FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) *IND at CHI *PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC *JAC at MIN *PIT at DEN *WAS at NO
*BUF at NYJ *MIA at HOU *SEA at ARI *CIN at BAL (MON)
*UPDATED *CAR at TB *NE at TEN SF at GB *SD at OAK (MON)

Prediction: JAC 17, MIN 27 (Line: MIN by 4)

Player Updates: Justin Blackmon, Adrian Peterson

Players to Watch: Justin Blackmon, Adrian Peterson

The Jaguars were 5-11 last season and probably not that good. The Vikings were only 3-13 and only one once at home. This was supposed to be the battle of the Stud Running Backs but now neither is likely to be in the shape needed to do much. That leaves two very marginal passing attacks and the home Vikes are better there.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Homefield: J'ville Municipal Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @MIN ----- 10 IND -----
2 HOU ----- 11 @HOU -----
3 @IND ----- 12 TEN -----
4 CIN ----- 13 @BUF -----
5 CHI ----- 14 NYJ -----
6 BYE ----- 15 @MIA -----
7 @OAK ----- 16 NE -----
8 @GB ----- 17 @TEN -----
9 DET ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Jaguars struggled through last season with a rookie quarterback that ranked dead last among NFL starters. Blaine Gabbert became the starter in week two but ended the year with only 2214 passing yards and 12 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. This in a season where passing stats were setting records everywhere else. Gabbert remains the starter though Jack Del Rio and his staff did not fare as well. The Jaguars went with Mike Mularkey for head coach with Bob Bratkowski as offensive coordinator who will call the plays. This remains a run-first attack but will work on improving the passing in particular.

To give Gabbert a better chance, the Jags grabbed the best receiver in the NFL draft with Justin Blackmon who has been a positive in the preseason once he finally showed up. Blackmon should add a valuable weapon to the offense so long as Gabbert does not continue to be the problem. They also brought in Laurent Robinson as one of the best available free agents. Robinson comes off his 11 touchdown performance in Dallas last season. Bottom line here, the best of 2011 was Mike Thomas (44-415-2) and he's barely hanging on as the #3 wideout. Talent is on either side, now it is all about how well the ball gets to them and if Gabbert can stay upright long enough to throw the ball. He was noted as a rookie for almost taking an immediate knee when the blocking broke down by the end of the season.

An improved Gabbert would help Marcedes Lewis who went from 58-700-10 in 2010 to only 39-460 with zero scores last season. Ten touchdown drop in one year. Yeah, the passing could have been better.

Of course the entire 2011 season was salvaged by Maurice Jones-Drew who somehow led the entire NFL with 1606 rushing yards and he scored eight times. For a team that had no discernible passing attack, what MJD accomplished was even more impressive. You might say "hold out for more money" impressive but you would be wrong. Jones-Drew ended his ill-advised pointless holdout that will actually cost him money in fines and certainly give him a slow start to the season.

With a lesser Jones-Drew and a Gabbert who could vastly improve and yet still be pretty bad, first game out of the gate is likely to be a loss on the road.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 32 14 32 25 27 18
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 32 17 30 24 32 28

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Blake Bortles, JAC TEN 20000018011 ***
In Week 8 last year, Bortles threw for a cool 337-3-0 on 54 attempts. He went for another 325 in the encore two months later. This time around, he is without his top receiver and quarterbacks a ball-control offensive game plan.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Leonard Fournette, JAC TEN 10013200000 ***
Tennessee gave up the ninth most offensive yards to RBs in Week 1, and now that Allen Robinson is a thing of the past, Jacksonville has no other obvious weapon. Fournette can ball with the pros, no doubt. Tennessee was the second worst matchup rating in 2016.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Chris Ivory, JAC TEN 3001100000 ***
Ivory's only worth is as a handcuff to Leonard Fournette.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marqise Lee, JAC TEN 004401000 **
Lee scored (3-37-1) in the Week 16 matchup with Tennessee last year after posting a 1-21-0 line in the earlier game. Tennessee ended the year as the second best matchup for wideouts. Oakland showed last week this isn't a drastically improved secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Allen Hurns, JAC TEN 004600000 **
Hurns will see increased target volume with Allen Robinson on IR. Last year, Tennessee provided the second easiest matchup for receivers, one in which even Hurns was able to exploit. In Week 8, his lone meeting with them, Hurns went for seven catches, 98 yards and a score on 11 looks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Arrelious Benn, JAC TEN 002300000 ***
Yep, he's still in the NFL. Benn is unworthy of fantasy attention at this time.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Jason Myers, JAC TEN 2233 ***
Accuracy problems are always a concern. Opportunities are important, of course, and Tennessee gave up four FGAs last week to Oakland.

