Koerner’s Fantasy Football Start/Sit Strategy for Colts-Texans on Thursday Night Football

Koerner’s Fantasy Football Start/Sit Strategy for Colts-Texans on Thursday Night Football article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: T.Y. Hilton

  • Trying to figure out which fantasy football players to start and who you should sit ahead of tonight's Thursday Night Football Game between the Colts and Texans?
  • Our fantasy football expert Sean Koerner, the three-time most accurate in-season fantasy ranker in the country, analyzes all of the key players in tonight's game.
  • Get his updated rankings all the way up until kickoff.

There’s more strategy to Thursday Night Football fantasy sit/start decisions than people realize.

The No. 1 rule? Don’t use your Flex spot (if you can). It offers you flexibility come Sunday, so blocking the utility of this lineup spot on TNF only hurts you.

Now let’s run through whether to start or sit key fantasy players tonight. Note that there’s a lot of uncertainty regarding the status of key players due to injury, so be sure to refer to my updated fantasy football rankings once inactives are announced.

Start/Sit Strategy for Colts-Texans


Deshaun Watson, Texans

Watson escaped what looked like a serious ankle injury in Week 11. He appears fine, but it could limit his upside given the short week. Either way, he should not be part of any sit/start decisions (unless you happen to own Lamar Jackson).

Fire Watson up.

Jacoby Brissett, Colts

I view Brissett as a solid 2QB/superflex play this week but prefer Derek Carr, Baker Mayfield, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jeff Driskel and Sam Donald as better 1-QB league streamer plays. Those five other QBs would make more sense for Kyler Murray and Patrick Mahomes owners who need a bye-week fill-in.

Running Backs

Carlos Hyde, Texans

Hyde is a low-end RB2 who gets a bit of a boost in standard formats and takes a hit in any sort of PPR as he has only caught one pass over the past six games.

Given Watson’s ankle injury, I’m giving Hyde a slight boost in touchdown odds since it’s a bit more likely the Texans draw up a run play for Hyde near the goal-line as opposed to Watson (who has five rushing touchdowns on the season).

Duke Johnson, Texans

Duke is a low-end RB3/Flex. He’s really only a sit/start decision in full PPR formats.

We could also speculate that Watson’s ankle injury could force him to check down to Johnson as opposed to scrambling. This gives a bit more upside to Duke, but his usage makes him very much a high-floor/low-ceiling option as long as Hyde is healthy.

Jonathan Williams, Colts

Marlon Mack is out, and although it might be easy to just assume that Williams will be the workhorse back this week — especially after Williams went for 13/116/0 in relief of Mack last week. But that may not be the case.

Jordan Wilkins would have likely been Mack’s direct backup last week but was inactive due to an ankle injury. Wilkins is set to return this week and could split work with Williams. We could get more clarity on this leading up to game time, so it’s key to use my updated rankings once I factor in any new info that clarifies this situation.

As of now I’m leaning on Williams being an RB2 while Wilkins is a more high-ceiling, low-floor RB3/Flex since there’s a chance he ends up being the lead back this week.

Nyheim Hines, Colts

It will be Williams and Wilkins who replace Mack, meaning we can treat Hines straight up this week as his typical high-floor, low-ceiling RB3/Flex that gets a boost in full PPR formats.

Wide Receivers

DeAndre Hopkins, Texans

Hopkins is the only auto-start WR of tonight’s game.

T.Y. Hilton, Colts & Will Fuller, Texans

Both receivers are game-time decisions. Each of their availability and perceived health will impact the other WR/TEs for their team’s. It’s a situation that will be very volatile from the time I write this until kickoff. Let’s instead just refer to my updated rankings once the inactive reports come out as I’ll be diligently adjusting the projections/rankings as we get more clarity.

TL;DR: Refer to my updated rankings to make any TNF sit/start calls tonight.

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