Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

Prediction: MIN 20, WAS 23 (Line: WAS by 2.5)

Players Updated: Percy Harvin, Jerome Simpson, Adrian Peterson

Players to Watch: Fred Davis

The 4-1 Vikings are on a three game winning streak that started with their surprise trap win over the 49ers but are only 1-1 on the road and lost in Indianapolis. The 2-3 Redskins are 0-2 at home and looking to crawl out of the NFC cellar. The Vikings have been on a nice run of wins but the home town Redskins have to pull together here or start to write off the season.

The Vikes won 33-26 at Washington last year.

Minnesota Vikings
Homefield: Metrodome
  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 30-7 14 CHI -----
6 @WAS ----- 15 @STL -----
7 ARI ----- 16 @HOU -----
8 TB ----- 17 GB -----
9 @SEA ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIN @ WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Christian Ponder 10 300,2
RB Adrian Peterson 80 3-20
WR Greg Jennings
WR Jerome Simpson 2-40
TE Kyle Rudolph 6-60,1
PK Blair Walsh 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Vikings have their own brand of "Triplets" between Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin and Christian Ponder but it may be a bit early to consider the quarterback as a major difference maker quite yet. He has scored twice in three of his games but was blanked in the other two. His string of no interceptions ended against the Titans of all teams and he threw two once he saw how easy it was. Ponder gets a crack at a big game this week thanks to facing the Skins secondary but will likely be back to just one wideout in Harvin because Jerome Simpson may not play.

Percy Harvin has helped carry this team with productive games in every week other than the last road game and he finally scored when the Titans visited last week. He's adding a couple of runs per week and usually coming up with eight or nine catches in most games. Going against the worst secondary in the league should only make that even better.

Jerome Simpson is having problems with his back and never made a catch against the Titans. He is being checked out this week and may not suit up. Until they figure out what is causing the weakness and numbness in his lower leg, he's not going to be productive even if he plays. Problem here is that there are no other wideouts of any note. Devin Aromashodu will step up but that meant nothing before Simpson could play. Michael Jenkins also figures in but only for a couple of catches if that. Harvin has been a trooper to be sure with 38 catches on the year already but he cannot do it all.

Kyle Rudolph adds the occasional touchdown catch here but still has not produced more than 36 yards in a game since the season opener.

Adrian Peterson is a medical marvel to be sure. And he is gaining 4.4 yards per carry but has only one 100 yard rushing game and has not scored since week one. Peterson has been solid with around 80 rush yards per week and does supplement his production with a couple of catches as well. If he would find the end zone any time soon would make a big difference. He is certainly good with yardage but so far never great and scoreless for the last four games.

The Skins have never allowed fewer than 300 passing yards per opponent and that benefits the wideouts and tight ends with equal blessings. The run has been mostly stuffed by the Skins who have allowed just three rushing scores and yet never more than 83 rushing yards to any runner. As always with the Skins, this will be all about throwing the ball and taking advantage of the weak secondary.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 22 20 18 17 4 10
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 30 9 32 31 21 2

QB Matt Cassel, MIN DET 0000022011 ***
Christian Ponder launched the Vikings' forgettable 2013 season with 236 and 1 against the Lions; now Cassel gets to stake his claim to a roster spot (starting job?) in 2014 with a by-comparison outing in the Metrodome finale. The Lions have allowed only two passing scores in the past four games, so it'll be a stiffer test than you might think for Cassel.
RB Matt Asiata, MIN DET 400000000 *
Right now Adrian Peterson appears to be the healthiest running back on the Vikings roster, but Asiata may work his way back into the mix as well. Still, if Peterson is active he'll get the carries and Asiata will have only memories of his one shining three-touchdown moment a couple weeks back. UPDATE: With Peterson listed as doubtful and Toby Gerhart out, Asiata is expected to get the start this week. He scored thrice a couple weeks back under similar circumstances, but against a stout Detroit defensive line he'll need the offense to set him up with short opportunities to be an effective fantasy back.
WR Greg Jennings, MIN DET 0081001000 ***
Jerome Simpson had the big day the last time these teams got together, but much has changed since: Matt Cassel is the quarterback, Jennings his favorite receiver, and explosive rookie Cordarrelle Patterson is seeing more looks as well. Toss in Jarius Wright and it's a crowded house--though target-wise Jennings still tends to be the patriarch.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN DET 3013600000 **
The Vikings continue to find ways to get the ball into the hands of the explosive Patterson. He's approaching the franchise kickoff return record, has a couple touchdown runs of late, and last week led the team in targets as well. He's a threat any time he touches the ball, to the point that he at least warrants fantasy consideration.
WR Jarius Wright, MIN DET 003500000 ***
Wright has been a surprise contributor in the Vikings' passing game, but it's impossible to bank on him being productive when he's at best the team's third option.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN DET 1122 ***
Walsh averages two points more per game at home, and he's facing a Lions' defense that has allowed more points to kickers than any other team in the Metrodome's swan song. Expect him to get ample opportunity to kick the Lions while they're down, as well as try some lengthy field goals in a game with no playoff ramifications whatsoever.

