Three Ways to Avoid Thursday Night Fantasy Disaster

Andrew Luck

Thursday night’s game, pitting the Indianapolis Colts against the hopeless, hapless, helpless Jacksonville Jaguars, is about as sexy as a New Jersey Housewife without her standard three pairs of Spanx, or you sunken in the couch on a Sunday, unshowered and covered in potato chip crumbs while you cry into your beer about that muddy sinkhole of broken fantasy dreams, Dez Bryant.

Unless you’re into that sort of thing.

There is still fantasy glory to pry from this early week contest, as there is in any game short on intrigue. Here are a few things you can do to deliver a fake football head-butt directly to your opponent’s eye socket tonight.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck throws a pass against the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium. Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck throws a pass against the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium Brian Spurlock US PRESSWIRE

Andrew Luck, QB, Colts – A lot of prescient owners nabbed Luck in the mid-to-late rounds of their various drafts, and are now left with agonizing weekly decisions between the Indy rookie and guys like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Matthew Stafford. I have Luck ranked 11th this week, so those elite signal callers should still be played over Luck. But this matchup is so tasty, you need not consider playing Eli Manning, Michael Vick, Jay Cutler, or Tony Romo. Roll with Luck.

Stafford picked apart the Jaguars’ bruised and battered secondary last week, having his way with backup cornerbacks while standing strong in the pocket against a Jacksonville front seven that applies next to no pressure on quarterbacks. Stafford could’ve thrown for 500 yards, had the conditions been right. Luck, as you might know, roasted the Dolphins in Week 9 for 433 yards, just a week after he scorched the Titans for 297 yards. You’re playing Luck unless you have a truly elite alternative.

Cecil Shorts, WR, Jaguars – Expectations, as always, need to be firmly in check when we’re discussing Jaguars’ skill players. You could do a whole lot worse than Shorts this week against an Indy defense missing both starting cornerbacks.

Blaine Gabbert horrified even his most ardent apologists last week against Detroit in a dismal performance that screamed regression for the second-year quarterback. The guy, I think, is a disaster. Shorts, on the other hand, is a good route runner and an aggressive pass catcher who will out-muscle corners and safeties for the terribly inaccurate pigskins coming from Gabbert’s right hand.

Shorts has led the team in targets since working his way into a consistent role three weeks ago. The Colts have allowed an eye-popping 24.3 fantasy points per week to opposing wide receivers, including 67 points since Week 7. Shorts is locked-and-loaded top-30 receiver this week.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts – The man with a name straight out of an L.A.-based noir flick has monster upside against a Jacksonville defense that has been set aflame by passing attacks since Week 5.

Just one catch: I’m only playing Hilton if fellow Indianapolis pass catcher Donnie Avery sits with a hip injury suffered in the second half of last week’s game. Hilton posted 102 yards and a score against Miami, even though he dropped a spot-on Luck bomb in the second quarter.

Luck joined Colts’ coaches in heaping praise on the lightning quick rookie. “T.Y. is a phenomenal player, dynamic,” Luck said in an interview with the Miami Herald. “He can stretch the field, he’s quick.”

Hilton led all Colts’ pass catchers with 11 targets in Week 9, two more than even Reggie Wayne, and Luck showed time and again that he’ll toss it up for Hilton even when he’s blanketed downfield. Keep Hilton stashed on your bench if Avery toughs it out, but if he’s declared out, plug in Hilton as a nice flex, and hope the Colts don’t go uber run heavy early and often against Jacksonville.

author avatar
C.D. Carter Fantasy Football Analyst
C.D. Carter is a reporter, author of zombie stories, writer for The Fake Football and XN Sports. Fantasy Sports Writers Association member. His work  has been featured in the New York Times.