Thursday night's Colts-Texans game features a couple "must-start" fantasy stars, as well as several other players perpetually on the start 'em, sit 'em bubble. Heading into Week 12's matchup between the two divisional rivals, injuries create an added wrinkle, as no fewer than three players are affected by ailments. T.Y. Hilton, Eric Ebron, and Will Fuller V could all play, but that doesn't exactly help nervous fantasy football owners make their lineup decisions.
Fortunately, we're here to help with a breakdown of every key player for tonight's game, which kicks off in Houston at 8:20 p.m. ET and can be seen on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video.
Colts: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Start: QB Jacoby Brissett
The Texans' secondary is beat up and not very good. Brissett put up 326 yards and four TDs against Houston in the first meeting between this two teams. The road rematch may be a little tougher, but he should end up with multiple combined TDs and give you decent rushing production to be a back-end QB1.
Start: WR T.Y. Hilton
Hilton is listed as questionable for the game but is expected to return from his calf injury after getting in a full practice on Wednesday. He has feasted on the Texans throughout his career, averaging six receptions on k e targets for more than 101 yards per game. He has 10 TDs in 15 regular-season games against Houston with seven 100-yard games, including a 200-yard showing.
Start: RB Jonathan Williams
Williams, who once looked great for the Bills before bouncing around, flashed his power running upside when filling in for Marlon Mack in the second half against the Jaguars last week. With Mack out for this game after breaking his hand, Williams should remain "the hot hand" on early rushing downs and in the red zone near the goal line. You should really try to avoid this potential TD-dependent situation in a tougher matchup than last week, but if you're a Mack owner in a standard league, he makes the most sense of the Colts' Mack-less options to deploy here.
Sit: RB Jordan Wilkins
Wilkins didn't really do much behind Mack before missing Week 11 with ankle injury, thus opening the door for Williams to be a strong supersub behind the Colts' mighty offensive line. He should be mixed in more because he's more versatile than Williams, but Indy should have better faith in Williams after last week.
Start: RB Nyheim Hines
This is more for PPR leagues, as you can't necessarily trust his touch volume with Williams and Wilkins also in the Mack replacement committee, but Hines can get something like five catches for 50 yards as the Texans have had trouble covering running backs all season and give up good average receiving production to the position.
Start: TE Eric Ebron
Ebron should be playing through his ankle injury after getting in a full practice on Wednesday. In the Week 7 meeting, he posted four catches for 70 yards and a TD on five targets. He's been clamoring for more usage and a returning Hilton drawing plenty of attention downfield will certainly help his chances to get open on intermediate routes. Take caution, however: This is a boom-or-bust play more so for deep leagues as he still falls out of the top 12 for Week 12.
Sit: TE Jack Doyle
He wasn't involved in the passing game at all with Brissett back against the Jaguars. You can't go here with Ebron playing.
Sit: WRs Zach Pascal and Marcus Johnson
With Hilton back, you can't trust any of the complementary receivers, as the Colts can spread it around more with Parris Campbell missing another game.
Sit: Colts defense/special teams
They're pretty solid reality-wise, but the Colts tend to make their bigger impact plays at home.
Sit: K Adam Vinatieri
The game is indoors, but the Texans defense is not good in the red zone and his multiple key misses make you nervous.
MORE TNF: DraftKings Showdown lineup
Texans: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Start: QB Deshaun Watson
He simply doesn't have two clunkers in a row. He was bad in Week 2 against the Jaguars, but he was awesome in Week 3 against the Chargers. He was bad in Week 4 against the Panthers, but balled out in Week 5 against the Falcons. He fared poorly against this same Colts team in Week 7, but ripped the Raiders in Week 8. He's better at home than away. The Ravens' game was his worst of the season, so expect at least 300 combined yards and two TDs.
Start: WR DeAndre Hopkins
'Nuk blew through the Colts for a 'Nuk-like game in Week 7. He is locked in and should rebound nicely from facing the rough Ravens' secondary, too.
Start: TE Darren Fells
The Colts are vulnerable enough against the tight end to roll the dice on him say if you have Travis Kelce or Hunter Henry on bye and are looking for a one-week dart throw. It really comes down to him getting a touchdown, as he's been more bust than boom all season. So, go in expecting you could get anywhere from 0-20 standard points from Fells.
Sit: WR Will Fuller or WR Kenny Stills
Fuller is a game-time decision for the second straight week to return from his hamstring injury. The big-play dependent receiver doesn't have a good history against the Colts, who have a defense tailored to stop big plays. Stills hasn't done anything of note of late to trust in Fuller's place.
Sit: RB Carlos Hyde
The matchup is not great, as the Colts have tightened up against the run with Darius Leonard healthy. Hyde had only 12 carries for 35 yards against them in the first meeting. You're pretty much hoping for a rushing TD to save his value here.
Sit: RB Duke Johnson Jr.
We have no idea how much he will touch the ball behind Hyde in any given week, and he doesn't exactly rack up checkdowns from Watson, either.
Start: K Ka'imi Fairbairn
If you need him, he's better kicking indoors at home and notched three field goals against the Colts in the first meeting. The Ravens game ended a streak of six straight multiple field-goal attempts.
Start: Texans defense/special teams
The Texans gave up 30 points in the first meeting with only one sack and one takeaway. But the Colts tend to make some random big mistakes, and there's the emotional home prime-time bump factor here to deploy them as a deep-league streamer.
Colts-Texans DraftKings Showdown lineup for Thursday night
Captain: Colts WR T.Y. Hilton ($14,400)
FLEX: Texans QB Deshaun Watson ($11,600)
FLEX: Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins ($11,000)
FLEX: Colts RB Nyheim Hines ($6,200)
FLEX: Texans TE Darren Fells ($3,400)
FLEX: Colts defense/special teams ($3,200)
Based on this lineup, we're thinking Watson and Hopkins will give the Texans a lead with their running game struggling and hoping that Fells will be the other TD producer in the passing game. In relation to that, the game script should call for plenty of Hines and Hilton is a no-brainer to captain in his favorite matchup. After all that, with our play Keke Coutee in active, we had to pivot to the Colts' defense, hoping we can get some sacks and a turnover or two.