Cleat Geeks

Cover 3: Week 15

As Week 15 begins, I’ve realized that we are dangerously close to the end of the regular season. Depressing huh? Week 15 does offer some excitement though! It will be the first week this year where we have four days of football! We already got to see the Rams win at home on Thursday night. We also get Jets vs Cowboys on Saturday, then our normal Sunday and Monday games. Even though this will be a new weekend schedule, we’re not mixing things up in this article. I will be previewing the three games that fit into our three categories: the Fantasy Jackpot, the “Bad Blood” Game, and this week’s Must-Watch Showdown.

 

Fantasy Jackpot Game of the Week—Detroit Lions vs New Orleans Saints

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Nothing new here! We have two bad defenses going up against offenses that have some fantasy weapons on them! Detroit will be traveling to New Orleans where neither team is playing for postseason. Both quarterbacks have been playing pretty well lately, and neither defense is good. The Saints give up over 30 points and 400+ yards per game, while they are also the worst against opposing quarterbacks. The Lions give up 25.8 points and 357 yards per game. They are better than the Saints, but they still give up the 13th-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. This matchup has all of the makings of a high-scoring game. Oh, did I mention that this will be on Monday Night Football? There will definitely be people needing Monday night miracles this week, and I think many will get them.

Since I think Matthew Stafford will have a good game, you know Calvin Johnson will show up on the stat sheet too! After a disappointing one-catch game last week, look for him to bounce-back big on Monday. I know the Saints will have two guys on him, and I don’t care. The more attention they direct towards Calvin, the more open space Golden Tate will find. Having Tate in open space is a deadly combo since he has cause more missed tackles this season than any other receiver. He will be a good option along with tight end Eric Ebron. The Saints give up the most fantasy points to tight ends, and with Pettigrew out, Ebron will see as many snaps as he can handle. Unfortunately, Ebron missed Saturday’s practice because he was sick. Depending on the severity of his illness, he will be a great tight end streamer this week. Out of the backfield, Abdullah should be able to get 50+ rushing yards with a great chance to break off a long one. The best running back to start for the Lions very well could be Theo Riddick, especially in PPR scoring. Last game he got 11 targets in the passing game to go along with a few rushes of his own. The Saints are almost always money at home in prime-time games, so look for Detroit to keep passing the ball to keep up.

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The Saints ended their four-game losing streak last week against the Bucs, but they have really been struggling lately. The good news is that Drew Brees is 17-2 in his past 19 home prime-time games. He should get his team pumped up and ready to play this game. They recently lost running back Mark Ingram for the rest of the season, so they looked to veteran Tim Hightower last week to fill the void. The 29-year-old came out hot last week turning back the clock and carrying the ball 28 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. He will get a big workload again as they go up against a defense that Todd Gurley burned for 140 yards and two touchdowns last week. The rest of the Saints offense was pretty much a mystery coming into the season, but they are really starting to come into their own. Ben Watson has filled Jimmy Graham’s old position, and he looks to have another good game against a defense that give up the 7th-most points to tight ends. Cooks and Snead have been the two receivers Drew Brees looks to most. Cooks leads the team with 64 catches for 869 yards, but the rookie Snead isn’t far behind with 52 catches for 798 yards.

Good luck to everyone participating in their fantasy playoffs, and remember that you can always use the section for daily fantasy leagues too!

 

“Bad Blood” Game of the Week—Houston Texans vs Indianapolis Colts

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This AFC South rivalry has much more at stake than a little divisional competition. Both the Colts and the Texans are tied at 6-7 atop the division, and whoever wins this game will have a huge advantage going forward. All the winner has to do is win one game in the last two weeks of the regular season, and they will be in the playoffs.

