Matchup Analysis: Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Colts 22, Steelers 21

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

Indianapolis Colts Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Colts Offense22.6 (+0.1) (16)128 (+17) (11)217 (-21) (22)
Steelers Defense20.7 (-1.7) (13)103 (-7) (15)234 (-5) (13)

Pittsburgh Steelers Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Steelers Offense21.4 (-1.0) (19)88 (-22) (24)205 (-34) (26)
Colts Defense21.6 (-0.9) (14)111 (+0) (20)238 (-1) (15)

Colts Rushing offense

Tough matchup vs. the Steelers defense.

Averaging 20 rushes a game, Marlon Mack continues to function as one of football’s truest ground-game workhorses. Still, he hasn’t been efficient on a very regular basis. Mack has essentially traded off good games with bad, topping 130 yards twice but falling below 55 in three others. His 4.3 yards per carry has been a step back from the 4.7 of last year’s breakout. The Andrew Luck-less Colts lean heavily on Mack as their centerpiece, so he’ll continue to see strong volume and opportunity in most game scripts. He also benefits from a stout front line, currently ranked fifth by Footballguys’ Matt Bitonti with an A+ run-blocking grade. The Steelers present a formidable Week 9 challenge, but Mack can always be counted for opportunity if nothing else.

The Steelers are reclaiming their long-held place as a dominant run defense. They’ve yet to allow an 80-yard rusher this season, and they’ve given up just 4 touchdowns on the ground. It’s encouraging that they’ve held up so well over the past 2 weeks - running backs have totaled just 75 yards over that span - with star down lineman Stephon Tuitt on injured reserve. Tuitt is a true difference-maker, but this is a deep unit that remains especially stout across the line. Cameron Heyward is a wrecking ball in both phases of the defense; against the run, he’s powerful and dynamic, capable of both occupying blockers and finishing plays himself. The linebackers have been average at best, with rookie Devin Bush continuing to work out the kinks as a dizzying sideline-to-sideline playmaker. But the dominant play of the line has papered over many of those issues. All told, this again looks like one of football’s stingiest units. The Colts boast a powerful front line and a capable workhorse in Marlon Mack, but still project to struggle in this matchup.

Colts Passing offense

Good matchup vs. the Steelers defense.

With Andrew Luck gone, the Colts are clearly focusing their attention on the run game. Jacoby Brissett certainly isn’t a bad quarterback, but his production has been all over the place as the team looks to control and grind out games when possible. He’s shredded the weak pass defenses of the Raiders, Falcons, and Texans, to the tune of 300 yards a game and 9 touchdowns. In his other 4 games, though, he’s averaged 172 and thrown just 5 scores. Outside of a shootout game script, Brissett is efficient but can’t be counted on to produce big numbers. He’s not getting the ball downfield much to TY Hilton, which caps his best receiver’s upside. Hilton boasts a career 16.0 per-catch average, but sits at just 11.3 this year, with only 4 receptions of 20+ yards. He’s made his fantasy hay with touchdowns, turning strong red-zone usage into 4 of his 5 scores. The outlook gets even murkier beyond him, with only one other wideout (Zach Pascal) averaging over 15 yards a game. Pascal isn’t a dependable producer, which also goes for peripheral targets Eric Ebron, Jack Doyle, Parris Campbell, and Nyheim Hines. None draw targets at a predictable rate, and none have shown much dynamism. The Colts are due for some degree of touchdown regression, which would strip away even more of their fantasy appeal.

The Steelers’ 2019 pass defense has largely ebbed and flowed based on its competition. They’ve looked fantastic in matchups with shakier passers Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Lamar Jackson (5.3 yards per attempt, 174 per game). But in their other 4, they’ve allowed 8.4 and 310, with 9 touchdowns through the air. Overall, though, this remains a relatively tough matchup to expect much from Colts game manager Jacoby Brissett. They’ve struggled some with talented slot receivers and tight ends, who have been able to find holes between the Steelers’ short zones. That’s led to a few high catch totals, but not much downfield impact; this unit is adept at tackling quickly on the catch. That limits big plays and touchdown opportunities - aside from a game in which the Chargers played all night from behind, no opposing receiver has reached 60 yards since Week 2. The Colts don’t feature much firepower beyond speedster TY Hilton, which doesn’t bode well for their chances of bucking that trend.

Steelers Rushing offense

Tough matchup vs. the Colts defense.

