Kickoff Saturday, Dec 25th 8:15pm Eastern

Colts (
22.5) at

Cards (
25.5)

Over/Under 48.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Colts Run D
2nd DVOA/10th Yards allowed per carry
Cardinals Run O
16th DVOA/10th Yards per carry
Colts Pass D
27th DVOA/19th Yards allowed per pass
Cardinals Pass O
24th DVOA/10th Yards per pass
Cardinals Run D
14th DVOA/20th Yards allowed per carry
Colts Run O
24th DVOA/2nd Yards per carry
Cardinals Pass D
30th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per pass
Colts Pass O
31st DVOA/26th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By mjohnson86 >>
  • This is a huge game for playoff purposes in both the NFC and AFC, with the Colts in the thick of the wild card race and Arizona tied for the division lead and within striking distance of the #1 seed.
  • These teams operate with opposing paces: Arizona operates as a spread team with tempo, while Indianapolis plays smash mouth football and bleeds the clock.
  • Relative to the rest of the league, there are very few COVID issues currently affecting the outlook of this game.
  • Arizona will have to find a way to sustain offense without DeAndre Hopkins, something they were unable to do in Week 15.

How indianapolis Will Try To Win ::

The Colts have been on a tear since fully embracing Jonathan Taylor as the engine of their offense and backbone of their identity. The Cardinals have a strong defense in all aspects, but their pass defense would be considered their “strength” by almost any metric and the Colts will be happy to continue their run-first mindset in this matchup. The Colts imposed their will on a well-coached Patriots team in Week 15 and will be happy to do the same on the road against a team that is reeling from a shocking loss to the Lions. 

Jonathan Taylor has been getting some MVP buzz in the last week or two. While that is probably going a little too far (and not giving the Colts offensive line enough credit), the reality is that perhaps no other non-QB in the league has the same impact on the identity of his team as Taylor does. The Colts are running the ball at an incredible 60% situation-neutral rate since Week 11. In their huge Week 15 win over the Patriots, Taylor carried the ball 29 times and put the team on his back. Taylor has had 29 or more opportunities (carries plus targets) in four of the last five games, with the only exception coming against the Bucs and their “pass funnel” defense that loaded the box and gave the Colts no choice but to throw on their RPO (run-pass option) plays. In another must-win game and a matchup that forces teams towards the run, it would be shocking for Taylor not to see another monster workload in this game. The extent of the Colts passing game will be a spread attack that we are used to with Michael Pittman being the one player who could see a concentrated target share. Pittman has four games this season where he saw double-digit targets, and all of those games were Colts losses that averaged 56.5 total points. This game has a very close spread and a 49 point total, making it very likely that this turns into one of those high-volume games for Pittman.

How arizona Will Try To Win ::

Week 15 was an absolute train wreck for the Cardinals. In control of the division and tied for the #1 seed, Arizona didn’t just lose but they were dominated by the Lions in all facets of the game. Kliff Kingsbury made some embarrassingly conservative decisions and the offense as a whole looked lost without DeAndre Hopkins, and the defense made Jared Goff look like a Pro Bowl QB again. The loss of Hopkins is a big deal for this team. While his role has not been fantasy-friendly for quite some time, his presence as a true alpha receiver has dictated coverage and provided stability for the receiving corps. Without him, they are left with Rondale Moore’s gadget work and whatever Zach Ertz has left in the tank at this point in his career in the short areas of the field. Meanwhile, AJ Green and Christian Kirk are fine but are not difference makers that are going to make things difficult for a defense.

The Colts run defense is very strong. What makes them so strong is a good defensive front and speedy, athletic linebackers. This matches up very well with a Cardinals running game that is built on spreading teams out and beating them with speed. The status of James Conner will be important for this game as his north-south, smashmouth style would likely be more effective than the style of the shifty Chase Edmonds. The Cardinals will likely have to let Kyler Murray use his legs more often, something he has been doing more of since returning from injury with seven rushing attempts per game. If the Cardinals want to take control of this game, they will have to get aggressive vertically against the weakness of the Colts defense because the “horizontal raid” isn’t going to get it done against Darius Leonard and the athletic Colts defense. They will sniff out and shut down wide runs and quick, short passes, forcing Murray to make plays with his legs and make them pay down the field with shots to Kirk, Green, Ertz, and possibly Antoine Wesley.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

Kliff Kingsbury has exposed himself as a conservative, scared coach in a lot of spots over the last couple of years. If he doesn’t open it up in this spot, that will be the final nail in the coffin for me in expecting him to ever change. As laid out above, the Cardinals need to leverage Murray’s strengths and the defensive weakness of the Colts (downfield passing) if they want to act like the high octane offense that got them out to an 8-1 record before struggling recently. The Colts played a lot of shell defense against the Bucs and Bills, but I would expect them to be more aggressive against this Cardinals offense that has appeared to be playing on its heels recently (and whenever they have been without Hopkins).

