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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

Prediction: ARI 17, MIN 27 (Line: MIN by 6)

Players Updated: Arian Peterson, Jerome Simpson

Players to Watch: John Skelton

The 4-2 Cardinals head to Minnesota with a 1-1 road record and a two game losing streak. The 4-2 Vikings lost last week in Washington but are a perfect 3-0 at home. The Vikings won 34-10 when they hosted the Cardinals in 2011.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 20-16 10 BYE -----
2 @NE 20-18 11 @ATL -----
3 PHI 27-6 12 STL -----
4 MIA 24-21 13 @NYJ -----
5 @STL 3-17 14 @SEA -----
6 BUF 16-19 15 DET -----
7 @MIN ----- 16 CHI -----
8 SF ----- 17 @SF -----
9 @GB ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ARI @ MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 270,2
RB Rashard Mendenhall
WR Early Doucet 2-20
WR Larry Fitzgerald 6-80,1
WR Michael Floyd 3-30
TE Rob Housler 3-30

Pregame Notes: It was all going so well too. The Cardinals have lost two in a row to less than stellar opponents while the offense has sputtered and been unable to make a difference. They also have to host the 49ers and then play in Green Bay before finally reaching their week 10 bye and it is entirely possible if not probable that they will be 4-5 at that point with a trip to Atlanta waiting on the other side.

Kevin Kolb suffered a shoulder injury, sprained sternoclavicular joint and detached ribs against the Bills and will be out for six weeks or more just trying to figure out what all that stuff is and why it hurts so much. That passes the torch for at least the next month and a half to John Skelton. When he took over in week nine of 2011, Skelton threw 11 touchdowns in the final eight games and helped salvage Larry Fitzgerald's fantasy value. In the first half of that season, Fitzgerald only caught two touchdowns with two games over 100 yards. WIth Skelton, he would score six touchdowns and top 100 yards four different times. Switching from Kolb is not necessarily a bad thing. Skelton also finished out 2010. He is like the Cardinals official closer.

Kolb started the previous game in Minnesota and passed for 232 yards and no scores.

William Powell was an effective replacement for Ryan Williams and gained 70 yards on 13 runs but his limited carries prevented him from delivering fantasy points and he only caught one pass for eight yards. LaRod Stephens-Howling was used for 11 carries but only produced 22 yards and all this against the visiting Bills. The lack of a decent offensive line for the Cardinals prevents them from racking up yardage and scores even against soft defenses.

Fitzgerald needs continuity because he has been producing decent stats for the last four weeks with scores in three games and over 90 yards in almost all. He caught four passes for 66 yards in Minnesota last season so this week will be an interesting benchmark. His number of targets always dwarfs all others and even Andre Roberts who started the year on on a strong note as a scorer has really fallen in the last two weeks. Michael Floyd, Early Doucet, any tight end - it doesn't matter. This offense goes through Fitzgerald and with him is the key to losing or winning.

The switch to Skelton will be the thing to watch in this offense and the Vikings pass defense is really above average against the pass, particularly at home. The Vikings are also dominating against the run so expect low efforts from the two runners this week. I like a defensive score but it won't make enough difference.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 19 31 13 24 21 10
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 25 5 8 26 13 10

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Logan Thomas, ARI @SF 0000020011 *
If rookie Derek Carr can throw for 254 and 3 against the Niners, why not Thomas? Well, Carr was 13 games into his rookie season; Thomas has thrown nine NFL passes--and completed exactly one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Kerwynn Williams, ARI @SF 800000000 ***
Despite Williams being the more effective back the Cardinals have turned to Stepfan Taylor with Andre Ellington out of the mix. Maybe they'll need to lean on both with Logan Thomas under center, but against the 49ers there's not much fantasy value--certainly not enough to be split two ways.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Stepfan Taylor, ARI @SF 3002200000 ***
Andre Ellington did minimal damage (18-62 rushing, 3-13 receiving) in the earlier matchup with San Francisco; Taylor had two yards on one carry. The ground game will need to step up in support of rookie QB Logan Thomas, but it certainly isn't a favorable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @SF 005601000 *
Brown scored twice in the earlier matchup with the Niners, and it's not uncommon for depth receivers to have success against San Fran: among the tertiary targets who have scored against them are Paul Richardson and Wes Welker. Plus, with Logan Thomas at the helm you can expect Bruce Arians to take some deep shots. Just know that there's a tremendous amount of risk with anything associated with the Arizona passing game with a first-time starter at quarterback.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI @SF 004600000 **
Floyd's speed gave the Niners problems in the earlier matchup, and QB Logan Thomas' one NFL completion did go for 81 yards so if you're grasping at straws you could hope for a home run completion. But considering Thomas is also 1-for-9 career, there's plenty of risk of strikeout.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jaron Brown, ARI @SF 002200000 ***
Brown is better known as "The Other One" when he swipes a touchdown from erstwhile third receiver John Brown. Such a tertiary target isn't a fantasy option with a first-time driver at the wheel for the Cards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @SF 002200000 **
Fitz was an afterthought in the earlier meeting, catching just three balls for 34 yards while Arizona bombed away to John Brown and Michael Floyd. Logan Thomas might be more inclined to look at Larry as a security blanket, but considering the matchup, the quarterback, and Fitz's struggles this year you can find better fantasy options elsewhere.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI @SF 2211 ***
The good news is, Arizona's offensive struggles have mean nine field goals for Catanzaro over the past three games. The bad news is, Arizona's offensive struggles have yielded one PAT for Catanzaro in the past five games. If you believe in Logan Thomas, making his first NFL start in San Francisco, go ahead and chase Catanzaro's threes. Maybe.

