Last updated: September 10 at 5:15pm ET
Team Totals: Titans 24, Colts 21
The Colts telegraphed their game-manager intentions for Jacoby Brissett by restricting him to 27 Week 1 pass attempts despite trailing most of the game. Behind an offensive line that returns all five starters and mashed the Chargers on the road, this is shaping up as a Marlon Mack-centric offense after Mack’s monster Opening Day rushing effort (25/174/1) in which he played a career-high 76% of Indy’s offensive snaps. Mack didn’t catch any passes against the Bolts but nearly doubled Nyheim Hines’ route total (19 to 11) and is clearly involved in the passing game. Seeing legit RB1 usage, Mack is a trustworthy Week 2 play facing a Titans defense against which Browns backs efficiently logged 19/92/1 (4.84 YPC) rushing last week. … A low-volume passer on a run-first team, Brissett’s Week 2 outlook is concerning versus an underrated Titans defense that last year yielded the NFL’s third-fewest points and in Week 1 blasted Baker Mayfield for five sacks, picked him off three times, and held Mayfield to a pathetic QB24 finish.
Brissett’s Week 1 target distribution: T.Y. Hilton 9; Devin Funchess 5; Hines 4; Eric Ebron 3; Jack Doyle and Deon Cain 2; Parris Campbell and Mo Alie-Cox 1; Chester Rogers and Zach Pascal 0. … Hilton looks like a prime sell-high candidate in season-long leagues after severely outkicking Week 1 usage-adjusted expectations. He saved his box-score results with two red-zone scores but finished a lowly 50th among NFL wideouts in Air Yards (67) and will have lots of trouble maintaining consistency on a run-heavy team. He’s a fringe WR2/3 play against the Titans, who held all Browns pass catchers below 75 yards last week. … Funchess broke his collarbone and figures to be replaced by a smattering of receivers as opposed to one individual Colts wideout. … As expected, Ebron and Doyle canceled each other out in last week’s loss to the Chargers and remain near the bottom of the TE2 barrel, if that. They are both drops in 12-team leagues. … In a wide-reaching rotation behind Hilton’s 89%, Colts Week 1 snaps were distributed as frustratingly follows: Funchess 57%, Rogers 40%, Pascal 37%, Campbell 29%, Cain 17%.
New Titans OC Arthur Smith put on a clinic in his play-calling debut at Cleveland, spiking Tennessee’s play-action rate to top five in the league (43%), coaxing out of Marcus Mariota his second-most yards per attempt in 38 games (10.3), and committing 20 high-efficiency touches to Derrick Henry even after falling behind early. The Titans return to Nashville to host the Colts, who coughed up 18/115/1 (6.39 YPC) rushing and another 100 receiving yards to Chargers backs last week. Although Henry’s ten Week 1 routes run don’t sound like much, his highest 2018 route total was 13, and Henry showed he warrants more passing-game chances on last week’s game-breaking 75-yard screen-pass score. Henry trampled Colts DC Matt Eberflus’ lightweight, athleticism-based defense in their 2018 meetings, combining for 25/139/0 (5.56 YPC) rushing. Henry should be upgraded into fringe RB1 territory as a home-favorite bellcow in a plus draw. … Dion Lewis managed six touches on 41% of the Week 1 snaps and will need Tennessee to chase points for flex value. Lewis hurt the Titans early with a drive-killing first-quarter drop. … Henry’s screen-pass TD accounted for over 30% of Mariota’s Opening Day yards, and Mariota was deployed as a low-volume game manager with 24 attempts. Mariota also took four sacks, faced pressure at the NFL’s fourth-highest rate (43%), and was fortunate to escape with such high passing efficiency. This game’s modest total (45) keeps Mariota out of QB1 contention despite his solid Week 1.
Mariota’s Week 1 target distribution: Delanie Walker 6; Lewis and A.J. Brown 4; Corey Davis 3; Henry 2; Adam Humphries and Jonnu Smith 1; Tajae Sharpe 0. … Even as he was out-snapped by Smith 63% to 46%, Walker ran routes on 21-of-27 plays (78%), logged a TE1-caliber 25% target share, and scored twice in the red zone from 11 and 7 yards out. Walker’s playing time figures to rise the further he’s removed from last year’s ankle injury. For Week 2, Walker is a top-12 fantasy play at hisposition facing a zone-based Colts defense that yielded the NFL’s most yards per game to tight ends in 2018, then gave up 64 yards on six targets to Chargers tight ends last week. … Brown gave every bit of credence to pre-draft JuJu Smith-Schuster comparisons on his 51-yard open-field catch and run in last week’s second half. He also caught a 47-yard bomb in the first quarter, exploiting a Browns coverage bust. Brown (42%) played fewer snaps than Sharpe (49%), however, and can’t be trusted until his utilization expands. … Davis drew all three of his Week 1 targets in Browns top CB Denzel Ward’s coverage, and all three fell incomplete. Davis did pop in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Week 2 Buy-Low Air Yards Model and is worth fade-recency-bias DFS-tournament consideration after easily leading all Titans in Week 1 playing time (73%). … I’m not sure why Humphries generated pre-season fantasy hype, but it’s generally good process to ignore low-efficiency slot receivers on run-first teams. Humphries played just 34% of the Titans’ Opening Day snaps.
Score Prediction: Titans 21, Colts 20