Indianapolis Colts (5-5, 6-4 ATS) at Buffalo Bills (6-3, 5-3-1), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Colts Stats and Trends
The Colts are 4-1 ATS in their last five games as an underdog.
Indy is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games and they’re 5-2 toward overs in that same span.
Jonathan Taylor just keeps on rolling with another huge performance last week against the Jaguars, posting 27/126/1 scrimmage for 24.6 FP. Taylor has posted 19+ FP in seven straight games thanks to 10 TDs in that span, and he’s totaled 110+ scrimmage yards in each of those contests. He totaled 23/84/1 scrimmage against the Bills in the Wild Card Round last season.
Nyheim Hines couldn’t maintain his momentum after totaling 108/1 scrimmage against the lowly Jets in Week 9. He posted fewer than 30 scrimmage yards for the sixth time in his last seven contests last week against the Jaguars.
Carson Wentz had his worst fantasy performance of the season with 180 scoreless passing yards for just 7.1 FP. He had thrown for multiple TDs in six straight games and he had 20+ FP in three consecutive contests before last week’s dud. The Bills are giving up by far the fewest FPG (12.5) to QBs this season, and five members of the Bills’ secondary recorded takeaways against the Jets last week.
Michael Pittman accounted for 71 of Wentz’s 180 passing yards (39%) last week despite seeing just five targets (15% share) with T.Y. Hilton back in the lineup after missing a game for a concussion. Pittman has seen six or fewer targets in four of his last five games in Weeks 6-10 after seeing 7+ targets in four straight games in Weeks 2-5. Pittman led the Colts with 5/90 receiving on 10 targets in this matchup in the playoffs last season.
Brolley’s Bills Stats and Trends
The Bills beat the Colts 27-24 in the Wild Card Round last January but the Colts got the cover as seven-point road underdogs
Buffalo is 4-1 toward unders in its last five home games.
The Bills are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 home games.
Josh Allen averaged a whopping 13.1 YPA against the Jets and the offense averaged 9.1 yards per play in their 45-17 slaughtering of the Jets last week. After managing just 12.6 FP in their loss to the Jaguars, Allen has now posted 21+ FP in six of his last seven games. He also has multiple TD passes in seven of his last eight games. The Colts are giving up the fourth-most FPG (21.1) to QBs this season, and he accounted for 324/2 passing and 54/1 rushing against the Colts last postseason.
Stefon Diggs erupted for his first 30+ FP performance of the season last week with 8/162/1 receiving on 13 targets against the Jets. He reached 100+ yards for the second time in 2021 thanks to three separate receptions that went for 20+ yards, including a 57-yard reception. Diggs has now posted 14+ FP in four straight games, and he has 85+ yards in three of those contests. Allen targeted Diggs on 46% of his attempts with no other receiver seeing more than three targets against the Jets. Diggs owns a 25% target share through nine games thanks to his recent surge in looks from Allen, and he’s slowly catching up to his 28% share from his WR3 campaign in 2020. He erupted for 6/128/1 receiving in this matchup in the Wild Card Round last season.
Emmanuel Sanders has cooled off since Buffalo’s Week 7 bye with just 6/92 receiving on 14 targets in the last three weeks — he had 13+ FP in four straight games before heading on bye. The Colts are giving up the most receiving TDs per game (1.5) to WRs this season.
Cole Beasley has been wildly frustrating for fantasy owners this season, falling below 20 yards in three of his last seven games while topping 85+ yards in three games in that same span. He played just nine snaps last week as he unsuccessfully tried to play through a rib injury. Beasley caught all seven of his targets for 57 yards in this matchup in last season’s postseason.
Dawson Knox failed to pick up where he left off after a three-week layoff for finger surgery. He saw his second-highest snap share (84%) of the season, but he saw a season-low one target, which he turned into a 17-yard catch. He caught a touchdown against the Colts in the playoffs last season, and Indy has given up a solid six TDs to TEs in 10 contests.
Matt Breida hadn’t played since Week 2 but he left Week 10 with 6/50/2 scrimmage on just eight snaps. Fortunately, Zack Moss (7/27/1 rushing, 28 snaps) and Devin Singletary (8/49/1 scrimmage, 22 snaps) each came through with their own touchdowns. Moss was coming off a concussion so Breida may have dressed as some insurance, but this backfield could become pretty unappealing if Breida hangs around this week and moving forward. The Colts are giving up the second-fewest FPG to RBs (18.6) this season.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 28.1 (26th)
Plays per game: 63.5 (27th)
Pass: 57.7% (24th) | Run: 42.3% (9th)
Pace: 25.6 (5th)
Plays per game: 68.3 (10th)
Pass: 61.1% (15th) | Run: 38.9% (18th)
All pace / play data is from the last eight weeks.
