FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

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
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 Drew Stanton, ARI SF 0000019011 ***
In this offense Carson Palmer posted matching gems of 298 and 2 and 407 and 2 against the Niners. Stanton is capable of running Bruce Arians' offense, but until we see more--a touchdown pass would be nice, for starters--he can't be banked on for fantasy assistance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI SF 7003200000 ***
At this point the injury risk--the limited practice time, the questionable status, the game-time decision--is assumed. But thus far Ellington has produced, 181 yards from scrimmage in two games of work. He racked up 131 combo yards and a touchdown on 24 touches in last season's series; with a greater workload his numbers should uptick as well, especially against a San Fran D that served up 143 combo yards to DeMarco Murray in its last road game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI SF 004601000 **
Floyd has yet to make the love connection with Drew Stanton, but six targets suggest it wasn't due to lack of trying. It's not a tremendously favorable matchup, but Floyd has scored or topped 90 yards in each of his last three matchups with the Niners and can't be discounted here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI SF 006500000 ****
Fitz loves when the Niners come to town; over his 10 year career he's posted five 100-yard games and scored six times in home games against San Francisco. He may be slipping down the Cardinals' passing game pecking order, but don't dock him due to Drew Stanton helming the club rather than Carson Palmer; after all, he's succeeded with worse.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI SF 003400000 ***
Drew Stanton isn't digging as deep into the Arizona receiver depth as Carson Palmer did, which dings Brown's fantasy value. So does a matchup with a San Francisco secondary that has yet to allow a wideout to top 60 yards against them this season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE John Carlson, ARI SF 003300000 ***
The Cards have yet to generate 100 yards among its tight ends this season; the Niners have allowed but 60. Nothing to see here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI SF 2122 ***
Catanzaro has multiple field goals in each game this season... but the Niners have allowed but one trey all year. In what will likely be a low-scoring affair, best side with the defense and seek your fantasy 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 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
WR Jerome Simpson 2-30
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 Matt Cassel, MIN @NO 0000020012 ***
If the Vikings really want the passing game to pick up the slack left by Adrian Peterson's absence, they'll turn to Teddy Bridgewater. Cassel will continue as a placeholder who can't be banked on for fantasy contributions.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN @NO 6012100000 ***
Asiata isn't going to dazzle anyone with his three yards per carry, though his work in the passing game last week was a welcome surprise. Keep expectations in check and hope for a goal line look to salvage Asiata's fantasy day.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN @NO 4005600000 ***
The Vikings need to get the ball into Patterson's hands as often as possible. Emphasis on "need". And "often". Given those parameters, he's bound to carve out some fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN @NO 004500000 ***
The secondary--maybe thirdary, if you include Kyle Rudolph--target in a non-productive passing game doesn't exactly whet the fantasy whistle.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN @NO 005601000 ****
Rudolph scored in Week 1, topped 50 yards last week, and after Cordarrelle Patterson is about all the Vikings' passing game has going for it. Given that the undermanned Vikings are likely to be playing catch-up here, he should see plenty of opportunities--enough to boost his fantasy stock.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN @NO 1122 ***
Opportunities are bound to be hard to come by for Walsh, though any time the Vikings cross midfield he's in range--especially indoors.

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

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