Peyton Manning – DEN vs. GB
If there was ever a 6-0 start to a season that raised eyebrows, the 2015 Denver Broncos would fit the bill. Denver has ridden its defense to an unblemished record, an accomplishment that has been marred by the whimsical play of Peyton Manning. The arm strength of the future first-ballot Hall of Famer has been palpable with passes fluttering in the air that seemingly take forever to come down. Despite one of the most dynamic wide receiver duos in football with speedster Emmanuel Sanders and behemoth Demaryius Thomas, the passing-game Gary Kubiak envisioned he was inheriting has been a mere mirage. Facing a stout Green Bay defense this week, it will be difficult to lean on Peyton Manning and the Denver pass-game.
Jay Cutler – CHI vs. MIN
Stringing together three consecutive impressive starts vs. mediocre pass defenses (Oak, KC, and DET), Jay Cutler and the Bears’ offense faces a tougher task this weekend with the Vikings coming to town. As we’ve yet to see Cutler’s turnover mantra come to fruition this season, I think this is a weekend you’ll begin to see an uptick in the Bears total number of turnovers (currently at eight). Despite coming off the bye with a healthy Alshon Jeffery, a date with the divisional-foe Vikings and their 11th ranked pass-defense poses a larger threat.
Colin Kaepernick – SF @ STL
After posting 20 + fantasy points in weeks 6 and 7, the Seahawks stymied Kaepernick and the 49ers offense holding them to
81passing yards and 142 total yards. It doesn’t get much easier for Kaepernick and the middling 49ers offense as they travel to St. Louis to take on a ferocious Rams front-7 who stifled the Browns offense last week. Unable to rely on Carlos Hyde, who has been playing through a stress fracture in his foot, the Rams defense won’t have to stack the box in anticipation of a run-first offense, effectively closing the passing-lanes for the erratic Kaepernick. In what has been a tumultuous season in San Francisco, don’t expect this offense to get in-sync anytime soon.
Eight days after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had guaranteed immunity for his pair of coordinators, both suffered demotions on Tuesday. The Cowboys promoted their defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, to defensive coordinator in the wake of demoting Monte Kiffin to an assistant head coaching role. Marinelli excelled in the role under Lovie Smith in Chicago from 2010-2012, as the Bears were one of the most efficient defensive units during that span. However, Marinelli will have a more difficult time in Dallas without the services of guys like Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers, and Charles Tillman.
As for the other side of the ball, the merry go ’round of offensive play callers has a new horse: Scott Linehan. Linehan served as Matthew Stafford’s liason from 2009-2013 and wasn’t shy about letting ‘Staff air it out, as Stafford compiled an average of 4,885 yards and 675 pass attempts over the last three seasons. While that may be good news for Tony Romo’s fantasy ceiling, it doesn’t exactly add up to getting the Cowboys out of the basement, where they have missed the playoffs each of the last four years.
Last year’s offensive coordinator, Bill Callahan, suffers a demotion to the offensive line after just one year as OC. Need I say that’s typical Jerry Jones-Cowboys culture. Callahan is obviously not pleased and is reportedly set to seek work elsewhere.
Think of the Cowboys franchise like a game of Jenga. They both begin by stacking piece by piece, while the rest of those watching can’t help but brace for the inevitable collapse.
The only real difference between a game of Jenga and the Cowboys is that in a game of jenga you use wood blocks to build a foundation, whereas the Cowboys seemingly use weightless objects that float away into the wind after the pieces crumble.
Going into last season, Bears rookie WR Alshon Jeffery was a trendy sleeper pick across fantasy drafts. In his NFL debut, he posted an impressive 3/80/1 line vs. the Colts. Unfortunately, Jeffery couldn’t build off his debut, as his Week 1 performance wound up being his most productive. With another year of seasoning under his belt, the second year South Carolina product has already made considerable progress.
Coming off his best game as a pro, Jeffery hauled in 5 receptions for 107 yards and a TD in last week’s loss to the Lions. While a chunk of that production came in garbage time, Jeffery has already shown signs of being a more consistent target in Marc Trestman’s first-year offense. Through four weeks, Jeffery has tallied a solid 18/211/1 line.
The Bottom Heist: Playing opposite Brandon Marshall would get just about anybody looks in the passing game. But at 6’3-215, Jeffery is a big target who will continue to get his opportunities from Jay Cutler.