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 Christian Ponder 20 150,1
RB Adrian Peterson 120,1 5-30
RB Ben Tate 20
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 Teddy Bridgewater, MIN @MIA 30000021011 ***
Bridgewater continues to improve as he takes the reins of the Vikings. His streak of three straight with multiple touchdown passes ended last week but he did record his second consecutive 300-yard outing. The Dolphins have surrendered multiple scoring strikes in three of four, so Teddy has at least a chance to keep building towards becoming a regular fantasy contributor.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN @MIA 4005300000 ***
The Dolphins are far from a shutdown run defense--they allowed two RB rushing scores last week to the Patriots--but while Asiata is essentially the only show in town he's nothing special. He'll need to be set up for a shorty to get you a touchdown, and his yardage is unlikely to be anything noteworthy as well. You should be able to do better in championship week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN @MIA 004501000 ***
Multiple mouths are being fed in the Minnesota passing game, with no one target standing out above the others. First it was Charles Johnson, then it was Jarius Wright and last week it was Jennings who found the end zone. The Dolphins have allowed seven WR TDs in the past four games so there's some opportunity here, but it's both limited and fractured; you should have better options at your disposal for championship week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Charles Johnson, MIN @MIA 005600000 ***
Johnson was the most-targeted Vikings wideout for the second straight week, and his 72 yards was nothing to sneeze at. But where Teddy Bridgewater is topping out at, there just isn't enough to make multiple Vikings' pass-catchers fantasy-relevant.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN @MIA 2211 ***
Walsh is one for his last six; he couldn't hit water falling out of a boat at this point, so get your kicks elsewhere.

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
WR Kenny Britt 5-80,1
WR Chris Givens 4-50
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
QB Shaun Hill, STL NYG 0000022010 ***
If not for his rushing score in a 52-0 blowout of the Raiders, Hill wouldn't have a single fantasy helper to his credit. Only one of the last six quarterbacks to face the Giants has thrown double-digit touchdown passes; unlikely Hill winds up the second.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tre Mason, STL NYG 10012100000 ****
Mason continues to get the bulk of the workload, so when there's a favorable matchup--like against the Giants, who have allowed four 100-yard rushers--he's the primary beneficiary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Stedman Bailey, STL NYG 004601000 **
If Shaun Hill puts up enough yardage to generate a fantasy-worthy receiver--and that's a reasonably big "if"--Bailey is the most likely candidate; he's been the Rams' top receiver three of the past four games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL NYG 005700000 ***
Britt remains in the mix, but he's wildly inconsistent and dependent on a quarterback who doesn't exactly churn out tons of helpful fantasy stats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL NYG 3002100000 ***
The Rams are becoming more creative in getting the ball to their top pick from a year ago, but he's largely a non-factor as a receiver so you're banking on returns and gimmick plays for him to get you fantasy points--always a risky proposition.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL NYG 002200000 ***
Cook will be the most targeted tight end in a reasonably favorable matchup, but he still has to fend off Lance Kendricks and Cory Harkey--as well as hope Shaun Hill throws enough for them to be fantasy relevant.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL NYG 2222 ***
Aside from his five-field goal outing against the Broncos Zuerlein has been mostly ordinary with no more than two field goals in any other contest since Week 2. It's not an overly favorable matchup, so no need to go out of your way to get Legatron into your lineup.

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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