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 30-7 14 CHI -----
6 @WAS 26-38 15 @STL -----
7 ARI ----- 16 @HOU -----
8 TB ----- 17 GB -----
9 @SEA ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIN vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Christian Ponder 10 240,1
RB Adrian Peterson 100,1 5-30
WR Greg Jennings
TE Kyle Rudolph 4-40,1
PK Blair Walsh 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Vikings ended their three game winning streak in Washington but return home where they remain unbeaten. In a divisional race sure to be competitive all season, the next three home games must be wins before the Vikings hit a brutal stretch to finish the year facing the Packers and Bears twice and adding road games to St. Louis and Houston. Just brutal.

Christian Ponder got his free 300 yard game by showing up against the Redskins and he's tossed two touchdowns in four of the last five games with moderate to good yardage in each. After opening the season without an interception, he's figured out how and was picked off twice in the last two weeks. Getting Jerome Simpson back this week will help the passing effort.

Adrian "The Scoreless" Peterson still has not reached the endzone since the season opener and has been consistent with around 80 rushing yards in every game with a few catches to help boost the total yardage up to around 100. Peterson's left ankle is still not healthy but he is running on it and claims it has not bothered his production. He still has rushed at least 16 times in every game.

Kyle Rudolph is truly coming into his own as a top-flight tight end. His catches and yardage remain lower than desirable and usually he remains below 40 yards in each contest but he has scored five times over the last five weeks. That's not winning your league but it is consistent production that doesn't hurt your team.

Jerome Simpson is expected to play this week after being inactive against the Redskins. His status should be clearer at the end of the week but all signs point to the speedster suiting up after sitting out with back and leg pain and numbness. Simpson has done little in the offense so far but is valued for deep patterns that stretch out the defense and allow Percy Harvin to catch an even more obscene amount of passes. Harvin has become the Vikings version of Wes Welker. Four of his last five games had 10+ targets and 8+ catches in those games. He's scored just once but it was in the most recent home game and he has been solid at delivering over 80 yards per week. He's averaging over eight catches per week.

Home game against a decent defense that has been a bit exposed lately. The Vikings should take this game with a balanced attack and this is legitimately a good spot to finally pick up another touchdown for Adrian Peterson.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 17 21 14 10 4 15
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 3 12 17 3 17 25

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN CHI 10000028020 ****
Since a disappointing 158 and 1 in Chicago in Week 11 Bridgewater has been steadily building, with four multiple touchdown games and two 300-yard efforts in the five games since. The Bears have allowed 13 passing touchdowns and 1,085 passing yards over their past three road games; while that 361 and 4 average may be aggressive for Bridgewater, it does suggest he'll be on the positive side of a fantasy helper this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN CHI 5013200000 ***
Asiata is a similar style back to Joique Bell and Mark Ingram, who have combined for four TDs in three games against the Bears. Asiata's rushing yardage isn't likely to overwhelm, but he's been bringing more to the table in the passing game and the Bears have given up 70 RB receiving yards per game over the past month.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Charles Johnson, MIN CHI 0071001000 ****
Johnson left last week's loss to the Dolphins prematurely, and early word this week is that he may not be able to practice. If that's the case, no need to risk him in a meaningless game. We'll check on his availability later this week.
Update: Johnson worked his way up to a full practice session Friday. He's listed as probable, and if he's probably going to play he's probably going to receive plenty of attention from Teddy Bridgewater.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN CHI 005601000 ****
In just shy of one season's worth of meetings with the Bears Jennings has amassed 974 yards and six TDs against them. Sure, much of that came with the Pack but despite shaky quarterbacking he mustered 12-162-1 in last season's series. He had one catch in the earlier meeting this year but has taken on a larger role of late and if Charles Johnson can't go could provide Teddy Bridgewater with the WR1 target he'll be needing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarius Wright, MIN CHI 002400000 ***
With Charles Johnson injured and potentially out for this game expect Wright to continue to step up for the Vikings. Over the past three games he's scored twice and topped 100 yards once--and that was with Johnson hogging the looks. The same defense that let Louis Murphy go for 113 yards and Cole Beasley score twice isn't likely to be able to slow Wright's roll, either.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN CHI 2233 ****
The Bears have allowed at least seven kicker points in every game this season and multiple field goals in nine of their last 10. Walsh didn't miss last week, ending a 1-for-6 stretch, and he was two for three on treys the last time he faced the Bears, so seven feels like a baseline this week.

WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

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