Game Overview ::
By MJohnson86 >>
- Very important game for two teams who entered the season with lofty expectations but are now a combined 1-5.
- Indianapolis faces a clear “path of least resistance” that matches up squarely with their strengths and how they want to win.
- Miami has been plagued by offensive struggles all season but may have found a spark at the end Week 3.
- Both teams are very well coached, but inconsistencies at QB hold back the potential for otherwise very solid rosters.
How Indianapolis Will Try To Win ::
Jonathan Taylor is very clearly the Colts’ best offensive skill player and their weapon of choice for attacking opponents. Unfortunately for Indianapolis, they have only led for a combined six minutes across three games and have been unable to get their running game going so far this year. Also contributing to those struggles is the fact that their traditionally strong offensive line has struggled mightily so far in 2021. After being a top-3 graded run-blocking unit by PFF each of the last three seasons, they enter Week 4 ranked 23rd in the same metric. Injuries are playing a major role in this downturn in efficiency and Week 4 appears that it will be no different, with All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson likely to miss the game with a high-ankle sprain. On the positive side for Indianapolis, Miami is a clear step down in opposing offense which should allow for a better game script and let them attack how they prefer rather than spending most of the game chasing high powered teams. While the Colts have remained competitive throughout the last two games, the reality is when you are playing from behind — even early in games or only by one score — to a team like the Rams or Titans with high-powered offenses, there is an added urgency that will nudge your play calling tendencies. Taylor’s touches have gone down every week with touch counts of 23 // 16 // 11 while his efficiency has gone up every week with yards per carry of 3.3 // 3.4 // 6.4 to start the season.
Indianapolis will likely try to get Taylor rolling like he was to end the 2020 season against a Miami team that has a loaded secondary and top-10 DVOA defense against the pass. The Colts lack talent on the perimeter and QB Carson Wentz continues to struggle with accuracy and consistency which will make attacking downfield a tough proposition for them. Second year wide receiver Michael Pittman has emerged as the “alpha” in the Indianapolis receiving corps with 12 targets in each of the last two games, which is good for a 35% target share. However, he will find Week 4 to be tough sledding against All-Pro cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. Howard was the #3 graded cornerback by PFF in 2020 and led the NFL with 10 interceptions. It will be interesting to see if he shadows Pittman in this matchup, as he will sometimes do, now that Pittman has emerged as the clear preferred option for the Colts. If that is the case, it is likely that Pittman’s targets will take a severe decline here as the Colts will want the mistake-prone Wentz to steer clear of Howard if at all possible.
The preferred method of attack for Indianapolis here should be a heavy dose of the run game and some screen passes and quick hitters against an aggressive unit that blitzed at the 5th highest rate in the NFL in 2020 and will likely bring a lot of pressure to try to force Wentz into mistakes. Even if Taylor’s usage goes up here, it is likely that Nyheim Hines gets a decent amount of touches given how the matchup sets up and the fact that he has been one of the only true playmakers for the Colts so far this season. Wentz will likely spread the ball around fairly evenly to the wide receivers and tight ends on plays that are not designed for the running backs and may be forced to do some damage with his legs against the blitz-happy Dolphins as he has averaged over 20 rushing yards per game since the start of the 2020 season. Wentz has actually done a good job taking care of the ball so far this year, with only two turnovers through three games, but this sets up as a dicey proposition for him if Miami is able to get pressure home and get him to force the ball into tight spaces against their secondary.
How Miami Will Try To Win ::
Miami scored a touchdown on their season opening drive against the Patriots and scored a touchdown with 0:02 left in their Week 3 game against the Raiders to force overtime. In the 10+ quarters between those plays they only had two offensive touchdowns, one of which came on a short field from a turnover on downs. To sum it up, they have been very poor offensively to start the season. The loss of starting quarterback Tua Tagavailoa in Week 2 definitely has something to do with that, but the play calling and execution has left a lot to be desired. That being said, the Dolphins appear to have found something late in their game against the Raiders as they started to sustain some drives in the second half by moving almost exclusively to shotgun formations, increasing their tempo and no-huddle rates, and calling plays at over a 2-to-1 pass-to-run ratio during the second half and overtime.
Entering Week 4 ranked 30th by PFF in run blocking and 26th in the NFL in adjusted line yards created, it would make sense for Miami to continue with the formula that got them back in the game against the Raiders last week against a Darius Leonard led defense that is notoriously strong against the run. Since the start of 2019, the Colts have given up four 100-yard rushing games in five matchups with the freakish Derrick Henry and NONE over their other 30 games. Jacoby Brissett used his legs well last week, scrambling seven times for 37 yards, and the Dolphins peppered targets to the short and intermediate areas of the field. While Brissett did complete passes at a respectable 65% rate last week on heavy volume (49 attempts), he averaged a startlingly low 4.39 yards per pass attempt due to the nature of the throws. We should expect a similarly low average depth of target this week against a Colts defense that prefers to drop defenders back in zone coverage and does not blitz often, playing the 2nd highest rate of zone in the NFL in 2020 and showing similar tendencies so far in the young 2021 season.