Minnesota Vikings
Homefield: Metrodome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 JAC ----- 10 DET -----
2 @IND ----- 11 BYE -----
3 SF ----- 12 @CHI -----
4 @DET ----- 13 @GB -----
5 TEN ----- 14 CHI -----
6 @WAS ----- 15 @STL -----
7 ARI ----- 16 @HOU -----
8 TB ----- 17 GB -----
9 @SEA ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: Not unlike the Jaguars, the Vikings struggled last year with a stud running back in the backfield and a passing attack that was rarely quite good enough. But the Vikings defense was more of the problem and even once they opted to bench Donovan McNabb, it did not get much better. Christian Ponder could not outscore what his own defense was giving away. But Ponder did have five multiple touchdown games and was consistently better at home than away. He rarely threw for more than around 220 yards but his performance was promising and compared to someone like Blaine Gabbert he was very effective in his first season as a starter.

There are reasons to expect even better passing stats for 2012. Percy Harvin returns after playing all 16 games last year and ending with a total of 1309 yards and eight touchdowns as a true dual threat. The Vikes brought in Jerome Simpson from Cincinnati who has been thrilling this summer. He has to serve a two game suspension but he has Week 4 circled on his calendar, he meshed with Ponder in the preseason, he takes the top off a defense, and Michael Jenkins will hold his place in the lineup for three weeks.

Kyle Rudolph is another key to this year. His rookie season was nothing special but the 2.11 pick from last season is a candidate for a second-year breakout season. He's definitely one to watch in this game since he has the talent level to become one of the best tight ends.

The Vikings remain a team built around Adrian Peterson who tore three ligaments in his knee last January and has since tried to become the fastest healer in the history of orthopedic surgery. He will be active to start the year and how much and how well he will play remains to be seen. The good news is that his knee has not bee problematic so far and not swollen up after use. The bad news is that he never played in any preseason game, only recently started to put on pads and medical marvel or not, he is playing eight months after an injury that would have ended a career only five or ten years ago.

Opening the season at home against a weak offense should make this a win. The Jaguars still have a good defense that will keep the Vikings from getting any major stats here but week one always tends to favor the offenses anyway.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 18 18 19 20 22 17
Preventing Fantasy Points JAC 10 9 7 30 7 17

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Case Keenum, MIN @PIT 0000023021 **
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Sam Bradford, MIN @PIT 00000000 *
This is a safe projection. Either way, Bradford owners should defer to his typical form rather than what we saw against the Saints. And the Steelers aren't the Saints. Expect a more humble effort in this one.

Update: A knee injury has Bradford a game-time decision. Avoid him where you can.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dalvin Cook, MIN @PIT 7004200000 ***
Pittsburgh bullied the Browns' rushing attack (20-40-0) in the opener. Cleveland mustered 62 yards on six catches from the position. The versatile Cook has more potential and is a decent flex target for this very reason.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Adam Thielen, MIN @PIT 006601000 ***
Thielen's route-running skills set him apart and create a lot of otherwise unnoticed mismatches. Beware that only Denver allowed fewer WR scores in 2016 than the Steelers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN @PIT 003500000 ***
Diggs is a guaranteed start in all formats, but there is a small warning that he exploded under the lights last year and trailed off. Pittsburgh was a bottom-five matchup in 2016.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Laquon Treadwell, MIN @PIT 002200000 ***
Treadwell is a too far away from being a lineup consideration ... he's barely a roster thought at this point.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN @PIT 005401000 ***
Pittsburgh was not strong against tight ends in '16, and having to focus on a pair of dangerous wideouts this week should leave Rudolph some room to roam. Start him in all conventional situations.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, MIN @PIT 1122 ***
Game flow is extremely important in contests like this, where a potent offense meets a stifling defense. Forbath has tremendous upside and nearly as much risk for a letdown.

WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) IND at CHI PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC JAC at MIN PIT at DEN WAS at NO
BUF at NYJ MIA at HOU SEA at ARI CIN at BAL (MON)
  CAR at TB NE at TEN SF at GB SD at OAK (MON)

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