Sun Sep 22 4:30pm ET
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) reacts after making a touchdown reception during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines (21) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons free safety Ricardo Allen (37) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn shouts during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts safety Khari Willis (37) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron (85) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons free safety Ricardo Allen (37) and strong safety Keanu Neal (22) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal (14) celebrates after making a touchdown reception during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri (4) is congratulated after kicking a field goal during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell (15) breaks out of a tackle from Atlanta Falcons strong safety Damontae Kazee (27) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver (26) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Jacoby Brissett threw two touchdown passes in the first half Sunday, and Marlon Mack scored on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter to lead the Indianapolis Colts past Atlanta 27-24.
Indianapolis (2-1) has won two straight overall and seven in a row at home.
The Falcons (1-2) rallied from a 20-3 halftime deficit to get within three on Matt Ryan's 10-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones with 4:11 to play. But the Falcons opted to kick deep and never got the ball back.
Brissett closed it out with an 11-yard pass to Jack Doyle on third-and-4. He finished 28 of 37 with 310 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. T.Y. Hilton caught eight passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in the first half, but missed the second half after aggravating a quad injury that slowed him in practice this week.
Ryan was 29 of 34 with 340 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He passed John Elway for ninth on the league's career completion list and broke a tie with Elway for No. 11 on the career TD passes list. Ryan now has 4,143 completions and 303 touchdown passes.
Brissett played brilliantly, completing his first 16 passes and leading the Colts to scores on all four of their first-half possessions, including two 90-plus yard drives.
But the Falcons flipped the script in the second half.
Ryan capped a 75-yard drive to open the third quarter with a 13-yard pass to Austin Hooper, making it 20-10. Then, after the Falcons forced a three-and-out and Indy's only punt of the game, Ryan led Atlanta on a 16-play drive that consumed nearly 10 minutes. It ended with a 2-yard TD pass to Hooper to get the Falcons within 20-17.
Brissett answered by capitalizing on two Atlanta defensive penalties, ending the drive by watching Mack's score extend the lead to 27-14.
Ryan hooked up with Julio Jones on a 14-yard pass to get the Falcons within 27-24, but never got a chance to force a tie or take the lead.
Jones had eight catches for 128 yards.
After missing five of his first eight kicks and dealing with two weeks of questions, 46-year-old Adam Vinatieri reverted to his traditional form.
The Colts kicker drew gasps then cheers when he banked in a 49-yard field goal off the left upright to start the game. But the NFL's oldest player later added a 21-yard field goal and made all three extra points without any problems.
Falcons: face a second straight AFC South foe, Tennessee, next Sunday in Atlanta.
Colts: stay home to face Oakland next Sunday.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett went off on the Houston Texans in Week 7. In Week 8, his matchup gets more difficult against the Denver Broncos. Through seven games, Denver has yet to allow a player to clear 300 passing yards, and no quarterback has thrown for more than two touchdowns against them. The Colts have a lot of pieces on offense, especially with the emergence of wide receiver Zach Pascal, but expectations for Brissett should be tempered this week. He's still a starter in two-quarterback leagues, but you have better options at QB in standard formats.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton has a bad matchup this week, but you have to start him anyway. He's scored five touchdowns in the five games that he's played, and he's averaging an impressive 17.2 PPR points per game this season. He has 15 more targets than any other Indianapolis pass-catcher, and quarterback Jacoby Brissett looks his way whenever he needs a reliable receiver. He's gotten at least nine targets in three out of his five games, and those looks will continue to be there for him against the Denver Broncos.
Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack got shut down in Week 7, but he has a good bounce-back spot in Week 8. Teams like the Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars have beaten the Denver Broncos by running the ball at them all game to control the clock. Mack does his best work when he gets a ton of volume, and that's how the Colts like to win games. If the passing game struggles, which is possible against a solid passing defense, they could lean on Mack throughout the game, especially down in the red zone.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs is in line for an increased workload on Thursday night with target-hog Adam Thielen (hamstring) sitting out for the first time in his career. Week 8's matchup against the Washington Redskins is a favorable one as Diggs should be able to take advantage of coverage by either Quinton Dunbar or a struggling Josh Norman. Cousins and the play-action passing game have been on point as of late, as has Diggs with 14 catches for 310 yards and three touchdowns over his last two games. They remain a run-first team and are likely to lean on Dalvin Cook as they're favored by over 15 points at home, but Diggs needs to be started as a WR1/WR2 with upside considering Thielen's absence.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford absolutely feasted on the Vikings secondary in Week 7, and the feast may not be over with the New York Giants coming to town in Week 8. The Giants currently allow 8.92 yards per attempt, which trails only the Dolphins, so fantasy owners could be in for another huge performance from the 31-year-old signal-caller. The Giants don't present much in the way of run defense either, but with Kerryon Johnson recently being placed on IR a more pass-heavy approach can be expected. With top quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Dak Prescott on byes this week, and with Matt Ryan still yet to practice, Stafford vaults up the charts as one of the top quarterback options in Week 8 no matter the fantasy format. Get him in your lineups.
Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (knee) fully participated in practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Wilson threw his first interception last week but still has posted 15 passing touchdowns in seven games. He should have success against the Atlanta Falcons this week and can be a No. 1 quarterback in all fantasy leagues.
Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett (non-injury) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Lockett has posted at least 50 yards in each of the last six games and has been targeted 12 times over the last two weeks. He should have a favorable matchup in Week 8 and can be a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver in all leagues.
Seattle Seahawks S Lano Hill (elbow), DE Quinton Jefferson (oblique) and S Bradley McDougald (back) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 23. OT Duane Brown (biceps), OT George Fant (shoulder), CB Tre Flowers (neck), DE Ziggy Ansah (ankle) and S Quandre Diggs (hamstring) were limited during practice. OG D.J. Fluker (hamstring) fully participated in practice.
Seattle Seahawks RB Chris Carson (non-injury) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Carson has received at least 20 carries in each of the last four games and has posted three 100-yard games in that span. He will continue to be the focal point in the running game for the Seahawks and is a must-start option in all fantasy leagues.
Detroit Lions running back Ty Johnson, arguably this week's hottest waiver wire pickup after Kerryon Johnson was put on IR Tuesday, has a real chance to establish himself as the Lions lead back against a porous New York Giants squad in Week 8. Johnson should see most of the action out of the Lions backfield Sunday and can be expected to be involved in the passing game even with J.D. McKissic likely suiting up as the Lions passing-down back. Johnson's small stature does put into question whether he can be an every-down back, but with the Giants nonexistent run defense standing in his way this week fantasy owners should get some clarity as to whether Johnson can truly take over this backfield. Johnson will be considered a mid-range RB2 this week in a matchup where the game script should work to his benefit.
San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert (knee) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Mostert appears to have a chance to play in Week 8, but fantasy players will know more about his status later in the week. He will see a handful of touches if he is active for the game but can be avoided in most leagues.
San Francisco 49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk (knee), OT Mike McGlinchey (knee) and CB Ahkello Witherspoon (foot) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 23. DE Dee Ford (quadriceps), DT D.J. Jones (hamstring) and OT Joe Staley (leg) were limited during practice.
Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Kirk (ankle) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Kirk has been limited during practice over the last two weeks but has also been inactive for the last two games, so his status for Week 8 is uncertain. Fantasy players may want to look at other options since he would have a tough matchup if he plays in the game.
Arizona Cardinals DE Zach Allen (neck), RB D.J. Foster (hamstring), LB Jordan Hicks (calf), DT Corey Peters (non-injury) and LB Terrell Suggs (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 23. LB Dennis Gardeck (ankle), LB Haason Reddick (knee), LB Zeke Turner (hamstring) and TE Maxx Williams (ankle) were limited during practice. DT Zachariah Kerr (ankle) and S Charles Washington (shoulder) fully participated in practice.
San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle (groin) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Kittle has been on the injury for the last few weeks but is in no danger of missing the Week 8 game. He should continue to be a weekly starting option in all fantasy leagues.
Green Bay Packers OT Bryan Bulaga (non-injury), TE Marcedes Lewis (non-injury) and CB Tramon Williams (knee) were limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 23. S Adrian Amos (shoulder), CB Tony M. Brown (hamstring), LB Oren Burks (chest), DT Kenny Clark (shin), LB B.J. Goodson (shoulder), LB Blake Martinez (wrist), S Will Redmond (ankle), S Darnell Savage (ankle) and TE Robert Tonyan (hip) fully participated in practice.
Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Fitzgerald is coming off a disappointing Week 7 performance but has still be targeted at least seven times in five of the seven games this season. He will be facing one of the better defenses this week but still has a chance to be a flex option in leagues.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) put in a full practice on Wednesday after being questionable for Week 7 against the Raiders. MVS ultimately played, albeit limited snaps, and finished with over 100 yards and a touchdown with No. 1 wideout Davante Adams (toe) sidelined again. Adams missed practice on Wednesday and could very well sit out again this Sunday night against the Chiefs. Against a porous secondary, Valdes-Scantling would be a boom/bust WR3/flex. Geronimo Allison, Jake Kumerow and Allen Lazard should all continue to see more run if Adams misses anymore time, but they're all hard to trust as anything more than low-ceiling flexes in deeper formats.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (groin), rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) and running back Raheem Mostert (knee) were all limited in practice on Wednesday. Kittle has been battling through injury and is being rested during the week. He will play in Week 8 against the Panthers and could be the overall TE1 in fantasy. Samuel didn't play last week but has a chance to get back on the field against Carolina. With Emmanuel Sanders now ahead of him on the depth chart with Dante Pettis and Marquise Goodwin, Samuel is purely a dynasty league stash. Mostert will only become fantasy relevant again if one of Tevin Coleman or Matt Breida miss time with an injury.
Denver Broncos president John Elway said that rookie quarterback Drew Lock (thumb) is not ready to return yet, and the team is still deciding whether they'll make him eligible to return from the Injured Reserve. It's more of a question with incumbent quarterback Joe Flacco seemingly getting worse and worse each week. Elway and the Broncos are hoping that Lock is the answer in the long term, but it remains to be seen if he'll have the chance to make his NFL debut in the place of Flacco later this year. If Lock does return and start games, he'll surely have his ups and downs and won't be very attractive in redraft leagues. For now, Flacco is in no danger of being benched.