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 Carson Palmer, ARI @DAL 0000027020 ***
Palmer has delivered multiple TD tosses and at least 250 yards in every game thus far. Dallas is the toughest he's faced to date, but it's still tough to see him failing to make his appointed rounds.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI @DAL 6006300000 ***
Not that Ellington can't score, but it's a good thing he does enough yardage wise that he doesn't usually need to to be a fantasy factor. The Cowboys have surrendered just four RB TDs all year but do give up more than 120 combo yards to opposing backs. Give Ellington a big dollop of the latter, don't sweat the former, and call it a day.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @DAL 003601000 ***
Brown's another speed guy who could give the Cowboys fits, a la Odell Beckham and DeSean Jackson the past two weeks. He outgunned Michael Floyd last week, but Floyd is typically more targeted so it's a bit trickier to bank on Brown this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI @DAL 004501000 **
Lately it's been speed guys killing the Cowboys: Odell Beckham Jr. scored twice on them and DeSean Jackson went for 136 yards last week. Floyd took a back seat to both Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown last week, and it's a little tough to trust him after posting a goose egg. But it's tough to see him posting another dog here--he has yet to go more than one week without scoring or topping 100 yards--so take that leap of faith this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @DAL 005600000 ***
Yes, Carson Palmer knows where to find Fitz. He just doesn't do it consistently, or much at all on the road. If you're parsing Arizona wideouts this week the speed guys have an edge, which puts Fitz at the low end of the pecking order. Plan accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE John Carlson, ARI @DAL 002200000 *****
Carlson had his hands on a ball in the end zone; had he hung on it would have maybe brought the total of fantasy-relevant games by Cardinals tight ends since the Jackie Smith era to one. Look elsewhere for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI @DAL 2222 ***
After a fast start Catanzaro has had back-to-back outings with just one field goal, and he's facing a Dallas team that hasn't been overly friendly to kickers this season. However, Chandler hasn't dipped below the six-point mark this season so at least his baseline isn't a killer.

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 WAS 0000023010 ***
Washington has allowed multiple passing scores in six straight games. Bridgewater has one in each of the past two, his first two NFL passing scores, and he has yet to dazzle the home crowd with a scoring strike. Maybe it's all coming together right here, right now, for the Vikings' QB of the future? Even so, there's a ceiling of maybe 250 and 2 so set your lineup accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN WAS 9013200000 ***
McKinnon has yet to score an NFL TD, and a first is unlikely here against a Washington D that's given up only a couple of moderately big fantasy games to opposing backs--and with all due respect to McKinnon he ain't Arian Foster or DeMarco Murray.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN WAS 2005601000 *
That whole "getting the ball in Patterson's hands" thing isn't exactly happening just yet. However, a Washington defense that's allowed multiple fantasy helpers in all four road games could be just what the doctor ordered for Patterson to carve out a slice of fantasy value this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN WAS 006500000 ***
Seven of the 10 WR TDs the Redskins have allowed have come on the road, and they've allowed a score and/or 69-plus yards to multiple receivers in all four games away from DC. That puts Jennings in play as either Teddy Bridgewater's top target or his backup plan if Cordarrelle Patterson can't shake free. Either way, it's a decent fantasy opportunity.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN WAS 2222 ***
Walsh has been as wildly inconsistent as the Vikings offense; factor in the Vikings playing outdoors and you likely have a better fantasy option elsewhere.

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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