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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 15
2012
CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
CAR at SD IND at HOU *NYG at ATL TB at NO
DEN at BAL *JAC at MIA *PIT at DAL *WAS at CLE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

Prediction: MIN 14, STL 20 (Line: STL by 3)

Player Updated: Danny Amendola

Players to Watch: Adrian Freaking Peterson, Steven Jackson

The 7-6 Vikings are still in mathematical contention for the playoffs but are only 1-5 on the road and their sole win was against divisional foe of the Lions because they scored their only two touchdowns on a kick return and a punt return. The Rams are 6-6-1 and are on a three game winning streak with a 4-3 mark at home.

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 21-14
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 @ STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Freeman 280,2
QB Christian Ponder 20 150,1
RB Adrian Peterson 120,1 5-30
WR Lestar Jean 3-50
WR Greg Jennings 2-30
WR Jarius Wright 3-40,1
TE Kyle Rudolph 4-40
PK Blair Walsh 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The win over the Bears last week ended a two game skid but merely cemented a few very apparent facts. The Vikings are a far better team when they are at home and Adrian Peterson has not only become the entire offense, but that is good enough at least at home against the Bears.

Peterson has already gained 1600 rushing yards which boggles the mind considering he was laying on the grass clutching a tore up knee about 11 months ago. There is no reason for the Vikings not to pursue a 2000 yard season for Peterson who has not dipped below 100 yards per game since week six. Four of his last five outings were 150+ yards so it is not really like the defenses are surprised.

With 400 yards needed to become the seventh player to top 2000 yards, he only needs 134 rush yards per game. By now the passing game is so bad for the Vikings, that handing it off makes the most sense. Christian Ponder only passed for 91 yards last week. He has three games with fewer than 100 pass yards. With Percy Harvin gone, there is absolutely no other receiver of any note here.

Even Kyle Rudolph who was on a three game streak with a score and 50+ yards was held to no catches last week. Michael Jenkins, Jerome Simpson, Jarius Wright - it just doesn't matter. The Vikes are still in playoff contention so ostensibly they are not going to just start running Peterson on every play for a lack of any other thing to do. But likely by Monday they will not be on contention anymore and still have games at Houston and against the Packers left to play.

Whatever Peterson can accomplish this week will give a good indication of 2000 is feasible. Nothing this year says that it isn't but he'll need at least 100 yards to keep on pace. That final game against the Packers at home may end up the perfect place to gain that 2000th yard at the end of an otherwise disappointing season.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 28 9 31 13 10 20
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 14 21 9 11 16 13

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt Cassel, MIN DET 0000022011 ***
Christian Ponder launched the Vikings' forgettable 2013 season with 236 and 1 against the Lions; now Cassel gets to stake his claim to a roster spot (starting job?) in 2014 with a by-comparison outing in the Metrodome finale. The Lions have allowed only two passing scores in the past four games, so it'll be a stiffer test than you might think for Cassel.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN DET 400000000 *
Right now Adrian Peterson appears to be the healthiest running back on the Vikings roster, but Asiata may work his way back into the mix as well. Still, if Peterson is active he'll get the carries and Asiata will have only memories of his one shining three-touchdown moment a couple weeks back. UPDATE: With Peterson listed as doubtful and Toby Gerhart out, Asiata is expected to get the start this week. He scored thrice a couple weeks back under similar circumstances, but against a stout Detroit defensive line he'll need the offense to set him up with short opportunities to be an effective fantasy back.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN DET 0081001000 ***
Jerome Simpson had the big day the last time these teams got together, but much has changed since: Matt Cassel is the quarterback, Jennings his favorite receiver, and explosive rookie Cordarrelle Patterson is seeing more looks as well. Toss in Jarius Wright and it's a crowded house--though target-wise Jennings still tends to be the patriarch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN DET 3013600000 **
The Vikings continue to find ways to get the ball into the hands of the explosive Patterson. He's approaching the franchise kickoff return record, has a couple touchdown runs of late, and last week led the team in targets as well. He's a threat any time he touches the ball, to the point that he at least warrants fantasy consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarius Wright, MIN DET 003500000 ***
Wright has been a surprise contributor in the Vikings' passing game, but it's impossible to bank on him being productive when he's at best the team's third option.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN DET 1122 ***
Walsh averages two points more per game at home, and he's facing a Lions' defense that has allowed more points to kickers than any other team in the Metrodome's swan song. Expect him to get ample opportunity to kick the Lions while they're down, as well as try some lengthy field goals in a game with no playoff ramifications whatsoever.