James Conner’s 145-yard Week 8 eruption - his first finish of the year above 55 - came at a potentially high cost. Conner went down late while icing the Steelers’ win over the Dolphins, and there’s still not much clarity on his shoulder injury. (The team’s No. 3 back, Benny Snell, also left the game hurt.) If Conner can’t suit up Sunday, the reins will be handed to Jaylen Samuels, who’s returning from a knee sprain of his own. Neither Conner (3.9 yards per carry) nor Samuels (2.8) has been effective on the whole, but they’ll at least have hefty volume on their sides as the Steelers look to ease the burden on quarterback Mason Rudolph. They’ll also run behind one of the league’s strongest run-blocking lines, which boasts an elite interior duo of Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro. They’re adept at the point of attack and creative on the move, so perhaps a full-time role would suit the shifty Samuels well. He did rack up 195 yards on 31 attempts in two late starts last season.

The Colts run defense has tightened majorly since a rough start to the year. Dating back to Week 5, they’ve allowed just 3.5 yards per carry to running backs, with only one (Phillip Lindsay) topping 40 yards. On the year, the Colts have given up just three rushing touchdowns - and only one since Week 3. Now fully healthy with All-Pro middle linebacker Darius Leonard back in place, this unit looks poised to pick up where it left off in a dominant 2018. Denico Autry and Grover Stewart lead a quietly impressive rotation up front, helping to keep Leonard clean in pursuit on the second level. This may not be a shutdown matchup for fantasy purposes, but it’s certainly trending that way.

Steelers Passing offense

Good matchup vs. the Colts defense.

On the plus side, they’re fresh off a breakout of sorts after producing 251 yards and 2 touchdowns in Week 8. It came against the lowly Dolphins, but there were still positives to take away. For the first time, coordinator Randy Fichtner allowed Rudolph to open things up a bit downfield, which is always welcomed. Rudolph boasts a solid NFL arm, and he throws to a dynamic group of young wideouts capable of scoring from anywhere; he’s actually thrown multiple touchdowns in every game he’s finished. Leading the pack is JuJu Smith-Schuster, who continues to generate splash plays and maximize the situation. The 22-year-old phenom has topped 75 yards in 4 of Rudolph’s 5 appearances, and his acrobatic touchdown last Monday night was a thing of beauty. He’s a volatile play, and his ceiling has certainly dropped, but he’s gifted enough to be trusted as a fantasy WR2. Rookie Diontae Johnson has also shown playmaking chops, producing long touchdowns in three of the last four games. Overall, this isn’t the most dependable of fantasy attacks. In neutral game script - and against defenses better than Miami’s - the Steelers will look to run early and often. But the more they trust Rudolph, the more they’ll allow him to take shots down the field, which keeps the explosive receivers in value.

The Colts pass defense has been a tale of two units thus far in 2019. They’ve fared well against the likes of Derek Carr, Joe Flacco, and Marcus Mariota, surrendering just 172 yards per game in those matchups. However, they’ve given up 300+ in each of their other four, with 8 touchdowns along the way. There are problems all over this secondary, where cornerbacks Pierre Desir and Rock Ya-Sin have been big liabilities on the outside. Denver’s Courtland Sutton won a few battles in last week’s slugfest, while names ranging from Julio Jones to Byron Pringle have cleared 100 yards in this matchup. With one of the league’s weaker pass rushes up front (24th in pressure rate), it’s no wonder the defensive backs are struggling so to hold downfield coverage. The Pittsburgh passing game certainly isn’t at its best right now, but this matchup bodes well for their playmaking wideouts. If nothing else, last week’s return of dynamic free safety Malik Hooker is a definite plus for the Colts. Hooker is a playmaker on the ball and provides solid help coverage over the top; his absence in Weeks 4-7 played a noticeable role in the unit’s struggles.

Steelers vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)14 (-0.8)14 (-0.8)10 (-1.8)13 (-1.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)12 (-1.9)12 (-2.0)10 (-2.7)12 (-2.2)
5Lamar Jackson811928161131470016.116.114.414.4
6Philip Rivers6226443202210022.022.016.820.8
8Ryan Fitzpatrick60213419022517017.217.213.314.3

Jacoby Brissett (FanDuel: $7300, DraftKings: $5600)

7vs HOU7626393264056032.932.927.631.6
8vs DEN64152520200634013.513.59.510.5
9PROJ-Dodds22352371.50.64140. (H=45)19.2 (H=59)
9PROJ-Tremblay24382561.614120.1202020.0 (H=49)20.0 (H=64)
9PROJ-Bloom20321981.50.65170.117.617.617.6 (H=39)17.6 (H=51)

Steelers vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)8 (-2.5)9 (-1.6)7 (-2.6)9 (-2.6)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)3T (-9.7)3 (-10.5)3 (-10.4)3 (-11.5)
5Mark Ingram5319441225010.912.911.912.9
5Gus Edwards21517011602.
6Melvin Gordon378180433004.
6Austin Ekeler285140431402.
8Mark Walton5211350631905.
8Kalen Ballage10380111101.

