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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
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Jackie Battle 60,1
RB Shonn Greene 40
RB Dexter McCluster 4-40
WR Nate Washington 3-40
WR Kendall Wright 5-80,1
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 Charlie Whitehurst, TEN @WAS 0000021021 ***
Update: Whitehurst took most of the first-team reps in practice this week, and with Jake Locker questionable it looks like another start for Charlie. It's a favorable matchup with a Redskins defense that's allowed multiple touchdown passes in four straight, so if you're scrambling for QB help this week you may have found your guy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jake Locker, TEN @WAS 00000000 *
Nice timing for Locker to send Charlie Whitehurst back to clipboard duty, as the Redskins have allowed multiple touchdown passes in four straight. Might be aggressive to ask that of Locker first game back, though that's what Carson Palmer did last week.
Update: Locker is listed as questionable and practiced on a limited basis all week. He'll probably be a game time decision, and a betting man would take Charlie Whitehurst to start this wee.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN @WAS 7002200000 **
More was expected of Sankey in last week's favorable matchup. Now, with Shonn Greene potentially returning to swipe touches at three yards per, Sankey returns to tease duty. Doesn't help that this is far from a favorable matchup, against a Washington D that's allowed just two RB TDs on the year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shonn Greene, TEN @WAS 00000000 *
Green is barely startable in favorable matchups, and this certainly isn't one. Plus, it's only a matter of time until Ken Whisenhunt realizes what everyone else on the planet sees: he's just not that good.
Update: Greene is listed as doubtful for this tilt due to a hamstring injury, so the Whisenator will just have to find other guys to torment Bishop Sankey's fantasy owners with. Jackie Battle, anyone?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hunter, TEN @WAS 003401000 **
Yes, Hunter's hit or miss. But those hit odds are better this week against a secondary that's allowed 10 different receivers to score and/or top 75 yards this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN @WAS 005500000 ****
Wright's a volume receiver, so his getting one target against the Jaguars last week is disconcerting to say the least. Until his volume is restored he can't be banked on for meaningful fantasy contributions.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @WAS 005601000 ****
Walker may be the Titans' most reliable pass-catcher, and while he hasn't been a major fantasy factor the past couple of weeks he gets a bump against a Washington defense that's only a couple weeks removed from giving up four TE TDs in one game.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @WAS 1122 ***
Succop has exceded five points exactly twice this season; play the odds and get your kicks elsewhere.

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 Matt Cassel 280,1
QB Christian Ponder 10 230,2
RB Adrian Peterson 110,1 2-10
WR Greg Jennings
TE Kyle Rudolph 6-60,1
PK Blair Walsh 2 FG 4 XP

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 Teddy Bridgewater, MIN @BUF 0000025012 **
87 attempts in, Teddy Football is still looking for his first NFL touchdown pass. Could come against a Bills D that just let Tom Brady go for an Abe Lincoln against them, but aside from that Bridgewater's fantasy upside is relatively limited--and not just by the Bills.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN @BUF 4006400000 ***
The Bills haven't allowed an RB TD this season, so any fantasy value McKinnon adds this week will have to come via yardage. Fortunately he's usurped Matt Asiata as the Vikings' primary back and could cobble together enough rushing and receiving yardage to blip on the fantasy radar. Hopefully you have better options at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN @BUF 004600000 ***
It's a favorable matchup on paper, but with Teddy Bridgewater still looking for his first NFL passing score and the Vikings' offense struggling on multiple levels you likely have better options at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN @BUF 003500000 ***
The Bills have allowed a WR TD in every game this year, so if ever there was an opportunity for Patterson to snap out of his slump it's here. However, at this juncture he's likely burned most if not all of his fantasy bridges so it would take a leap of faith to plug him into your lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarius Wright, MIN @BUF 003400000 ***
Wright had one big day as Teddy Bridgewater's favorite target; he's done little since and is the third receiver on an offense that can't even get one going fantasy-wise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Chase Ford, MIN @BUF 004300000 ***
The Vikings haven't had a tight end top 40 yards since Kyle Rudolph was healthy, and Teddy Bridgewater has yet to throw an NFL TD. Look elsewhere for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN @BUF 1111 ****
The Vikings have scored 10 points or less in four of their last five games. You can't bank on him for points this week.

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

a d v e r t i s e m e n t