After winning four in a row, the Texans have dropped their past two games. After suffering another concussion against the Patriots last week, they will be without their starting quarterback Brian Hoyer. Taking the snaps for the Texans will be T.J. Yates. He won his previous start four weeks ago against the Jets when he threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns without throwing an interception. He will be throwing to one of the most talented young receivers in the game, DeAndre Hopkins. He has been targeted 159 times on the season, but only has 89 catches for 1,221 yards and ten touchdowns to show for it. Now I say “only” pretty loosely. His stats are amazing, they would just be even better if he had a decent quarterback throwing him the ball. Their depressing backfield is some kind of combination of Chris Polk and Jonathan Grimes. Their biggest playmaker is on the other side of the ball. J.J. Watt, the most dominating player in the game, has nine sacks, nine batted passes, and two fumble recoveries in his career against the Colts. Those numbers are obviously the most since 2011. Look for him to add to it, even with a broken hand.

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The Colts are pretty beat up after going on the road to lose their past two games by a combined 70 points. Matt Hasselbeck has been seen around the practice field in a sling, but he is expected to start at quarterback again this week. If he is unable to go, Charlie “Clipboard Jesus” Whitehurst will be under center. No matter who is starting, they will have plenty of options to throw to with Hilton, Moncrief, Johnson, Fleener, and even Gore out of the backfield. Gore hasn’t had the season that many hoped he would, but he still passed 1,000 total yards on the season last week.

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Since joining the NFL, the Texans have played a total of 13 games in Indianapolis. They have not won a single one of them. This 13-0 record against the Texans is the longest active home winning streak against a single opponent in the league.

 

Must-Watch Showdown—Denver Broncos vs Pittsburgh Steelers

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This week’s Must-Watch Showdown is between two of the AFC’s best. One of the top defenses in the league with the Broncos will be matched up with the dominating Steelers offense. This is a classic battle of the irresistible force vs the immovable object.

Brock Osweiler has been starting at quarterback for the Broncos, and he hasn’t been bad. He just hasn’t been that great either. He has the size, athleticism, and talent to be great, but he just isn’t asked to do that much in this offense. Gary Kubiak is still treating his quarterbacks as if they’re Matt Schaub, and even an inexperienced Osweiler is better than him. Between Kubiak getting out-coached, the offensive line being bullied upfront, and Demaryius Thomas’ lack of heart, focus, and effort, the Broncos have a lot that they can improve on. Still, they sit at 10-3 with possession of the 3rd seed. Hillman and Anderson have been the running back duo for this season, but they face a tough run defense for the Steelers who haven’t given up a 100-yard rusher since week seven. The Steelers do give up almost 300 yards of passing per game, so look for Osweiler to get the ball to Demaryius, Emmanuel Sanders, and Vernon Davis. Sanders will have a little more motivation to come out and play well since he is playing in Pittsburgh where he spent the first four years of his career. The Broncos defensively have been great this season, but they haven’t been as great without T.J. Ward. The Broncos will continue to miss him since he has already been ruled out again for this week with an ankle injury.

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The Steelers have averaged an amazing 418 yards per game this season, and they don’t intend to slow down anytime soon. They have scored 30+ points in five consecutive games, but it will be difficult to do so against a Broncos defense that has not given up 30 points in a game yet this season. The problem for opposing defenses is that the Steelers just have too many explosive weapons. They have Roethlisberger at quarterback, and he can throw long bombs to Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, or Markus Wheaton. These three may be the fastest receiving trio in the whole league. They don’t even need to run a long route to take the ball the distance. How many times have we seen one of them catch a three-step slant and take it all the way for a touchdown? These guys just run by people. With receivers like this, you don’t even need to run the football, but they do. Even with passing to these guys, they average 120 yards on the ground. DeAngelo Williams is the main guy doing the damage for them since they lost Le’Veon Bell due to injury earlier in the season. With this amazing offense and their young, athletic defense, this Steelers team could make a lot of noise in the postseason.

 

What did you think of this week’s Cover 3? Who do you think will win between the Broncos and the Steelers? You can post your questions, answers, 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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