The combination of the Colts heavy run-rate and the Cardinals likely insisting on their usual horizontal raid approach makes this game’s likeliest scenario entail a game that may get there on the scoreboard by the end of the day, but will have a hard time drastically surpassing the type of game implied by the Vegas spread and total. With so much on the line, it would be surprising to see either team moving away from “who they are” at this point in the season, and both defenses are strong enough to keep things from getting out of hand in either direction.

saturday slate DFS breakdown::

By Alex88 >>

OVERVIEW

  • Highest total in Week 16
  • 1 pt spread is the narrowest on the week
  • IND is one game back from TEN for the AFC South title
  • They’ve won five of their last six games, scoring 23+ pts in each one
  • Their lone loss was a 31-38 shootout vs. TB
  • IND’s 28.4 ppg ranks third most on the season
  • ARI’s control of the NFC was lost after two consecutive losses, including an 18 point upset @ DET last week, when they had been favorites with a -13 spread
  • They’ve lost three of their last six, scoring 12, 23, and 10 pts in their losses
  • In their victories, they scored 33, 23, and 31 pts
  • On the season, ARI’s 27 ppg ranks eighth
  • Per numberFire, IND ranks 31st in adjusted seconds per play (32.5) and 17th in adjusted pass rate (57.3%)
  • ARI ranks fourth in adjusted seconds per play (28.5) and eighth in adjusted pass rate (61.0%)

Carson Wentz

  • Ranks 23rd in PFF passing grade
  • On the season, Wentz is averaging just 30 attempts per game, for 215 yards and 1.6 TDs
  • He’s averaging 16.76 DK ppg, scoring 20+ five times
  • Stat lines in those 20+ games: 25/35-402-2-0 // 17/26-150-2-0 (rushing TD) // 27/51-231-3-2 // 22/30-272-3 // 27/44-306-3-2
  • Wentz’s $5,400 Week 16 DK salary is tied for his third lowest cost this season
  • ARI ranks fifth in DK ppg allowed to QBs (16.9)
  • Notable opposing stat lines vs. ARI: Kirk Cousins 22/32-3-0 // Matthew Stafford 26/41-280-2-1 // Jimmy G 28/40-326-2-1 // Stafford 23/30-287-3-0 // Jared Goff 21/26-216-3-0

IND Passing Attack

  • Snap share: Michael Pittman 86.9% // Zach Pascal 85% // Jack Doyle 63.3% // Mo Alie-Cox 52.9% // TY Hilton 36.6% // Ashton Dulin 28.3%
  • Target share: Pittman 23.8% // Pascal 14.9% // Doyle 9.4% // Cox 7.6% // Hilton 5.5% // Dulin 4.3%
  • Pittman lasted 28 snaps in Week 15 before being ejected from the game (Yes, I’m bitter.)
  • He still led the team with five targets
  • Among qualified WRs, Pittman ranks 13th in target share, 19th in air yard market share, and 15th in WOPR (per Koalaty Stats)
  • Pittman’s DK salary debuted at $4,100 in Week 1, climbed to a peak of $6,300 in Week 10, but has since declined
  • In Week 16, his salary is just $5,100
  • He’s scored 4x that cost four times this season, but not since Week 8
  • Pascal hasn’t scored double digit DK pts since Week 2
  • Hilton’s lack of health and production has led to a season low in DK salary ($3,900)
  • He’s yet to hit 4x that salary cost this year
  • Dulin has had two or fewer targets in all but two games (in those, he had four targets each)
  • ARI ranks 25th in DK ppg allowed to WRs (37.4)
  • Notable opposing WR scores: KJ Osborn 20.1 // Van Jefferson 21 // Amon-Ra St. Brown 23.5 // Cooper Kupp 34.3
  • On the season, Doyle leads Cox in targets per game, 2.9 to 2.4
  • In the past four weeks, he’s received 14 targets to Cox’s 5
  • Both players have hit double digit DK pts twice this season
  • ARI ranks second in DK ppg allowed to TEs (7.9)
  • George Kittle’s 24.1 pts in Week 9 are the only instance of a TE scoring double digits vs. ARI this season

