Thursday Night Fantasy Starters: Andrew Luck, Arian Foster And Reggie Wayne

By Steve Silverman

It’s a battle for first place in the AFC South when the Indianapolis Colts travel to Houston to take on the rebounding Texans, but it’s also a chance to get the jump on your Week Six Fantasy Football matchups.

The Thursday night games have all been blowouts this season, but the Colts and Texans figure to be a lot closer. The Colts are trying to establish their dominance and they do so with perhaps the gold standard of the NFL’s young quarterbacks in Andrew Luck. The Texans can make a definitive statement that they have turned the page on last year’s disaster with a strong performance here.

This game could come down to a last-second field goal, and it appears to be an excellent week to play perhaps the greatest placekicker in NFL history in the Colts’ Adam Vinatieri.

Colts players

QB Andrew Luck – It must be a great feeling for head coach Chuck Pagano to know that he goes into battle every week with Luck (14 passing touchdowns) as his quarterback. He has the arm strength, quick release and accuracy to tear apart any secondary, and he is certainly in good shape against the Texans since they rank 26th in yards allowed. Even if J.J. Watt can bring significant pressure on Luck, the quarterback is an outstanding runner who has already rushed for two touchdowns. It should be a huge night for Luck. PLAY HIM.

RB Trent Richardson – The Colts management is quite stubborn. Astute fantasy players have known for some time that Richardson is a bust, but the Colts continue to trot him out there as if he is about to turn his career around. Richardson has 240 yards and one touchdown on 70 carries, and it will probably get worse from here. BENCH HIM.

WR Reggie Wayne – It’s hard to find fault with the fine work that Wayne has done this year, and this could be the game that he starts to pay off fantasy owners with touchdowns. Wayne has already caught 30 passes this season, but he has found the endzone just once. We think he will get into the endzone at least once in this game, and he could get a second one if the Houston secondary starts to tire in the fourth quarter. Wayne has remarkable route-running skills and still has the kind of hands that would make Picasso jealous. PLAY HIM.

PK Adam Vinatieri – A road game against a divisional opponent means the Colts are going to be competing against a defense that is playing at its best. While we expect Luck to solve the Houston defense, the Colts may be forced to settle for field goals at various points throughout the night. Vinatieri is the king of clutch kicks, and he’s also off to a 10-of-10 start this season. PLAY HIM.

Texans players

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick – The former Buffalo Bill has adapted quite nicely to the Texans and he is a moderately serviceable quarterback for head coach Bill O’Brien. However, when he sees a top quarterback like Luck on the opposite sidelines, he feels the need to compete with him. Fitzpatrick often has a problem forcing balls into a tight window, and that results in turnovers. He has already thrown six interceptions this season. BENCH HIM.

RB Arian Foster – Foster has gotten limited practice time this week, but O’Brien has said he will play in this game and we also hear that Foster is ready to go and should have a very respectable game. When Foster gets off to a good start, he can be a load for any defense to handle. The Colts are a respectable 11th against the run, but Foster has excellent power and is averaging 4.7 yards per carry with three TDs. Look for 100-plus yards here and at least one touchdown. PLAY HIM.

WR DeAndre Hopkins – He has become the Texans’ most dangerous receiver because he already has four catches of 20 or more yards and has been to the endzone three times. Traditional star Andre Johnson is still effective, but he has not caught a TD pass yet. If the Texans are going to make big plays through the air, Hopkins is their biggest threat. However, Fitzpatrick is going to feel the pressure and he is not going to have a good night. That will prevent Hopkins from being productive. BENCH HIM.

***

Steve Silverman has been writing, talking about and playing fantasy football since the early 1990s. He co-hosted Fantasy Football Weekly, the first Fantasy Football television program, in 1994 and ’95. Follow Steve on Twitter @profootballboy.

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