The Indianapolis Colts failed to enact any revenge on the New England Patriots for their AFC Championship Game loss in Sunday’s anticipated rematch, but the passing game was on track from the opening quarter.
Andrew Luck (shoulder) returned after missing multiple contests and proceeded to throw for 312 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions against the New England secondary. Fantasy owners who were relying on T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief for late boosts Sunday were thrilled that Luck returned, although Andre Johnson was again an afterthought in the box score.
Here is a look at the final tallies from the three Indianapolis receivers as well as some reactions for each player.
Hilton dealt with injury concerns earlier in the season, but he is healthy and finally found the end zone for his first touchdown of the year Sunday. Although he has yet to crack 100 yards in a game in 2015, he looked like a true No. 1 with Luck under center.
Backup Matt Hasselbeck doesn’t have the arm strength to consistently hit the speedy Hilton downfield on go routes and deep balls, but Luck does.
Hilton and Luck have been together with the Colts since 2012, and the No. 1 receiver has established a rapport with the signal-caller. Hilton topped the 1,000-yard barrier in each of the last two seasons and could do so again if he and Luck continue to improve moving forward.
This was also the fourth game this season, and third in a row, in which Hilton was targeted at least nine times. He is a major part of this offense, and Sunday’s impressive fantasy showing was a sign of things to come.
The scary thing about Moncrief is that he’s only 22 years old and will continue to improve as he grows accustomed to NFL defenses and playing with a healthy Luck.
Moncrief notched a team-high 11 targets Sunday, which is reassuring for fantasy owners after he saw only three in the victory over the Houston Texans last week. It is important to note Johnson tallied 77 receiving yards and two scores in that contest against his former team, and there seemed to be a forced effort to get him the ball in scoring situations.
As a result, last week’s game was an aberration for Moncrief, especially since Sunday was the second time he tallied double-digit targets this year. Moncrief also has four touchdown catches in 2015, and at 6’2″, 222 pounds, the Colts trust him to make plays near the goal line.
Teams must pay attention to Hilton, given his track record as the top option in Indianapolis, which means Moncrief will have single coverage a number of times this year. He will take advantage for your fantasy team.
Johnson has had only one big game this season, and it came against his former team, the Texans.
As mentioned, Indianapolis seemed to make a point of getting the football to him against the squad that released him in the offseason, and it was the only time in 2015 that the veteran has scored a touchdown and tallied more than 35 receiving yards. In fact, Johnson has had two games without a single catch this year.
Johnson’s track record will likely put him in the Hall of Fame, with seven 1,000-yard seasons, but he is 34 years old and overshadowed by the other weapons on the Colts. There is no reason to think his diminished role will change with Hilton healthy and Moncrief consistently putting up impressive numbers.
Johnson is an all-time great, but he is not a viable fantasy option this season.
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