Cleat Geeks

Cover 3: Week 5

NFL-Wallpaper-HDIf Thursday night’s game was any indication at what we’ll see this week, I’m excited! There isn’t much better than watching two division rivals face off in a primetime game, but there may be something better than seeing Mallett/Hoyer face off against a 40-year-old Hasselbeck. If you are a new reader to my “Cover 3” articles, basically I will pick out three games that fit my three weekly categories: Fantasy Jackpot, “Bad Blood”, and the Must-Watch Showdown. Believe it or not, I am more excited about these games than the one we watched Thursday, and it’s even more surprising that I think the quarterbacks of these teams are better than whoever the Texans decide to start next week (seriously Texans, commit to one guy).


Fantasy Jackpot Game of the Week—Chicago Bears vs Kansas City Chiefs

Surprisingly enough, both of these teams enter this game with the same record, 1-3, but the Chiefs have definitely been more competitive than the Bears have overall so far. The offenses of both of these teams have had highs and lows, and the defenses have had mostly lows. In fact, both teams are giving up 31.2 points per game.

The Chiefs’ defense has been terrible against the pass haven given up 11 passing touchdowns to only two interceptions. This number is the worst in the league. The Bears are right behind them with the second-most passing touchdowns given up with 10 to only two interceptions. Both teams also enter the game giving up over 100 yards rushing per game. Why am I giving you these defensive stats? Well since you asked, if these teams keep up this trend, it could be a high-scoring, fantasy jackpot.

Chicago Bears v St. Louis RamsThe Bears have quite a few fantasy-relevant players, and hopefully all of them are able to shake off their injuries and play well. Jay Cutler made his return last week and put up 281 yards with two touchdowns and an interception with their win over the Raiders. He should be able throw the ball well on Sunday if his line can keep him upright. Hopefully Cutler will have Alshon Jeffery back to throw to. Jeffery has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, and unfortunately it sounds like he will miss this week as well. If he suits up for the game, he should play well, and it would be a big boost for Cutler. The other two notable pass-catchers for the Bears are Eddie Royal and Martellus Bennett. Royal should have his second good game in a row, and he will see even more targets if Jeffery is out. Bennett is one of Cutler’s favorite targets, but this is actually a bad match-up for him. As bad as the Chiefs’ defense has been, they have kept tight ends in check. Part of that is the teams they have faced, but they also have physical, athletic guys covering the tight ends. Bennett should have an alright game, but I wouldn’t expect another game like last week. I also wouldn’t pay for him in daily leagues. Running back Matt Forte should continue to play well. He will run effectively, and he will catch quite a bit of passes out of the backfield. If the Chiefs decide to blitz a lot, it might be even better for Forte since Cutler would look to dump it off to him quickly.

You know who to start on the Chiefs: Smith, Charles, Maclin, and Kelce. Surprisingly, Alex Smith is sixth in the league for passing yards. He has been forced to pass more often than he wouldNFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos like to because the defense is giving up so many points. He should be able to have an efficient game against the Bears this week, and he will do it by passing to Charles, Maclin, and Kelce. Jamaal Charles enters the game with the fifth-most rushing yards and seventh-most receiving yards among running backs. He has been a staple in the Chief’s offense for quite some time now, so it’s not a difficult decision, you’re starting him here. Jeremy Maclin has started to heat up with 289 receiving yards in the last two games. It took a couple games, but it seems like Andy Reid has figured out how to use him in this offense, and he has earned the trust of Smith. Travis Kelce enters this game with the second-most yards among tight ends with 293. The only good tight end the Bears have faced is Jimmy Graham, and he racked up 83 yards and a touchdown against them.

I usually don’t talk about kickers, but this is a game where you could start either one. Both of these guys have been reliable, and both of these offenses will be able to get the ball into the opponent’s territory often. Both Robbie Gould and Cairo Santos are capable of making 50+ yard kicks. I also looked at the weather forecast in Kansas City on Sunday, and it should be good kicking conditions for these two.


“Bad Blood” Game of the Week—Denver Broncos vs Oakland Raiders


My pick for this game was an easy one, the Broncos and Raiders face off in an AFC West matchup that actually means quite a bit for both teams. The Broncos come into this game 4-0, and if they win, they will extend their lead atop the division with victories in both Oakland and Kansas City. They would be pretty much be guaranteed to win the division since most of the remaining important games would be at home for them. For the Raiders, this game is a must-win if they want to make the playoffs. If the lose, they would drop to 2-3 and need a miracle to win the division, because they are not making the playoffs as a wild card.

