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Thursday Night Football Matchups Analysis - Week 5


Finally, football fans got the Thursday night shootout they were looking for! The Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings put up over 1,000 yards in total offense during their Thursday Night Football game in Week 4.

Fantasy owners who started most offensive pieces on either team were rewarded with a bevy of points to kick off the week, but it was those who started quarterback Jared Goff (465 passing yards, five touchdowns) and Cooper Kupp (162 receiving yards, two touchdowns) who were especially rewarded.

For this iteration of Thursday Night Football, the Indianapolis Colts are looking to rebound from a disappointing overtime loss while the New England Patriots will look to repeat their blowout win against the Miami Dolphins. Which players are worth slotting into your fantasy lineup? In not wasting any more time, let's dive into Thursday Night Football matchup analysis!

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Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots

Date and Start Time: Thursday, October 4 at 8:20 PM ET

Notable Injuries and Status:

  • Marlon Mack (RB, IND) - Hamstring - Out
  • T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND) - Chest/Hamstring - Out
  • Jack Doyle (TE, IND) - Hip - Out
  • Darius Leonard (LB, IND) - Ankle - Questionable
  • Quincy Wilson (DB, IND) - Concussion - Out
  • Kenny Moore II (DB, IND) - Concussion - Out
  • Nate Hairston (DB, IND) - Various - Questionable
  • Josh Gordon (WR, NE) - Hamstring - Questionable
  • Rob Gronkowski (TE, NE) - Ankle - Questionable

 

Offensive and Defensive Rankings:

Colts Patriots
Passing Yards 16th 22nd
Rushing Yards 29th 12th
Pass Defense  18th 8th
Run  Defense  17th  26th

 

Must Starts

Top Performers That Have To Be In Your Lineup

Eric Ebron (TE, IND)

Assuming fellow tight end Jack Doyle sits this game out, Ebron gains a significant boost as arguably the Colts' No. 1 receiving option with wide receiver T.Y. Hilton expected to be out on a short week. While he hasn't been particularly effective at converting his boatload of targets into fantasy points, Ebron has scored in a touchdown in three of his last four games and will undoubtedly dominate red zone work.

Sony Michel (RB, NE)

The spike from 11 touches to 15 to 25 all but signals the Patriots' plans for their first-round rookie. With Rex Burkhead on injured reserve and out of the picture, Michel rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown in Week 4 and should be incredibly effective with his volume on Thursday night with the Colts defense hobbled by numerous injuries.

Rob Gronkowski (TE, NE)

If Gronkowski is able to play through his ankle injury, I shouldn't have to tell you he is a must-start at a position with a great deal of scarcity for prolific fantasy assets. With at least four catches across his last two games and the Colts top-three cornerbacks hobbled by injuries, Gronk should be able to bully his way to the end-zone at some point in this game.

 

Consider Sitting

Players To Avoid Putting In Your Lineup If Possible

Andrew Luck (QB, IND)

While Luck performed admirably in Week 4 with his favorite target T.Y. Hilton coming in and out of the game and has attempted at least 40 pass attempts in every game this season, it is hard to imagine the Colts having much success through the air considering their overall lack of weapons. Fantasy owners should consider Luck to be outside of the QB1 conversation for Thursday and look for better options if they are available.

Chester RogersZach Pascal (WRs, IND)

In accordance with quarterback Andrew Luck having a difficult hill to climb, the success of his No. 2 and No. 3 wide receivers will be highly unpredictable. Neither Chester Rogers nor Zach Pascal is a standout athlete, and making projections about who will draw enough targets to be fantasy-relevant may be an exercise in throwing darts. In deeper PPR leagues with roster crunches, these players could be worth a look. But this is a risky situation for fantasy owners to rely upon for their lineups.

Josh Gordon, Chris Hogan (WRs, NE)

Pending tight end Rob Gronkowski's availability in Week 5, one of Gordon or Hogan could experience a marked increase in touchdown upside considering the number of holes the Colts have in their secondary at present. Gordon's snap count is likely to remain severely limited as he learns the nuances of the playbook while Hogan has yet to top three catches or 50 receiving yards in a game this season. For fantasy purposes, it is a good idea to monitor Gronkowski's health leading up to the game if owners are in a must-start situation for Gordon or Hogan.

 

Solid Options/Sleepers

Which Players Will Have Solid Games and Which Could Surprise?

Solid Option: Nyheim Hines (RB, IND)

Amid the inconsistent rotation of Colts running backs, Hines has successfully carved out a role as a receiver out of the backfield. The rookie rusher is averaging the fifth-most pass routes per game among running backs and is undoubtedly going to be involved in a game where the Colts could be trailing for a great deal of time.

Solid Option: Tom Brady (QB, NE)

The future Hall of Famer hasn't been quite so stellar in fantasy football, having yet to throw for over 300 yards in a game this season. Fortunately, Brady gets an exceptional bounce-back opportunity against a depleted Indianapolis Colts secondary. If his favorite target, tight end Rob Gronkowski, is able to play, most projections should slot Brady in as a QB1.

Solid Option: Julian Edelman (WR, NE)

Edelman returns from his four-game suspension ready to slide back into his role as a go-to slot receiver for the Patriots, meaning he draws immediate appeal in PPR formats despite the fact that he will need time to get used to being back on the field. He should see an immediate bump to his targets if tight end Rob Gronkowski is unable to play.

Solid Option: James White (RB, NE)

While the emergence of rookie running back Sony Michel is in the limelight, his backfield-mate has quietly accounted for an astonishing 26-percent of the New England fantasy production for skill players. The Colts defense at full strength has also been prone to giving up receptions to running backs, meaning White could be a sneaky play on Thursday.

Sleeper: Ryan Grant (WR, IND)

For fantasy owners in PPR leagues desperately looking for a plug-and-play option, Grant’s name should definitely be on your radar. While he hasn’t been able to come close to repeating a strong Week 1 performance where he led the team with eight receptions on nine targets, it is undeniable that he will be the most likely of the Colts wideouts to be peppered with targets now that T.Y. Hilton is confirmed to be sitting.

Sleeper: Phillip Dorsett (WR, NE)

Dorsett has probably been relegated to a lot of leagues' waiver wires now that the Patriots wide receiver room is looking awfully crowded. While it’s true that’s Josh Gordon is getting more comfortable with the playbook and Julian Edelman is returning from his suspension, it might be possible to squeeze one last ounce of fantasy production from Dorsett in a revenge game against his former team. His sure hands have resulted in quarterback Tom Brady targeting him at least seven times in three of his last four games and even with a decreased workload, Dorsett could be a WR3/4 play in deeper leagues before he fades into obscurity.

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