Likeliest Game Flow ::
This game is unlikely to pick up in pace for the first three quarters. Neither team has shown a tremendous amount of trust in their quarterback, nor has their quarterback given them a reason to, which makes it unlikely that either team will be aggressive enough to make explosive plays to raise the tempo. Indianapolis will use a lot of clock and try to move the chains behind the strength of their running game and against the relative weakness of the Miami defense while the Dolphins will employ a similarly conservative style, but are unlikely to have success on the ground and will instead use quick, short passes as an extension of the run game. Both teams are well-coached (meaning there is a low likelihood of defensive breakdowns allowing big plays) and neither offense is very efficient or likely to create explosive plays, which makes it unlikely that this game turns into much of an offensive showcase. The Vegas total for this game is currently 42.5 (second lowest on the slate) and seems about right to me with a chance to go over, but unlikely to significantly exceed expectations.
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By Dwprix >>
- This matchup has the third lowest total on a 13 game slate, opening at 43.5 & dropping to 42.5
- IND & MIA have played one time (2019) since Reich & Flores became HCs
- The total combined for just 28 pts, w/ 15 pts coming from FGs
- MIA won 16-12
- IND has allowed 25+ pts in every game this season while MIA has allowed 30+ in B2B games
- These teams rank 22nd (IND) & 23rd (MIA) in pts allowed
- MIA only has four offensive TDs this season (three rush // one pass)
- IND only has four offensive TDs this season (one rush // three pass)
- Wentz played on two sprained ankles last week going 19:37:194 yds:0 TDs
- In 12 games last season, Wentz had 300+ yds only once
- It’s been nine consecutive games since Wentz topped 300 yds & 18 since his last 3 TD game
- Wentz has 21 TDs // 16 INTs over the last 17 games
- MIA has given up 19.7 DK pts/g to QBs having faced Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford, & Ryan Tennehill
- Marlon Mack was a healthy scratch Week 3
- IND & Mack have agreed to seek a trade
- Jonathan Taylor has a 58% rush share // Hines & Brissett makeup 34%
- Nyheim Hines tgts: 9 (IND lost 28-16) // 1 (IND lost in a close game 27-24) // 6 (lost 25-16)
- MIA vs RBs: Week 3: Peyton Barber-23:111 yds:1 TD // Week 2: 3 RB TDs // Week 1 Damien Harris-23:100 yds
- MIA has given up the second most DK pts to RBs (35.0/g)
- With TY Hilton on IR, IND snap share: Michael Pittman-94% // Zach Pascal-90% // Parris Campbell 48% // Michael Strachan-25%
- Pittman has seen 12 tgts in B2B games & had 125 yds Week 2 vs LAR
- No other IND WR has seen double digit tgts or surpassed 100 + yds
- The next highest yardage total from a different WR was Pascal’s 43 yds Week 2
- Zach Pascal has all three IND WR TDs
- Jack Doyle is questionable this week
- He’s seen target counts of 1 // 8 // 4 w/ 0 TDs
- Mo Allie-Cox is the only other IND TE seeing a tgt
- He’s seen two in each game
- With Tua Tagovailoa on IR, Brissett has taken over attempting 49 & 40 passes the last two weeks
- IND has allowed the least pass attempts in the league (26.7)
- Brissett was a Colt from 2016-2020, playing 14 games for Reich in 2019
- He only attempted four passes last season
- Brissett had all three of his 300+ yd games in 2019 which came against bottom half defenses in yards allowed that season (ATL 20th, TEN 22nd, HOU 28th)
- Snap Share: Gaskin-55% // Malcolm Brown-28% // Salvon Ahmed-18%
- Rush Share: Gaskin-39% // Brown-24% // Ahmed-13%
- Gaskin has 16 tgts // Brown-0 // Ahmed-6
- IND has given up 22.2 DK pts to RBs (10th lowest)
- Jaylen Waddle has seen increasing tgts each game this season 5 // 8 // 13
- Other MIA WRs:
Devante Parker-7 // 9 // 7
Albert Wilson-2 // 6 // healthy scratch
Will Fuller-DNP // DNP // 6 (Fuller is questionable this week)
- Most rec yds by week: Week 3-Gesicki-86 // Week 2-Waddle 48 // Week 1-Parker 82
- IND has given up 45.2 DK pts to WRs (7th most)
- Gesicki has 21 tgts (18% tgt share)
- The majority of these tgts have came from Brissett seeing 12 & 6 the last two weeks
- IND has allowed 10.6 DK pts/g (5th least)