Written By: Josh Crocker – Follow Josh on Twitter @jccrocker
– Kaepernick at Atlanta –
Although what we saw from Kaepernick against the Jets wasn’t as exciting was we saw a couple of weeks earlier, it was good enough for me to think that he hasn’t become a shell of himself after the infamous snow game. It may sound ridiculous to think that way, but that seems to be the public sentiment. In the Clock Dodgers pre-game Sleeperbot room we went from Kaep v Luck questions being asked to exactly zero Kaepernick questions after the Chicago blizzard. Don’t be afraid of him this week against Atlanta. This is a team that is currently allowing the 3rd most fantasy points to QB’s (per pyromaniac.com) and the 4th best passer rating to opponents.
The Falcons did look pretty intimidating against the Rams as they delivered the straw that broke Jeff Fisher’s back, but I think the 49er’s, bad as they may be, are a different sort of animal. Carlos Hyde has had more success than Gurley as teams aren’t able to key in on either of these two pieces without creating the risk of getting burnt by the other. They’re a lot more dynamic and creative than the Rams offense has been. I don’t think they’ll win, but we’ve seen Kaep lead his team to surprisingly good finishes against formidable opponents like the Cardinals and Patriots. Kaep also had a good fantasy day against Tampa, which strikes me as a comparable team. It’s been said before but Kaepernick has a versatility that will allow him to stand in the pocket and throw, or run, and I think he’ll be able to adapt to whatever the Falcons defense is up to. That seems to be the 49ers’ thing. The Jets were pretty intent on limiting Kaep and did so, but in the process Hyde had a huge day. The Falcons should put enough scoring pressure on the 49ers to keep the balls flying through the air. Or it might be a better day rack up the rushing yards like Rodgers did against these Falcons in week 8.
While footballocks.com does not have an over under for the game, the Falcons are heavily favored to win. I think the 49er’s may make things more interesting than we expect, and Kaep has made it happen on low point totals before. Compared to the alternative I don’t think you’ll find nearly as much upside elsewhere. This game will also be played in a dome, making Colin’s archrival, the snow, very unlikely.
– Alex Smith v TEN –
This game represents more of a standard approach to streaming, picking a home favorite with a decent implied team total. Smith has been playing up lately, or so it seems to me with a pair of good games against Atlanta and Oakland. I really think it has been interesting to see how this offense has dealt with the absence of Jeremy Maclin. They’ve been targeting Kelce at an unprecedented rate, and he has come through. They’ve also had an emergence of talent in Tyreek Hill. I think it makes a lot of sense to pair a player like Smith with another player who has the ability to break big plays. Tyreek may have all the spark that Alex lacks. His presence may really bring something they need and I think they’ve had plenty of opportunity to see that.
Now with all of this momentum Alex and the Chiefs face what may be the most favorable matchup of the 3, the Titans. After watching the Denver / Tennessee game, I was really surprised to see the end line that Siemian finished with. He was under pressure for most of the game and the Broncos offense struggled to stay on the field and sustain drives. But, Siemian was able to find Sanders in the endzone and complete 35 of 51 passes for 331 yards. The Titans seemed to have adopted the tactic of attacking the O-Line which is not particularly strong in Denver. The Chief’s line is better, and perhaps more importantly they have a successful running game. I don’t think their tactic will have the success it had against Denver, and I’m not sure what else they have up their sleeves. The Titans offense may also struggle against a defense that has been scoring a lot of points. Mariota has been known to have a way of keeping both teams in the game.
Vegas has decent news for us, giving the Chiefs an implied team total of 24 points. I don’t think we really want Alex to be in too comfortable of a situation though. The Titans were able to move the ball fairly well against Denver and I’m counting on them to keep Smith out of his shell. Mother nature is also cooperating, at least for now and the forecast in Kansas City calls for sun and a balmy 8 degrees. The wind is supposed to be around 5 mph, and I think that works for football.
– Bradford v IND –
We’re pretty fortunate this week to have so many streamable QB’s matching up against poor passing defenses. Looking back at recent Sam Bradford history, he had a pretty good showing against the Jags. I think he really benefits from a positive matchup for his defense. The Colts aren’t the Jags, not even close, but the Colts have been kept in line by the Texans and the Steelers. I think the Vikings corners will be able to contain the Colt’s wide-outs, although the TE’s may get a little run. That bodes well for Sam. At the same time one of the weaknesses in Bradford’s game has been pocket awareness and the Colts have one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL. Truthfully, the Colts front line is so unintimidating that the Vikings may even get the run game going, further helping Bradford’s case.
Not so surprisingly the Colts come in 2nd in points allowed to QB’s. They’re allowing 1.90 touchdowns per game and at the same time only intercepting the ball at a rate of 0.50 times per game. Lately the Colts haven’t given up monster games to opponents such as Bryce Petty, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Brock Osweiler. Some would say those aren’t very good quarterbacks, others would agree. I think it comes back to the defense. I really don’t like Bradford in a shoot-out. I think he delivers under smooth sailing conditions and if the Vikings defense is able to take care of business and get off the field that put Bradford in position to go to work on a Colts defense that isn’t very good.
Bradford enjoys the best implied team total of the three streamers here (24.25) in addition to being favored by 4 at home . He will also enjoy the great indoors for a dome game in Minnesota, so you don’t even have to watch the weather reports.