Jonathan Taylor Revives The Colts



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The Colts got back on track by getting back on the tracks. “Derailed” is where this franchise has been for the past month. Much of it was self-inflicted. Some of it had to do with injury. A lot of it was fixed on Sunday.

Galaxy brain interim coach Jeff Saturday walked back owner Jim Irsay's mistake of ordering the benching of Matt Ryan so quietly that he never even announced it. He simply put Ryan in with the first-team offense in pre-game warmups and let the football world connect the final dot.

Ryan's return would not have meant as much if it did not coincide with Jonathan Taylor's. Injured since Week 4, Taylor was finally healthy after sitting in Week 9, and produced his first 100-yard game since Week 1. His 66-yard score, which featured a cut-back and sideline sprint, re-proved both his agility and breakaway speed.

It also gave the Colts a way out of this mess of their own making, but whereas the Raiders are an offense's favorite defense, the opposite is true of Week 11 opponent Philadelphia. The Eagles will provide a true measuring stick for Irsay's madcap coaching experiment.

Five Week 10 Storylines

Christian Watson finally spikes a week for the Packers' receiver corps. Second-round rookie Watson entered Week 10 with 10 catches, zero of which ended in the end zone. He exited with three scores and the latest, greatest claim as the cure to what ails the Packers' passing attack. Scoring from seven, 38 and 59 yards out, Watson was separating from the Cowboys' coverage with terrifying ease. He also reminded why he had largely been considered a tease up until this point in his rookie campaign, dropping two passes and badly misjudging another. The difference this time is the boom finally accompanied the bust. With the Packers' receiver need remaining as great as it did during the spring, Watson is a must add in the 92 percent of Yahoo leagues where he remains un-rostered in advance of a Week 11 smash spot in the Titans' leaky pass defense.

Rachaad White starts over Leonard Fournette as Lenny's slow-motion benching continues. Although White got the start, Fournette was out-touching him 14-11 when he departed with a fourth quarter hip pointer. That allowed White to take control of the backfield on what had been a run-heavy day, finishing with 22 carries for 105 yards. Uncharacteristically, the backs combined for only one reception, which was snagged by Fournette in the opening moments of the game. Speaking afterward, White was modest about his production, saying it was due in part to the fact that Tampa wasn't even sure if Fournette would make the trip to Germany due to passport issues. White respects his veteran teammate. He's also passing him in real time and has also finally done enough to earn FLEX consideration even if Fournette suits up for Week 11 against the Browns. Cleveland, of course, has one of the league's worst run defenses.

Najee Harris has best rushing effort of the season, but timeshare still develops. If you had shown someone Harris' 20/99 line before the fact, they would have assumed that Jaylen Warren's rumored bigger role did not develop. But it did as Warren played 43 percent of the snaps to Harris' 59 percent. Warren rolled up 77 yards from scrimmage, a new season high. The answer to some extent was “both” as the Steelers came out of their bye running the ball 43 times whilst trying to hide Kenny Pickett. The Steelers largely dominated game script, game flow and time of possession against a Saints team whose run defense continued its collapse as its quarterback kept turning the ball over. That won't be the case in Week 11 against the Bengals, leaving the case muddied for the time being. Harris will be a touch-based FLEX, with Warren offering boom/bust potential.

Andy Dalton's latest multi-interception start further hollows out his starting argument. The thesis of the Dalton play is supposed to be that he doesn't turn the ball over as much as Jameis Winston. That, of course, has barely been the case throughout Dalton's career. Now the two are almost indistinguishable, except for one key difference: Winston actually makes big plays. Dalton has only four scores over his past three starts and one completion longer than 40 yards, a 41-yarder in Week 9. He's thrown three picks in that timespan and has an 11:7 TD:INT total on the season. That is to say nothing of his recurring hospital balls and unerring inaccuracy. It is time for the 3-7 Saints to see if Winston has any wild hair upside left in his arm, if for no other reason than to more properly evaluate their playmakers down the stretch of a lost year.

