The Denver Broncos lost star running back Javonte Williams for the season, while the Indianapolis Colts lost star RB Jonathan Taylor (ankle) for at least this week. Usually, these situations create a lot of bad pricing across showdown slates. However, both DraftKings and FanDuel have made the correct adjustment and priced up these RBs.
Vegas Line: Broncos -3.5
Colts: RB Jonathan Taylor (Out), C Ryan Kelly (Limited Practice Participant), DT DeForest Buckner (Full Practice Participant), LB Shaquille Leonard (Out), DE Tyquan Lewis (Out), S Julian Blackmon (DNP).
Broncos: QB Russell Wilson (Limited Practice Participant), RB Javonte Williams (IR), RB Melvin Gordon (Limited Practice Participant), WR Tyrie Cleveland (Limited Practice Participant), OT Billy Turner (Limited Practice Participant), G Quinn Meinerz (DNP), G Dalton Risner (Limited Practice Participant), OLB Randy Gregory (DNP), LB Aaron Patrick (DNP), LB Jonathon Cooper (DNP), CB P.J. Locke (DNP), CB K’Waun Williams (Limited Practice Participant), CB Darius Philips (Limited Practice Participant), SAF Caden Sterns (DNP).
Data to Know Provided by TruMedia
Colts Offense vs. Broncos Defense
- This season Matt Ryan has dropped back 49 times without Taylor on the field. On those dropbacks, Ryan averages 6.3 yards per attempt, has been sacked seven times and has thrown two interceptions.
- Both of the interceptions came against the Jacksonville Jaguars defense. Michael Pittman Jr., Ryan’s top receiving target, was also unavailable for that game.
- Opposing teams have played zone on 70% of plays when Taylor is off the field, and that’s what I expect the Broncos to do in this game. Denver’s defense has played zone coverage about 70% this season.
- In the last three games, the Broncos’ defense has allowed one passing touchdown while allowing only one quarterback to average more than six yards per attempt.
- Ryan has averaged 8.1 yards per attempt with 6.1 air yards per attempt against zone coverage this season.
- No Colts pass catcher has more than a 20% target share against zone coverage this season.
- Only Pittman runs more than 90% of the possible routes.
- Pittman leads the team with an 18.1% target share vs. zone despite missing a week with an injury.
- Parris Campbell ranks second in possible routes run among Colts receivers with 80%. Alec Pierce and Ashton Dulin are splitting WR 3 duties.
- Mo Alie-Cox is the lead TE, but Jelani Wood and Kylen Granson receive plenty of playing time.
- Last week’s game was the first time the Broncos gave up more than 15 fantasy points to an RB, WR or TE.
- Nyheim Hines is the lead back with Taylor out. Deon Jackson is first in line as the backup with either Phillip Lindsay or D’Vonte Price as the third back.
- Hines has been targeted on 26.9% of his routes vs. zone coverage.
- Jackson has been on the roster all year, but Lindsay has more NFL experience.
- Denver’s defense has been stout this season, with Las Vegas’ dynamic duo of Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams being the only highly productive flex players.
Broncos Offense vs. Colts Defense
- Wilson is averaging 7.5 yards per attempt, 8.3 air yards per attempt and a 3.1% TD rate this season.
- The Broncos could become a pass-heavy team with Williams out and Melvin Gordon’s fumbling issues.
- Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley runs a heavy cover three scheme.
- In one previous matchup against Bradley’s defense, Wilson averaged 6.03 yards per attempt.
- The only pass catchers that run more than 80% of the possible routes are Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Eric Saubert.
- Kendall Hilton has run 67% of the team’s possible routes while K.J. Hamler has only run 9% of possible routes.
- Sutton leads the team in TGT share vs. zone coverage at 25.8%, and Williams is second with a 19.6% target share.
- Against cover three specifically, Jeudy and Sutton are similar in targets and production.
- Gordon will be the lead back, and Mike Boone will likely see the backup role. Be cautious with recent signee Latavius Murray stealing some snaps.
- The Colts have been stout against the run giving up only 3.1 yards per carry to RBs.
Colts vs. Broncos: Multiplier Pool
- Michael Pittman
- The Colts wide receiver has a tough matchup with Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II but will need to win that matchup for Indianapolis to move the ball.
- Courtland Sutton
- Sutton is the primary target for Wilson. I expect him to be the most targeted WR and the player Wilson looks for when the play breaks down.
- Melvin Gordon
- Gordon will see the bulk of the carries but will also get rotated out frequently because of how Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett handles the running back room.
- Jerry Jeudy
- Jeudy has produced vs. cover three this year and is looking to build off his solid performance from last weekend.
- Nyheim Hines
- Ryan will get the ball out quickly, and Hines will be the main running back target out of the backfield.
- I don’t think he’ll see many touches, but I do think he’ll get a high amount of targets.
Colts vs. Broncos: FLEX Pool
- Russell Wilson
- I bet Wilson continues to improve as the season goes on. We saw him hit 9.5 yards per attempt and 11.4 air yards per attempt last week.
- I still believe he’s too expensive for the multiplier spot, but I will be plugging him in as a flex.
- Mike Boone
- Boone will see plenty of work with Gordon’s fumbling issues, but my concern is holding off Murray in short-yardage and goal-line situations.
- Alec Pierce
- The box score shows Pierce played well last week, but his 44-yard catch was on the final drive. Also, he only ran a route on 41.5% of dropbacks.
- Pierce has made more plays than Campbell this season and has two games with more than three yards per route run, but he doesn’t see the field enough for me to feel confident in playing him.
- Broncos D/ST
- Ryan has been sacked 15 times this year, and he is not someone that can extend plays. Without Taylor, I expect the Broncos to be more aggressive leading to plenty of disruptive plays.
- Brandon McManus
- The Broncos have been more efficient in the red zone lately, but without Williams, I don’t expect that to continue. We could see more McManus field goals in this game.
- Chase McLaughlin
- The Colts trusted McLaughlin to kick from more than 50-yards against the Chiefs. I think they’ll do that again since Denver’s high altitude makes it easier for to convert long-field goals.
- Colts D/ST
- The Broncos’ offense has been awful all season, and this Colts team has played well.
- Eric Saubert
- Saubert ran the third most routes on the team last week and is extremely underpriced. He’s someone I will target with Wilson paired in the lineup.
- Philip Lindsay
- I believe Lindsay will play since Taylor has been ruled out. Lindsay has done it in the NFL before and has been on the Colts’ practice squad all season.
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