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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 Eric Decker 6-80
WR Harry Douglas 2-30
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 @JAC 30000024021 ***
The Jags boasted a top-five defense against QBs in 2016. Mariota was injured in the second meeting. He posted 22.6 fantasy points in Week 8. There is upside here but not without nearly as much risk.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, TEN @JAC 5003200000 ***
Three teams didn't allow a receiving TD to running backs in 2016. Jacksonville was invited to that party. Murray authored a 19.8-point PPR day in Week 8 and an 8-point effort two months down the line.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Derrick Henry, TEN @JAC 300000000 ***
Henry is just a spell at this point, and if he cannot cross the goal line, his fantasy value is zero.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, TEN @JAC 003301000 ***
Matthews still appears to be Marcus Mariota's favorite after the addition of two prominent receivers. The vertical threat scored a single TD in each of his two meetings with the Jags last year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Corey Davis, TEN @JAC 004600000 ***
Jacksonville was the sixth worst opponent for wideouts in 2016. Davis' NFL debut was sound. It will be interesting to see how TEN uses him in the red zone, especially if Jalen Ramsey cannot play for Jacksonville.

Update: Jags CB Jalen Ramsey doesn't appear likely to play this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eric Decker, TEN @JAC 003300000 **
Counting on Decker to produce in a starting lineup isn't advised this week. The matchup is stingy, and he still isn't in sync with his quarterback after landing only three of eight targets in Week 1.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @JAC 005501000 ***
The Jags permitted Houston TEs to log six catches for 60 yards before injuring literally everyone the Texans could trot out there. Walker should have a sound fantasy day and deserves lineup love in most normal setups.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @JAC 1122 ***
Succop would be risky in fantasy contests. The Jags granted him 12 points in Week 8 last year and just five in the Week 16 meeting. This is an improved Jacksonville defense.

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
WR Michael Floyd 2-20
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 Case Keenum, MIN @PIT 0000023021 **
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Sam Bradford, MIN @PIT 00000000 *
This is a safe projection. Either way, Bradford owners should defer to his typical form rather than what we saw against the Saints. And the Steelers aren't the Saints. Expect a more humble effort in this one.

Update: A knee injury has Bradford a game-time decision. Avoid him where you can.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dalvin Cook, MIN @PIT 7004200000 ***
Pittsburgh bullied the Browns' rushing attack (20-40-0) in the opener. Cleveland mustered 62 yards on six catches from the position. The versatile Cook has more potential and is a decent flex target for this very reason.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Adam Thielen, MIN @PIT 006601000 ***
Thielen's route-running skills set him apart and create a lot of otherwise unnoticed mismatches. Beware that only Denver allowed fewer WR scores in 2016 than the Steelers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN @PIT 003500000 ***
Diggs is a guaranteed start in all formats, but there is a small warning that he exploded under the lights last year and trailed off. Pittsburgh was a bottom-five matchup in 2016.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Laquon Treadwell, MIN @PIT 002200000 ***
Treadwell is a too far away from being a lineup consideration ... he's barely a roster thought at this point.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN @PIT 005401000 ***
Pittsburgh was not strong against tight ends in '16, and having to focus on a pair of dangerous wideouts this week should leave Rudolph some room to roam. Start him in all conventional situations.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, MIN @PIT 1122 ***
Game flow is extremely important in contests like this, where a potent offense meets a stifling defense. Forbath has tremendous upside and nearly as much risk for a letdown.

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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