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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

Prediction: Adrian Peterson 17, HOU 27 (Line: HOU by 7.5)

Players to Watch: Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster

Adrian Peterson's team is currently 8-6 and still in the running for a wild card along with four other teams. The Vikings are only 2-5 on the road. The 12-2 Texans are 6-1 at home and have clinched the AFC South and remain the #1 seed in the AFC by one game over the Broncos. Gotta still win and that's a very good thing here in week 16 for every Andre Johnson and Arian Foster owner.

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 36-22
7 ARI 21-14 16 @HOU -----
8 TB 17-36 17 GB -----
9 @SEA 20-30 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Adrian Peterson 150,1 4-20
WR Jarius Wright 2-30
TE Kyle Rudolph 5-50,1
PK Blair Walsh 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: This is absolutely amazing. Honestly. Amazing. The Vikings literally have no passing game anymore. There is no one worth covering even if Christian Ponder could get the passes thrown accurately which is apparently not possible anyway. All eleven defenders know all they have to do is stop one guy. Just one guy. No need to respect anything else but one guy and yet they cannot do it. Adrian Peterson is only about 190 yards away from a 2,000 yard season and about 300 yards away from breaking Eric Dickerson's all-time record of 2,105 yards.

(Side note - did you realize that O.J. Simpson broke 2,000 yards in a 14 game season?)

The wildcard is possible though maybe less likely than for any of the other contending teams thanks to a schedule that ends with this game in Houston and then hosting the Packers.

There is no fantasy value on this team aside from maybe the team defense other than Peterson. Christian Ponder has not passed for more than 159 yards for the last four weeks. For the last three weeks, he hasn't even passed more than 25 times in a game. Meanwhile, Peterson has ran more than that for the last two weeks and racked up 576 yards in just the last three games. Every play could not be more obvious if Ponder grabbed the middle linebackers facemask and screamed at him "WE ARE GOING TO RUN PETERSON NOW!". The receivers have become such afterthoughts here that they might as well all carry huge arrows and then follow Peterson around on every play while pointing at him so the camera doesn't get lost.

Returning from a catastrophic knee injury in nine months is already miraculous. Challenging for 2000+ yards is jaw-dropping. Doing all this on the worst passing team is inconceivable. Peterson is the only fantasy play here. I know it. You know it. The defenses all know it. No one is stopping him. This is the #1 rushing defense playing at home. This will be interesting. And JJ Watt is back too...

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 29 7 31 18 6 16
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 19 1 25 29 5 3

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN @GB 0000023011 ***
Bridgewater has one multiple touchdown game in his last nine, and while he mustered 296 and 1 in the earlier meeting with Green Bay that feels like his upside here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Adrian Peterson, MIN @GB 7012100000 ***
Peterson has scored in three straight, seven of eight and 12 of his last 14 against the Packers so even if his carries or production are limited--like his 13-45-1 in the earlier meeting this year--he's still a solid bet for the end zone. And there's always the upside of a big run or a second score, offsetting the risk of the Vikings falling behind early and being forced to switch to a better pass-catching back.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarius Wright, MIN @GB 004600000 ***
Wright was solid (4-50) in the earlier meeting with Green Bay and paced Vikings receivers with 3-57 last week. However, with an upside in the 50-yard range he's a fringe fantasy contributor at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN @GB 004300000 ***
Green Bay's banged up secondary has allowed 100-yard efforts in back-to-back games, multiple WR TDs in each of those contests. Diggs briefly returned to midseason form with a pair of scores a couple weeks back, but the Vikings passing game is too inconsistent for him to be a bankable fantasy play. Settle for the upside of his frightening 6-66 stat line from the earlier meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN @GB 007701000 ***
Rudy was huge in the earlier meeting with Green Bay, catching six balls for 106 yards and a TD. He's topped 50 yards in three straight against the Pack and a good bet to reprise those earlier numbers against a Green Bay defense that's given up six games of 50-plus yards to opposing tight ends this year and six TE TDs in the past 10 games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN @GB 2122 ***
At least eight points in
six straight road games, so maybe
Vikes should stay outdoors?

