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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

Prediction: TEN 17, MIN 34 (Line: MIN by 5.5)

Players to Watch: Matt Hasselbeck

Players Updated: Christian Ponder, Kenny Britt

The 1-3 Titans have only their trap game win over the Lions so far; otherwise they have been waxed in every game by 21+ points. The 3-1 Vikings are a surprise and their one loss was on the road. At home they most recently beat the 49ers. The Vikings are far too new to a winning record to take anyone lightly and the Titans are struggling to find any consistent offense. This should be a good game for the purple. It's been a blessing for almost every team to face the Titans.

Tennessee Titans
Homefield: LP Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NE 13-34 10 @MIA -----
2 @SD 10-38 11 BYE -----
3 DET 44-41 12 @JAC -----
4 @HOU 14-38 13 HOU -----
5 @MIN ----- 14 @IND -----
6 PIT ----- 15 NYJ -----
7 @BUF ----- 16 @GB -----
8 IND ----- 17 JAC -----
9 CHI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
TEN @ MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Cassel 280,1
WR Harry Douglas 2-30
WR Kendall Wright 5-80,1
TE Anthony Fasano 5-40
PK Ryan Succop 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Another week, another 21+ point blowout loss. The Titans offense continues to be nowhere near as good as their own defense makes the opponents offense look. Jake Locker will be out this week with his second separated shoulder of the year and there is concern that he may need surgery. Regardless of the longer term implications, Matt Hasselbeck takes back the reins and that cannot be a bad thing. Locker was surprisingly effective against the Lions in their one win but otherwise failed to generate much offense.

Hasselbeck has a decent compliment of receivers with Nate Washington, Jared Cook, the rookie Kendall Wright and eventually Kenny Britt. Last week Britt was held out again because of his ankle and there is no certainty that he will play this week though there is some optimism. But adding the veteran Hasselbeck should help get the offense running better and make better use of the receivers. He passed for 193 yards in Houston and connected on scores with Craig Stevens (2-24) and Wright (4-46).

Chris Johnson shocked the world when he turned in 141 yards on 25 carries in Houston against likely his worst match-up. Three previous games had only combined for 45 rushing yards so it was a bit of an aberration. Johnson claimed after the game that it was because his blocking was better. Most would point at the fact that the Titans lost by 24 points and that most all of what he accomplished came on draw plays later in the game when the defense did not care about giving up eight or ten yards because they were ahead by 24 yards and Johnson was just killing the clock for them.

This is not unlike what Johnson did in 2011. He would have a great out of the blue against the least likely opponent. Then the next week he would be back to a zen-like nothingness. He gained 130 yards and a score against the Panthers and then ran for 13 yards against Atlanta the next week. He went for 153 yards and two touchdowns in Buffalo and then settled for just 23 rush yards in New Orleans the next week. To make it even odder, Johnson only had four decent games last season and three of them were on the road. His lone home success was late season against the Buccaneers who had already given up and went fishing.

This is all to say that you cannot trust what Johnson does and the big game - nice as it was - means almost nothing because it was what the Texans let him do while winning by 24 points. This week he is on the road again but going against the #3 defense versus the run. That means he will probably end up with 14 rushing yards but could end up with 164 yards. Just depends and is a product more of game situation and defensive calls than what the Titans are doing. One interesting tact though - could Hasselbeck be helping out Johnson? Tough call to make and almost always sure to prompt you to do the wrong thing.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 18 32 20 6 24 18
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 19 3 17 26 18 5

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Marcus Mariota, TEN DEN 0000022011 ***
Denver ranks 28th in yards per game allowed, 28th in TD efficiency allowed, 24th in yards per completion granted, and 30th in fantasy points given up since Week 8. Mariota is a risky deal even coming off the bye.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, TEN DEN 10002200000 ***
This is how you beat Denver ... pound it. The Broncos are the eighth best matchup for exploitation over the last five weeks, giving up 161 offense yards, on average, to the position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Derrick Henry, TEN DEN 401000000 ***
Fresh off a bye, the rookie should see enough touches to matter. He has flex value in non-PPR leagues against fantasy's eighth worst defense of the position over the past five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, TEN DEN 004500000 ***
Matthews has been among the hottest receivers in fantasy this season, and especially the last five weeks. The Broncos have shown some flaws in that window, but we're still looking at one of the best defenses against the position. Matthews isn't worth the risk.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tajae Sharpe, TEN DEN 003400000 ***
Denver has stifled receivers in all season long. Sharpe is too risky of a play with an unfavorable matchup to boot. Avoid him.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN DEN 003300000 ***
Wright should not be trusted in a traditional fantasy contest.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN DEN 007701000 ***
Denver has registered the fewest points allowed since Week 8 by tight ends to its credit of defensive awesomeness. Walker is a different dude, though, so the 15-149-0 line in four games could be threatened in one week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN DEN 2222 ***
Succop has minor appeal as a streaming pick against a Denver team that has allowed two field goal attempts and 2.25 extra point tries per game over the last five weeks.