Donovan Peoples-Jones stays cooking opposite Amari Cooper. With the 99-yard outing against the Dolphins, DPJ came oh-so-close to his second career 100-yard effort. He has now cleared 70 yards in four straight games, as well as 5-of-6. He has out-gained Amari Cooper two of the past four weeks, and forced his way into the top 40, if not top 36, mix at receiver. The catch, of course, is that the chemistry Peoples-Jones has developed with Jacoby Brissett will be going away in Week 13 when Deshaun Watson returns under center. Until then, he has tough dates with the Bills and Bucs, so he might not necessarily be stuffing the stat sheet. Although the chemistry reset will be frustrating, Peoples-Jones has the kind of down-field skill-set Watson has had success with in the past.

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Five More Week 10 Storylines

Cooper Kupp re-injures ankle, doesn't return vs. Cardinals. For the second time in three weeks, Kupp rolled his right ankle. This time, he didn't walk it off. Although the Rams believe Kupp has avoided a “worst-case scenario,” it is extremely unlikely he's avoided a Week 11 absence after he could put no weight on his foot leaving the field. Kupp's absence for even 1-2 weeks would be the nail in the coffin of the Rams' flickering playoff hopes, and a calamity of untold proportions for fantasy managers. With Allen Robinson, Van Jefferson and Ben Skowronek all struggling to catch passes even when Kupp is out there to preoccupy the defense, they're not about to shine in his Week 11 absence against the Saints. Look elsewhere for Kupp's fill-in, and pray he can avoid injured reserve.

Zach Ertz suffers knee injury in Los Angeles, appears to avoid ACL issue. Going down in the same game as Kupp was Ertz, whom the Cardinals “suspect” still has a full ACL. Monday testing will nevertheless be required to confirm that important fact, while Ertz is expected to miss “multiple weeks” either way. Not the same since DeAndre Hopkins returned — Ertz hasn't bettered 40 yards in any of Hopkins' four appearances — Ertz will be an automatic drop if he requires an injured reserve stint and might not be worth holding onto even if he goes week to week. In addition to Hopkins, Rondale Moore's compiling has become a much bigger part of the Cardinals' horizontal raid in recent weeks. Moore has forced his way into the top 30.

This time it counts for Isiah Pacheco in the Chiefs' backfield? After weeks of rumors and false starts that he was prepared to take over as Kansas City's lead back, Pacheco handled 16-of-18 running back carries and comfortably led in snaps. Although he was out-targeted 8-0 by Jerick McKinnon, Pacheco's big day came as Clyde Edwards-Helaire handled only four snaps. Pacheco was never going to take McKinnon's third-down role. It was CEH's work on early downs that Pacheco had to have, and he seemingly finally does. Pacheco's victory was extra encouraging since it included coach Andy Reid sticking with him following a fumble. We know the Chiefs abandon their running game on a dime, but that is highly unlikely to happen against the Chargers' bottom-five run defense for Week 11. Pacheco will push for top-30 value in Los Angeles.

Kadarius Toney inches closer to a breakout. The 4/57/1 isn't going to blow anyone away, but the 2/33 rushing makes it more intriguing. It all looks more tantalizing when you #WatchTheFilm, because after seemingly ages in the closet, it was all there on Sunday. Toney levitated for a grab. He spun through defenders. He showed off his unique stop/start skills. He looked like he was having a good time, poking fun at his hamstring woes with his touchdown celebration and flat out saying as much afterwards. “I feel like I'm right where I need to be,” Toney gushed afterward. “As I was hopping, I was just thinking, 'What did I do to be in this position? How can I thank God any more?'” Toney's routes, etc. remained modest on Sunday. It's clear they will only be going one direction moving forward: Up.

