Kickoff Sunday, Oct 11th 4:25pm Eastern

Colts (
24.25) at

Browns (
25.25)

Over/Under 49.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Colts Run D
2nd DVOA/10th Yards allowed per carry
Browns Run O
2nd DVOA/4th Yards per carry
Colts Pass D
27th DVOA/19th Yards allowed per pass
Browns Pass O
6th DVOA/27th Yards per pass
Browns Run D
26th DVOA/12th Yards allowed per carry
Colts Run O
24th DVOA/2nd Yards per carry
Browns Pass D
21st DVOA/5th Yards allowed per pass
Colts Pass O
31st DVOA/26th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

  • In case you haven’t heard, the Colts are trying to win games on the ground right now
  • In case you haven’t heard, the Browns are also trying to win games on the ground right now
  • The Browns have been scoring points, while the Colts have been holding down opponents
  • There are some key angles to keep in mind when considering pieces from this game

How Indianapolis Will Try To Win ::

Cleveland’s defense ranks 10th in DVOA against the run and 20th against the pass, but this may matter less than game flow for the Colts, as they have called on Philip Rivers to throw the ball only 25 // 21 // 29 times in the games in which they weren’t chasing points. Indy ranks 30th in pace of play, second in time of possession, 27th in pass play rate, 21st in pass play rate with the score within seven points, and 22nd in pass play rate on early downs with the score within seven points. Indy’s offensive line has underperformed to begin the year, ranking 28th in adjusted line yards, but they nevertheless seem set on sticking to the ground game as their foundation until forced to go a different way.

How Cleveland Will Try To Win ::

This all creates an interesting dynamic, as Cleveland ranks 32nd in pass play rate, 21st in pace of play, and 14th in time of possession (if you add the Browns’ TOP and the Colts’ TOP, you get 64:21 — which means there are four fewer minutes available in this game than these teams have averaged to begin the year; someone is likely losing plays in this spot). Philosophically, Kevin Stefanski has made it very clear that his offense is built off the ground game, and Cleveland will stick with this even when they fall behind. Baker Mayfield has pass attempt totals of 39 // 23 // 23 // 30. In the game with 39 attempts, the Browns lost 6-38. In the game with 30 attempts, the Browns actually threw the ball at a lower rate than their season-long rate; but because they were playing the Cowboys, they ran 73 plays. Indy has allowed the fewest opponent plays per game, at 53.2. With Indy’s defense as difficult to attack on the ground (fifth in DVOA) as they are through the air (second) — and especially with All-World linebacker Darius Leonard banged up (Leonard hasn’t been practicing this week) — the Browns will be looking to lean run-heavy for as long as this one remains close.

Likeliest Game Flow ::

Of course: just because these teams are leaning run-heavy doesn’t mean they can’t score points. Cleveland is coming off three consecutive games against teams with run defense DVOAs in the 18 to 23 range (playing nicely in their favor), but it is still noteworthy that they have scored 34+ in all three of those games. And while Indy has been a little less explosive (point totals of 20 // 28 // 36 // 19), their games of 28 and 36 came against the Vikings and Jets — two teams that rank in the same range as Cleveland in DVOA.

The biggest impediment to this game taking off will likely be Mayfield. Mayfield has only two interceptions on the year, compared to seven touchdowns, but the Colts lead the league in picks so far with seven; and while this Stefanski offense has eliminated a lot of Baker’s decision-making errors by simplifying reads and progressions, Baker’s occasional “WTF?” accuracy issues are still a thing. If the Colts’ excellent run defense can make life “just difficult enough” on Cleveland’s running backs and Baker struggles “just enough” through the air for drives to stall out or turnovers to be created, it’s hard to see Indy getting proactively aggressive (Indy is wanting to “take a lead, and protect a lead” on offense this year — like a poker player waiting for premium hands).

If this Cleveland offense continues humming, however, they could drive this game forward — forcing Indy to open things up. Most paths don’t lead to this game becoming an actual shootout; but with Indy coming off game totals of only 30 // 43 // 39, the arrival of the Cleveland offense could lead to a few more points showing up on the scoreboard.

Tributaries ::

DFS+ Interpretation ::

  • After allowing Minshew to go 19/20 for 173 yds, 3 TD in Week 1, IND has held Cousins, Darnold, & Foles to a combined 530 yds, 2 TD, 7 INT
  • IND is allowing the fewest QB DK pts/g at 11.2
  • In this run-heavy offense, Mayfield’s best score so far is just 16.3 DK pts
  • IND held the MIN WRs in check, but some success has been found by the JAC trio, Berrios, and Robinson
  • After a slow start to the season and on the lowest target volume of his career (7.5 tg/g), Odell finally exploded vs a DAL secondary that has given up the 2nd-most most WR DK pts in the NFL
  • IND has given up the 7th fewest WR DK pts (2nd fewest WR rec yds)
  • Even in Odell’s huge game, he only caught 5 passes and still needed a clinching 50 yd TD run to really hurt non-Odell fantasy rosters
  • Chubb’s absence opens the door for Hunt, the NFL’s leader in Rush Yds Over Expectation
  • Chubb received 10, 22, 19 att as the lead back, while Hunt still managed 13, 10, 16 att of his own in those games
  • Johnson & Hilliard combined for 18 att in Week 4, but Hunt also came in expected to be limited due to injury
  • Total yds for lead RBs vs IND: 90, 71, 62, 57
  • CLE’s banged up secondary has allowed an average of 329.3 yds, 3 TD, INT to Lamar, Burrow, Haskins, Dak
  • Rivers yardage totals in 2020: 363, 214, 217, 190; (4 pass TDs on the season)
  • Pascal has out-targeted Hilton 16 to 13 in the last three games
  • In 34 career road games outside, Hilton has just 7 games above 20 DK pts
  • Campbell’s 71 yds in Week 1 & Cox’s 111 yds in Week 2 are the only games over 60 yds by any Colts pass catcher this season
  • CLE has allowed the 3rd most WR DK pts/g
  • CLE has allowed the 5th most TE DK pts/g
  • In Burton’s first game, he received 5 targets to just 3 combined for Doyle & Cox, and all three finished with under 20 yds
  • The most rushing yds by any RB vs CLE so far was 54 from Elliott
  • Taylor has received 26, 13, 17 carries as lead back, with Wilkins & Hines totaling 27 & 16 in those games themselves