Donte Moncrief was one of the sexier sleeper wide receiver fantasy football options coming into the season, partially due to his cut-short 2015 campaign and partially due to the Matt Harmon Reception Perception bump. Moncrief had his season derailed by a hamstring injury after the first two weeks of the season, so he hasn’t been able to return on his draft value. This weekend he takes on a tough target with a banged up team, and it is likely enough to undo the good will he’s built up since his return.
Since Moncrief came back from his injury, he’s gone for 41/1, 55/1 and 37/1, meaning he’s notched 9.7 fantasy points at his worst since coming back from injury (and also pulled down 64/1 week one). That means in all four games this season where Moncrief didn’t get hurt, he ended up scoring a touchdown. I don’t think it’s breaking analysis to tell you that catching a touchdown in literally every game you start and finish is good for fantasy football.
However, Moncrief isn’t a shoo-in to complete the game this week on Thanksgiving. He was a late addition to the Colts’ injury report, being added with a hamstring injury. He’s officially listed as questionable, which doesn’t mean what it used to (remember, the Probably tag no longer exists, so any ding and scrape is now under the Questionable tag). While he will likely play, getting a setback the day before you’re set to play a game on short rest doesn’t bode well for your ability to finish the game.
Even if Moncrief finishes the game, the Colts injury report yields more bad news: Andrew Luck is in the concussion protocol and has been ruled out for Thursday’s late game Tryptophan Bowl. This puts Scott Tolzien and his two career starts. There isn’t much to say about Tolzien, all you really need to know is the following career line: 91 pass attempts, five interceptions, one touchdown. That is across four games (two starts) over the last two seasons with Green Bay.
Tolzien is not an inspiring quarterback to be throwing Moncrief the ball. It’s likely he fails to move the offense and the Colts implode completely. Complete implosions are bad for fantasy football (again, hard hitting analysis).
Even if Moncrief plays fully, and Tolzien does not crater, Moncrief still faces an uphill battle for production. The Steelers this season have yielded the fourth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. They’ve ended up with this lofty ranking mostly due to shutting down the secondary receiving option, especially lately.
Over the last four games, Corey Coleman (39 yards), Cole Beasley (33 yards), Steve Smith (47 yards) and Chris Hogan (25 yards) have all had completely fantasy irrelevant games. While that is a mix of talent levels, none were immune to being shut down by the Steelers. That does not bode well for Moncrief.
While Moncrief has been a set-and-forget receiving option since returning from injury, you should make different plans for him this week.