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NFL Today: Colts Rolling Behind Gardner Minshew

December 6, 2023 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Gardner Minshew has led the Indianapolis Colts to four straight wins.
Gardner Minshew is Fantasy relevant again. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Jordan Love showed some major progress on Sunday Night Football; Pittsburgh has lost QB Kenny Pickett (ankle) for a couple of weeks; and the Jets’ quarterback carousel keeps spinning. Here are some other stories we’re following heading into Week 14.

Minshew Mania Returns

Quick: who has the longest winning streak in the AFC?

Believe it or not, it’s the Indianapolis Colts, who are suddenly right in the mix for the AFC South title after winning four straight games to boost their record to 7-5. And a big part of that success has been the play of quarterback Gardner Minshew, coming off his best game in well over a month.

He had his share of injuries earlier in his career before being relegated to backup duties. However, it is now Minshew that is the one taking advantage of injuries ahead of him on the depth chart (Anthony Richardson‘s shoulder sprain in early October).

Minshew has posted at least 15 Fantasy points in two straight games (including 20 on Sunday), and with a Week 14 matchup against a struggling Cincinnati defense, he makes for an intriguing waiver wire pickup. Let’s face it, with all the injuries at QB right now, your options are limited, so pounce on this one while you can.

Consider Minshew, who has a penchant for getting his teammates to back him, a mid-range QB2 for Week 14. And remember, he knows how to find paydirt, at least in the virtual world…

Aidan O’Connell Shows Improvement

While the Colts’ fortunes are improving, the Las Vegas Raiders are heading in the opposite direction. They’ve dropped two straight to slip to 5-7 and fall into a share of third place in the AFC West. Even in a division of teams that are all currently flailing, the Raiders have dropped to +9500 to finish atop the AFC West, as per odds at FanDuel. Yuck.

In a glimmer of hope, quarterback Aidan O’Connell enjoyed his best game yet in Week 13, competing 23-of-33 for 248 yards with one TD and no picks. He posted his second highest AYP (7.5) and managed to avoid getting intercepted for just the second time in six starts since taking over for the horrific Jimmy Garoppolo.

O’Connell hasn’t exactly been brilliant (just 63.5 per cent completion rate), but the Raiders seem committed to see what they have in their 2023 fourth round pick. Consider him a long shot to win the ROY award and a low-end QB2 in Week 14 with a poor matchup vs. Minnesota.

Things are Getting Ugly in New England

It seems that the subtext of this column is The Good (Indy), the Bad (Las Vegas) and the Ugly (New England Patriots, we’re looking at you).

The Pats are coming off a fifth straight loss in which they were shut out at home for the second time this season — a franchise first. New England’s offense continues to be a joke; it’s gone three straight games (and five times overall this season) with seven or fewer points.

One thing became clear after this latest loss: Bailey Zappe is not the answer at quarterback. The 2022 fourth round pick completed just 52 per cent of 25 passes while getting sacked five times. Hey, at least Zappe didn’t have an interception for the first time in weeks. Baby steps, right?

The scariest part is this was Zappe’s best game of the season, with all the others coming in relief of starter Mac Jones. The good news is Zappe is getting more game action this year; the bad news is that the promise he showed as a rookie has completely evaporated.

Yes, weather was a factor on Sunday in the loss to the Chargers, but the fact is Zappe cannot be employed for Fantasy purposes in any standard size format and the Patriots are most likely going to be using their 2024 first round pick to get a new QB.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

American rock band The Grateful Dead started in 1965 and remained active until 1995. They released their eponymous debut album in 1967, featuring a couple of adaptations of existing songs like “Cold Rain and Snow,” a traditional folk song believed to date back to 1916.

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