Week 5 kicks off in Houston on Thursday Night Football when a potentially less than 100 percent Andrew Luck brings his Colts offense into town to try and secure a much-needed win to keep Super Bowl aspirations alive. But will Luck and co. be able to get it done against the talented Texans defense, for fantasy purposes of course? Well, take a look at our player-by-player preview below to get an idea of who you can trust in your lineup from this AFC South tilt.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans, 8:30 p.m. ET on NFL Network & CBS
Sadly, Andrew Luck will be on the sidelines for the second straight week, leaving the veteran Hasselbeck under center. Hasselbeck also barely practiced this week as he battled a stomach virus, but will get the start tonight. Fantasy owners would be wise to look elsewhere for quarterback help this week, even though this is a decent matchup for the former Seahawk.
Gore has finally been getting his share of the offensive touches, averaging over 90 total yards during the last two games. Houston has been taken to task by versatile running backs thus far this year, giving up an RB7 performance to Jamaal Charles in Week 1, and an RB1 performance to Devonta Freeman last week. Gore can do work on the ground and through the air for the Colts, and should be considered a fringe RB1 this week as he could see even more touches with an ailing Hasselbeck under center.
Hilton has yet to find the end zone in 2015, but that could change this week. He's had big games against Houston in the past, including his epic nine-catch, 223-yard, one-touchdown thrashing of their secondary the last time these two teams met on Thursday Night Football in 2014. However, Hilton's success will hinge on how well Hasselbeck can push the ball downfield as he deals with a stomach virus. We feel better about him in the WR2 range.
Moncrief has been the most consistent part of the Colts offense (and in fantasy). He's had at least a touchdown or 75 yards in all four weeks, never garnering fewer than seven targets. As a rising young star with a rare combination of size and speed, Moncrief is a solid WR2 play this week against the Houston secondary.
Dwayne Allen fully returned to practice this week after battling an ankle injury suffered in Week 2. If Allen starts, he and Coby Fleener slide back into the bench category, as neither has found space to contribute solid fantasy production this year while the other has been on the field. There are better options on the waiver wire if you need a spot start at TE this week.
Fantasy owners would be hard pressed to start Mallett this week, even with four teams on a bye. However, if you're in a pinch (or looking for value in daily fantasy), there is reason to be optimistic. Vontae Davis, the Colts top cornerback, could miss this game with a foot injury. If he does, the team will have a hard time slowing down DeAndre Hopkins, which could correlate into a serviceable fantasy outing for Mallett. But that's a lot of "ifs."
Don't let last week fool you. Foster is still one of the league's most gifted runners, and will be looking to prove that on Thursday while receiving a healthier workload. We all have him ranked as a top-10 option for Week 5 at the running back position.
Nuk has received 60 targets thus far in 2015. That's an absurd amount that puts him on pace for 240 on the year (for reference, Demaryius Thomas led the league with 184 targets in 2014). We already like Hopkins as a top-five option this week, but he could have a monstrous game if Vontae Davis does in fact sit out. Stay tuned.
If you're worried about starting the Texans defense against Andrew Luck, don't be. There's a reason you drafted this unit early (although hopefully not too early). They also get the added benefit of playing at home on a short week against an injured quarterback who had already had issues protecting the football. Feel confident starting the Texans stop unit this week.