FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

Prediction: CHI 27, Adrian Peterson 20 (Line:CHI by 3)

Players Updated: Earl Bennett, Michael Bush

Players to Watch: Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson

The 8-4 Bears travel to Minnesota with a 3-2 road record and face the 6-6 Vikings who are on a two game losing streak. This is a replay of week 12 - just two games ago - when the Bears won handily 28-10 in Chicago.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU 6-13
2 @GB 10-23 11 @SF 7-32
3 STL 23-6 12 MIN 28-10
4 @DAL 34-18 13 SEA 17-23
5 @JAC 41-3 14 @MIN -----
6 BYE ----- 15 GB -----
7 DET 13-7 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR 23-22 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN 51-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI @ MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Sanchez 190,1
WR Kendall Wright 2-20
PK Connor Barth 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bears are not going to catch up to the 11-1 Falcons but they are a half game behind the 49ers who they lost to in week 11. That makes getting a #2 seed daunting and a home game versus the 8-4 Packers looms on the other side of this game for what will likely be the divisional title. That makes looking past this week something that the Bears cannot afford to do since every win is important and in particular divisional wins since the Packers already beat Chicago back in week two.

Jay Cutler passed for 188 yards and one score in the first meeting with the Vikes in his first game back from a concussion. He's thrown for multiple scores in the last three road games along with healthy yardage.

Matt Forte only gained 42 yards on 14 runs when the Vikings visited but left that game in the third quarter with an ankle injury. He was able to play against the Seahawks just last week when he ran 21 times for 66 yards and added three catches for 30 yards and one touchdown. He'll be healthy entering this game and Michael Bush accounted for 21 runs and 60 yards replacing Forte in that game. Bush also rushed in two touchdowns as well. The 126 rush yards and two scores are why Cutler did not need to throw as much in the last matchup.

As always, only Brandon Marshall matters in the passing game and he turned in a season high 12 catches for 92 yards on the Vikings. Just last week versus the Seahawks, Marshall was able to rack up ten receptions for a season best 165 yards. The equation is not hard to decipher here - Forte runs and catches the ball, add in a little Michael Bush and then throw every other pass to Marshall. That gets you to 8-4 tied for the division lead.

There is still an outside chance that Alshon Jeffrey returns this week to a limited role since it has been over two weeks since he had his knee scoped. LC Brian Urlacher will miss this and the next couple of games with a hamstring strain which will not hurt the stats of Adrian Peterson.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 28 14 18 31 9 1
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 22 16 11 20 14 12

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jordan Howard, CHI @MIN 8014300000 ***
Only David Johnson was more productive in an single game against the Vikings this year than Howard's 30.2-point effort in Week 8. He finished with 202 offensive yards on 30 touches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Deonte Thompson, CHI @MIN 002201000 ***
Thompson can do some nifty things with the ball, but trusting him is asking for trouble in fantasy circles. He's a risky deal in any format.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cameron Meredith, CHI @MIN 006700000 ***
Meredith was a non-factor in Week 8's meeting, but he has come along nicely ever since. The attention paid to Alshon Jeffery gives him a lot of single looks that he has proven capable of beating. Minnesota is the eighth best matchup in PPR this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Daniel Brown, CHI @MIN 004300000 ***
Despite permitting two TE TDs in the last 18 catches, Minnesota remains a bottom-10 opponent for the position. Brown shouldn't be used in conventional formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dion Sims, CHI @MIN 003300000 ***
Just one of the last 23 receptions by tight ends against the Patriots has found the end zone. Sims doesn't deserve a shot in any conventional format.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, CHI @MIN 0022 ***
Minnesota has given up a high volume of field goal kicks all year and has limited extra points for the most part. Barth may not have to worry about the latter part anyway.

Minnesota Vikings
Homefield: Metrodome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 JAC 26-23 ot 10 DET 34-24
2 @IND 20-23 11 BYE -----
3 SF 24-13 12 @CHI 10-28
4 @DET 20-13 13 @GB 14-23
5 TEN 30-7 14 CHI -----
6 @WAS 26-38 15 @STL -----
7 ARI 21-14 16 @HOU -----
8 TB 17-36 17 GB -----
9 @SEA 20-30 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIN vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 210,1
WR Jarius Wright 3-50
TE Kyle Rudolph 6-60,1
PK Kai Forbath 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The killer schedule is still drawing blood and these final four games could all be losses - the Vikings will be underdogs in each. This is a replay of just two weeks ago when the Vikings lost by 18 points and the offense is struggling outside of Adrian Peterson. Greatly struggling. Enough so that now HC Leslie Frazier gets the weekly task of throwing his support behind his starting quarterback.

Christian Ponder has only gotten worse as the season progressed and he's only scored six times over the last six games while throwing seven interceptions and four times failing to pass for more than 160 yards. In Chicago, he was only good for 159 yards and one score with both an interception and turnover.Last week was 119 yards and one score in Green Bay.

Ponder is getting little help outside of Kyle Rudolph who scored in Chicago with 55 yards on five catches. The second-year tight end scored in each of the last three games while remaining just above 50 yards in each and on this offense that is wildly productive.

Percy Harvin remains out and with him any chance of a success passing effort. Harvin was initially hoped to return last week but that never happened. He has been diagnosed with a Grade 3 ankle sprain which involves a completely torn ligament. He may be able to play this week but will require pain injections to do so. In his place Jarius Wright has been of little help along with every other wideout. There is no element of this passing offense that contains fantasy relevancy.

Adrian Peterson literally is carrying the entire offense. He is on a six game streak of 100+ yard games including 210 yards and a score in Green Bay last week. He scored in each of those six games except, of course, the Bears game in Chicago when he "only" managed 108 yards on 18 runs but added six receptions for 30 yards. Peterson currently stands at 1446 rushing yards which is a pace that would end at 1928 yards. He's actually been far more productive as the season progresses and, sadly, as the rest of the offense disappears. Fortunately the Vikings are not squandering Peterson prime years by forcing him to carry the team. No wait. That is exactly what is happening. Imagine Peterson playing in a high powered offense. With a good quarterback.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 27 12 30 16 6 21
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 3 3 7 19 8 25

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Sam Bradford, MIN CHI 0000025020 ***
Chicago provides a midrange matchup, giving up four TDs in the last five games and picking off two passes along the way. Bradford went for 228 yards and a touchdown in Week 8 against the Bears.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Latavius Murray, MIN CHI 5002100000 *
Remember the last time these teams met? Murray does, and probably will the rest of his days. He scored three times. Denver really righted the ship against RBs after that game, and without Derek Carr, it is tough to expect Murray to come anywhere close to that level of output.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN CHI 4001100000 ***
The only thing Chicago has done a good job of stopping versus RBs of late is receptions, so keep McKinnon in reserve.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Adam Thielen, MIN CHI 009901000 ***
Thielen is coming off what very well may end up being a career day upon his eventual retirement. Aside from the game two weeks back when he was knocked out of action, he has posted double-digit fantasy points in seven of his last eight appearances. He went for 3-40-0 the last time these teams played.

Update: Stefon Diggs is doubtful, paving the way for Thielen to receive more targets.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, MIN CHI 004500000 ***
Update: Floyd enters the rankings after Malcolm Mitchell was deemed doubtful to play, but the former Cardinal is no better than flier for brazen gamblers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN CHI 005501000 ***
In Week 8, Rudolph went for 5-31-0 against the Bears. Chicago has been statistically strong against the position of late, but the competition has been suspect.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, MIN CHI 3333 ***
The Bears have permitted the 12th largest weekly combination of kicking attempts, which has resulted in being the fourth best matchup for the position in Week 17.

WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

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