Las Vegas Raiders (8-7, 6-9 ATS) at Indianapolis Colts (9-6, 10-5), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Raiders Stats and Trends
The Raiders are 3-1 toward unders since Darren Waller left the lineup.
Las Vegas has scored 17 or fewer points in seven of their last eight games, and they’re averaging exactly 17.0 points per game in that stretch.
The Raiders are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games.
Josh Jacobs has posted between 11-12.4 FP in three straight games after recording 27/129 rushing against the Broncos last week. He had posted 7+ FP as a receiver in five of his last six games before managing just 1/-5 receiving on three targets in Week 16. Jacobs is locked into a big role with a 65% snap share in six straight games, but he’s scored just two touchdowns in his last eight games. The Colts are giving up the fifth-fewest FPG (20.3) to RBs this season, but Chase Edmonds (24/127/1 scrimmage) and Leonard Fournette (24/131/4) have erupted for big games in two of their last four games.
Derek Carr has thrown for one or fewer touchdowns in six straight games and in seven of his last eight games. He’s also failed to reach 13+ in four consecutive games since Darren Waller (knee) left the lineup. Kyler Murray and Mac Jones have posted 19+ FP in consecutive games against the Colts, and they’re giving up the eighth-most FPG (19.2) to QBs this season.
Hunter Renfrow survived one of the tougher slot matchups against Bryce Callahan last week thanks to a touchdown, but he finished with just 3/40/1 receiving on three targets. He has just three catches in each of his last two games after posting 5+ catches in 10 of his first 13 contests. He gets another tough matchup against Kenny Moore this week. Christian Kirk (7/48 receiving) and Jakobi Meyers (6/44) have posted solid showings in the last two weeks.
Carr is finally letting it loose toward Foster Moreau in the last two games with Darren Waller (knee) continuing to miss time. He’s posted 11/132 receiving on 13 targets in Weeks 15-16 against the Browns and Broncos. Waller posted 7/116 receiving on eight targets in his last full game in Week 11 before his injury. Indy has allowed an individual TE to reach 12+ FP in seven of their last eight games after Zach Ertz posted 8/54 against them in Week 15.
Zay Jones has been trending up in recent weeks with Waller (knee) out of the lineup and with Bryan Edwards (COVID) mostly disappointing. Jones has posted 5+ catches in four of his last five games, including two consecutive performances with 11+ FP. Antoine Wesley posted 2/29/1 receiving in this matchup last week, and the Colts haven’t allowed a WR to post 12+ FP since Stefon Diggs did it in Week 11.
Brolley’s Colts Stats and Trends
The Colts have won and covered in three straight games and all three of those contests went under the total by an average margin of -8.7 points.
Indy is 6-2 ATS in its last eight games against teams with a winning record.
Carson Wentz completed 18/28 passes for 225 yards (8.0 YPA) and two touchdowns against Arizona, but the unvaccinated quarterback was placed on the COVID list this week, which means sixth-round pick Sam Ehlinger could be the next man up. In three preseason games, Ehlinger completed 21/31 passes for 288 scoreless yards (9.3 YPA) and three INTs and he added 11/55 rushing. The Raiders have faced backup quarterbacks in their last two games, limiting Nick Mullens (147/1 passing) and Drew Lock (153/0) to a combined 17.0 FP.
Jonathan Taylor is going to shoulder a major workload once again but what else is new. He had his 11-game touchdown streak (17 total scores) snapped last week, but he still topped 100+ yards for the ninth time in his last 12 contests, even with the majority of his starting offensive line missing. Nick Chubb posted 23/91/1 rushing in this matchup two weeks ago, and the Raiders are giving up the third-most FPG (27.7) to RBs this season.
Michael Pittman has been a bit of a rollercoaster with Taylor dominating most of the production in this offense, but he came through with 8/82 receiving on 12 targets against the Cardinals last week. He hasn’t scored in six consecutive games and he’s finished with fewer than double-digit FP in three of those contests. He’ll be up against it this week if he’s forced to play with Ehlinger or if Wentz is able to return without practicing, and the Raiders are giving up the third-fewest FPG (29.3) to WRs this season.
