert throwing the ball, you can't trust any Jaguars receiver to help your team every week. Shorts has been more consistent, even with the franchise constantly vowing to get Blackmon more involved. Their No. 1 draft pick caught his first touchdown pass last week. Should we get excited about Blackmon's value now? Probably not. It's a toss up with either receiver if you're in the mood for taking a risk. Just don't get your hopes up with this offense.
Marcedes Lewis, tight end - Indy allows the fewest fantasy points to tight ends. Lewis hasn't scored since Week 4, and he appears to be an afterthought at this point. There's not much else to say. Look elsewhere.
Jaguars defense/special teams - After giving up 27.4 points per game through eight games, how can you feel confident about ever playing the Jags D/ST? Luck is firing on all cylinders right now. Jacksonville is firing on half a cylinder, maybe. Find another matchup.