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
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Adrian Peterson 90,1 2-10
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.

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

QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN @GB 0000023011 ***
Bridgewater has one multiple touchdown game in his last nine, and while he mustered 296 and 1 in the earlier meeting with Green Bay that feels like his upside here.
RB Adrian Peterson, MIN @GB 7012100000 ***
Peterson has scored in three straight, seven of eight and 12 of his last 14 against the Packers so even if his carries or production are limited--like his 13-45-1 in the earlier meeting this year--he's still a solid bet for the end zone. And there's always the upside of a big run or a second score, offsetting the risk of the Vikings falling behind early and being forced to switch to a better pass-catching back.
WR Jarius Wright, MIN @GB 004600000 ***
Wright was solid (4-50) in the earlier meeting with Green Bay and paced Vikings receivers with 3-57 last week. However, with an upside in the 50-yard range he's a fringe fantasy contributor at best.
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN @GB 004300000 ***
Green Bay's banged up secondary has allowed 100-yard efforts in back-to-back games, multiple WR TDs in each of those contests. Diggs briefly returned to midseason form with a pair of scores a couple weeks back, but the Vikings passing game is too inconsistent for him to be a bankable fantasy play. Settle for the upside of his frightening 6-66 stat line from the earlier meeting.
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN @GB 007701000 ***
Rudy was huge in the earlier meeting with Green Bay, catching six balls for 106 yards and a TD. He's topped 50 yards in three straight against the Pack and a good bet to reprise those earlier numbers against a Green Bay defense that's given up six games of 50-plus yards to opposing tight ends this year and six TE TDs in the past 10 games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN @GB 2122 ***
At least eight points in
six straight road games, so maybe
Vikes should stay outdoors?

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 Josh Freeman 10 240,1
QB Andrew Luck 10 300,2
RB Ahmad Bradshaw 80,1
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 Josh Freeman, IND TEN 0000014002 *
Indy's starting quarterback in a must-win game will most likely be a guy who's been with the team less than a week. That didn't work so well for Freeman the last time he tried it--flaming out famously as a Viking on Monday Night Football--and there's no reason to think it will go any better here.
RB Frank Gore, IND TEN 10903200000 *
With little in the way of QB options look for the Colts to pin their offensive hopes on Gore. He responded with 15-85-2 in a similar situation last week and had 14-86-2 in Tennessee earlier this season, so he's both a volume and matchup bet this week.
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND TEN 003300000 *
The Titans have allowed a 100-yard receiver in five of the last six games, but with limited options at quarterback--Indy will start either a guy who's never taken a regular season snap or one of two guys they signed off the street earlier this week--the passing game can't be banked on for productivity.
WR Donte Moncrief, IND TEN 002300000 *
It's not so much the matchup as it is the lack of a quarterback in Indy that has us worried about the potential of the passing game. Best look for options that don't have to wear name tags so their quarterback knows who they are.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND TEN 2200 ***
TEN gives up field goals;
can Indy QB du jour
get him close enough?

* 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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