Marlon Mack (FanDuel: $6900, DraftKings: $6300)

7vs HOU541844033.01205.
8vs DEN391976111.0140151615.516.0
9PROJ-Dodds18770.41.711011.212.912.1 (H=21)12.9 (H=26)
9PROJ-Tremblay16650.41.813010.21211.1 (H=18)12.0 (H=23)
9PROJ-Bloom19680.41.09010.111.110.6 (H=17)11.1 (H=20)

Nyheim Hines (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $4200)

7vs HOU913021.01301.
8vs DEN18412033.03404.
9PROJ-Dodds31103.0230.1475.5 (H=8)7.0 (H=13)
9PROJ-Tremblay2803.1220. (H=7)6.7 (H=12)
9PROJ-Bloom2703.0320. (H=9)7.5 (H=15)

Jordan Wilkins (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $3300)

7vs HOU1429011.0601.
8vs DEN625000.0000.
9PROJ-Dodds3140.10.5302.32.82.6 (H=2)2.8 (H=3)
9PROJ-Tremblay3140.10.4302.32.72.5 (H=2)2.7 (H=3)
9PROJ-Bloom270.10.0001.31.31.3 (H=0)1.3 (H=0)

Steelers vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)19 (+0.8)17 (+0.5)17 (+0.5)13 (-0.7)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)11 (-3.0)10 (-4.2)11 (-3.4)10 (-5.2)
5Marquise Brown37532210008.211.29.711.2
5Willie Snead56545100005.
6Mike Williams561057200007.212.29.712.2
6Jason Moore5224300004.
8Allen Hurns20111210007.
8Albert Wilson1821510006.

T.Y. Hilton (FanDuel: $7400, DraftKings: $6500)

7vs HOU70116.074100013.419.416.419.4
8vs DEN6062.05400005.
9PROJ-Dodds5.5670.50009.715.212.4 (H=21)15.2 (H=34)
9PROJ-Tremblay6.2740.500010.416.613.5 (H=24)16.6 (H=39)
9PROJ-Bloom6.0610.50009.115.112.1 (H=20)15.1 (H=33)

Zach Pascal (FanDuel: $5300, DraftKings: $4100)

7vs HOU3676.0106200022.628.625.631.6
8vs DEN5921.0600000.
9PROJ-Dodds2.3350.20004.775.9 (H=8)7.1 (H=14)
9PROJ-Tremblay2.6370.201057.66.4 (H=9)7.7 (H=16)
9PROJ-Bloom2.0180.2000354.1 (H=4)5.1 (H=8)

Deon Cain (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

7vs HOU3200.000000000.00.0
8vs DEN000.000000000.00.0
9PROJ-Dodds1.0130.11302.23.22.7 (H=2)3.2 (H=4)
9PROJ-Tremblay0.7900000.91.61.2 (H=0)1.6 (H=1)
9PROJ-Bloom0.000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Chester Rogers (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $3100)

7vs HOU4122.02400002.
8vs DEN4021.0700000.
9PROJ-Dodds1.4150.10002.13.52.9 (H=2)3.6 (H=5)
9PROJ-Tremblay1.0100.10001.62.62.2 (H=1)2.7 (H=3)
9PROJ-Bloom1.0130.10001.92.92.5 (H=2)3.0 (H=4)

Parris Campbell (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $3000)

7vs HOU000.000000000.00.0
8vs DEN810.000000000.00.0
9PROJ-Dodds1.5140.100023.52.8 (H=2)3.5 (H=5)
9PROJ-Tremblay1.1140.100023.12.6 (H=2)3.1 (H=4)
9PROJ-Bloom0.000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Steelers vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)25 (+1.2)25 (+1.6)25 (+1.4)25 (+1.8)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)26 (+3.5)28 (+5.7)27 (+4.6)29 (+6.6)
5Mark Andrews43754504.
6Hunter Henry4198100222.
8Mike Gesicki38321001.

