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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 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 @BUF 0000025012 **
87 attempts in, Teddy Football is still looking for his first NFL touchdown pass. Could come against a Bills D that just let Tom Brady go for an Abe Lincoln against them, but aside from that Bridgewater's fantasy upside is relatively limited--and not just by the Bills.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN @BUF 4006400000 ***
The Bills haven't allowed an RB TD this season, so any fantasy value McKinnon adds this week will have to come via yardage. Fortunately he's usurped Matt Asiata as the Vikings' primary back and could cobble together enough rushing and receiving yardage to blip on the fantasy radar. Hopefully you have better options at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN @BUF 004600000 ***
It's a favorable matchup on paper, but with Teddy Bridgewater still looking for his first NFL passing score and the Vikings' offense struggling on multiple levels you likely have better options at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN @BUF 003500000 ***
The Bills have allowed a WR TD in every game this year, so if ever there was an opportunity for Patterson to snap out of his slump it's here. However, at this juncture he's likely burned most if not all of his fantasy bridges so it would take a leap of faith to plug him into your lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarius Wright, MIN @BUF 003400000 ***
Wright had one big day as Teddy Bridgewater's favorite target; he's done little since and is the third receiver on an offense that can't even get one going fantasy-wise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Chase Ford, MIN @BUF 004300000 ***
The Vikings haven't had a tight end top 40 yards since Kyle Rudolph was healthy, and Teddy Bridgewater has yet to throw an NFL TD. Look elsewhere for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN @BUF 1111 ****
The Vikings have scored 10 points or less in four of their last five games. You can't bank on him for points 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
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
QB Austin Davis, STL SEA 0000024021 **
The Seahawks have allowed multiple TD tosses and at least 250 passing yards in each of their last four games. So while prior to the season using the Rams' third string quarterback against the defending Super Bowl champs would have been enough to get you a date with a mental health professional, this week it actually makes sense. Davis against the Seahaws; who woulda thunk?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Zac Stacy, STL SEA 4003200000 ***
The Cowboys have been the only team to effectively run the ball against Seattle, but the Rams ain't the Cowboys and Stacy ain't DeMarco Murray. Plus, he's now involved in a menage a trois at running back, sharing carries with Benny Cunningham and, appropriately enough, Tre Mason. None of that adds up to good fantasy news for Stacy this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Benny Cunningham, STL SEA 3003200000 ***
The good: Cunningham has two of the Rams' three RB rushing scores this year. The bad: he's facing a Seahawks defense that allowing just 3.4 yards per carry and 78 rushing yards per game to opposing backs. The ugly: Benny has to share the workload with two other Rams backs. The way I figure, there's really not too much future here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tre Mason, STL SEA 300000000 ***
Mason averaged eight yards per carry in his NFL debut and now owns a share of the Rams' backfield workload. However, it's just a share and it's anything but a favorable matchup; his initial fantasy impact will have to wait at least another week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL SEA 003501000 **
Britt's been consistently targeted if not consistently productive, and there are opportunities to take advantage of the Seattle secondary. If Brian Quick can't take advantage, Britt would be the next best bet.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brian Quick, STL SEA 004500000 ***
The Seahawks secondary hasn't been infallible, but good luck identifying which Ram might do the damage. Quick seems the logical choice, but that only means there's a very good chance he'll see more of Richard Sherman than the average TV viewer subjected to Sherman's media blitz of commercial saturation. Temper your expectations accordingly, because you get out what you put in.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL SEA 004300000 ***
Tough to be the second-best "athletic receiver whose team can't figure out how to get them the ball enough to be effective" in the game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL SEA 006601000 ****
Even Achilles had a heel, and for the Seahawks that heel is the tight end. Seattle has allowed seven TE TDs on the season, including two last week, and with 30 targets over the past three games it's clear Cook is on the Rams' passing game radar.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL SEA 2222 ****
Legatron has just one week of double-digit points this season, and a date with the Seahawks doesn't feel like an opportunity to change that number.

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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