The Colts will be down their top wide receiver in Week 2, and they will need someone to step up in his absence.
Indianapolis takes on its AFC South rival Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field as both teams seek their first win of the 2022 NFL season. They will do so without Michael Pittman Jr., who the team ruled out Saturday due to a quad injury. Rookie Alec Pierce also was downgraded to out Friday.
This leaves Parris Campbell, Asthon Dulin, Mike Strachan and Dezmon Patmon on the roster. The Colts also elevated Keke Coutee from the practice squad.
It’s a bleak look for head coach Frank Reich and quarterback Matt Ryan. But there is opportunity to be found for fantasy football managers and bettors.
From a fantasy perspective, Campbell is the only wide receiver you’re considering. He was a popular waiver wire add after Week 1 but still is available in 93% of Yahoo leagues. If the fourth-year Ohio State product can’t get it done against Jacksonville, then it’s a tough future for the wide receiver. The other receiving options are more large-field daily fantasy dart throws.
In reaction to the Pittman news, bookmakers have set up new lines for the Colts. Campbell’s receiving prop is now at 44.5 at -115 odds on both sides of the total, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Touchdown props for the receivers have lost their value after the injury news. The best dart throw bet on an “anytime touchdown” prop would have to be Strachan at +500 on DraftKings Sportsbook. FanDuel Sportsbook listed Coutee’s anytime touchdown prop at +850.
For tight ends, Kylen Granson is one to watch. The converted wide receiver was the top tight end for Ryan in Week 1, as opposed to the presumed starter Mo-Alie Cox. The latter had a 35.7% route rate out of Ryan’s 56 dropbacks and only received two targets. Granson had a route rate of 53.5% and earned seven targets, according to 4for4’s John Daigle.
Week 1 can be noisy, but if you’re searching for a tight end streamer, Granson is a worthy bet if these numbers hold up. The second-year tight end’s anytime touchdown prop is set at +550 on FanDuel Sportsbook.
Of course, the biggest impact will be on star running back Jonathan Taylor. The second-year running back was not used as a receiving back that often last season, but that seemed to change in Week 1. Taylor ran 35 routes in his 65 snaps compared to Nyheim Hines, the typical receiving back from Indianapolis, who ran 18 routes in 22 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see the two running backs on the field at the same time, but if Taylor sees more targets, he could end up being the week’s top fantasy play. But Hines’ involvement could warrant value as a flex option.
Sportsbooks have adjusted, and Taylor’s receiving prop set at 16.5 has slight juice at -120, and Hines’ prop is set at 31.5 at -110 odds, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. FanDuel Sportsbook has bettor odds for Taylor with a line of 19.5 with the Overpriced at -113, so a $100 bet would pay out $188.50.
The Colts could also easily run the ball for the majority of the game. On FanDuel, alternative rushing lines for Taylor are worthy options to bet. For the running back to have over 100 rush yards, the odds are at -112, so a $100 bet pays out $189.29. The odds for Taylor to rush for over 125 rushing yards is set at +205 — $100 bet pays out $305. And Taylor to rush for over 150 rushing yards has odds of +430, so a $100 bet pays $530.
Shopping around for the best line is always key, but the Pittman injury is also a lesson on being ahead of news.