Monday Night Football
Indianapolis @ San Diego
Monday night's over-under is 50.5 points, meaning the prognosticators anticipate a healthy dose of scoring. They must not be taking Indianapolis' No. 6 pass defense particularly seriously, which makes sense because the Colts have yet to face a high-volume, high-efficiency quarterback through five games. Philip Rivers fits those criteria, ranking top ten in pass attempts (38 a game) and No. 2 in completion rate (73.7) with a 13:5 TD-to-INT ratio. This game has shootout potential, and Rivers' early-season performance locks him in as an every-week QB1. ... Rivers' target distribution the past two games: Antonio Gates 20, Vincent Brown 17, Danny Woodhead 16, Keenan Allen 15, Eddie Royal 12, Ryan Mathews 4, Ronnie Brown 3, Ladarius Green 1. ... Racking up receptions in space as Rivers' new Darren Sproles, Woodhead is schematic wizard Mike McCoy's best means of manufacturing offense for a team with major O-Line deficiencies and no legitimate downfield passing threat. Clearly, Woodhead is a huge part of the weekly game plans. Due to the way Woodhead is employed, run-defense matchups don't matter. He's a strong flex in standard leagues and an RB2 in PPR. ... Ryan Mathews isn't being utilized in a manner that maximizes his fantasy potential. He plays sparingly in the passing game and hasn't been getting goal-line work because the Chargers understandably don't trust Mathews' ball security. Mathews is a low-ceiling RB2/flex against Indy's No. 30 run defense. ... Confirming his Weeks 1-2 TD binge was fluky on the regular, Royal ranks 75th in fantasy wideout scoring ever since. I'd drop him in 10- and 12-team leagues. He could score another fluke touchdown on Monday night and I still wouldn't regret it.
The targets trend and matchup both favor Brown over Allen as a Week 6 fantasy start. Whereas rookie "X" receiver Allen will run most of his routes into Colts top cornerback Vontae Davis' coverage, Brown will deal with more beatable LCB Greg Toler on the majority of Monday night's snaps. It's worth noting that Allen's Week 4 production (5-80) came against struggling Cowboys RCB Morris Claiborne, and in Week 5 Allen had one catch-less target until the Chargers fell behind the Raiders 17-0 at halftime. Allen is an ascendant player, but not quite trustworthy in re-draft leagues yet. ... Brown opened the season playing inefficient football. Over the past two weeks, he's secured 14-of-17 targets for 158 yards. I'd view him as a mid-range WR3. ... Gates and Woodhead are still the every-week favorites for passing-game production in San Diego. Proving to be a draft-day steal, Gates is the No. 4 overall fantasy tight end and entered Week 6 ranked second to only Jimmy Graham in tight end yards. The Colts aren't allowing many fantasy points to tight ends, but that's primarily because they haven't played many good ones. Vernon Davis sat out the Indy game in Week 3. In Week 2, Dolphins H-back Charles Clay ate up the Colts for 109 receiving yards on five catches. Otherwise, Indianapolis has faced the likes of Luke Willson, Clay Harbor/Allen Reisner, and Mychal Rivera.
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No. 7 overall fantasy quarterback Andrew Luck has a cake Week 6 matchup versus San Diego's No. 27 pass defense, a unit that has surrendered a 10:1 TD-to-INT ratio to enemy quarterbacks and got picked apart by Terrelle Pryor last week. Opponents are completing 69.8% of their throws against the Chargers, who have little or no prayer of generating pass rush after losing Dwight Freeney for the season. Look for a clean pocket for Luck, who can be argued as a top-five QB1 play this week. ... The Colts shouldn't have much trouble generating ball movement on Monday night. It's also an opportunity to kick start their scuffling ground game versus San Diego's No. 24 run defense, which surrenders the fifth highest yards-per-carry average (4.88) in football. Perhaps Trent Richardson isn't the top-five RB1 we envisioned at the season's start, but there aren't ten better running back bets in Week 6. ... Despite Donald Brown's superior per-play production, the Colts aren't showing urgency to make their backfield a committee scenario, and likely won't. Brown only touched the football eight times in Week 5. Brown's three-yard touchdown in last week's win over Seattle isn't a sign of things to come. It came on a shotgun draw play in a specialized personnel package. T-Rich remains the heavy favorite for all Colts goal-line work.
T.Y. Hilton was sensational against the Seahawks, getting behind LCB Richard Sherman for a 73-yard touchdown and flat-out burning RCB Brandon Browner on a 29-yard scoring bomb. Hilton's weekly snap and target counts have been frustrating, but his Week 6 matchup is ideal. Bolts RCB Derek Cox is 91st of 104 qualifiers in Pro Football Focus' cornerback ratings, and LCB Shareece Wright is 93rd. ... Luck's target distribution on the year: Reggie Wayne 42, Hilton 35, Darrius Heyward-Bey 26, Coby Fleener 21, Richardson and Brown 5. ... Wayne is the No. 19 overall fantasy receiver this season, and No. 18 over the past three weeks. He's an every-week WR2. Facing Cox, Wright, and similarly struggling Chargers slot CB Johnny Patrick, this might be the most favorable coverage matchup Wayne draws all year. ... The Colts are using Heyward-Bey as a possession-blocking receiver. DHB was targeted six times against Seattle and did not secure any of them, including a brutal drop on a bubble screen. He's miles from fantasy relevance. ... Although Fleener is capable of productive games, he simply hasn't been a heavily-targeted part of Indy's passing offense. San Diego is getting burned on the perimeter, but is 19th in receptions allowed to tight ends (22) and 21st in yards (249). Fleener is mere bye-week filler.
Score Prediction: Colts 28, Chargers 24