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
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 Teddy Bridgewater, MIN CHI 10000028020 ****
Since a disappointing 158 and 1 in Chicago in Week 11 Bridgewater has been steadily building, with four multiple touchdown games and two 300-yard efforts in the five games since. The Bears have allowed 13 passing touchdowns and 1,085 passing yards over their past three road games; while that 361 and 4 average may be aggressive for Bridgewater, it does suggest he'll be on the positive side of a fantasy helper this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN CHI 5013200000 ***
Asiata is a similar style back to Joique Bell and Mark Ingram, who have combined for four TDs in three games against the Bears. Asiata's rushing yardage isn't likely to overwhelm, but he's been bringing more to the table in the passing game and the Bears have given up 70 RB receiving yards per game over the past month.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Charles Johnson, MIN CHI 0071001000 ****
Johnson left last week's loss to the Dolphins prematurely, and early word this week is that he may not be able to practice. If that's the case, no need to risk him in a meaningless game. We'll check on his availability later this week.
Update: Johnson worked his way up to a full practice session Friday. He's listed as probable, and if he's probably going to play he's probably going to receive plenty of attention from Teddy Bridgewater.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN CHI 005601000 ****
In just shy of one season's worth of meetings with the Bears Jennings has amassed 974 yards and six TDs against them. Sure, much of that came with the Pack but despite shaky quarterbacking he mustered 12-162-1 in last season's series. He had one catch in the earlier meeting this year but has taken on a larger role of late and if Charles Johnson can't go could provide Teddy Bridgewater with the WR1 target he'll be needing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarius Wright, MIN CHI 002400000 ***
With Charles Johnson injured and potentially out for this game expect Wright to continue to step up for the Vikings. Over the past three games he's scored twice and topped 100 yards once--and that was with Johnson hogging the looks. The same defense that let Louis Murphy go for 113 yards and Cole Beasley score twice isn't likely to be able to slow Wright's roll, either.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN CHI 2233 ****
The Bears have allowed at least seven kicker points in every game this season and multiple field goals in nine of their last 10. Walsh didn't miss last week, ending a 1-for-6 stretch, and he was two for three on treys the last time he faced the Bears, so seven feels like a baseline this week.

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 @SEA 0000018002 ***
Last week's 290 and 2 sounds like a real fantasy quarterback line for Hill, something we haven't seen from him this year. Of course, now he heads to Seattle, where mediocre quarterbacks go to be pummeled. It was a nice run.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tre Mason, STL @SEA 3001100000 ***
Mason had 85 yards and a touchdown in the earlier meeting with Seattle so you can't dismiss him out of hand. However, he's not DeMarco Murray, the only opposing back to top 55 yards in Seattle, which means he's far more likely to wind up with a stat line something like those recorded by Andre Williams (13-33-1) or Frank Gore (11-29-1)--and those lines are heavily dependent on that score for fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Stedman Bailey, STL @SEA 004500000 ***
Bailey's 4-33 against Seattle last December is the best showing by a receiver on the Rams' active roster against the Seahawks. So... yay?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL @SEA 1002100000 ***
Austin has 31 total yards in two career meetings with the Seahawks. You'll want to look elsewhere for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL @SEA 002100000 ***
Britt's 1-14 in 2010 as a member of the Titans is the best game by a current Rams receiver in Seattle. Yes, it's that bad.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL @SEA 004400000 ***
Cook scored on his last visit to Seattle, but it was Lance Kendricks who scored in the earlier meeting with the Seahawks--as well as last week against the Giants. On paper it's a favorable matchup, but Cook is sharing too many looks to be banked on for fantasy help here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL @SEA 1111 **
You wanna bank on a kicker going to Seattle, where opposing booters have a total of four points the past two games, you're on your own.

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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