MNF Matchup: Colts @ BucsMonday, October 03, 2011
Monday Night Football
Indianapolis @ Tampa Bay
The Colts' Week 3 "promotion" of Peyton Manning to offensive playcaller didn't help, at least in terms of personnel usage. While Indy did enjoy more rushing success, Dallas Clark again got stuck on the line trying to block an elite pass rusher. (In Week 1, it was Mario Williams. In Week 3, James Harrison.) Clark predictably got smoked on the line and all but zeroed out of the box score, catching two passes for 12 yards. He again blocked on more plays than he ran routes. Clark has 83 yards on the year and is fast approaching droppable status in fantasy leagues. ... The Colts' signing of Dan Orlovsky was a strong indication that they planned to start Curtis Painter on Monday, and Kerry Collins' (concussion) inability to practice confirms it. Coach Jim Caldwell confirmed Friday that Painter will start. You probably already know, but QB change won't save the passing offense. The Colts showed no confidence in Painter whatsoever by signing Collins in the first place, and in four career appearances the Purdue alum is a pathetic 13-of-39 (33.3%) for 143 yards (3.67 YPA), no touchdowns, two interceptions, four sacks taken, and three fumbles.
With 90 scoreless yards in his last two games, Reggie Wayne has been exposed as a late-career receiver in need of pinpoint, tight-window passing to produce against loaded coverage. Bail quickly on Wayne after his next decent game. He'll be shadowed by Aqib Talib in this one. ... Pierre Garcon posted 82 yards in Week 3, but had another ugly drop and has yet to find the end zone. The Colts might be better off starting Austin Collie, who's been a total non-factor with 53 yards in three games and a brutal 6.6 yards-per-catch average. ... As mentioned above, the Colts just don't believe in Curtis Painter. A run-first approach seems quite likely. Rookie Delone Carter can't play in the passing game and is averaging a pedestrian 3.73 YPC, so the coaching staff flipped the every-down back reins to Joseph Addai in Week 3. Addai, averaging over a full yard per rush attempt better than Carter, scored a goal-line touchdown and racked up 88 yards against an annually tough Steelers run defense. Addai is the best fantasy bet on Indy's side in this game.
Playing at home against an Indianapolis team without an offense, the Bucs should control time of possession on Monday night. While the Colts improved their run-defense ranking against the beat-up offensive lines of Cleveland and Pittsburgh, the undersized Indy front seven is likely to have much less success versus 247-pound Bucs power back LeGarrette Blount. Blount has 165 yards and a pair of scores since his clunker Week 1 game. Expect to see more of Blount and less of Earnest Graham as the Bucs play with a lead. ... Kellen Winslow caught two passes for 20 yards in Week 3, with one of the catches flukily shooting through Dezmon Briscoe's hands and into the tight end's waiting arms. Scoreless with his yardage in decline every week so far, Winslow ranks 22nd among tight ends in fantasy scoring. ... Fill-in slot receiver Preston Parker confirmed that his six-catch, 98-yard Week 2 game was a mirage with 11 yards on one reception last week.
Getting wins but struggling for big statistical games in an offense that simply doesn't cater to high-end numbers, Josh Freeman is the No. 24 fantasy quarterback. He's still a good buy-low target in two-QB leagues, particularly if Indianapolis becomes the next team to hold Freeman in check. He's just not a QB1. ... Mike Williams is the Bucs' next-best fantasy option behind Blount in this game, but be aware that zone defenses like the Colts' have been taking him out of games. Before the season, we projected Williams to take a step back in his sophomore year. But we never imagined he'd be under 90 yards through three weeks. Defenses are keying up to stop him. ... Arrelious Benn has done nothing to distract defensive attention from Williams, averaging under three catches for 24 yards per week while rotating with Briscoe. Leave them on the waiver wire.
Score Prediction: Bucs 21, Colts 10
Check out Gregg Rosenthal's fantasy analysis on Monday night's game.