Indianapolis Colts (1-3, 2-2 ATS) at Baltimore Ravens (3-1, 2-2), 8:15 p.m., MNF
Brolley’s Colts Stats and Trends
The Colts are 6-2 ATS in their last eight road games.
Indy is 4-1 toward overs in its last five road games.
The Colts got Jonathan Taylor rolling in a rare positive gamescript with 16/103/1 rushing and 3/11 receiving. He still played just 51% of the snaps with Marlon Mack annoyingly playing 31% of the snaps and stealing 10 snaps. Mack’s presence and the gamescript hurt Nyheim Hines the most as he posted season-lows in snap share (31%) and scrimmage yards (11). The Colts enter this week as touchdown road underdogs, which could mean a bigger role for Hines after his quiet week. The Ravens are giving up just 3.8 YPC but they’ve conceded five rushing TDs and 6.5/54.8 receiving per game to RBs.
Carson Wentz had his best performance of the season by completing 75% of his passes for 7.1 YPA, but he still failed to reach 20+ FP for the first time this season. Wentz has run for just eight yards in the last two games while playing through his ankle injuries compared to 60 yards in the first two weeks. The Ravens rank fifth in blitz rate (32.8%) and they’ll be testing Wentz’s mobility this week behind his banged up offensive line.
Michael Pittman has emerged as Wentz’s go-to receiver with a 31% target share the last three weeks. He’s turned in 6+ catches, 55+ yards, 8+ targets, and 11+ FP in each of those contests. Courtland Sutton managed 3/47 receiving on eight targets in this matchup last week.
Zach Pascal managed 4/44 receiving on five targets against the Dolphins in Week 4, which is the second straight week he failed to hit double-digit FP without a touchdown. The Ravens have given up three receiving TDs to WRs this season.
Mo Alie-Cox saw a season-high 69% snap share compared to Jack Doyle’s season-low 30% share last week. Doyle entered last week with a back injury, which may have played a part in his reduced role. MAC finished second on the team in targets with five (16% share) and he produced 3/42/2 receiving with two red-zone scores against the Dolphins. The Ravens have given up the most FPG (20.7) to TEs this season.
Brolley’s Ravens Pace and Tendencies
The Ravens beat the Colts 24-10 in early November as one-point road underdogs in a game totaled at 47.5 points.
The Ravens have covered four straight home games while averaging 34.3 PPG, and they’re 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games.
Baltimore is 5-1 toward overs in its last six home games, but they’re 6-2 toward unders in their last eight games overall.
Baltimore is skewing more to the pass this season with Lamar Jackson topping 7.8 YPA in every game, and his passing yards per game have grown every week (235<239<287<316). Lamar has had some rotten luck in the TD pass department, which has him sitting around 20 FP in three of his four starts. He’s failed to hit multiple TD passes in a single game and his TD rate sits at 3.2% after sitting at a ridiculous 8.0% the last two seasons. The Colts have given up multiple TD passes in every game and 11 passing scores overall to quarterbacks.
Among TEs, Mark Andrews ranks third in receiving yards (253), sixth in catches (18), and fifth in routes (128), but he ranks 9th in FPG (10.9) thanks to his inability to find the end zone through four weeks. Andrews and George Kittle are the only TEs in the top-19 at the position that have yet to score this season. Andrews had scored on 8.5% of his targets (20 of 236) through three seasons so he’s bound to erupt soon. Mike Gesicki went for 5/57/1 receiving in this matchup last week.
Marquise Brown recovered from his drop-filled Week 3 performance with 4/91/1 receiving on five targets, which gives him 85+ yards and/or a touchdown in 11 of his last 12 games (postseason included). The Colts are giving up a generous 15.0 YPR to WRs this season.
Sammy Watkins has posted exactly four catches and 7+ targets in each of his first four games with the Ravens. Baltimore is likely to get Rashod Bateman back in the mix this week after he returned to practice last week. It will be interesting to see how the work is broken down since Hollywood and Watkins each ran 30 routes last week while James Proche (18) and Devin Duvernay (17) split up work behind them. The Colts are giving the 14th-most FPG (39.2) to WRs this season.
The Ravens, in a controversial fashion, tied the NFL record for consecutive games with 100+ rushing yards at 43 (the Steelers also did it in 1974-77) by running Lamar in a clear kneel-down situation in their victory over the Broncos. The Ravens deactivated Ty’Son Williams last week and promoted Latavius Murray to the top role and Le’Veon Bell to the active roster, but the move didn’t spark their rushing attack.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 32.4 (30th)
Plays per game: 68.5 (14th)
Pass: 60.7% (14th) | Run: 39.3% (19th)
Pace: 29.3 (21st)
Plays per game: 69.5 (11th)
Pass: 53.6% (30th) | Run: 46.4% (3rd)
This is the third-slowest game of Week 5 in adjusted pace, just behind Steelers-Broncos and Bengals-Packers. Even though the Colts have only led on 17.5% of their offensive snaps this year, HC Frank Reich remains committed to running the slowest-paced attack possible. You’d think the Colts would want to play a bit faster since they are constantly behind on the scoreboard, but alas. On the flipside, the Ravens have just continued doing what they do best and if they hold a big lead like the spread suggests, this game could end up sluggish fast. The Colts offense hasn’t exactly been dynamic this season, ranking ninth-worst in both yards gained per play and points scored per drive.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
It’s time to entirely clear the Week 3 performance from Marquise Brown from your mind. He was excellent last week and he’s heading into what could be the closest to optimal of spots he’ll face all season — the Colts’ typical coverage shells are shells he has absolutely crushed in his career so far. Rock Ya-Sin doesn’t exactly scare me away.
