Week 5 TNF Showdown: Colts at Broncos

by Matt Babich · DFS

The Week 5 TNF Showdown features the Colts at the Broncos. I’ll be guiding you through the important aspects to watch in each Thursday night matchup. Without further ado, let’s see what Indianapolis and Denver have in store for us as both teams look to bounce back from tough Week 4 losses.

Advanced stats and analytics will be utilized to identify favorable matchups and players to avoid. The purpose of this article is to paint a picture of how the teams play and matchup with one another in less than 1,000 words.

As the season continues, less emphasis will be put on last season and early season’s stats. Vegas trends will also be implemented to help predict the game flow. I’ll conclude the article with a Cliff Notes section and give the readers my prediction for the game.

Vegas Trends

  • Indianapolis is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Indianapolis’ last 9 games.
  • Indianapolis is 1-4-1 SU in their last 6 games.
  • Denver is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Denver’s last 8 games at home.
  • Denver is 2-6 SU in their last 8 games.

Notable Injuries

Indianapolis Colts

Denver Broncos

The Indianapolis Colts

Three seasons, three mediocre quarterbacks. Matt Ryan completes Indianapolis’s Knights of the Mediocre Roundtable. His above-average accuracy metrics are dulled by his inability to push the ball past the sticks. Ryan’s 2.5 (No. 26 of qualified quarterbacks) Deep Ball Attempts per Game and 6.4 (No. 29) Air Yards per Attempt are both worse than Phillip Rivers in the final season of his career. With nine (No. 1) fumbles and five (No. 2) interceptions, Ryan is rapidly approaching a 2020 Drew Brees-level of bad.

Jonathan Taylor will not be suiting up tonight as he is dealing with an ankle injury. This opens a path for Nyheim Hines to see an expanded workload on the ground. In his 10 career games seeing at least a 50-percent Snap Share, Hines averages 17.3 PPR fantasy points per game. Currently, Hines earns a 12.7-percent (No. 12) Target Share and generates 4.0 (No. 3) Yards Created per Touch. He’s exceptionally athletic, and the Broncos’ defense is exceptionally bad against running backs.

Hit the OVER on Hines’s receiving yards prop of 27.5 yards.

Michael Pittman has a challenge ahead of him tonight as he draws a likely matchup against Patrick Surtain. Surtain boasts a 64.8-percent (No. 8) Shadow Rate and zero touchdowns allowed. Matt Ryan is struggling to deliver the ball to Pittman as he’s providing him an unreliable 78.6-percent (No. 36) Catchable Target Rate. His shallow target range, combined with inaccurate targets, leaves Pittman with little to work with. That being said, we’re continuing to trust in Pittman’s talent and opportunity to shine through in a game where the Colts will have to funnel more of the offense through him.

Michael Pittman Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

The team has yet to crown a WR2, but Alec Pierce is beginning to show claim to the throne. In each of the past two games, he’s earned at least five targets and produced at least three receptions and 60 receiving yards. Pierce is playing the deep threat role we wanted for Parris Campbell, and he has earned more Air Yards than Michael Pittman. He’s not ready to appear in lineups, but stash Pierce in deep leagues and see if he splashes tonight.

Finally, beware of the Mo Alie-Cox trap. Despite being unleashed last week, receiving six targets and converting two into touchdowns, he is earning a sub-10-percent Target Share and less than five air yards per target. This is an unplayable level of usage. Plus, we watched Jelani Woods do nearly the same thing last week. Pass on Cox.

The Denver Broncos

In the heart of Hell’s Kitchen (Las Vegas for those unfamiliar), Russell Wilson finally put on his apron and got to cooking. Wilson baked the Raiders’ defense until golden brown, perfectly plating two tight-window touchdown passes and rushing for one of his own. This was a performance that would make even Chef Gordan Ramsey smile. With 5.5 (No. 3) Deep Ball Attempts and 5.8 (No. 9) Red Zone Attempts per Game, the Broncos are attempting to establish an air raid. Expect a quieter game in what should be a slow contest, but fantasy gamers shouldn’t sit Wilson.

Having lost Javonte Williams to an ACL tear, the Broncos running back room is in a sad state. Melvin Gordon now leads the pack, but fantasy gamers should be slow to assume that his role is set to drastically increase. Denver has yet to eclipse 27 carries in a game yet this season, and Gordon is not running the ball well. He has fumbled five times in his last 44 carries and is beginning to lose his coaches’ trust. The most likely scenario is that Mike Boone and Latavius Murray split a solid amount of Williams’ work thus creating an ugly committee. Gordon is a low-end RB2 play this week.

Courtland Sutton is balling once again, and it is b-e-a-utiful. Recording his first touchdown in 14 games, he has now grossed at least 15 fantasy points in three straight weeks. Sutton is earning a 27.8-percent (No. 14) Target Share and 109.3 (No. 4) Air Yards per Game, and he is finding it much easier to convert that to fantasy points with a real quarterback at the helm. Sutton’s usage makes him nearly matchup-proof and a smash play against a tiring secondary.


Jerry Jeudy is beginning to prove the haters wrong. Denver has gone back to frequently providing him with space in the middle of the field as well as looking his way deep downfield. Jeudy saw intermittent success in this role with Drew Lock and is taking a step forward with Wilson. Going forward, he’s a low-end WR3 this week with touchdown upside.

Jerry Jeudy Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

R.I.P. Albert Okwuegbunam. He’s alive, but he’s dead to Nathaniel Hackett and the Broncos coaching staff. Seeing a decreasing opportunity each week this season, the experiment finally concluded. This didn’t happen with a bang, but with one snap. There is no tight end play for this team until Greg Dulcich returns from IR. Reportedly, this is going to be soon.

Cliff Notes


Denver enters today as 3-point favorites. The public, who we love to fade, is favoring the Colts to cover the spread. As you can imagine, I am going against that. The Broncos have the health in the areas they need it which is their passing game defense. The Colts are already struggling to move the ball against teams and will find that even tougher without a healthy Jonathan Taylor. I’m siding with Denver -3, although I would be more comfortable buying a half-point and playing Denver -2.5.

The total is set at 43 points. Both teams are banged up and playing on a short week. As much as I love to take overs, I can’t stomach the thought of watching this game and having to root for points to be scored. Denver should take control early and manage the pace of the game. In what I expect to be an eyesore of a matchup, I’m taking the under tonight.

2022 record:

  • Spread: 2-2
  • Total: 2-2
  • Props: 6-2

Prediction: DEN 24-17