Washington Redskins
Homefield: FedEx Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NO 40-32 10 BYE -----
2 @STL 28-31 11 PHI -----
3 CIN 31-38 12 @DAL -----
4 @TB 24-22 13 NYG -----
5 ATL 17-24 14 BAL -----
6 MIN ----- 15 @CLE -----
7 @NYG ----- 16 @PHI -----
8 @PIT ----- 17 DAL -----
9 CAR ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
WAS vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Robert Griffin III 40 250,1
RB Alfred Morris 80,1 2-10
RB Evan Royster 3-20
WR Pierre Garcon 4-60
WR Leonard Hankerson 5-60
WR DeSean Jackson 4-60,1
WR Santana Moss 4-40
PK Kai Forbath 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Skins have tumbled to a 2-0 mark thanks to playing in New Orleans and Tampa Bay still have not won at home. This week is easily their best chance of a win and along with the Panthers in week nine may be the only time they will be favored this year.

Robert Griffin III took a break as the best fantasy quarterback last week when he was knocked out of the Falcons game with a "mild" concussion. All signs point to him playing this week though he still needs to get through a week of practice free and clear before he can play. Griffin had been throwing for scores and also rushing in a touchdown for the previous three matchups. Kirk Cousins came in and gave it a valiant effort last week but it should be back to Bob this time.

Alfred Morris is still a fantasy gold mine considering that he has four touchdowns on the season and has never rushed for fewer than 78 yards in any game, He is on a two game streak with over 100 yards. His only failing is that they almost never throw to him. Then again, he is averaging 4.9 yards per carry and just under 100 yards per game.

Fred Davis has assumed a consistent role by now with his last three games producing never less than four catches and averaging just over 70 yards per game. With the wide receivers less than stellar, Davis has a place in this passing game that should only grow bigger. The wideouts have yet to distinguish themselves from each other and that even includes Pierre Garcon. The Redskins have five different wide receivers who all have between 114 and 184 yards after five games. That's a whole lot of mediocrity.

The Vikings defense has been very good - far exceeding expectations. But this is their third road game and they lost to the Colts and then clipped divisional rivals of the Lions. This is a big test so long as Griffin is able to play healthy and in his full capacity. The Vikings rushing defense has been top notch so far but they have never had to chase a quarterback.

The Redskins have to rise up this week because this is almost a must-win game.

Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 3 17 15 20 16 2
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 14 3 15 29 11 4

QB Kirk Cousins, WAS @NYG 0000023012 ***
The Giants have given up multiple passing scores just twice in the past nine games, a stretch that included holding Robert Griffin III to 207 and 1. Cousins lit up Atlanta and looked ordinary against Dallas; with this matchup tending to be more on the tough side, Cousins' fantasy prospects are limited.
RB Alfred Morris, WAS @NYG 5001100000 ****
Morris rushed for 26 yards and a score in the Week 13 meeting with the Giants, adding another 27 as a receiver. That marked the start of a four-game stretch in which the Giants allowed at least one RB TD, a total of six scores in that span. With Morris continuing to get the bulk of the carries in DC, and coming off 98- and 88-yard efforts the past two weeks, there's no reason to think Alf can't at least match that earlier output
WR Pierre Garcon, WAS @NYG 005700000 ***
Garcon has seen double-digit targets in nine straight games, including 12 for 9-61 in the earlier meeting with the Giants and 18 for 11-144-1 last week. He's also scored and topped 100 yards in each of the past two games with Kirk Cousins at the helm; no reason to think he won't be Cousins' go-to guy once again.
WR DeSean Jackson, WAS @NYG 005600000 ***
Jackson had his worst game of the season against Dallas earlier this year, catching just three balls for 21 yards. His second-worst came last week as he saw just five targets with Philly rolling to a 43-point win over Chicago. In between he's scored four times and topped 150 yards twice. With the division on the line, look for something much more compatible with your fantasy lineup this week.
TE Logan Paulsen, WAS @NYG 003400000 ***
Paulsen scored in the earlier meeting with the Giants just a month ago, but with Fred Davis back in the mix and the two sharing looks you can't bank on either for a fantasy contribution.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, WAS @NYG 2211 ***
Forbath posted his first double-digit game in more than two months last week, and while the Giants are hardly defensive stoppers there's little reason to be optimistic about a repeat performance here.

BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

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