St. Louis Rams
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DET 23-27 10 @SF 24-24
2 WAS 31-28 11 NYJ 13-27
3 @CHI 6-23 12 @ARI 31-17
4 SEA 19-13 13 SF 16-13
5 ARI 17-3 14 @BUF 15-12
6 @MIA 14-17 15 MIN -----
7 GB 20-30 16 @TB -----
8 NE 7-45 17 @SEA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
STL vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 220,1
QB Brady Quinn 220
RB Daryl Richardson 10
WR Kenny Britt 5-80,1
WR Chris Givens 4-50
WR Austin Pettis 2-20
TE Lance Kendricks 3-30
PK Greg Zuerlein 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Rams are winding down their first season under Jeff Fisher and while the offense never caught fire much, at least the defense has come a long way. The notable part of this game is that it is the final home game of the year and that could be the last time that Steven Jackson plays for the Rams after nine years. At 30 years of age he may not fit into Fisher's rebuilding plans and he's less likely to take a secondary role after being the man there since 2004.

The Rams are riding Jackson down the stretch with over 20 carries in four of the last five games. Daryl Richardson has declined to only three carries per week and it all goes to Jackson who has responded well given his age and mileage. No reason not to use up whatever gas might be in the tank. Jackson is due to make $7 million next year which is voidable.

Sam Bradford has bounced back in a minor way from his catastrophic sophomore season but still has only 15 scores on the season and usually bangs around the 200 yard mark in most games. Danny Amendola has a chance to play this week and his presence is always a boost to the offense. Fisher said that Amendola would not practice on Wednesday but had a much better shot at playing this week.

Brandon Gibson stepped up in the Amendola role last week with 100 yards and a score on six catches in Buffalo. That left Chris Givens with only three catches for 25 yards after stepping up in previous weeks with four games over 70 yards and scoring twice.

This week will be all about stopping Adrian Peterson who knows how to run in side a dome. That means a lower scoring game as they all are lately but one where Jackson should sense the future and turn it on for the hometown crowd in what may end up as his final home game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 25 26 12 29 24 13
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 21 16 11 20 17 12

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Zac Stacy, STL @SEA 7002100000 ****
Stacy rolled up a season-high 134 yards when the Seahawks visited St. Louis in Week 8, and he's scored in both Arizona and Carolina. Not much more to be proved, so while a TD in Seattle is a tough get Stacy has the resume to suggest he'll snag one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL @SEA 2003400000 ***
If you're forced to start a member of the St. Louis passing game, at least Austin has return-game upside. If he's healthy, that is.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Austin Pettis, STL @SEA 002200000 ***
To identify which wide receiver could have success in St. Louis, we suggest a dart, a coin, and a 20-sided die. Good luck.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL @SEA 003400000 ***
Cook is sharing looks with Lance Kendricks in an unfavorable matchup with the Seahawks; none of that sounds like much in the way of fantasy assistance.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL @SEA 1100 ***
The Seahawks don't give up much to kickers, even less at home, so despite the nine Zuerlein mustered in the earlier meeting you'll want to get your kicks elsewhere.

WEEK 15
2012
CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
CAR at SD IND at HOU *NYG at ATL TB at NO
DEN at BAL *JAC at MIA *PIT at DAL *WAS at CLE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

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