Elijah Mitchell forms a committee with Christian McCaffrey, for some reason. When the 49ers surrendered four draft picks for McCaffrey's services, it was assumed to be to dominate touches. Instead, Mitchell out-carried CMC 18-14 and out-touched him 19-18. Galaxy braining of the highest order, though we suppose we must mention Mitchell was more effective on the ground. This was in a close game, one where the 49ers spent a large chunk playing from behind, so we can't even claim Kyle Shanahan was frontrunning with the more bruising back. It was still McCaffrey who got the touchdown and targets. It doesn't really change much for CMC except to knock him down a few spots in the RB1 ranks. For Mitchell, let's make him do it again before considering him a true FLEX. The way to beat Los Angeles is on the ground, and other game plans will abound for Shanny.

Questions

1. Did the rest of the AFC West ever consider making the Chiefs sweat even for a second?

2. Why does every Jimmy Garoppolo pass look like a fighter jet gliding to a crash landing?

3. Why does the Rams' roster look like someone backed a Ford F-250 over an ATM and thought that would be enough money to pay for an entire 53-man roster?

Early Waivers Look (Players rostered in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues)

QB: Ryan Tannehill (@GB), Marcus Mariota (vs. CHI), Kenny Pickett (vs. CIN), Andy Dalton (vs. LAR), Jacoby Brissett (@BUF), Taylor Heinicke (@HOU), Matt Ryan (vs. PHI)
RB: Rachaad White, Isiah Pacheco, Jaylen Warren, Kyren Williams, Jerick McKinnon
WR: Christian Watson, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Parris Campbell, Julio Jones, Nico Collins, Treylon Burks, Michael Gallup, Darius Slayton
TE: Cade Otton, Hayden Hurst, Foster Moreau, Isaiah Likely, Robert Tonyan, Juwan Johnson, Kylen Granson
DEF: Jets (@NE), Commanders (@HOU), Bengals (@PIT), Bears (@ATL), Raiders (@DEN), Texans (vs. WAS)

Stats of the Week

Via Adam Levitan: The Bears called four total designed runs for Justin Fields between Weeks 4-6. That number has increased to 34 in the four games since. You'll never guess what happened next when you check the box scores.

Via Jason Kirk: "In his last two games as a head coach, Jeff Saturday is: 0-1 against the Fellowship Christian Paladins of Roswell, Georgia and 1-0 against the Las Vegas Raiders of Las Vegas, Nevada."

Via NBC, Jimmy Garoppolo is 10-2 in games where he doesn't throw a touchdown pass. Can you say GOAT?

42-19. Jeff Wilson's snap advantage over Raheem Mostert as the Dolphins roughhoused the Browns. Wilson is up to 215 yards from scrimmage through two games in teal and aqua.

Parris Campbell has scored in each of Matt Ryan's past three starts.

Awards Section

Week 10 Fantasy All-Pro Team: QB Justin Fields, RB Jonathan Taylor, RB Aaron Jones, WR Justin Jefferson, WR CeeDee Lamb, WR Christian Watson, TE Cole Kmet

Old Tweet of the Week, via Jeff Saturday: Raiders look horrible.

The I've Never Felt Older Award, via Luke Braun: The Youngs in my discord are telling me that grabbing your hamstring on a griddy is a tik tok thing, so (Justin Jefferson) is ok.

The Makes You Think Award, via Edgerrin James' Defense of Jeff Saturday: “FYI: Five presidents had never been elected to public office before becoming president: Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Donald Trump.”

The Pack Up The Cats and Leave Town Award: The Raiders allowing a 39-yard run to Matt Ryan.

The Hivemind Was Right Award: Daniel Jones pass dropped by Kenny Golladay, huge boos from Giants' fans at MetLife Stadium.

The Never Forget Award: Matt Nagy tried to save his job with Andy Dalton.

The Never Forget Award II: The Panthers could have drafted Justin Fields.

That's Just Greg Joseph Award: Greg Joseph.

Owner of the Year Award: Jim Irsay.