The Broncos are 4-0, but they still have a lot to fix. The offense has continued to have its struggles, but they have gotten much better. Kubiak made the switch to allow Manning to play in the Broncos San Diego Chargerspistol, which they should have done in the beginning. With this adjustment, and the better play from the offensive line, Manning has been able to read the defense, step into his throw, and generally make good passes. If he can continue to get better each week, it should help open things up for this running game. C.J. Anderson has been terrible–I said it! He runs slow, doesn’t make the cut and run through the hole quick enough, and he has been unable to break the weakest of arm tackles. Backup Ronnie Hillman was able to break off a 72-yard touchdown last week, then finished with 103 total rushing yards. More importantly, he was in at the end of the game when it was close. This week Kubiak has said that he will play both of his running backs, which makes it sound like he will go into the game with the mindset that it is a 50-50 split, and will change depending on who has the hot hand. The receivers for Denver have just been pretty good so far this season. Sanders has looked confident and quick with 307 yards and two touchdowns. Demaryius Thomas has 361 yards and a touchdown, but he just doesn’t look the same so far. He has times where he make unbelievable catches, then he has times like last week where he doesn’t run as fast as he is able to after the break, and it results in an interception for Manning. Tight end Owen Daniels (On Wisconsin!) is the other pass-catcher who is quietly earning Peyton’s trust. He has scored in each of the last two games, and it seems like Peyton will start looking to him more and more in the red zone. The offense is still trying to find its groove, but luckily for them, they have the best defense in the league shutting down the opponent’s offense.

The Raiders will have someone very familiar to the Broncos on their sideline on Sunday. Head Coach Jack Del Rio served as the Bronco’s defensive coordinator the last three seasons, and he hopes to devise a plan to defeat his former team. Second-year quarterback, Derek Carr, has his work cut out for him Sunday. The Broncos have given up only two passing touchdowns to six interceptions on the year, but the Vikings found some success in their offense last week against them. I’m sure the Raiders’ staff has watched that game about 17,000 times or so in hopes to figure out a way to find a weakness in the Broncos’ defense. Carr will be passing to rookie Amari Cooper, who has had a terrific rookie season, and Michael Crabtree, who has been better than most thought he would be. At running back will be Latavius Murray who will look, and hope, to have a stat sheet that looks like Adrian Peterson’s did last week. Backing him up will be Roy Helu Jr. who will come into the game on passing downs and if (really when) the Raiders get down.


Must-Watch Showdown—Seattle Seahawks vs Cincinnati Bengals

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After a controversial win on Monday Night Football, the Seahawks will travel to Ohio on a short week for them to take on the undefeated Bengals. Not having the extra day on a week where you have to travel to a different timezone for your game can be hard on a team. It seems like the Seahawks could have used the extra day since they have already ruled out Marshawn Lynch for Sunday. At 2-2, every game is very important for the Seahawks, so they will need to figure things out offensively really quick. Thomas Rawls will be getting the majority of the running back carries Sunday, especially if Fred Jackson is inactive with an ankle injury like I think he will be. Russell Wilson will look to control the game for his team, and protect the ball better than he did last week. He has been under pressure often since his offensive line has been playing bad, and Jimmy Graham is being used a a blocker too much. Pete Carroll might as well throw Hauschka in there to block, he’s not much worse than Graham. The Seahawks need to find a way to use Graham better, and block for Wilson, so they can throw the ball downfield. They traded to get him for a reason, they need to figure it out. Jermaine Kearse has been pretty good at wide-out so far, but hasn’t found the end zone. Pete Carroll should also find a way to get more touches for rookie Tyler Lockett in the open field. Every time he touches the ball he has a chance to take it for six.

The undefeated Bengals are in my Must-Watch Showdown for the second week in a row! This team is playing well, and finding ways to win close games, which is something championship teams need to learn to do. Andy Dalton has been proving the haters wrong so far this season since he has put up the second-most fantasy points in the league so far. He will have a difficult match-up this week against a Seahawks defense that has been playing much better since the return of Kam Chancellor. Dalton will look to his three favorite receiving options: A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, and tight end Tyler Eifert. All pass catchers have certainly benefited from the success that Dalton has had, but this success has seemed to build confusion in the backfield. The Bengals have a great running back duo of Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard. Jeremy Hill is the “bruiser”. He is in the game when the Bengals are ahead, when they want to control the clock, or short yardage situations. Bernard is the more versatile back. He is quicker and catches passes out of the backfield. As you may assume, with the success of Andy Dalton has come the rise of Bernard, and the fall of Hill. Jeremy Hill had something to say about that last week when he ran in three touchdowns for 40 yards, but he only did that on nine carries. It was nice to see him effective, but it is also not trustworthy until he gets a larger workload. Hill said to the media that there isn’t a specific game plan for running back usage heading into the game, and it was based on game flow. Basically, whenever the Bengals are up, Hill will see a larger workload, and it will be mostly Bernard when they are behind.

This will be a fun game to watch with most of the pressure on the Seahawks. It will be tough for them to win based off all the things I said earlier, but the Bengals also have been prone to shooting themselves in the foot during big games.


Who do you think will win this game? What did you think of this week’s Cover 3? You can post your questions and comments down below, or talk to me over on Twitter @FantasyFlurry! If you mention that you read the Cover 3 article, I’ll be sure to give you a shout-out!

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  1. Pingback: 10 Things We Learned From NFL Week 5 – Cleat Geeks

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