Week 5 Recap:
Bears at Colts
Bears: Perhaps one of the biggest things I noticed in this game was how well the Bears offensive line played. I will give you that the Colts defense isn’t really that good. Even considering that, they still did a good job keeping Hoyer relatively clean. Howard had plenty of holes to run through. Unsurprisingly, there have been many connections made between how well an offensive line plays, and how well the skill players in an offense will do. To check what I observed, I pulled up the ProFootballFocus player grades for the Bears line. With the exception of their right tackle, the Bears line has graded well so far with the exception of the right tackle. In this game, he seemed to play much better than his grade suggested. Knowing this I feel pretty good about this offense moving forward.
Chicago Bears offensive line ProFootballFocus player grades.
|Charles Leno Jr, LT||25/73||77.2||77.6||76.9|
|Josh Sitton, LG||5/69||85.6||88.9||80.4|
|Kyle Long, RG||21/69||78.5||82.9||74.5|
|Bobby Massie, RT||69/73||41.8||36.0||72.7|
Quarterback: Hoyer looked solid here. He didn’t do anything extraordinary, but he didn’t really screw anything up. I’m fairly certain that’s what the coaches want; they called short, quick passes designed to get the ball out of his hands. He seemed to hit one of his first two reads on almost every play. If Hoyer continues to play fast, and not make mistakes, then I think he’s a high-end QB2/low-end QB1 for fantasy purposes.
Running Back: There were reports that Howard was the best pure runner in this draft; even over the vaunted Zeke Elliott. Well, I can definitely believe that. However, I didn’t hear anything about how good his pass protection and pass catching skills were. Howard did a little bit of everything here. He isn’t the most explosive, and he doesn’t have great top-end speed. He did show good vision, patience, the ability to change direction without losing much speed, and he is a powerful runner. He broke a lot of arm tackles that stop less powerful backs
There is definitely not a committee here. Ka’Deem Carey relieved him for 2 snaps. For what it’s worth, he looked good when he was on the field. I still consider Howard a high-end RB2 with weekly RB1 upside. I want to see him do it more than just two weeks, but I really didn’t see anything on film that made me think he isn’t one of the better backs to own in fantasy.
Chicago Bears running back touch breakdown against Indianapolis Colts Week 5.
Wide Receiver: Well. That was unexpected. Cameron Meredith exploded onto the scene in this game with 130 yards and a touchdown. He was the most heavily targeted Bears receiver against the Colts. He is fast, has good acceleration, and he ran solid routes. His touchdown catch was very impressive. He stutter-stepped as if to break his route, and then ran straight past his defender for a wide open touchdown pass. As with Howard, I would like to see it more before I buy in to Meredith as anything more than a flex play.
Perhaps even more unexpected than the emergence of Meredith was the usage of Alshon Jeffery. He received only 6 targets on 61 snaps. Meanwhile, Royal played only 38 snaps and received 9 targets. Jeffery still put up solid numbers, but you have to wonder if something is going on behind the scenes. He often had a safety rolling over to his side of the field, and I believe that this played into Hoyer’s unwillingness to look his way. I talked about it above, but I believe the coaching staff has basically done all they can to not allow Hoyer to think during the plays.
Chicago Bears receiver target distribution against Indianapolis Colts Week 5.
There is always the lingering injury concern with Jeffery, but he looked really good in this game. He was able to run at top speed, he made sharp cuts, and he ran some curl routes (they require the receiver to stop and turn around), and he did all of this really well. There were a couple of plays where Jeffery was wide open, and Hoyer just did not throw the ball up to him. Jeffery got much more involved in the game as it wore on, and it seemed like he did most of his work in the second half. Perhaps a squeaky wheel that they decided to start greasing? Who can really say?
I really don’t know how to break down the Bears wide receivers in terms of fantasy value. This was the first time that Meredith received this large of a workload after Kevin White went down in Week 4. It is tough to say whether or not this will be a trend or if this was a fluke. Royal looks like he’s slotted in as a solid third or fourth receiving option. My gut says that Jeffery is still a WR2, and both Meredith and Royal are flex plays in most formats. I will have to see these target splits continue before I value these receivers differently. For what it’s worth, the three receiver’s statistics are given below for each of the last three weeks.
