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 @PHI 0000020000 ***
Bradford hasn't thrown for 300 yards in any of his four starts, and he has sandwiched a pair of one-TD efforts in between two-score bookends. Solid numbers, but nothing special. Minnesota had a bye week to prep, abut the matchup is statistically the worst in fantasy.
RB Matt Asiata, MIN @PHI 1013200000 ***
Asiata has a midrange matchup but will need to score to salvage a positive return on investment for your lineup spot.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN @PHI 5002200000 ***
Versatile backs do well against the Eagles. This D has allowed a touchdown every 22 touches of the ball, which ranks among the league's worst at preventing offensive touchdowns.
WR Adam Thielen, MIN @PHI 004500000 ***
Philly is a bottom-five matchup for WRs, giving up only two scores on 60 catches over five games played. Thielen is a risky proposition.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN @PHI 003400000 ***
Patterson has been involved more in the past few weeks, somewhat because Stefon Diggs has missed time. CP has tremendous upside that he has not been able to harness. Playing him is too risky for most situations.
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN @PHI 00000000 *
Diggs returned to practice Wednesday and should be good to play this week. Return Friday for a final update.
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN @PHI 006500000 ***
Rudolph has been so good gamers can't take the chance of reserving him, but the matchup, on paper anyway, is awful. Vernon Davis scored last week against the Eagles, but prior to Week 6, the position combined for a 9-52-0 line. That included Gary Barnidge and Zach Miller.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN @PHI 3322 ***
The Eagles have allowed just 4.8 points on average, which is the third lowest in the NFL. Walsh, however, should get ample kicks because of the strength of Philly's D vs. the lack of explosiveness on offense for the Vikes.

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 @TEN 0000023021 ***
Luck's cast of weapons is battered and depleted, and it's hard to not imagine this team pressing too much after last week's gut-wrenching loss. Tennessee allows only 17.6 fantasy points per game to the quarterback position. Consider deploying another passer.
RB Frank Gore, IND @TEN 6001100000 ***
Gore went over 100 yards last week, then fell behind before returning to finished with 106. He was the first Colt to rush for the century mark in since Gore was like 52 years old. Teasing aside, expect the status quo to be restored against Tennessee's strong run defense. It ranks sixth.
WR Chester Rogers, IND @TEN 006601000 ***
Rogers has some nifty footwork and could see an uptick in work if Dorsett cannot play. The Titans will be busy trying to stop T.Y. Hilton. Rogers would be a bold play as a flex receiver.
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND @TEN 005500000 ***
Hilton has a hard matchup to overcome. Tennessee rates as the ninth toughest against receivers, allowing a touchdown every 15.6 catches and only 13.0 receptions per game.
WR Phillip Dorsett, IND @TEN 00000000 *
Foot and hamstring injuries forced Dorsett to sit out of Wednesday's practice. Return Friday for an update.
TE Jack Doyle, IND @TEN 005501000 ***
Doyle will ascend to the top tight end spot if Dwayne Allen (ankle) cannot go. The Titans are a negative matchup that borders on neutrality. With WR Donte Moncrief unlikely to dress, Doyle is a quality fantasy starter based on volume potential alone.
TE Dwayne Allen, IND @TEN 00000000 *
Allen is day-to-day and probably will be a game-time decision. Check back Friday for more details.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND @TEN 3322 ***
He never gets old, or so it appears judging by his accuracy streak and respectable strength. Tennessee has allowed 7.8 fantasy points per contest to kickers.

* 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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