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What to do with Zach Pascal, Michael Pittman Jr., Marcus Johnson in Week 9 fantasy football

With T.Y. Hilton expected to miss Week 9 with a groin injury, the Colts need Zach Pascal, Michael Pittman Jr., and Marcus Johnson to step up for quarterback Philip RIvers.

Zach Pascal #14 of the Indianapolis Colts makes a catch for a 14-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 3, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Though it hasn’t always looked pretty, the Indianapolis Colts have positioned themselves as part of the second tier of AFC challengers this season. They face their biggest challenge to date on Sunday when they host the Baltimore Ravens, a matchup that will put quarterback Philip Rivers and the Colts’ improving offense to the test.

For Rivers to perform at his highest level, wideouts besides the injured T.Y. Hilton will need to step up for the Colts. Hilton has not practiced all week with a groin injury and looks doubtful to suit up Sunday.

Fantasy Football analysis: Colts WRs Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson, Michael Pittman Jr.

While far from a proven receiver at this stage, Zach Pascal has given the Colts’ passing game some jolts over the first half of the season. His 34 targets, 19 catches, and 242 yards trail only Hilton for the team lead in each respective category, and his two touchdown receptions rank as the most of any wideout on the team. Pascal has seen more work of late, garnering six or more targets in three of Indianapolis’ last four games.

Marcus Johnson did not practice earlier in the week due knee trouble but made a full return Friday. Assuming he plays, Johnson’s impact could far exceed what his season-long production suggests. Over the Colts’ last two games, Rivers has targeted him 12 times with most of those opportunities coming down the field (average depth of target 16.6 on the year). If Rivers gets the time to throw deep, Johnson will likely land in his crosshairs.

After a training camp that drew rave reviews from the Colts’ coaching staff, Michael Pittman Jr. had a quiet September before landing on injured reserve with a calf injury. Pittman just returned a week ago and managed just one catch for 6 yards despite playing on over half the team’s offensive snaps. That productivity will presumably increase as he rounds into form, but he has not earned the benefit of the doubt from fantasy managers as of yet.

Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

Start Pascal and Johnson as low-end flex options.

Sit Pittman.