Eric Ebron (FanDuel: $5200, DraftKings: $3600)

7vs HOU3254.0701131715.017.0
8vs DEN2243.02602.
9PROJ-Dodds2.7350.35.386.7 (H=10)8.0 (H=20)
9PROJ-Tremblay3.0360. (H=10)8.4 (H=22)
9PROJ-Bloom3.0340. (H=12)8.8 (H=24)

Jack Doyle (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $3000)

7vs HOU5853.02102.
8vs DEN4654.06106.
9PROJ-Dodds3.1310. (H=8)7.4 (H=21)
9PROJ-Tremblay3.3320. (H=9)7.7 (H=22)
9PROJ-Bloom4.0310. (H=9)8.3 (H=26)

Mo Alie-Cox (FanDuel: $4200, DraftKings: $2500)

7vs HOU3000.000000.00.0
8vs DEN1800.000000.00.0
9PROJ-Dodds0.5600.61.10.8 (H=0)1.1 (H=0)
9PROJ-Tremblay0.6600.61.20.9 (H=0)1.2 (H=1)
9PROJ-Bloom0.000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Steelers vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)12 (-0.3)12 (-0.3)11 (-0.6) (+0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)7T (-1.4)7T (-1.4)6T (-1.5) (+0.0)
5Justin Tucker4422141416.016.0
6Mike Badgley0000000.00.0
8Jason Sanders0022222.02.0

Adam Vinatieri (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

7vs HOU0044444.04.0
8vs DEN34019914.014.0

Steelers vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)3 (-3.1)3 (-3.1)9 (-2.6)9 (-2.6)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)4 (-3.3)4 (-3.3)8T (-3.5)8T (-3.5)
5Baltimore Ravens2326911100555.05.0
6Los Angeles Chargers2425601000223.03.0
8Miami Dolphins2739421000444.04.0

Indianapolis Colts (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $2800)

7vs HOU23.0039132000779.09.0
8vs DEN13.0027930000337.07.0
9PROJ-Dodds21.103462.21.10.700. (H=17)8.6 (H=29)
9PROJ-Tremblay21.003692.51.20.700. (H=21)9.7 (H=36)

Colts vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)15 (-0.7)15 (-0.7)15 (-0.5)17 (+0.1)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)10 (-3.0)10 (-3.1)9 (-2.9)13 (-2.0)
5Patrick Mahomes63223932110317021.821.818.521.5
7Deshaun Watson65233430812332020.620.617.520.5
8Joe Flacco732032174001909.

Mason Rudolph (FanDuel: $6800, DraftKings: $5000)

6@ LAC000000000000.00.0
8vs MIA7720362512100019.619.617.017.0
9PROJ-Dodds23352441.51.1270.118.418.418.4 (H=45)18.4 (H=62)
9PROJ-Tremblay24392741.61.2280.120.320.320.3 (H=54)20.3 (H=73)
9PROJ-Bloom18291891.60.700015.215.215.2 (H=32)15.2 (H=44)

Colts vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)10 (-2.3)8 (-2.7)8 (-2.5)7 (-3.3)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)5 (-7.8)6 (-8.0)5 (-8.2)5 (-8.9)
5Damien Williams359230431503.
5LeSean McCoy14000222302.
7Duke Johnson397340522205.
7Carlos Hyde261235010003.
8Royce Freeman3712401215010.511.511.011.5
8Phillip Lindsay3614590551707.612.610.112.6

James Conner (FanDuel: $7300, DraftKings: $7600)

6@ LAC301641177.078123.930.927.430.9
8vs MIA6423145143.050212422.527.0
9PROJ-Dodds13580.44.0300.111.815.813.8 (H=25)15.8 (H=31)
9PROJ-Tremblay6260.22.3180. (H=8)8.5 (H=10)
9PROJ-Bloom16680.53.0130.212.315.313.8 (H=25)15.3 (H=29)

Jaylen Samuels (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $4000)

6@ LAC000000.000000.00.0
8vs MIA000000.000000.00.0
9PROJ-Dodds6240.12.31504.56.85.7 (H=8)6.8 (H=13)
9PROJ-Tremblay11480.23.7280.19.413.111.3 (H=26)13.1 (H=43)
9PROJ-Bloom9370.22.0210. (H=16)9.6 (H=25)

Benny Snell (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3800)

6@ LAC291775011.01408.
8vs MIA11513000.0001.
9PROJ-Dodds4180.10.6402.83.43.1 (H=3)3.4 (H=4)
9PROJ-Tremblay2110.10.2201.92.12.0 (H=1)2.1 (H=1)
9PROJ-Bloom0000.000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Roosevelt Nix (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

