FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

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
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Aldrick Robinson 5-70,1
TE Kyle Rudolph 5-50
PK Dan Bailey 1 FG 3 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 Kirk Cousins, MIN MIA 0000023020 **
With only two touchdown passes in the last two weeks, and one 300-yard day in the last five contests, Cousins is an iffy fantasy choice on his own merits. Alternatively, Miami has given up the most fantasy points in the last four games, presenting the fifth-best opponent to exploit for yardage (283.8), on average, and touchdown efficiency (every 9.5 completions).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dalvin Cook, MIN MIA 9014300000 ***
Cook faces a defense that has been trashed by a few backs this year. For the most part, Miami's defense has played well in the last five games vs. the position. The matchups were on the easy side, though, and Cook has looked rather spry in recent weeks. RBs have scored three times over 93 carries in the last four games, averaging just shy of a 100 yards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Latavius Murray, MIN MIA 300000000 ***
No end zone, no fantasy value. Keep Murray in reserve, unless you're convinced he can buck the trend of this defense keeping RBs out of the end zone. Only one back in the last 75 carries has found paydirt.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Adam Thielen, MIN MIA 007901000 ***
Wide receivers have averaged 13.5 receptions (8th) for 181.5 yards (8th) against the Dolphins in the last four games. One in nine receptions scored (8th). Thielen is a must-start, as he has been all year, and has an easily beatable matchup for Week 15 play, especially if Dolphins CB Xavien Howard doesn't go.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN MIA 006701000 ***
Two weeks ago, Diggs suffered swelling in his knee that almost kept him out of action. He toughed it out but hasn't looked the same. He was a little fresher last week and has a much more favorable opponent this week against Miami. Minnesota faces the eighth-best matchup for receptions and yards per game, as well as points per play and touchdown efficiency.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN MIA 003400000 **
The veteran hasn't scored since Week 3, and perhaps the change at offensive coordinator helps him out, but gamers shouldn't want to find out the hard way during the playoffs. At least the matchup is sparkling.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, MIN MIA 2233 ***
No writeup available

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
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 DAL 10000030021 ***
On paper, this is a daunting matchup. Dallas stifled Drew Brees two weeks ago and Matt Ryan two games before that as the only showings in the last six weeks that didn't register at least 23 points. It should come down to if Dallas can generate enough of a pass rush to get after Andrew Luck. He has taken you this far, so ride it out without any clearer option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Marlon Mack, IND DAL 4001100000 ***
Dallas has given up eight total TDs in the 13 games played this year (5 rushing), but only two combined scores have come in the last five weeks. This is the fourth-worst opponent to face for rushing yardage, although Dallas has given up a healthy number (79) of receptions in 2018. That's more than six per game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Nyheim Hines, IND DAL 1004300000 ***
In the past five weeks, Dallas has given up only one rushing score on 71 carries and one receiving TD over 27 grabs. This is the worst matchup in football for a PPR back. It improves to only the eighth-hardest opponent in the full-season view.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND DAL 006801000 ***
Hilton is the only useful receiver in this offense, and while the matchup appears to be stiff on the surface, a closer look shows Dallas has given up a handful of big games but has benefited greatly from facing several substandard passing attacks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Zach Pascal, IND DAL 003400000 ***
Dallas is technically the No. 2 defense vs. WRs, but several weak matchups have helped propel them to such a tough ranking. Pascal could land a big reception or two but has no utility in conventional fantasy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chester Rogers, IND DAL 002300000 ***
Too limited of a role and a tougher matchup collude to make Rogers worth nothing of note in consequential fantasy formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, IND DAL 005801000 ***
Tight ends have enjoyed success against Dallas basically all year. The season-long view of this matchup shows it to be 21.6 percent better than average, and in the last five weeks that number jumps to an astounding 76.2 percent above the 12.2-point league average. Ebron should continue to beast in his breakout campaign.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND DAL 2222 ***
No writeup available

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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