2021 Dynasty/Fantasy PREVIEW Week 15: New England at Indy
I’m going to answer/touch on the main topics/questions that I am getting the past 24+ hours going into this (now) solo Saturday night game, and I’ll discuss them in the order of most important/FF-affecting/interesting:
1) Rhamondre Stevenson time!
With Damien Harris out (talk about an injury prone RB) the main workload falls on Rhamondre Stevenson, and he’s likely the better, more physical runner as it is…this is an RB1 opportunity for Rhamondre.
The Patriots are all about the run game – top 10 in most rushing metrics and tallies in the NFL, but top 3-5 since Week 5. The team has rushed for 100+ yards in a game (as a group) for 9 straight weeks as their O-Line got healed…and as Stevenson has come on to help. 140 or more rushing yards (as a group) in a game in five of their last 7 games. You can almost pencil in Stevenson for 100+ yards this game.
Indy is a middle of the pack, back half of the league in run stopping metrics…except in rushing TDs allowed. They’re 3rd-best in that department. NE run dominance v. Indy TD run-halting…I’ll take the Patriots to slip in for a likely rushing TD here.
Brandon Bolden becomes the clear 3rd-down RB…and the one who takes touches if Stevenson runs into any issues. The Colts are vicious/excellent at tackling the ball and creating fumbles -- #1 in the NFL with distance with 14 fumble takeaways, so you have to watch to see if the rookie has any ball security issues he gets ‘punished for’…and then Bolden could be an FF surprise with more touches.
2) Jonathan Taylor time?
The Patriots have a very similar run defense as the Colts…middle of the road in many metrics, but very stout at not allowing rushing TDs. The Colts are 3rd-best at allowing rushing TDs (8…league avg. is 12-13), but the Patriots are 1st in that department, only 6 rushing TDs allowed.
The Patriots are likely going to sell out against Taylor and make Carson Wentz beat them. Many teams try to stop Taylor, but he usually finds his FF numbers…but when Belichick decides to stop something, he usually does…
Wentz may have a sneaky good FF game here in play action catching the Pats off balance trying to aggressively stop JT. I don’t want to ever bet heavy on Wentz…or against the Pats pass defense, a top 3 unit this season. Arguably the best in the league right now.
3) Michel Pittman v. J.C. Jackson
J.C. Jackson is one of the best in the business – only 51.3% Comp. Pct. allowed against him. Just 1 TD allowed this year (with 7 picks) and a 38.9% passer rating allowed in targets at him. The bigger plays he’s allowed this year were more flukes (up for grabs and miracle catches)…he’s a true lockdown corner.
…but Pittman is one of the best WRs in the game. However, when he’s faced top corners this season he’s been more muted than not. He’s hard to bench, but there is pressure here to worry about that he’s going to have an FF-dud.
Jackson v. Pittman…you take Jackson, but it only takes one play to flip the board/add the FF points. And Pittman should get 8-10+ targets because he is Wentz’s guy. Pittman is definitely not a lock WR1-2 this week…more WR2-3 or worse.
4) Kendrick Bourne or Michael Pittman?
You could make the case that the game setup favors Bourne as the choice…the Colts will over-focus on the run game. The Colts have no J.C. Jackson, or anything close, to halt any single WR. Bourne won’t be doubled, ever. Bourne has become Mac Jones’s go-to – but not like 10+ targets a game, just an effective 6-7 targets for 4 +/- catches for 40-70 yards a game and a growing rate of chance for a TD.
Who has more TDs this season…Pittman or Bourne? Neither…it’s a tie, 5 TDs each – with most of Bourne’s of late, and Pittman’s all before Week 10. Pittman hasn’t caught a TD pass in 4 games.
5) Colts or Patriots DST?
YTD, the Colts are #4 in DST scoring…the Patriots #1. However, a lot has to do with schedule/opponents. I’d say the Patriots have a B+ defense (with an awesome schedule so far) and the Colts are a solid C+ defensive unit. Both teams have good/great O-Lines that are getting better as they got healthier this offseason.
I’d rather play the Pats-DST v. Wentz vs. Colts-DST v. Jones, if I had to choose…but neither is an amazing play because of the good O-Lines, the low turnover offenses they’re facing.
6) Kicker opportunity?
Both these teams move the ball/score at a high rate, and with this game indoors…both kickers should have a solid+ game for FF this week.
Nick Folk has become FF’s top kicker, so there’s that.
Michael Badgley has been very efficient (91.7% of his FGs made, 100% of his XPs) since joining the Colts. He’s just not as high a volume opportunist. He’s a kinda ‘sleeper’ for Week 15…one of the rare kickers kicking indoors/not in the cold this week.
7) Have I given up on my recent Jack Doyle enthusiasm?
No…but this game, yes.
Doyle is just projecting lower this week because the Pats are so good against the TE…a running theme for the past 2 seasons. The Pats D has allowed the least number of catches to TEs this season, as well as the fewest yards allowed, and the 3rd-fewest TDs allowed to TE. Not a good matchup.
This is where the two defenses radically differ – the Colts are #31 in catches and yards allowed to the TE this season. But the Pats split TE touches between Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, and neither has been a big producer…but Henry did have a TD spree midseason. However, he hasn’t scored a TD in 3 games. No TD, and Henry kills you for FF.
There has to be better TEs to work with this week than the three main options in this game?
I see the Pats are trying to get Jonnu Smith going more recently, so it wouldn’t shock me if he had a decent game here…but I wouldn’t FF-bet on it at all.
Hope this helps with any decisions you need to make pre-kick...
GOOD LUCK with whatever you need to or not-to have happen in tonight’s game!
KEEP your flex FLEXIBLE!!!!!
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