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIA 30-10 10 @CHI 13-6
2 @JAC 27-7 11 JAC 43-37
3 @DEN 31-25 12 @DET 34-31
4 TEN 38-14 13 @TEN 24-10
5 @NYJ 23-17 14 @NE 14-42
6 GB 24-42 15 IND 29-17
7 BAL 43-13 16 MIN -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @IND -----
9 BUF 21-9 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
HOU vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Brandon Weeden 230,1
RB Lamar Miller 20
WR Cecil Shorts 5-90,1
PK Nick Novak 1 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: Just win this week and the #1 seed is their clear and simple. A previous win over the Broncos ensures even if the Colts won in Indy in the season finale' that a tied record would not matter. This is the final home game and a chance to treat the hometown fans for the last time until the second round of the playoffs.

Stopping Adrian Peterson will be key as it has for every defense. But even Chris Johnson gashed the Texans for 141 yards back in week four in Houston and Peterson is capable of breaking a long one on any given play... and has... with regularity in recent games.

Matt Schaub at home should always throw at least one touchdown but his yardage will vary depending on need and how well Arian Foster is running. Last week Foster turned in a season best 165 yards on 27 carries but failed to score in a home game for only the second time all year. He was on a three game scoring streak previous and has been a lock for high yardage whenever in Houston.

The passing effort has waned in recent weeks though the Texans kept on winning thanks to rushing scores and good defensive play. The secondary got it back together after the New England loss and held Andrew Luck to only 186 yards last week. All that really matters on the offense now is Foster and Andre Johnson. Ben Tate is back as the #2 but has minimal use. Johnson has been significantly more productive in the second half of the season and comes off a 151 yard last week which was only his third highest game in the last five weeks.

Knowing that a win here means week 17 does not matter, the Texans will give their final home game a total effort like we saw last week. The only way this is anything close to being a close game is if Adrian Peterson can have big success against the best defense versus running backs. It's like the immoveable object and the unstoppable force. Plus Andre Johnson. And Arian Foster. The only weakness of the defense counters the weakness of the Minnesota offense.

This game should have so much running in it that it may be over before any other game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 18 1 25 3 4 5
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 27 14 22 21 10 10

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Brock Osweiler, HOU JAC 10000024010 ***
The Chargers have held four straight quarterbacks to one or zero touchdown pass and 216 yards or less, including Osweiler's 166 and 1 in Week 13. Osweiler has averaged better than 300 yards in the three games since facing San Diego, and a home date with playoff positioning on the line should yield better results than the earlier meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Blue, HOU JAC 801000000 ***
Blue seems slated for the largest share of touches against a defense that's allowed four RB TDs in the past two games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, HOU JAC 7004300000 ***
Miller scored last time out against New England, scored last week... and can't be trusted with a fantasy start because the Dolphins inexplicably bench him even when he's producing. There's upside with touches, but Jay Ajayi looms.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Chris Polk, HOU JAC 200000000 ***
Polk crept up on Alfred Blue's carries last week, swiping 11 of his own. Were he more productive than three yards a pop we'd project more in a favorable matchup--but he wasn't, so we won't.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU JAC 0081102000 ***
Hopkins gouged the Jags for 10-148-2 in the earlier meeting, and a defense that's given up four straight 100-yard games to WR1s--with three also finding the end zone--is no better equipped to slow him than before.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Ryan Griffin, HOU JAC 002200000 ***
Griffin hasn't scored in a month, hasn't topped 30 yards in longer, and didn't even see the field in the earlier matchup with Jacksonville. Little reason to like him here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, HOU JAC 2233 ***
Multiple field goals
in three straight games for Novak
That's a solid trend

WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

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