Minnesota Vikings
Homefield: Metrodome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 JAC 26-23 ot 10 DET -----
2 @IND 20-23 11 BYE -----
3 SF 24-13 12 @CHI -----
4 @DET 20-13 13 @GB -----
5 TEN ----- 14 CHI -----
6 @WAS ----- 15 @STL -----
7 ARI ----- 16 @HOU -----
8 TB ----- 17 GB -----
9 @SEA ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIN vs TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 240,1
RB Adrian Peterson 110,1 2-10
TE Kyle Rudolph 6-60,1

Pregame Notes: The most surprising part of the 3-1 record of the Vikings is not that they have never scored more than 26 points in a game. It is that the defense has held opponents to 23 or fewer points each week. Granted - the Jaguars and Colts were not offensive powerhouses but the 49ers and Lions were heavily favored in their games. The defense is what has saved the Vikings so far, not Adrian Peterson though he too is making a mark.

Christian Ponder has only thrown four touchdowns and twice been blanked. His last two games produced under 200 passing yards. But the one good stat he has - no interceptions.123 pass attempts and not one interception. The new defense is playing well enough already that when the team makes no mistakes, they remain in the game. Even the one loss in Indianapolis came within three points. Ponder is not a fantasy quarterback but he is playing well enough to get the job done for the Vikings.

Adrian Peterson has not scored since the season opener and after 79 runs for 332 yards and a 4.2 rushing average, he is over his knee surgery. He may still be a tad slower trying to reach the edge laterally but he is mostly a north-south guy anyway and gets to face the #29 defense against running backs visiting this week. Peterson is already breaking off 10+ yard runs and should only get better as the season progresses.

Kyle Rudolph was the heartbreaker in week four since his two touchdown game against the 49ers prompted many fantasy owners to snatch him and start him only to watch his worst game of the year - two receptions for eight yards. Rudolph had been good for at least 35 yards each week but fell out of the gameplan in Detroit.

Jerome Simpson had his first game as a Viking and led all receivers with four receptions for 50 yards in Detroit. The Lions specifically plotted to limit Percy Harvin (3-22) who ended up scoring on a return anyway. Simpson's moderate debut is very encouraging since Michael Jenkins was never going to be more than a minimal addition to the offense. Simpson can stretch the field and should be better the more he gets to play with Ponder.

The Titans defense is bad. Bad against running backs and quarterbacks and the worst against tight ends. This should be a very nice win for the Vikings. I like a defensive score in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 23 21 23 20 11 7
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 28 29 15 32 28 28

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Sam Bradford, MIN @JAC 0000019010 ***
Jacksonville is consistently strong against quarterbacks, permitting the fewest fantasy points per contest since Week 8. The position has averaged a league-low 166.8 yards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN @JAC 3011100000 ***
Jacksonville has surrendered just the seventh fewest points per game to running backs, allowing three touchdowns in the last five games on the ground, over 110 carries.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN @JAC 4003200000 ***
McKinnon shouldn't be used in fantasy lineups this week. The matchup is harsh, and he just isn't getting the job done.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Adam Thielen, MIN @JAC 007701000 ***
Thielen has been quietly among fantasy's most consistent receivers, logging PPR double figures in five straight games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN @JAC 003400000 ***
Over the last five games, Jacksonville has established itself as the most dominant defense of wide receivers. The position has scored only twice in the last five games on 44 total receptions. Diggs is a suspect play in all formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN @JAC 004400000 ***
Jacksonville has given up only 3.8 catches for 37.6 yards per game in the last five weeks against tight ends; the position has scored twice on 19 catches.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, MIN @JAC 1133 ***
Jacksonville has provided the ninth highest average of combined kicking chances, which has resulted in the position scoring the 10th most per-game points in the last five weeks.

WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

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