This a snippet of Adam Pfeifer’s NFL matchups column, previewing the Raiders vs. the Colts for Fantasy Football Lineups. Fantasy rosters needed protective spray because players were bit hard by the injury bug in Week 3. Multiple backup quarterbacks made starts, and running backs and wide receivers all suffered injuries this past weekend, with a handful of key offensive linemen also going down. As a result, we missed on plenty in this article, but we hit on plenty, as well. Back on the horse. With that in mind, let’s dig into some NFL matchups and NFL game breakdowns for your Week 4 Fantasy Football Lineups. Roster Darren Waller or TY Hilton?
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Oakland Raiders @Indianapolis Colts
Line: IND -7
Raiders passing game
Derek Carr had a solid fantasy outing last weekend in Minnesota, throwing for 242 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It was his first game with multiple touchdown passes since Week 14 of last season and Carr connected with his new tight end all day long. He wouldn’t be the worst streaming option this weekend, as the Colts are pretty banged up on the defensive side of the ball, potentially missing two of their top three players.
Meanwhile, only the Redskins are allowing a higher completion percentage this season than the Colts (76%), while also coughing up a healthy 2.3 passing touchdowns per game, the fifth-most in the league. As road underdogs, Carr really isn’t the worst GPP play this week, especially because this is such a concentrated passing attack, giving you a clear avenue to stacking candidates. If you miss out on Stafford or a certain Giants quarterback, Carr is my next favorite streaming option for Week 4.
If you landed Darren Waller off waivers in Week 1, congratulations; you likely just grabbed the breakout tight end of the season. Coming into Sunday, I figured the Oakland passing attack would funnel to Waller a bit due to the matchup, but I did not expect him to do what he did. Waller caught a whopping 13 passes for 134 yards on 14 targets. The Raiders continue to line him up all over the field and the athletic tight end even received a carry last week.
Through three weeks of play, Waller has played over 97 percent of the snaps, while seeing a 30 percent market share (1st) and seeing 26 percent of the team’s air yards, the second-highest rate among tight ends. He has also run 93 pass routes, the fifth-most at his position. No tight end has posted more yards after the catch than Waller (142) and he should be able to keep it rolling this week.
The Colts just allowed Austin Hooper to go for 66 yards and two scores in Week 3 and will be without safety Malik Hooker in this game. Per The QuantEdge, opponent’s pass success rate jumped around four percent with Hooker off the field last year but the absence of linebacker Darius Leonard was even more impactful. With him off the field, opponent’s yards per attempt jumped from 7.3 to 9.4, while the pass success rate went from 53.3% to 70%. Waller is a top-three (yes, really) tight end play for me this week. I would play him over Zach Ertz.
Tyrell Williams has now found the end zone in each of the first three games. His late touchdown grab on Sunday salvaged an awful performance, as Vikings corner Xavier Rhodes took him out of this game. You still like his targets for the most part, as this passing game runs through Williams and Waller. I still like him as a top-35 fantasy receiver but I don’t know how much I’ll have in tournaments because the Colts limit the big passing play. Maybe that changes a bit without Hooker in the back end, but Pierre Desir has been very good over the last year and change, with his average target distance of 3.8 yards the fourth-lowest mark in the NFL. He’s still a fine play, but I am going to like other receivers priced around him much, much more this week.
Raiders running game
Josh Jacobs was banged up and sick coming into last week’s game but he suited up for the Raiders. Of course, he was limited to just 10 touches, as Oakland was trailing for this entire game. That is a concern with Jacobs, who has just one reception and three targets through three weeks. Jalen Richard played 49 percent of the snaps last week with the Raiders chasing points, while Jacobs was at just 42 percent.
This is a very good spot for Jacobs if Oakland can keep it close, as the Colts are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs on the season (24.5), as well as 5.3 yards per rush, the fourth-most in the NFL. And if Leonard can’t play again, the matchup is enhanced, as the Colts allowed five yards per carry with him off the field last year, per The QuantEdge. The explosive run rate also doubled in that split. If the Raiders can keep this game close, Jacobs could honestly have a monster game, especially because he still ranks third in the league in red zone touches with 12.
Colts passing game
After failing to reach the 200-yard mark in each of the first two games, Jacoby Brissett went off for 310 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Falcons on Sunday. Brissett has been more than solid in place of the retired Andrew Luck, completing 71.7 percent of his passes for 646 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. He has been bad when under duress this season, completing just 42.1 percent of passes with a 74.9 passer rating. Fortunately, the Raiders have no pass rush and continue to struggle in the secondary. Brissett is a fine streaming option against an Oakland defense that is coughing up 2.79 points per drive through three weeks, the fourth-most in football. You obviously feel a lot better about Brissett’s potential if T.Y. Hilton (quad) is healthy but I still believe he has enough talent around him to post low-end QB1 numbers in this matchup.
If Hilton is active, you are starting him. His 28.1 percent target share is top 10 in the NFL, while no player in football has more red zone receptions (6). Hilton also has 62.5 percent of the Colts’ targets from inside the 10-yard line this season, which is the sixth-highest mark in football. However, if that quad keeps him sidelined, things really open up for this passing game.
Indianapolis would call on Parris Campbell, Zach Pascal and Deon Cain at wide receiver. Pascal found the end zone last week and played a healthy 37 snaps, 21 out wide and six in the slot. Campbell played 30 snaps on offense, 13 in the slot and 17 out wide, while Cain played 37. In DFS, the latter would be my favorite because he is Hilton’s direct backup and is easily the cheapest of the three ($3,200). Oakland has allowed the eighth-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season, so all three of these guys would become a lot more interesting if Hilton sits out.
Through three weeks of play, Jack Doyle has played 138 snaps compared to just 93 for Eric Ebron, who has run just one more route than Doyle (55). But both rank outside of the top 24 among tight ends in routes run, making it difficult to love either option. Perhaps they see more looks if Hilton is out and in a week where George Kittle is on bye, you will need to find someone to play at tight end. Ebron has more touchdown upside than most tight ends you can find on waivers, making him one of my favorites. You are hoping he catches a five-yard touchdown pass, of course.
Colts running game
Through three weeks, Marlon Mack leads the NFL in carries with 61. The Colts are relying on Mack and their elite offensive line, as he is averaging a healthy 21.6 touches per game. As a home favorite and potentially without Hilton, Mack should once again see at least 20 carries this weekend. And while the receiving numbers aren’t other-worldly, Mack is running 19 routes per game this year, a number that was around 14 a season ago. Oakland just allowed both Minnesota backs to find the end zone last weekend, and I think Mack has as good a chance of scoring a touchdown as any running back on this entire slate. Behind this elite offensive line, Mack is my RB9 this week and in DFS contests, he is far too cheap at just $6,100. You should feel very good about him this weekend.
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