Your pursuit of elusive value and easily exploitable matchups has reached its zenith this week, a week in which you can own all of the marbles, or perhaps lose your marbles.
The choice is yours. But when you’re looking for the best defensive matchup during championship week, your search should start in Indianapolis, the land where drinking frothy beverages is not permitted during the holiest of days at any fine establishment.
The Colts’ defense is usually about as appealing as a crazy cat lady from a fantasy perspective, or worse, a crazy monkey lady (#FreeDarwin). They rank 23rd against the pass, and 20th against the run, both mediocre perches that have predictably led to a ranking of 24th in points allowed per game (25.6). But they’re visiting Kansas City this weekend, and the Chiefs are the cure to all that ails a defense.
This would have been the ultimate streaming matchup if Kansas City had decided to connect the required Frankenstein wires, and begin the Ricky Stanzi experiment (quick aside: why isn’t that happening even with Brady Quinn healthy? Stanzi likely isn’t the long-term answer, but Quinn is? Whatevs). Quinn has started six games, and in four of them (I’m excluding the Week 8 game when he left early due to a concussion) his passer rating has been below 50.0. Even if we’re generous with that metric and include every player who’s taken a snap under center this year — even wildcat types like Brad Smith — Quinn still ranks 60th out of 76. That’s behind Charlie Batch and Mark Sanchez, and only narrowly ahead of Byron Leftwich. Mmmm, tastes like fantasy cat nip.
Then there’s this: in his eight game appearances that have included 159 pass attempts (19.9 per game), Quinn has thrown only two touchdown passes. That’s a scoring percentage of only 1.3 percent, and he’s also been sacked nine times over his last two games. What’s even more remarkable is that Quinn’s most recent beating came at the hands of the Raiders, a front seven that had just 17 sacks over 14 games prior to last week. Yet they still brought Quinn down four times.
Sure, Indy may get gashed by Jamaal Charles, who had been sizzling prior to a dud last week, with 400 rushing yards over three games. But the damage there is manageable, and likely minimal on yardage alone. For fantasy defenses the true hurt comes when opposing running backs are allowed to run across that white line which denotes scoreboard value, and the Colts haven’t been awful or spectacular while defending against the run in the red zone. They’ve been average, and almost exactly league average.
Through 15 weeks the worst defense in terms of rush TDs allowed is the Bills with 22, and the best is the Texans with only three. Meanwhile, the league average is 11.2, and the Colts have given up 12. Arian Foster ran for 165 yards against Indy last week, but he didn’t score. And only one of those 12 touchdowns has come over the last four weeks.
Quinn’s shortcomings will balance whatever gashing Charles does, especially with Dwayne Bowe out for the season. That will make the Chiefs’ top receiver some disgusting combination of Jon Baldwin and Dexter McCluster, and they have a combined 66 catches. A deep threat doesn’t exist.
The moral of this highly profitable little tale that’s soon to be fantasy folklore is that unless you own one of the league’s elite fantasy defenses (49ers, Bears, Broncos, Seahawks, Texans), you need to strongly consider picking up and rolling with the Colts defense. Conveniently, they’re owned in only four percent of ESPN leagues, and 16 percent of Yahoo leagues.