The Bills are playing fast, ripping off a ton of plays, and throwing a ton – which is a perfect recipe for this matchup. Over the last eight weeks, Buffalo is passing at the sixth-highest rate above expectation (when the game is within a score in 1st-3rd quarter) and that is a perfect match here. This Colts secondary is allowing 7.7 YPA (10th-most), 0.52 fantasy points per pass (fourth-most), and a league-high 52.5% success rate through the air. Josh Allen has now finished as a top-5 scoring QB in five of his last 7 games and this is a great spot to make it 6-of-8.
The big question for this game’s scoring upside is whether or not the Colts can find success against this vaunted Bills defense. Not only is their secondary shutting down opposing passing attacks, their front-seven is also amazing against the run (-0.260 EPA allowed per rush, 32nd). Jonathan Taylor is the best running back in the game right now and the Colts don’t abandon the run even if they’re behind – Indy is running 36.9% of the time when trailing (seventh-most). At the very least, I’m not expecting the Colts to get away from Taylor even as large road underdogs.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
While doing over half of his work from the right side, Stefon Diggs will find Rock Ya-Sin in coverage. Ya-Sin has provided his coverage with 0.79 YPCS (13th-best), 0.21 FP/CS (23rd), 0.22 AY/CS (44th), and a 102.9 TPR (58th). With deep passing stunted over the last several weeks, volume has never been more important. And Diggs is fresh off seeing a 46% target share in Week 10.
With Michael Pittman Jr. nearly splitting his time evenly between the right and left sides, he’ll see more of both Levi Wallace and Tre'Davious White than he’ll prefer. No wideout has posted 17-or-more FPs against Buffalo this season. The Bills’ list of WR1 victims includes Diontae Johnson, Jaylen Waddle (twice), Terry McLaurin, Brandin Cooks, Tyreek Hill, A.J. Brown, Marvin Jones Jr., and Corey Davis. Those nine appearances by the opposition’s top wideouts returned an average of 9.8 FPG.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
Colt QB Carson Wentz won’t be well-rested headed into his matchup with the NFL’s best defense.
Carson Wentz's last 48 hours:— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) November 17, 2021
— he and wife Madison welcomed their second daughter on Monday
— watched lots of film while waiting in the hospital
— didn't get much sleep
— he and the Colts' offense will face the NFL's top-ranked defense Sunday in Buffalo
I don’t think many folks will be playing Wentz after his dud against the Jags last week, but that’s just more reason not to do so.
In essence, the Colts are now a two-man fantasy team — Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman. Taylor might be the top overall player in fantasy at this stage, and even in a tough matchup he’s a no-brainer option. Here’s Graham from the Week 11 Stat-Pack with more:
Jonathan Taylor played on 84% of the Colts snaps against the Jaguars, a career-high.
After playing on about half of the team’s snaps in Weeks 1-5, Taylor hasn’t dipped below a 65% snap share in five-straight.
Since finally getting this bell cow role in Week 6, Taylor has finished as the weekly RB3, RB5, RB6, RB2, and RB5 over his last five games.
Since Week 6, JT leads all players – not just RBs – in FPG (25.5).
In other words, Frank Reich has figured out what the fantasy community figured out long ago — stop wasting snaps on Marlon Mack, who seems like a good guy but takes touches away from the hot hand and doesn’t play special teams, which is why he’s been inactive in recent weeks.
Frank Reich on Marlon Mack: “I’ve talked to him one on one. It’s painful to make him inactive. Painful. But you have to do what’s best for the team… he’s not happy about it, but he’s not gonna be a distraction… it’s a weird situation. He’s behind the hottest back in the NFL.”— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) November 17, 2021
The Bills had a very “2020 Bills” approach in Week 10’s blowout of the Jets, which involved Josh Allen throwing the ball to Stefon Diggs, incessantly. Of course, the Jets’ approach of leaving their corners on dinghies in single coverage helped matters, as coach Sean McDermott tacitly admitted.
While a focus was getting Stefon Diggs the ball, Sean McDermott mentioned that it was important to not desperately do so. "Take what the defense gives us," he said. #BillsMafia— Jackson Roberts (@WHEC_JRoberts) November 15, 2021
The Colts are a team that doesn’t cover well, by the way. They have given up the most receiving TD to WRs this year (15), and they’ve allowed the 11th-highest percentage of points against them to go to out-wide receivers, where Diggs makes his home. With Cole Beasley still working through a ribs injury, I have Diggs as my overall WR1 this week.
The other Bills in this game are dart throw FLEX options, including the entire backfield and TE Dawson Knox, who played a ton last week but didn’t get looks because Diggs was so wide-ass open all the time.
The backfield, of course, is even more problematic for fantasy given the emergence of Matt Breida, which was planned for the Bills.
Sean McDermott on Matt Breida: "He gave us a spark I felt. I thought the recievers blocked well too. That takes wide receivers blocking which is a very unselfish trait giving Matt some of those runs. We gotta do a better job protecting the ball."— Heather Prusak (@haprusak) November 14, 2021