Had I known Brock Osweiler would be starting/playing the most at QB for Denver, I would have selected the Broncos and given the 2.5 to the Colts.
10-0 Colts pre-Osweiler…followed by a 25-3 Denver run with Osweiler, for an easy 25-13 victory – in what may have been the least fantasy interesting Thursday night football game in the history of fantasy. I doubt anyone had Osweiler, Brissett, Heuerman, Latimer in their lineups this week (the 4 players who scored TDs).
All this win did for Denver is push them further/clearly ahead of the Colts in the draft order…so, congrats.
Now, onto the unenviable task of finding something to talk about from this game.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I was serious about the Osweiler comment…because he is a 'good' bad quarterback. I think he has a shot at resurrecting his career to 'plausible' or 'shock emergency fill in a la Josh McCown' down the road. He's a C-/D+ QB who is clearly better than anyone on the Denver depth chart (or Cleveland's when he was there).
Osweiler entered this game full of confidence and acted like a leader, and produced like a leader. I know Osweiler is not a future star, but that guy has a good head on his shoulders, conducts himself well in interviews…and he acts like a leader on the sidelines/in the clubhouse.
You have to give Osweiler credit because he was a national punchline in 2016. He could have easily folded, quietly slipped away with his millions. He didn’t. He faced the scrutiny. He went to Cleveland…of all football places. He's re-paying his dues when he doesn’t have to.
He also makes Denver a quasi-dangerous team to face late in the season. Combine Denver's still solid defense with Osweiler's ‘effort’…and you wins like this in games they SHOULD win.
After saying all that, I'm sure Paxton Lynch will start next week.
The Lynch-Osweiler outcome is a big deal if you own Demaryius Thomas and/or Emmanuel Sanders next week for a fantasy title game. Either WR is a WR3-4 with Lynch, and Thomas is a WR1-1.5 with Osweiler because they have a great working relationship….auto start or auto bench for a key WR(s) depending on how Denver plays it.
I think if Vance Joseph has his way, Osweiler will start because he's the only hope at a win…and Joseph's reputation is getting blasted this season. If the real Broncos’ head coach makes the call, John Elway, then I suspect we'll see Lynch because there's more 'big picture' logic working Lynch.
-- Cody Latimer (3-60-1/4) finally starting to come to life?
Last 4 games for Denver: 2.3 rec. (3.5 targets), 37.5 yards, 0.50 TDs per game
Latimer has two 50+ yard games this season…both with Osweiler at QB.
-- I was pretty sure Marlon Mack (6-14-0, 0-0-0/1) was going to have a bigger role this game because: (a) Why not? (b) Frank Gore carried the ball 30+ times last week. (c) With Denver's ability to take away WRs, surely the Colts would use their RB passing game weapon.
Ummm…no. More Frank Gore featurettes.
I guess Chuck Pagano is going out the way he wants.
-- Cris Collinsworth usually finds one lesser-known guy in the game he broadcasting and becomes over-delighted with him after that player makes a basic catch or has a nice tackle, whatever. In this game, it was TE Ross Travis (2-33-0/2).
Travis was a decent college basketball player (forward) for Penn State, and he was a shot in the dark UDFA grab and develop for the Kansas City Chiefs a couple years ago. Travis was a practice squad guy in 2015 and then made enough progress that he made the 2016 roster and was playing some snaps, seeing a few targets. With Travis Kelce and Demetrius Harris in hand, Travis didn’t see much playing time/attention in 2016 or 2017. KC had to release him when they got hit with injuries in various spots mid-2017 season, and Indy scooped him up because the Colts' new GM was from the KC personnel group that grabbed Travis originally.
Travis had a couple catches in this game and looked solid. He'd be a decent sleeper but he will not supplant Jack Doyle (7-47-0/8), ever, on purpose. Travis is one to watch but hard to see breaking out in 2017 or 2018.
-- Colts rookie DT from Albany State, Grover Stewart (4 tackles) is playing a bit more and had 4 tackles in this game, giving him back-to-back games with 4 tackles.
Stewart earned nice grades for us over at College Football Metrics.com. He's a bit of a freak DT – 6'4"+/340+ and runs a 5.1+ 40-time with 7.7+ three-cone and benched 30 reps. He's a monster in the middle. Very athletic for his huge frame/size.
Snap Counts of Interest…
28 = Gore
24 = Mack
54 = Doyle
10 = Ross Travis
45 = Traylor
36 = V Green
25 = Heuerman
02 = Jamaal
01 = Josh Ferguson
30 = Clayton Geathers
24 = Grover Stewart