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 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 GB 20000023011 ***
Bridgewater has yet to throw multiple touchdowns in an NFL game; let's let him do that before we start considering him for a fantasy start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN GB 5003200000 ***
McKinnon has carved out some decent yardage and should augment his numbers with receptions and receiving yards, but he's at best a fringe fantasy helper this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN GB 2002100000 ***
The Pack has shut out a couple of pretty good backs--LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte--since returning from their bye, so odds are Minnesota's goal line guy isn't looking at a plethora of opportunities here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Charles Johnson, MIN GB 002301000 *
Five different Vikings WRs have paced the team in fantasy scoring this year, a group Johnson joined last week. Somebody could step up and feast on garbage time numbers this week, but the upside isn't tempting enough to offset the risk of identifying which Viking it might be.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN GB 005500000 ***
Jennings has 69 yards and zero TDs in three games against his former team; no reason to think those numbers get a dramatic boost this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN GB 002300000 ***
At this point we can stop saying the Vikings haven't figured out how to use Patterson yet--not that it's not true, just that it's so obvious there's no need to keep repeating it.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN GB 003300000 *
The Vikings have rediscovered the tight end position with TE TDs the past two weeks, but Rudy has yet to resume his regularly scheduled duties; until he does, tough to trust him with a fantasy start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN GB 3311 ***
You don't keep up with the Packers' red-hot offense by kicking field goals, so there's likely a better fantasy option than Walsh 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 @SD 0000021011 ****
The Chargers haven't allowed a visiting QB to throw multiple touchdowns against them since Russell Wilson turned the trick back in Week 2. And Hill has just one TD on the year, so he's an unlikely candidate to snap that string.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tre Mason, STL @SD 7011100000 ***
The Chargers haven't allowed much on the ground; then again, only two opposing backs have had at least 20 carries against them, and both topped 95 yards. So if Mason gets a workload similar to last week he should be a fantasy factor.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Benny Cunningham, STL @SD 1003301000 **
Cunningham clings to value as a change of pace back to Tre Mason. He's been seeing more work as a receiver of late, and there's some fantasy value there against a defense that's allowed the second-most RB receiving TDs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL @SD 003400000 ***
Britt has scored in two of the last three, had a monster game with Shaun Hill at the helm... and has just about sucked enough people into believing he's finally tapped into his vast potential that it's time for him to vanish once again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL @SD 1002100000 ***
Eventually the Rams will figure out how to use Austin. Keep repeating that, and click your heels together three times and it just might come true.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL @SD 004500000 **
It's a tough matchup against a Chargers defense that's allowed only two TE TDs all year--especially when Cook often times cedes red zone looks to Lance Kendricks. You can find a more reliable fantasy option elsewhere.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL @SD 0022 ***
Legatron is coming off a five-FG game, his first notable fantasy outing in two months. A repeat is unlikely on the road, where he has two field goals in his last four games.

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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