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Thursday Night Football Matchup Analysis (Week 15)

Hopefully many owners survived last week's notable injuries...

From Saints running back Alvin Kamara being knocked out of Thursday night's game with a concussion and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz tearing his ACL, there were certainly enough key injuries to go around in Week 14. For those still hanging on to their championship hopes, here's to you for continuing to fight and pull out victories!

Week 15 represents the semi-final matchup in most fantasy leagues. With the end in sight, playing the correct players now is a do-or-die affair. The Denver Broncos head to Indianapolis to take on the Colts in the first matchup of the week and I'm here to help you discern which players can help get you to the final round of your fantasy playoffs. Without further ado, let's get started.

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Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts

Date and Start Time: Thursday, December 14 at 8:25 PM ET

Notable Injuries and Status:

  • Donte Moncrief (WR, IND) - Ankle - Out
  • Ryan Kelly (OL, IND) - Concussion - Out


Offensive and Defensive Rankings (2017):

Broncos Colts
Passing Yards 21st 29th
Rushing Yards 19th 20th
Pass Defense 2nd 30th
Run  Defense 3rd 23rd



Must Starts

Top Performers That Have To Be In Your Lineup

Demaryius Thomas (WR, DEN)

As the lone must start on Denver in this week's Thursday Night Football article, Thomas is being gifted as good a matchup as it can get against a young and inexperienced Colts secondary. The Colts have been rolling out rookie starters Kenny Moore and Quincy Wilson, two names that hardly inspire fear in opposing wide receivers. Factor in that Thomas has some degree of consistent receiving volume with 9.1 targets per game and fantasy owners should expect big things from him on Thursday.

Jack Doyle (TE, IND)

Doyle struggled to do much of anything in Week 14 outside of a last second touchdown that salvaged what was an awful day for Colts receiving options.  As part of a grander downward trend, he has failed to top 20 yards receiving in three of his past four games, so why am I so confident in his chances against Denver? The Broncos have allowed an average 16.1 PPR points to tight ends on the road and opposing teams target their tight ends 25.7 percent of the time against them, making for as juicy a matchup as you can get on paper. Presumed Colts No. 2 wideout Donte Moncrief will also be sidelined, meaning more targets being funneled Doyle's way.


Must Sits

Players To Avoid Putting In Your Lineup

Trevor Siemian (QB, DEN)

Part of me is saying to tell fantasy owners that Siemian could be an average streaming option against Indianapolis given how the Colts have allowed the most QB1 scoring weeks to non-QB1 passers on the season. However, I'm going to go with the recent trend on this one and say that Siemian's inability to perform against vulnerable pass defenses and his awful ceiling will prevent him from satisfying fantasy owners on Thursday night. He has failed to throw for over 200 yards in his last four games and only thrown for over 260 yards once all year. He is the definition of a game manager, a term you don't want to hear describe your fantasy quarterback.

Jacoby Brissett (QB, IND)

Turning to the quarterback on the opposite sideline, Brissett seems to have come back down to earth after a handful of solid performances at mid-season. While the Broncos have allowed a handful of passing scores this season, the defense is allowing hardly anything in the yardage department and Brissett is struggling to hit his targets on a consistent basis. He will also be without athletic wide receiver Donte Moncrief, meaning Denvers' rangy corners can perfectly matchup with Indianapolis' receiving core.

T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)

Hilton's good weeks and bad weeks have been easy to foresee for the most part and this is one that owners will likely regret putting him in for. Denver is allowing the fewest receptions per game to opposing wide receivers and has little to fear in a passing game devoid of multiple threats with No. 2 wideout Donte Moncrief sidelined.

Other Notable Must Sits: Devontae Booker / Jamaal Charles (RBs, DEN), Virgil Green (TE, DEN), Chester Rogers (WR, IND)


Solid Options/Sleepers

Which Players Will Have Solid Games and Which Could Surprise?

Solid Option: Emmanuel Sanders (WR, DEN)

While this game should favor a run-heavy game script, the Colts clearly have a secondary ripe for exploitation. Sanders has only 54 total yards over his past four games while averaging just 16.5 percent of the team targets per game, but he is a decent option for those who need him. There should be enough targets in the passing game to go around in this one for Sanders to return flex-level production.

Solid Option: C.J. Anderson (RB, DEN)

The volume has been there for Anderson, who has had 19 and 24 touches over the past two weeks and is in line for a similar workload against Indianapolis. Game script is likely to favor Denver in this one and if they generate a lead at some point, expect Anderson to run all over a Colts defense devoid of big-bodied stoppers.

Sleepers: Frank Gore / Marlon Mack (RBs, IND)

Gore has had a stranglehold on snaps in recent weeks, but he is coming off a 37 touch game on a short week. The potential for a reduced workload means he is a low ceiling flex option against a Denver defense that has allowed just five backs to hit 75 yards from scrimmage in a game in 2017. Mack could see an increased snap count on both early downs and in the passing game to relieve the 34-year old Gore, but either is an extreme gamble for your playoff life.


More Week 15 Lineup Prep


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