Tight End: Zach Miller is really all you need to know about the Bears tight ends. He is one of the top targets in the offense on a consistent basis.
Colts: I’m not sure what to make of Andrew Luck. It’s hard to be too critical of anyone, however, when they barely have 2 seconds before the pocket has collapsed around them. The Colts offensive line is in shambles right now. They are not playing well as a unit. When you look at the ProFootballFocus player grades it’s easy to see why. The entire right half of their line grades horribly. This definitely showed up in the tape.
Indianapolis Colts offensive line ProFootballFocus player grades.
|Anthony Castonzo, LT||9/76||84.2||84.1||79.6|
|Jack Mewhort, LG||7/69||84.2||86.9||81.0|
|Ryan Kelly, C||29/35||68.6||78.5||48.8|
|Denzelle Good, RG||65/69||44.8||43.7||42.7|
|Joe Haeg, RT||54/76||53.9||48.8||69.0|
Quarterback: Luck did an amazing job considering he was constantly under siege. He does an amazing job extending plays, and he has an excellent arm. He also had good accuracy. On numerous occasions he escaped the pocket and extended plays. On these scramble drills he often found T.Y. Hilton, who had a knack for getting open when he saw his quarterback in peril.
As good as Andrew Luck is, there are times where he makes boneheaded decisions. He holds onto the ball too long when the play is very obviously dead. I would prefer to see him throw the ball away rather than keep on trying to extend the play, only to get crushed by a defensive lineman. I am worried about his collarbones. He also throws into double coverage on plays where he has a wide open receiver as an alternate option. I am not sure how much of the blame goes to Luck, his offensive line, or his situation. Either way, something has got to change.
Running Back: I am impressed with old man strength Frank Gore. He still shows good acceleration, good vision, and he is incredibly tough. He made defenders miss on several occasions, and on other occasions he just ran over the would-be tackler. He is a very compact runner. He did seem to slow down some as the game went on. It is worth keeping an eye on him wearing down as the season goes on, but until he slows down Gore is a solid RB2. Josh Ferguson is simply his backup. A few times when he was on the field I mistook him for Gore. He is a slightly smaller back, listed at 200 lbs versus 215 lbs for Gore. He has a similar running style to the veteran, and I would assume he will get the bulk of the work if Gore can’t finish the season.
Indianapolis Colts running back touch breakdown against Chicago Bears Week 5.
Wide Receiver: There really isn’t much to discuss here. T.Y. Hilton is good. He is their only consistent receiving threat. I was wrong about him. Going into the season I thought he dropped a lot of passes that he should have caught, and I viewed him as a more reliable D Jax. In this game, he made some very tough catches. He also had a knack for getting open when Luck was scrambling. He is locked in as their WR1 until Moncrief is back and gets going. Possibly even after that.
When Moncrief went down, it was expected that Dorsett would step up and get more targets. Thus far, however, he has been a disappointment. In this game, Dorsett was not very impressive on film, but rookie Chester Rogers really stood out to me. He had a couple of very nice sideline grabs in some key situations in the 4th quarter. Starting in week 2, when Moncrief went down, he has seen 1, 2, 3, and 6 targets in each week. He has not done this consistently, and I am not saying that he needs to be owned. If you do have a deep bench in a deep league he might be worth grabbing as a speculative add. Other than Hilton, though, none of these guys should be used as anything more than a flex.
Indianapolis Colts receiver target distribution against Chicago Bears Week 5.
Tight End: Well, Dwayne Allen got you a touchdown in this one. If you’re playing a tight end not named Gronk, Olsen, Reed, or possibly Bennet that’s about all you can ask for. Dwayne Allen made some tough catches, but I did not see anything special here. His touchdown came when he ran out of a run formation near the goal line, and he was left wide open in the back of the end zone. Doyle wasn’t all that impressive here, and the stat line didn’t suggest that he was either.
Indianapolis Colts receiver target distribution against Chicago Bears Week 5.
I think if you have to play either of the Colts tight ends you’re going to be rolling the dice. All I can really say is that Dwayne Allen is on the field more than Doyle, and his targets have been much more consistent throughout the year. Doyle will definitely have his games, but good luck figuring out when they will be.