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
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 Sam Bradford, MIN NYG 0000024010 ***
The positive takeaway is that Bradford hasn't made a mistake yet. The downside is that he offers no upside. The G-Men have punished quarterbacks from a fantasy perspective, ranking as the seventh hardest matchup. While no quarterback has been picked off by New York, this defense has given up only one touchdown per game.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN NYG 5001100000 ***
There isn't much to like there from the matchup angle, since New York rates as the third toughest on this week's docket. McKinnon will have to step up his game to live up to expectations higher than the flex range.
RB Matt Asiata, MIN NYG 2001100000 ***
Asiata will play second fiddle to Jerick McKinnon and has no playable value at this time. New York's punishing run defense agrees.
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN NYG 004801000 ***
New York offers Diggs a matchup that is on the verge of being positive, rating 13th in most points allowed to WRs. Diggs is the go-to receiver but has a floor like last week that is in play most weeks. WR3 territory.
WR Adam Thielen, MIN NYG 004500000 ***
Thielen is a talented receiver in his own right but doesn't see enough looks to justify a fantasy start. He was in on 59 percent of the offensive snaps last week.
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN NYG 007800000 ***
Rudolph is tied for the second most PPR points this year. The train could slow down in Week 4, though, as the Giants haven't given up a TE touchdown yet this year. Consider him a sound PPR play, but a touchdown will be gravy.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN NYG 3322 ***
Only San Francisco is a better matchup for fantasy kickers. New York has given up just four extra points, but 11 of 12 field goals have sailed through the uprights.

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 @JAC 20100025021 ***
Luck is missing one of his top targets in Donte Moncrief, but as T.Y. Hilton showed in Week 3, speed kills. Luck heads to London to face a division rival that he hasn't played since 2014. Jacksonville is the eighth easiest matchup for quarterbacks.
RB Frank Gore, IND @JAC 5003200000 ***
Six teams have been kinder to running backs than Gore's Week 4 opponent. The matchup, along with his limited use and marginal effectiveness, call for a trip to the bench in regular situations. Desperation only.
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND @JAC 007901000 ***
Hilton showed last week that one big play can turn things around. He was having an OK day until ripping off a monster TD catch-and-run. He should be started in all formats, and this matchup is two thumbs up in his favor.
WR Phillip Dorsett, IND @JAC 003500000 ***
The speedster crosses the pond and has a fine matchup. Jacksonville ranks eighth against wideouts, giving up five touchdowns on 41 grabs. Dorsett has limited fantasy appeal and is best used in non-PPR leagues.
TE Jack Doyle, IND @JAC 003201000 **
Doyle is becoming a playable commodity in fantasy circles, and it's coming at Dwayne Allen's expense. Doyle played in 74 percent of the snaps last week, compared to Allen's 82 percent. Jacksonville is a bottom-10 matchup for tight ends.
TE Dwayne Allen, IND @JAC 003300000 ***
Allen is a tough sell for any fantasy starting lineup ... this week, the going gets rougher. Jacksonville has allowed a line of 11-86-1 to the position. Keep Allen in reserve until he has a better matchup and a larger role.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND @JAC 3322 ***
A trip to London brings a meeting with the fifth easiest kicker matchup. Jacksonville has ceded seven field goals and nine extra points at a 100 percent accuracy clip.

* 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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