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What to do with Marlon Mack, Jordan Wilkins in Week 15 fantasy football

Marlon Mack returned to the Colts’ backfield after a two-week absence in Week 14. Can we expect better results in his second game back?

Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes the most annoying aspect of Fantasy Football is trying to figure out what a particular coach is going to do. I can sit here all I want spouting off numbers and making the case for a fringe player being in a really good spot, but it means nothing if I’m seeing something that a coaching staff has deemed insignificant or if the guy calling the plays isn’t analytically inclined. However, that scenario also works in reverse. There are head coaches that do play the percentages and consistently try to exploit the weakest spots of opposing defenses. I believe Frank Reich is one of those people and we saw that play out last week in a 38-35 loss to Tampa Bay.

You can’t run on the Buccaneers. It just doesn’t happen. No NFC team has surrendered fewer adjusted line yards per carry than Tampa Bay so far this season (3.20), a fact that’s translated into the Buccaneers giving up a league-low 75.5 opponent rushing yards per contest. So, in a game that his squad was at one point leading 35-21, Reich continued to pass. This meant, by the end of the afternoon, that Marlon Mack went a little under-utilized in terms of his usual volume. He played a paltry 41.3% of the Colts’ offensive snaps and he garnered only 13 carries. It was actually Hyheim Hines who benefitted from this pass-happy style of play and logged a season-high 35 snaps. This might not seem as important as breaking down this weekend’s new matchup with the Saints, yet New Orleans possesses a similar ability to negate an opponent’s ground game and could force Reich’s hand for consecutive weeks.

Fantasy Football Analysis, Indianapolis Colts RBs Marlon Mack and Jordan Wilkins

Despite all four running backs dressing in Week 14’s loss, Mack’s return quickly stabilized Indianapolis’ backfield hierarchy. It was primarily a two-back committee, with clearly defined roles in terms of who was getting the early down work and who was getting the pass-catching opportunities. In fact, Jordan Wilkins received just one rushing attempt, while Jonathan Williams only saw the field on special teams. I’d anticipate a similar snap share for each party this Monday, with Mack equating out to a low-end and touchdown dependant RB2 and Hines serving as a FLEX consideration in PPR formats - especially with the Saints allowing the sixth-most targets to opposing running backs.

Start/Sit Recommendation

Start Mack. Sit Wilkins.