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
WR Mike Wallace 4-70,1
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

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
WR Andre Johnson 5-60,1
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.

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

QB Matt Hasselbeck, IND @HOU 0000024011 ***
Hass is a viable fantasy play this week if he's forced into action again. It's a favorable matchup and Hass showed enough last week to at least qualify for bye week plug-in status.
RB Frank Gore, IND @HOU 7014200000 ***
Gore's volume remains turned up, and last week the Colts finally used him as a receiver--key this week, as three different backs have caught 40-plus yards worth of passes against the Texans. Even another middling rushing performance should be augmented by enough pass-catching to make Gore a quality fantasy option Thursday night.
WR Donte Moncrief, IND @HOU 005601000 ***
The bad news is Moncrief has been lining up on the left side of late, and Houston's RCB Jonathan Joseph is regaining form; he's limited Julio Jones and Vincent Jackson the past couple weeks, and no left-side wideout has topped 57 yards this season. The good news is, Indy's been prone to shuffling receivers from side to side as well as the slot, plus the Texans won't want to be shown up by Andre Johnson so they'll be keeping an extra eye on him. It all adds up to at least maintaining expectations for Moncrief's fantasy prospects this week.
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND @HOU 007800000 ***
In six career meetings with the Texans Hilton has destroyed them thrice (at least 111 yards and a touchdown), been okay twice (at least 78 yards), and the closest he's come to an egg was 4-50 late last season. He should thrive with Houston slot corner Kareem Jackson possibly out due to a concussion, so while we can't project a monster game due to Andrew Luck's bad wing TY should at least be very good this week.
WR Phillip Dorsett, IND @HOU 002300000 ***
With TY Hilton and Donte Moncrief getting fed and the possibility that Indy will try to rub Andre Johnson in Houston's face as well, there's not enough left over to make Dorsett a viable fantasy option.
TE Coby Fleener, IND @HOU 004501000 ***
After being burned by a pair of upper-echelon tight ends the first two weeks the Texans have done a nice job of shutting down lightly-used Brandon Myers and Levine Toilolo. Fleecer will present more of a challenge, especially with Dwayne Allen still out, and at minimum he's looking at bye-week plug-in potential--with the upside that would accompany something akin to the dozen targets he saw last week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND @HOU 1122 ***
Vinny started picking up the pace last week, and a visit to Houston--where he's had multiple treys each of the past two seasons--should help him continue down that path.

* 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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