INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts visit the high-scoring Cleveland Browns, who are fresh off a 508-yard, 49-point performance in an 11-point road win at Dallas.
The Colts are a little banged-up after a 19-11 road win at Chicago, so let’s see how it affects their fantasy football outlook for Sunday’s game.
(Weekly positional rankings from FantasyPros.com, based on Half-PPR scoring. Ranks as of Thursday of game week.)
QB Philip Rivers
— Last game: 16-of-29 (55.2%), 190 yards, 1 TD, 3 carries, -4 yards = 12.6 FP
— Last three-game average: 17.3-of-25.0 (69.3%), 207.0 yards, 2.3 carries, -0.3 yards, 3 total TD, 1 INT = 13.0 FP
— FantasyPros Week 5 Position Rank: QB23
— 2020 Browns vs. QBs: 30th (25.7.0 FPPG)
From a fantasy perspective, Rivers has put up game-manager numbers through four games. However, this is quite the matchup he’s got in front of him.
For starters, Cleveland gives up the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks after Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, and Dak Prescott all had big days against them. All four opposing quarterbacks have thrown for multiple touchdowns, and the aforementioned three had at least 24 fantasy points.
As good as the Colts defense has been, it would not be shocking for this game to become a miniature version of the shootout that the Browns had with the Cowboys. In that instance, Colts head coach Frank Reich could be quite comfortable letting Rivers let ‘er rip as many times as necessary.
RB Jonathan Taylor
— Last game: 17 carries, 68 yards, 1 catch (1 target), 11 yards = 8.4 FP
— Last three-game average: 18.7 carries, 76.0 yards, 1.3 catches (1.3 targets), 7.7 yards, 2 total touchdowns = 13.0 FP
— FantasyPros Week 5 Position Rank: RB9
— 2020 Browns vs. RBs: 10th (16.5 FPPG)
Taylor’s usage has been interesting thus far. He was targeted six times in the passing game and caught every ball in Week 1. He ran the ball 26 times in Week 2. However, he’s rushed a combined 30 times in the last two weeks and has only been targeted once per contest.
Taylor’s been able to produce a couple of longer runs in those last two games despite the dip in usage, but why the dip in usage as a pass-catcher?
Regardless, Taylor is still the Colts’ primary tailback and will get the lion’s share of the touches.
The rookie could have a nice day against the Browns defense if used in the run and pass. Last week, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott had 12 carries for 54 yards and eight catches for 71 yards.
TE Mo Alie-Cox
— Last game: 1 catch (2 targets), 13 yards, 1 TD = 7.8 FP
— Last three-game average: 3.0 catches (3.7 targets), 58.0 yards, 2 total TD = 11.3
— FantasyPros Week 5 Position Rank: TE19
— 2020 Browns vs. TEs: 28th (12.9 FPPG)
You wish there was more of a target-share to validate this, because otherwise Alie-Cox’s fantasy prospects are so big-play-dependent, but he’s been making those big plays.
Rivers seems to have found his big-bodied pass-catcher, who can go up and get the ball, so the opportunity is there each week for Alie-Cox to make plays.
There’s every reason to ride the hot hand here after the Browns gave up big tight end performances to Mark Andrews (20.3 FP), C.J. Uzomah (12.2 FP), and Dalton Schultz (15.2).
— With how hobbled the Colts are defensively, especially at linebacker, fantasy owners should be a bit tentative to start them against a Browns offense that popped off for 49 points and 508 yards of offense last week. The Colts defense is better than the Cowboys defense, but it’s not the best matchup for the Colts’ No. 1-ranked defense.
Boom or Bust
The “Boom” players are outside of the top 10 at their position in FantasyPros’ Week 5 rankings, yet have high upside this week. The ”Bust” players are inside the top 15 at their position, but could fall short of expectations.
— Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (QB14) vs. Philadelphia Eagles
— Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (QB18) @ New Orleans Saints
— Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco 49ers (RB20) vs. Miami Dolphins
— Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (QB12) @ Seattle Seahawks
— Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals (RB11) @ Baltimore Ravens
— Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins (TE10) @ San Francisco 49ers
Who I’m Adding This Week
Here are some players worth acquiring from the waiver wire. They are owned in 40% or less of Yahoo! leagues.
— RB Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers (39%)
— WR Tre’Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints (32%)
— WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars (31%)
— RB Duke Johnson, Houston Texans (25%)
— WR Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos (17%)
Looking for a podcast? Check out the Bleav in Colts Podcast on the Bleav Podcast Network.
(Jake Arthur has covered the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for nearly a decade and is a contributor for the team's official website, Colts.com. He’s on Twitter and Facebook @JakeArthurNFL, and his email is email@example.com.)