Jack Doyle left Week 16 early with an ankle/knee injury, which led to a season-high 90% of the snaps for Mo Alie-Cox. He finished with 2/42 receiving four targets (14% share) in one of the league’s toughest matchups against the Cardinals in Week 16. Alie-Cox has some touchdown upside with four scores on just 37 targets this season, and he gets one of the friendlier TE matchups against a Raiders’ defense that’s giving up the third-most TDs per game (.7) to TEs.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 26.8 (18th)
Plays per game: 61.4 (25th)
Pass: 65.1% (4th) | Run: 34.9% (29th)
Pace: 30.2 (32nd)
Plays per game: 63.1 (16th)
Pass: 46.5% (31st) | Run: 53.5% (2nd)
All pace / play data is from the last eight weeks.
Regardless of whether or not we see Wentz or Ehlinger under center, this Colts offense will center around Jonathan Taylor on Sunday. Indianapolis is top-10 in run rate in every situation (when leading, trailing, or in close games) and their pace of play has dipped dramatically as a result. No team is getting to the line of scrimmage slower than the Colts (32nd in pace).
On the flipside, the Raiders red-zone woes improved for at least one week against Denver but they still scored 17 or fewer points for the seventh time in their last 8 games since their Week 8 bye. If this game has any chance of a shootout, we’ll need the Raiders to bust their scoring slump. Regardless, the Raiders recent tendencies suggest that we’ll see more passing volume than normal for Derek Carr here. Over the last eight weeks, the Raiders are the fourth-most pass-heavy team when trailing (73.9%). Only the Rams, Cowboys, and Chiefs rank higher. They are touchdown underdogs here.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
It’s been two games in a row where Hunter Renfrow fell well short of covering his floor and two with only three receptions. Much of the responsibility for defending Renfrow will fall on the shoulders of Kenny Moore II. He’s delivered 1.25 YPCS (13th-most), 0.29 FP/CS (eighth-most), and he’s been the most targeted slot corner this season. Expect a bounceback for Renfrow.
Reading up on the COVID list activations, learning that some of the Las Vegas faithful are excited about the return of Brandon Facyson means we share something in common. While initially evaluating the matchup for Michale Pittman Jr., coverage from Desmond Trufant had my fingers crossed for a speedy recovery from Facyson. In all honesty, I have no idea why Trufant wasn’t already installed across from Casey Hayward Jr. as the permanent starter on the outside. But I am thrilled for the return of Facyson.
Among 78 qualified perimeter CBs, Facyson is gift-wrapping 1.46 YPCS (seventh-most), 0.36 FP/CS (third-most), 0.29 AY/CS (the most), and a 105.2 TPR (22nd-highest). Opposing QBs have targeted Facyson at the second-highest rate this season in order to take advantage of the corner allowing the third-highest completion rate of 20-plus targets.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
Here’s Graham from Start/Sit on this TE situation:
“Well, it looked like Darren Waller had a chance at returning after his month-long absence with knee and back injuries – but he landed on the COVID list on Wednesday and his status for this week is now in doubt. If Waller sits, Foster Moreau immediately becomes the top streamer for Week 16. After a rough two starts where he caught just four balls for 47 yards, Moreau has come on a bit as of late with two solid games back-to-back (7/65 vs. Browns and 4/67 vs. Broncos). He gets one of the easiest tight end matchups this week against a Colts secondary that is giving up a league-high 6.5 receptions per game to TEs. In fact, Dan Arnold (5 receptions), Dawson Knox (6), Rob Gronkowski (7), Texans TEs (6), Hunter Henry (6), and Zach Ertz (8) all have tallied at least 5 catches against the Colts over the last six weeks.”
Wes expects a bounce-back for Hunter Renfrow this week, and I’ll follow his lead. But Josh Jacobs is a low-end RB2 in a really tough matchup against a defense that has significantly closed down the end zone to opponents.
Reich on Carson Wentz: If he clears, that would be Sunday, he’d play.— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) December 29, 2021
Will attend meetings virtually.
Sam Ehlinger will be taking No. 1 reps until Wentz comes off the list.
If Wentz doesn’t go and Sam Ehlinger does… it’s Jonathan Taylor or bust in your fantasy championship.