6@ LAC000000.000000.00.0
8vs MIA2000022.0400.
9PROJ-Dodds0000.000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
9PROJ-Tremblay0000.4300.30.70.5 (H=0)0.7 (H=0)

Colts vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)18 (+0.5)14 (-0.2)15 (+0.3)17 (+0.9)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)21 (+3.0)19 (+3.1)19 (+3.2)23 (+5.1)
5Byron Pringle4996103100016.322.319.325.3
5Mecole Hardman39647901-607.311.39.311.3
7DeAndre Hopkins65129106100016.625.621.128.6
7Kenny Stills6154105000010.514.512.517.5
8Courtland Sutton68637200007.210.28.710.2
8Diontae Spencer7221801502.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (FanDuel: $7300, DraftKings: $6300)

6@ LAC5141.0700000.
8vs MIA5795.0103100016.321.318.824.3
9PROJ-Dodds4.9700.40009.414.311.9 (H=19)14.3 (H=31)
9PROJ-Tremblay5.2750.40009.915.112.5 (H=21)15.1 (H=34)
9PROJ-Bloom5.0680.50009.814.812.3 (H=21)14.8 (H=33)

Diontae Johnson (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $4500)

6@ LAC4222.01400001.
8vs MIA3475.084100014.419.416.919.4
9PROJ-Dodds4.4530.40007.712.19.9 (H=21)12.1 (H=33)
9PROJ-Tremblay4.9640.40108.913.811.4 (H=27)13.8 (H=41)
9PROJ-Bloom5.0610.50009.114.111.6 (H=27)14.1 (H=43)

James Washington (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $3700)

6@ LAC000.000000000.00.0
8vs MIA3661.02100002.
9PROJ-Dodds2.2320.20004.46.65.5 (H=7)6.6 (H=14)
9PROJ-Tremblay2.8370.20004.97.76.3 (H=9)7.7 (H=18)
9PROJ-Bloom0.000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Johnny Holton (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

6@ LAC3210.000000000.00.0
8vs MIA2600.000000000.00.0
9PROJ-Dodds0.000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
9PROJ-Tremblay0.3400100.50.80.6 (H=0)0.8 (H=0)

Donte Moncrief (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $3300)

6@ LAC1421.01100001.
8vs MIA1520.000000000.00.0
9PROJ-Dodds0.000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
9PROJ-Tremblay0.6900000.91.51.2 (H=0)1.5 (H=1)
9PROJ-Bloom0.000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Colts vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)26 (+1.2)26 (+2.6)26 (+1.9)26 (+2.4)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)11 (-2.2)12 (-2.0)11 (-2.1)12 (-2.1)
5Travis Kelce581047007.
7Darren Fells42222702.
8Noah Fant60852602.

Vance McDonald (FanDuel: $5300, DraftKings: $4100)

6@ LAC3911.0500.
8vs MIA6043.01901.
9PROJ-Dodds2.7250. (H=6)6.4 (H=12)
9PROJ-Tremblay2.0190. (H=4)5.1 (H=8)
9PROJ-Bloom3.0260. (H=8)7.4 (H=15)

Nick Vannett (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $2600)

6@ LAC3711.0500.
8vs MIA3221.01501.
9PROJ-Dodds1.2120.11.832.4 (H=2)3.0 (H=5)
9PROJ-Tremblay1.4140.123.42.7 (H=2)3.4 (H=6)
9PROJ-Bloom0.000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Colts vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)11 (-0.5)11 (-0.5)10 (-0.9) (+0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)23T (+1.6)23T (+1.6)23 (+1.2) (+0.0)
5Harrison Butker2211777.07.0
7Kaimi Fairbairn3322111112.012.0
8Brandon McManus2211777.07.0

Chris Boswell (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

6@ LAC1133666.06.0
8vs MIA23339911.011.0

Colts vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)8 (-2.0)8 (-2.0)8T (-2.8)8T (-2.8)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)10 (-2.6)10 (-2.6)8 (-3.5)8 (-3.5)
5Kansas City Chiefs1933101000223.03.0
7Houston Texans3038310110552.02.0
8Denver Broncos1531840100667.07.0

Pittsburgh Steelers (FanDuel: $3900, DraftKings: $2400)

6@ LAC17.0034812101191914.014.0
8vs MIA14.0023042200121213.013.0
9PROJ-Dodds21.203422. (H=20)8.3 (H=32)
9PROJ-Tremblay22.003562.510.700.4999.0 (H=23)9.0 (H=37)