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Thursday Night Football Matchups Analysis - Week 12

Talk about a shocking move by Myles Garrett. The Cleveland Browns performed well against a beaten up Pittsburgh Steelers team last week, but the win was ultimately overshadowed by a fight between Garrett and Mason Rudolph on a meaningless play. After reviewing the incident, the NFL delivered multiple punishments in the form of suspensions and fines in order to send a message that this kind of conduct will not tolerated in the future.

For the third straight week, we get a divisional battle for Thursday Night Football featuring the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans in NRG stadium. In the home stretch before the fantasy playoffs, every week counts. Let's dive in to Thursday Night Football Matchups Analysis for Week 12.

Good luck with your lineups this week RotoBallers!

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!


Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans

Date and Start Time: November 21 at 8:00 PM ET

Notable Injuries and Status:


Offensive and Defensive Rankings in 2019:

Colts Texans
Passing Yards 28th 14th
Rushing Yards 4th 5th
Pass Defense 11th 29th
Rush Defense 9th 13th


Must Starts

Top Performers That Have To Be In Your Lineups

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)

This season's QB-5 is a weekly must-start, but he does draw a slightly more difficult matchup than usual against a Colts Defense giving up only 228 passing yards per game. Watson eclipsed 300 yards passing and threw for one touchdown to two interceptions when these two teams clashed back in Week 7.

DeAndre Hopkins (WR, HOU)

While Hopkins hasn't quite lived up to the draft capital fantasy owners had to pay for him, he has been getting the target volume to justify keeping him in your lineups. The Indianapolis secondary doesn't boast a shutdown corner in their secondary on the boundary, so now is not a week to stop.


Solid Options and Potential Sleepers

Which Players Will Have Solid Games and Which Could Surprise?

Solid Option: Jacoby Brissett (QB, IND)

Even with multiple of his offensive weapons sidelined, Brissett should still produce solid numbers against Houston's bottom-four passing defense. The absence of Marlon Mack will undoubtedly force the Colts to throw the football more often, with fantasy owners hoping Brissett can replicate his 326 passing yard, four touchdown performance from when he battled the Texans earlier this year.

Solid Options: T.Y. Hilton / Zach Pascal (WRs, IND)

Hilton is well known for producing against the Texans, but it's hard to assume that there won't be any lingering symptoms from his calf injury that could impact his performance. Many will not trust Pascal given his string of underwhelming performances with T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell sidelined. However, Pascal should draw flex consideration against a porous Houston secondary that he surpassed 100 receiving yards against in Week 7.

Solid Option: Duke Johnson (RB, HOU)

While the Colts Defense is stout against the ground game, they give up the seventh-most receptions to the running back position. Over the last three weeks, Johnson has been virtually splitting snaps with Carlos Hyde and should have his number called to the tune of plenty of receptions.

Sleeper: Darren Fells (TE, HOU)

Fells' name once again comes into play for those in need of a tight end streamer. Indianapolis is a middling defense against opposing tight ends, so fantasy owners should not feel inhibited to take the touchdown-dependent risk if they need it.


Consider Sitting

Players To Avoid Putting In Your Lineup If Possible

Nyheim Hines / Jordan Wilkins / Jonathan Williams (RBs, IND)

In light of the Marlon Mack injury, the early down rushing workload in the Indianapolis backfield will likely be split by Wilkins and Williams. Fantasy owners should take a wait-and-see approach with these two to determine who will emerge, especially since Houston has a defense that ranks in the top half of the league against the run. Should Hines not see an uptick in his rush attempts, he will remain relegated to his hybrid role and not help many fantasy owners outside of PPR formats. For even more analysis, you can also read this great detailed breakdown of the Colts running back situation for fantasy by fellow writer Eric Samulski.

Eric Ebron / Jack Doyle (TEs, IND)

Whenever you start Ebron or Doyle, you are hoping for the touchdown upside because neither option is getting enough volume to support a strong fantasy tight end. Houston isn't particularly vulnerable to tight ends in the red zone, giving up the 16th-fewest touchdowns to the position.

Carlos Hyde (RB, HOU)

The Colts' well-balanced defense has proven to be particularly effective against running backs, holding opposing rushers to the seventh-fewest fantasy points per game. Hyde will have a tough time getting going and could see his snaps limited by Duke Johnson for his catching ability.

Kenny Stills / Will Fuller (WRs, HOU)

In the three games where Stills operated as Houston's No. 2 receiver, the former Dolphin caught 11 passes for 101 receiving yards and no touchdowns. After failing to capitalize on his opportunity, it will be hard to trust Stills as anything more than a WR4. Fuller should also be approached with caution, as it is very unlikely that he will get his normal percentage of snaps and targets in his first game back from a hamstring injury.

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