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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 2
2012
* 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
FieldTurf
  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 Matt Cassel 200,1
QB Christian Ponder 200,1
RB Adrian Peterson 90,1 2-10
WR Greg Jennings
TE Kyle Rudolph 5-50
PK Blair Walsh 2 FG 2 XP

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.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 27 9 21 20 4 23
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 25 31 31 1 23 27

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt Cassel, MIN NE 0000020011 ***
Don't expect the padawan learner to go toe-to-toe with his former Jedi master; in fact, if the Vikings could get another workmanlike 170 and 2 they'd be ecstatic. Fantasy owners shouldn't bank on as much.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN NE 6011100000 ***
Update: Asiata will be thrust into a starting role with Adrian Peterson deactivated for Week 2. The Dolphins had success pounding the Patriots with the ground game, so you could be reasonably optimistic Asiata could find some similar success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN NE 300000000 **
Update: With Adrian Peterson deactivated Matt Asiata and McKinnon will shoulder the backfield workload for the Vikings. McKinnon would be best used in PPR leagues as Minnesota's change-of-pace and third-down back.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Adrian Peterson, MIN NE 00000000 *
There are few moves that are more automatic than starting Adrian Peterson, but you have extra reason to be giddy this time when you click "start"; how about 193 reasons, which is the amount of rushing yards the Patriots allowed to Knowshon Moreno and Lamar Miller behind a completely rebuilt offensive line. Sky's the limit for All Day this week.
Update: Peterson has been deactivated for Week 2 as legal proceedings evolve from an incident involving the discipline of his son. Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon will handle backfield duties for the Vikings.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN NE 5006701000 ***
Hope you have some sort of combo-yardage scoring because Patterson is poised to deliver a steady stream of dual by land/by air performances. He'll move around way too much to draw Darrelle Revis only, so he'll be open--and if not, there's always the jet sweep or a kickoff return.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN NE 005700000 ****
Rarely will Jennings be a sexy start, but he's the most reliable receiver in Matt Cassel's arsenal and no question Cassel knows where to find him. More valuable when the bye weeks hit and the position thins, but you could certainly do worse.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN NE 003400000 ***
Rudolph was surprisingly lightly targeted in the season opener, but it was a tough matchup and he still managed to find the end zone. He'll be a factor every week as Norv Turner squeezes fantasy production out of yet another tight end.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN NE 3322 ***
Walsh looked good kicking indoors last week, but don't forget the Vikings are playing outside for two seasons while constructing a new building. It won't snow in Minnesota for at least another week or so, however, so Walsh is a safe start for now.

Indianapolis Colts
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
FieldTurf
  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 Ahmad Bradshaw 80,1
RB Trent Richardson 70,1 2-10
WR Hakeem Nicks 5-70,1
WR Reggie Wayne 8-110,1
TE Coby Fleener 6-60,1
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.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 21 27 9 10 31 9
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 22 19 16 22 17 10

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andrew Luck, IND PHI 20000033030 ***
Luck kept pace with Peyton to the tune of 370 and 2--plus a rushing score--in the season opener. A home date with a Philly D that let Chad Henne toss for 266 and 2 seems... well, unfair.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Trent Richardson, IND PHI 4004200000 ****
To the surprise of few, Indy had to play catch-up with the Broncos and as such Richardon's rushing attempts were limited, though to his credit he still mustered 51 combo yards on nine touches. He should see an uptick in opportunity this week, though we still haven't seen enough to credit him with being a consistent fantasy starter.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ahmad Bradshaw, IND PHI 3004300000 ***
Bradshaw capitalized on the game situation and his opportunity to produce 85 combo yards on eight touches. Odds are this game breaks a bit more in Indy's--and Trent Richardson's--favor, which puts a limit on Bradshaw's fantasy upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND PHI 0061001000 ****
Hilton has the deep speed to get behind the Eagles secondary a la Allen Hurns last week; if he sees anything close to the 11 targets he saw last week in Denver he's looking at a very big fantasy evening.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Reggie Wayne, IND PHI 006701000 ***
If a pair of rookies like Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee can confuse the Philly secondary to the tune of 172 yards and two TDs you have to like the prospects of a wily vet like Wayne carving out a useful fantasy outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Hakeem Nicks, IND PHI 003400000 ***
Nicks reintroduced himself to the end zone last week, which was nice. However, he remains the third wheel in Indy's passing game and as such will have to queue up behind TY Hilton and Reggie Wayne for opportunities to toast a shaky Eagles secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dwayne Allen, IND PHI 005501000 ***
Allen turned fewer targets into more productivity thanks to a long catch-and-run for a touchdown. The whole sharing with Coby Fleener thing bites into his fantasy productivity, especially with the wideouts expected to take a larger share off the top against a shaky Philly secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, IND PHI 003200000 ***
Fleener's spot in the Colts' passing game pecking order fluctuates between secondary and tertiary; certainly there's opportunity against the Eagles this week, but with so many mouths to feed he can't be banked on for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND PHI 2233 ****
My cousin Vinny just keeps on kicking, and with this tilt sporting the highest O/U total on the board even the Vegas sharps think he'll get ample opportunity to swing the leg.

WEEK 2
2012
* 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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