INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts fans have had this one circled all season.
They host reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium in the Colts' biggest game of 2020 to this point.
Win, lose, or draw for two 5-2 AFC teams, this is also a big matchup for fantasy football enthusiasts: two quarterbacks capable of putting up gaudy numbers, two run games in flux, and receiving corps where the wealth is spread.
The best part of both sides, though? The defense.
Which Colts players should be in your fantasy lineups this week?
(Weekly positional rankings from FantasyPros.com, based on Half-PPR scoring. Ranks as of Thursday of game week.)
QB Philip Rivers
— Last game: 23-of-33 (69.7%), 262 yards, 3 TD, 2 carries, -2 yards = 27.8 FP
— Last three-game average: 24.3-of-36.7 (66.4%), 292.0 yards, 2.0 TD, 1.0 TO, 1.3 carries, -1.3 yards = 20.9 FP
— FantasyPros Week 9 Position Rank: QB24
— 2020 Ravens vs. QBs: 18th (19.7 FPPG)
It’s difficult to know what to expect from Rivers in this matchup. His past two games have been outstanding as he’s averaged 28.9 fantasy points, but he was inconsistent before that, to say the least.
Is this new Colts passing game here to stay? If the Colts want to keep winning, that must be the case. Rivers and the offense hasn’t looked this good until the ball started getting flung around.
The Ravens are middle of the pack against the passing game, as they rank 16th against quarterbacks in fantasy and 10th against the pass overall. Between Weeks 2-4, opposing quarterbacks Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, and Dwayne Haskins Jr. averaged 324.7 passing yards against them.
Being the league’s least-sacked quarterback, and with how much Rivers spreads the ball around, it’s difficult for defenses to shut him down completely.
TE Trey Burton
— Last game: 3 catches (4 targets), 9 yards, 1 carry, 2 yards, 1 total TD = 8.6 FP
— Last three-game average: 4.0 catches (5.0 targets), 33.3 yards, 0.7 carries, 1.0 yard, 3 total TD = 11.4 FP
— FantasyPros Week 9 Position Rank: TE16
— 2020 Ravens vs. TEs: 20th (8.9 FPPG)
Burton made his season debut in Week 4 and since then is third on the team in pass targets (20) despite being part of a three-headed attack at tight end with Mo Alie-Cox and Jack Doyle.
Burton hasn’t been targeted fewer than four times in any game, and he’s scored three TDs in the last two weeks. Meanwhile, four opposing tight ends have had TDs against Baltimore.
Burton is being used as both a pass-catcher and a wildcat quarterback, so fantasy owners ought to keep riding that train until it halts.
Colts Defense/Special Teams
— Last game: 326 yards allowed, 21 points allowed, 5 sacks, 2 takeaways, 1 D/ST TD
— Last three-game average: 369.7 yards allowed, 26.7 points allowed, 2.7 sacks, 1.7 takeaways, 2 total D/ST TDs
— FantasyPros Week 9 Position Rank: DST13
— 2020 Ravens vs. DST: 15th (5.4 FPPG)
At first glance, it seems unwise to start a defense in fantasy against Jackson and the Ravens. However, consider this.
For starters, the Colts have been a legitimate fantasy defense, even in contests where they didn’t bring their “A game.” They are tied for the league lead in interceptions (11), and they’ve scored four defensive/special teams TDs.
Baltimore ranks just 20th in total offense, and is tied for 19th in sacks allowed (19). In fact, they have allowed multiple sacks in all but one game, and have allowed at least three sacks in four games.
Last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens turned the ball over four times and surrendered four sacks.
The Colts defense is based on speed and swarming to the ball, which makes the unit a quality matchup against a short-handed Ravens team missing starting offensive left tackle Ronnie Stanley.
Boom or Bust
The “Boom” players are outside of the top 10 at their position in FantasyPros’ Week 9 rankings, yet have high upside this week. The ”Bust” players are inside the top 15 at their position, but could fall short of expectations.
— Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (QB14) @ Los Angeles Chargers
— Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team (RB13) vs. New York Giants
— Will Fuller V, Houston Texans (WR12) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
— Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (QB8) @ Indianapolis Colts
— Todd Gurley II, Atlanta Falcons (RB10) vs. Denver Broncos
— A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans (WR9) vs. Chicago Bears
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 Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts (39%)
— WR Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers (38%)
— WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars (29%)
— WR Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers (28%)
— TE Trey Burton, Indianapolis Colts (23%)
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.)