On the flip side, the Ravens have been excellent against wideouts all season. Michael Pittman Jr. and Zach Pascal will need to contend for what amounts to scraps.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
Baltimore has three guys you start every week — Lamar Jackson, Marquise Brown (as frustrating as he can be), and TE Mark Andrews. This could be the week Andrews gets in the box, as Mike Gesicki scored on Miami last week.
Here’s Graham Barfield on Hollywood from Week 5 Start/Sit:
“Even though those three Week 3 drops are still burned in all of our minds, Brown continued his stellar play with 19.1 FP (4/91/1) against the Broncos last week. Dating back to last year, Hollywood is averaging 71.6 yards and 16.5 fantasy points per game over his last 12 starts and has gone over 12.5 FP in 11-of-12. Now, Brown gets a quietly soft matchup against this Colts secondary that has hemorrhaged 17.5 yards per target (fourth-worst) on throws beyond 15 yards this year. Lamar Jackson is throwing deep more often than any QB in the league – his aDOT is 11.9 yards – which plays perfectly into the hands of this trend of the Colts getting beat deep by receivers. Brown is a high-end WR3 who could spike for 20+ FP in this spot.”
Baltimore’s backfield has been in constant turmoil since JK Dobbins tore his ACL in a meaningless preseason game. That continued in Week 4, when Ty’Son Williams was a healthy scratch. Baltimore instead rolled with one of the oldest groups of RBs in recent memory with Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman, and Le’Veon Bell. Who knows what it is about Williams coach John Harbaugh doesn’t like, even though he gave a diplomatic post-game answer, but it was shocking to see someone who had played exactly half the Ravens’ offensive snaps in the first three games be a healthy scratch in favor of three dudes whose best football is years behind them. (Murray, by the way, functioned as the lead back and played a 62% snap share.) Williams may yet get his chance, but he’s unplayable until further notice. Those in shallow leagues may be angling to drop him despite his 6.1 YPC on 27 carries. Murray is the only playable option here, but merely as a low-end RB2.
No. But they're likely not going to announce anything either way. They won't want to reveal their backfield plans publicly to Indy.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) October 8, 2021
Given that the Ravens are throwing it way more often this year with Lamar than in years past, I’m stashing rookie WR Rashod Bateman (groin) where I can. He could make his debut this week.
Rookie WR Rashod Bateman has "a chance of playing this week."— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 5, 2021
Here's what his debut would mean for this offense. pic.twitter.com/UFuOhvZK5s
The Colts are a terrible fantasy offense. Carson Wentz is a superflex only guy, though his play has solidified a bit. Jonathan Taylor showed you last week why you simply have to suck it up and play him. But for some reason, Marlon Mack was back and involved last week with 10 carries, despite being on the trade block.
Nyheim Hines is dealing with a shoulder injury, but he could be more important this week with the Colts pretty healthy road underdogs. He also had a quote that summed up the life of a return man in the NFL pretty succinctly.
Nyheim Hines with quite the quote.— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) October 7, 2021
Before every punt return, Hines says this when going back to field the punt:
“I don’t care about my life."
I think the Colts’ offense stinks, frankly, but it’s worth pointing out that Scott Barrett views two of their players as major underachievers in terms of opportunity. Could a breakout for Michael Pittman be coming?
“It’s odd to see that our two top touchdown-regression candidates are both on the same team. Jonathan Taylor has scored just once on a league-high 4.8 expected touchdowns. Michael Pittman has zero touchdowns, but totals 2.5 XTD, which ranks 9th-most among WRs… Pitttman ranks 15th among WRs in XFP per game (17.3) but just 40th in FPG (12.9). Averaging 10.7 targets per game over the last three weeks, he’s a strong positive regression candidate, but maybe not this week against a Ravens defense which ranks top-5 against opposing WR1s.”
I’m with Scott. It’s a tough matchup for Pittman, who is on the fringes of WR3 playability.
The Colts have TE Mo Alie-Cox a season-high 69% snap share in Week 4 (sometimes, the jokes write themselves). I think they should continue rolling with this, as he’s clearly their most talented tight end. He thinks so, at least.
"I always tell (Carson), if he's right on me, just put it up. I think I can go get it over anybody. Got an example of that (today)."— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) October 3, 2021
— Mo Alie-Cox