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Say what you want about the Indianapolis Colts, but for the second week in a row they came out and jumped all over their opponent seizing control of their game right away. Sadly, they have a hard time holding off their opponents in the end – but they're getting out to great starts. They're showing something. Yes, they're playing a round robin of the worst teams in football – last week Arizona this week Cleveland, but in both cases Indianapolis was the better team for most of the game. The Colts led this game 28-7 at one point before Cleveland snuck back in late but the Colts help on 31-28.
This game between two bad teams came down to the quarterback, in a sense. You couldn't watch this game and not believe Jacoby Brissett (17-24 for 259 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) was not the superior QB prospect versus DeShone Kizer (22-47 for 242 yards, 2 TD/3 INT). It's inarguable. That's why Cleveland is going to be wandering around in the desert of losing seasons for years – the Colts got a QB right before the season started for a seventh-round draft pick that is instantly better than the supposed franchise quarterback the Browns are building around. It's a shame because Cleveland has playoff level talent, when healthy, everywhere but that quarterback – but QB is everything…and Cleveland is on its way to another losing season. Until Hue Jackson gets eradicated from their DNA it will never change.
The Colts aren't going anywhere either in 2017. They've fallen too far behind Tennessee and Jacksonville in overall talent, and then without Andrew Luck it's a lost season to catch up. However, the Colts seem to be playing with a little more spirit than most of the bad teams right now. It will be interesting to see if the Colts give Seattle a minor scare this week or if they just get blown out like everybody believes will happen.
Fantasy player notes…
*I don't have any Superfresh pearls of wisdom that left out at me about the offense of players in this game, but I do have a player to point out for IDP for those in crazy deep roster leaks. And part of that discussion about the Cleveland Browns DST of the future.
Very quick hit offense of notes from this game before the defense of talk:
-- As long as the matchup isn't too difficult, in 4pts per pass TD leagues – you could do worse than Jacoby Brissett for a bye week fill-in. As I've said over and over…he's a lesser version of Tyrod Taylor. Brissett is not the runner that Taylor is, but he's not bad and he's willing to roll. Actually, Brissett is more gifted as a passer -- just inexperienced with a bad O-Line right now. You know how some of you used Tyrod Taylor in a pinch last year and it kind of worked out –Brissett could be on that same vibe.
-- Because Brissett is fairly confident as a passer, T.Y. Hilton (7-153-1/9) is coming back to life. I wouldn't go overboard because he broke away from bad Cleveland coverage Week 3, but it's a step in the right direction. Brissett can deliver to Hilton. Considering the Colts will be down in games and throwing a lot – Hilton stock should be on the rise. The problem is his division is closing in on him – he doesn't have great upside against the Jaguars secondary in the Titans are getting exponentially better in the secondary as well.
-- You want to believe in Duke Johnson (2-23-1, 6-81-0/7), I want to believe in him – I'll that talk from Hue Jackson. Duke kinda working as a WR at times… The scenario is pleasing for Fantasy. The problem is, I don't think DeShone Kizer is the QB to fully bring this around. There's hope. Duke Johnson is a good RB3 gamble week to week in PPR. I just figure he has more Shane Vereen wild swings in output in him with more down then up. I don't like being left to guess which week Johnson gets a bunch of junk targets to rack up PPR numbers.
You could do worse in PPR. You could do better.
-- For the same reason I don't trust Duke Johnson, that's why I advocated passing on Rashard Higgins (2-10-0/6) off waivers last week despite the logic that someone has to be the top WR for the Browns. The Browns in their head coach can't make a very good/great Corey Coleman fantasy consistent/relevant – but they're going to make practice squad WR Rashard Higgins a star? I just didn't see the logic. And now everybody who chases got burned.
OK onto the defense…
-- First, let me hit on some Colts things...
Malik Hooker (3 tackles, 1 INT) was a high draft pick in part for his ability to track and intercept passes at safety. People were concerned about his injuries and lack of experience, but there was no denying his ball play skills. Hooker has an interception in back to back weeks…granted it's Carson Palmer and DeShone Kizer, but still – he should be picking off those guys if he's that good.
Matthias Farley (2 tackles) was an IDP gem out of nowhere the first two weeks of the season, then crash back to earth in this one (he got banged up). He's not a star talent, but he can tackle. I have no idea whether he'll hold his position and be relevant or not. If he gets the snaps he's still something to look at.
-- OK, onto the Browns defense...
I reiterate that this is the best young defenses in football -- if you disqualify the Steelers as a young defense. Even if the Steelers are included it may be appropriate to call the Browns the best young defense. The Browns are one great corner away, and colleges are spitting them out fast for the draft these days, from being an elite unit.
You hear me say that and then see they gave up 31 points to the Colts and wonder why I am circling back here. Consider two things at this point – Myles Garrett hasn't played yet, and Jamie Collins did not play in this game either. Two Pro Bowl talents weren't on the field. Still, the Browns have a bigger issue because their quarterbacks are pretty poor. Until they solve that, that can't be elite. But once Collins and Garrett get back to pressure the QB, they may make their cornerbacks seem a lot better when the QBs don't have time to throw.
One of the reasons I love the Browns defense for the future is they have by far the best young defensive front in all of football. It's inarguable. Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah as bookends could be unreal…further made on real because Cleveland very sneakily has fantastic defensive tackles. One of which we need to discuss for deep sleeper IDP purposes… But I'll save him for last.
What Cleveland is rotating on the D-Line is amazing – Carl Nassib (4 tackles, 1 PD, 1 TFL) is being disruptive as a DT/DE. Danny Shelton (7 tackles, 2 TFLs) has lost weight and is starting to have a real impact as a DT. Rookie Larry Ogunjobi is going to be a pro ballplayer sooner rather than later.
The Browns are loaded with talent up the middle, but the player that caught my eye from this game and maybe go back and watch some of his work from last week – is Treveon Coley (5 tackles, 1 TFL), a 6'1"/304 DT with a 7.02 three cone, which is pretty sweet for 304 pounds.
I thought Coley was going to have a hundred tackles in this game the way it started – I think he was in on or made the first three tackles of the game. It was another force to be reckoned with on the Cleveland the line. The Browns can bring defensive pressure in waves once everyone is healthy.
I don't know how this is going to shake out for playing time, but Coley has 5.5 tackles per game the last two weeks, which is definitely above average out of the DT spot. He seems to have surpassed Ogunjobi in the rotation for now. Those in deeper IDP's may want to keep an eye on Coley.
Consider that the Browns have four defensive tackles that are better than any of the Colts defensive tackles – that gives you a small clue of where the Browns are headed. I would argue in terms of raw talent the Browns have the best defensive line in football -- once they are fully healthy and have a little more experience, you'll start to see the Browns win games they should lead by the defense. It's probably a month or so away. In deeper dynasties, the Browns should be the defense you stash away for the future…and the future maybe just a few weeks away.