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

Prediction: MIN 20, IND 23 (Line: MIN by 1)

Players to watch: Coby Fleener, Kyle Rudolph

The Vikings come off a overtime win over the Jaguars and in the process did what no one thought possible - they made Blaine Gabbert look like a real quarterback. Oh, and Adrian Peterson played. The Colts come off a a solid loss in Chicago but Andrew Luck's debut was not all bad and the Colts at home have a real chance to win this coin flipper. This will be one of the easier games this year for the Colts but that is hardly a lock. But both teams are trying to find themselves and the Colts at home should squeak this out against the 2-6 road team from last year.

Minnesota Vikings
Homefield: Metrodome
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 JAC 26-23 ot 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
MIN @ IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 220,1
RB Adrian Peterson 90,1 2-10
TE Kyle Rudolph 5-50

Pregame Notes: Credit special teams with keeping the Vikes in the game and eventually winning in overtime. The biggest news was Adrian Peterson returning after only nine months removed from his knee injury. Peterson ran for 84 yards on 17 carries and scorer twice. Peterson has always been a north-south sort of runner and his straight line power and speed seemed back to form. He'll get better incrementally as the season progresses but his start exceeds all expectations and prognosis. Tony Gerhart still had six runs but only gained 18 yards. Peterson has already reclaimed his spot and made Gerhart remain just a footnote.

Christian Ponder passed for 270 yards last week but had no scores. So far in his brief career he's been less effective away from home where he had four touchdowns over six away games. This will be a good test for Ponder against a secondary that just gave up 333 yards to Jay Cutler.

Percy Harvin remains the stud here but no other wideout has stepped up last year or in the first game of the year. Michael Jenkins (3-45) and Devin Aromashodu (3-61) factor in but neither do much to lessen the focus of the defense on Harvin. The one other receiver that does matter may end up to be tight end Kyle Rudolph who enters his second season as the best college tight end from 2011. Rudolph was second to only Harvin with five catches for 67 yards versus the Jaguars. This offense needs him to break out this year and so far the signs are starting to grow.

The Colts biggest advantage is just that they are home and the Vikings are on the road. This game is going to come down to a battle of quarterbacks and either Ponder steps up and plays better or Luck just does as well as last week with fewer turnovers.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 27 9 21 20 4 23
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 25 31 31 1 23 27

QB Sam Bradford, MIN @JAC 0000019010 ***
Jacksonville is consistently strong against quarterbacks, permitting the fewest fantasy points per contest since Week 8. The position has averaged a league-low 166.8 yards.
RB Matt Asiata, MIN @JAC 3011100000 ***
Jacksonville has surrendered just the seventh fewest points per game to running backs, allowing three touchdowns in the last five games on the ground, over 110 carries.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN @JAC 4003200000 ***
McKinnon shouldn't be used in fantasy lineups this week. The matchup is harsh, and he just isn't getting the job done.
WR Adam Thielen, MIN @JAC 007701000 ***
Thielen has been quietly among fantasy's most consistent receivers, logging PPR double figures in five straight games.
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN @JAC 003400000 ***
Over the last five games, Jacksonville has established itself as the most dominant defense of wide receivers. The position has scored only twice in the last five games on 44 total receptions. Diggs is a suspect play in all formats.
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN @JAC 004400000 ***
Jacksonville has given up only 3.8 catches for 37.6 yards per game in the last five weeks against tight ends; the position has scored twice on 19 catches.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, MIN @JAC 1133 ***
Jacksonville has provided the ninth highest average of combined kicking chances, which has resulted in the position scoring the 10th most per-game points in the last five weeks.

Indianapolis Colts
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CHI 21-41 10 @JAC -----
2 MIN ----- 11 @NE -----
3 JAC ----- 12 BUF -----
4 BYE ----- 13 @DET -----
5 GB ----- 14 TEN -----
6 @NYJ ----- 15 @HOU -----
7 CLE ----- 16 @KC -----
8 @TEN ----- 17 HOU -----
9 MIA ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
IND vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Andrew Luck 10 300,2
RB Frank Gore 110,1
PK Adam Vinatieri 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The opener was predictably painful but the loss in Chicago was not unexpected and did have some positives from it. Andrew Luck looked very credible throwing for 309 yards and one score in his first NFL start and his three interceptions will get better. Luck faced an aggressive Bears defense primed to play the rookie but this week the Vikings bring in a secondary that was exploited by Blaine Gabbert. That is not a resume builder for the secondary and no doubt where the Colts focus will be.

Luck threw 18 passes to Reggie Wayne who caught nine of them for 135 yards. For some perspective, understand that Wayne never had nine catches or 135 yards in any game last year. That is a positive. Luck also used Donnie Avery (3-37, TD) for eight pass attempts. But the second best receiver on the team proved to be his old college buddy Coby Fleener who caught six passes for 82 yards. For some perspective, understand that Fleener only once had more than four catches in any game during his four years at Stanford. That is a positive.

The receivers will likely evolve as the season progresses but at least Luck hit the ground passing. Now he just needs to limit the catches to his own team mates.

Donald Brown scored once and gained 48 yards on nine carries as the primary back. Vick Ballard turned four runs into only six yards at the end of the game. Brown was mostly met at the line but did manage an 18 yard run when he scored in the second quarter.

The Vikings weak secondary carries over from last year and now faces Luck on the road instead of Gabbert at Minny. The game will revolve around what Luck can accomplish.

Gaining Fantasy Points IND 21 27 9 10 31 9
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 22 19 16 22 17 10

QB Andrew Luck, IND HOU 20000027021 ***
Incidentally, only Indy has granted TDs with more ease than Houston. The Texans have allowed QBs to average 2.5 touchdown strikes per contest in the last five weeks, while giving up 252.8 yards per. Luck threw for a matching 252 yards in their Week 6 tilt, scoring once on the ground and throwing a TD pass. He was picked off once.
RB Frank Gore, IND HOU 10001100000 ***
Houston ranks as the 19th best matchup against running backs over the last five weeks. In Week 6, Gore ran for 106 yards without a score.
RB Robert Turbin, IND HOU 101000000 ***
Turbin does not belong on any fantasy rosters.
WR Donte Moncrief, IND HOU 004501000 ***
Fantasy has a new Cris Carter -- all Moncrief does is score touchdowns! The Texans have given them up with frequency, too, having allowed one every 8.8 grabs in the last four games.
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND HOU 007800000 ***
Houston has given up the ninth highest per-game fantasy points figure to receivers in the last five weeks. The position has scored six times in the last four games, which comes at a clip of once per 8.8 catches.
WR Phillip Dorsett, IND HOU 002300000 ***
Dorsett has appeal only in DFS formats given his terribly limited role.
TE Dwayne Allen, IND HOU 004501000 ***
Allen exploded last week. A sign of things to come? Possibly. The Texans have given up TE TDs at the 11th easiest rate in the last five weeks.
TE Jack Doyle, IND HOU 002200000 ***
Doyle has no place in a fantasy lineup at this time.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND HOU 1133 ***
This is a terrible matchup for kicking field goals, but the Colts shouldn't have too much trouble finding the end zone a few times.

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

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