FBG says: Tough matchup. While the game script was certainly against the Texans last week, they still had success on the ground as both Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson averaged over six yards per rush attempt with Hyde found the end zone for the first time since Week 6. While garbage time may have helped this rushing offense last week, they have been rushing well for most of this season--averaging the fifth-most rushing yards per game (140.7). Hyde continues to lead the backfield in carries and has rushed for 60 or more yards in five of his last six games, including a pair of 110+ rushing yard outings over that span. Duke Johnson continues to see a small and unpredictable workload on the ground with fewer than six carries per game. His output with those carries has also been unpredictable in recent weeks as he has averaged over six yards per carry in four is his last seven games but amassed just 14 rushing yards on 10 attempts in Weeks 8 and 9. Deshaun Watson must also be accounted for in this ground game as he had rushed for 30 or more yards in five straight games leading prior to last week--however, he did suffer an ankle injury in last week's game that could certainly limit his mobility considering the early start on Thursday. The Texans offensive line is back to full strength with both tackles healthy again, and while they are far from a top-tier unit, they have consistently improved in run blocking as the season has progressed.
The Colts run defense has smothered opposing ground games in recent weeks, giving up the third-fewest rushing yards per game (59) and the third-fewest fantasy points per game (non-PPR scoring) to opposing running backs since Week 5. Only two running backs exceeded 50 rushing yards over that span of games, while not a single running back has exceeded 90 rushing yards against the Colts this season. The lack of scoring has certainly helped them limit fantasy production as well, giving up only three rushing touchdowns to running backs with just one coming in their last eight games. Solid play from top linebacker Darius Leonard has been a big part of their success as he has looked great since returning from injury in Week 7. Denico Autry is also playing very well in the interior of that defensive line while safety Malik Hooker offers a nice insurance option with his excellent tackling skills displayed from the safety position. The Texans ground game struggled against this group in their Week 7 meeting, and much of the same can be expected in this week's contest.