Jonathan Taylor

  • Among qualified RBs, Taylor ranks fifth in rush share, third in goal line share, 12th in target share, 17th in WOPR, and sixth in RBOPR
  • On the season, he’s led Nyheim HInes in snap share (66.7% to 32.8%) and touches (21.9 to 6)
  • Hines leads in target share, 11.2% to 9.8%
  • Taylor’s 25.7 DK ppg ranks second
  • ARI ranks 14th in DK ppg allowed to RBs (22.5)
  • Three opposing RBs have scored 20+ vs. ARI: Aaron Jones 24 // James Robinson 25.4 // CMC 26.1 // David Montgomery 28.1

Kyler Murray

  • Ranks second in PFF passing grade
  • 8.4 YPA is tied for second, 78.0% adjusted completion percentage ranks fourth
  • 6.4 rushing attempts per game is tied with Josh Allen for fourth most at the position
  • 23.4 DK ppg ranks fourth
  • Week 16 DK salary of $7,400 is a season low
  • IND ranks 22nd in DK ppg allowed to QBs (19.4)
  • They’ve allowed the ninth most rushing yards to QBs (19.6)
  • Ryan Tannehill’s 23.2 DK pts in Week 8 were the last time a QB has scored 20+ vs. IND

ARI Passing Attack

  • On the season, ARI utilizes 11 personnel at a below average rate (54%)
  • In Week 15, they led the league in 11 personnel without DeAndre Hopkins, using the personnel grouping at an 84% rate
  • Week 15 snap counts: Christian Kirk 72 // Zach Ertz 67 // Antoine Wesley 64 // AJ Green 56 // Rondale Moore 20
  • Week 15 target counts: Kirk 12 // Ertz 11 // AJG 8 // Wesley 8 // Moore 3
  • Kirk’s averaging 12.76 DK ppg in 14 games
  • His DK salary debuted at $4,500 in Week 1 but is up in the mid-5ks as his new role has emerged with Hopkins going down ($5,600 in Week 16)
  • He’s scored 20+ DK pts three times: 20.4 @ JAX // 24 @ TEN // 24.4 @ DET
  • Despite seeing spikes in snaps with Hopkins out, Wesley’s salary remains at the WR minimum in Week 16
  • His DK log: 9.2 // 8.4 // 4.9
  • Green is averaging 10.91 DK ppg
  • His $5,100 Week 16 DK salary is tied for a season high
  • He’s only hit 20+ pts once: 20.2 vs. LAR
  • Moore has scored 4x his Week 16 salary ($4,000) twice: 16.1 @ SEA // 27.4 vs. MIN
  • IND ranks 17th in DK ppg allowed to WRs (35.9)
  • Elijah Moore’s 27.4 pts in Week 9 were the last instance of a WR hitting 20+ vs. IND
  • Three opposing players scored 30+, but all in the first eight weeks: AJ Brown 34.5 // Marquise Brown 36.5 // Cooper Kupp 39.8
  • Among qualified TEs, Ertz ranks ninth in target share, 11th in air yard market share, and 11th in WOPR
  • His 10.1 DK ppg ranks 13th
  • Ertz arrived in ARI with a $3,900 DK salary in Week 7
  • Week 16 will be his fourth consecutive week in the $5ks
  • IND ranks 31st in DK ppg allowed to TEs (17.5)
  • Nine different TEs have scored double digit DK pts vs. IND

ARI RBs

  • Chase Edmonds returned to the lineup in Week 15
  • Week 15 snaps: James Conner 33 // Edmonds 29
  • Week 15 targets: Conner 2 // Edmonds 1
  • Week 15 touches: Conner 10 // Edmonds 6
  • Among qualified RBs, Conner ranks 25th in rush share, 15th in goal line share, 24th in target share, 22nd in WOPR, and 24th in RBOPR
  • His 16.5 DK pts ranks 13th
  • Conner’s DK salary range has been $4,400 – $6,400 ($6,200 in Week 16)
  • He’s hit 4x his salary twice in 14 games
  • Edmonds’s Week 16 salary is his second lowest all season ($4,800)
  • He’s scored 4x once in 10 games
  • IND ranks fourth in DK ppg allowed to RBs (20.2)
  • Leonard Fournette’s 47.1 DK pts in Week 12 were the first time an opposing RB had scored 20+ since Week 3