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 @SEA 10000022012 ***
Remember how we were talking about the demise of the Seahawks' defense earlier this season? Well, they've held five straight quarterbacks under 20 fantasy points. Stanton isn't such a step up in class over Davis, Newton, Carr, Eli and Smith that he should be expected to snap that trend.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI @SEA 4005500000 ****
Yes, Jamaal Charles carved up the Seahawks last week and yes, Ellington has drawn comparisons to Charles. Let's just nip that in the bud right now and look for something similar to the 60 rushing yards he posted against Seattle last year and mix in 20-some receiving yards as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @SEA 005600000 ***
You beat the Seahawks' secondary by throwing deep at them, and odds are Brown is the target of choice. Not that you should go out of your way to start a receiver against Seattle, but if you do...
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI @SEA 004500000 ***
Wildly inconsistent, Floyd does fit the model of receivers who have success against Seattle in that he can get deep; in fact, he scored the last time these clubs met. But he's bound to draw plenty of defensive attention, to the point that John Brown may be the better fantasy deep threat this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @SEA 00000000 *
Fitz has exactly two games of fantasy note against the Seahawks so far this decade. He's banged up, with a back-up quarterback, and hopefully you have a better option this week.
Update: Fitz did not practice all week and is listed as questionable. It's a tough enough road matchup as is; add in the injury and Fitz is a monumental fantasy risk this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE John Carlson, ARI @SEA 003201000 **
The matchup says tight ends are in play against Seattle, but they've shut down Larry Donnell and Travis Kelce the past two weeks so another positive blip from Carlson is hardly a sure thing.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI @SEA 2211 ***
It's been a while since Catanzaro provided double-digit points, and Seattle is certainly not the venue to expect him to right that ship. Wouldn't be a bad week to find another fantasy option.

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
RB Ben Tate 40
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 GB 20000023011 ***
Bridgewater has yet to throw multiple touchdowns in an NFL game; let's let him do that before we start considering him for a fantasy start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN GB 5003200000 ***
McKinnon has carved out some decent yardage and should augment his numbers with receptions and receiving yards, but he's at best a fringe fantasy helper this week.
Update: McKinnon may see an uptick in work with Matt Asiata out due to a concussion, but there weren't likely to be many goal line shots anyway so that news doesn't move the needle a ton.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN GB 00000000 *
The Pack has shut out a couple of pretty good backs--LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte--since returning from their bye, so odds are Minnesota's goal line guy isn't looking at a plethora of opportunities here.
Update: Asiata has been ruled out of this week's game due to a concussion.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Charles Johnson, MIN GB 002301000 *
Five different Vikings WRs have paced the team in fantasy scoring this year, a group Johnson joined last week. Somebody could step up and feast on garbage time numbers this week, but the upside isn't tempting enough to offset the risk of identifying which Viking it might be.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN GB 005500000 ***
Jennings has 69 yards and zero TDs in three games against his former team; no reason to think those numbers get a dramatic boost this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN GB 002300000 ***
At this point we can stop saying the Vikings haven't figured out how to use Patterson yet--not that it's not true, just that it's so obvious there's no need to keep repeating it.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN GB 003300000 *
The Vikings have rediscovered the tight end position with TE TDs the past two weeks, but Rudy has yet to resume his regularly scheduled duties; until he does, tough to trust him with a fantasy start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN GB 3311 ***
You don't keep up with the Packers' red-hot offense by kicking field goals, so there's likely a better fantasy option than Walsh 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

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