FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

Prediction: GB 25, MIN 20 (Line: GB by 3)

Players to Watch: Adrian Peterson

The Packers can wrap up a first round bye with a win here and already won 23-14 in the first meeting just three games ago. The Vikings can clinch a wildcard with a win though and that makes this game take on big implications. This game should be all about watching Adrian Peterson trying to get his name into the record books but now has taken on new meaning. Both teams have a need to win this game.

Green Bay Packers
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SF 22-30 10 BYE -----
2 CHI 23-10 11 @DET 24-20
3 @SEA 12-14 12 @NYG 10-38
4 NO 28-27 13 MIN 23-14
5 @IND 27-30 14 DET 27-20
6 @HOU 42-24 15 @CHI 21-13
7 @STL 30-20 16 TEN 55-7
8 JAC 24-15 17 @MIN -----
9 ARI 31-17 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
GB @ MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 20 260,2
RB DuJuan Harris 30 3-20
WR Jordy Nelson 3-40
PK Mason Crosby 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Packers lit up the Titans last week which was needed after stumbling or winning small since the week 10 bye. The only change coming into this game from the last meeting just three weeks ago is that Randall Cobb will become a game time decision because of his ankle and Ryan Grant is now in the picture.

Aaron Rodgers only passed for 286 yards and one score in the previous meeting which was in the middle of a three game stretch of single-touchdown games. He has since thrown for three touchdown in each of the last two weeks. Partially the reason for lower passing stats has been the improved running though that comes in an overall sense. The Packers are using a committee of three runners each week.

James Starks ran for 66 yards and a score on 15 carries in week 13 and Alex Green added 58 yards on 12 runs. Now Ryan Grant is also in the picture and he comes off an 80-yard effort with two scores over the Titans. Alex Green is coming back from a concussion but is expected to be fine. Starks is dealing with a bone bruise and has all but been ruled out for the regular season finale.

Jordy Nelson may also be back after missing the last three games with a hamstring strain. Ironically his last game was against the Vikings but he's been of little production since week seven. With Cobb banged up, a healthy Nelson will help to compensate and what has been a better rushing effort should also be key to the attack.

Rodgers is an automatic start every week but beyond him it is harder to reply on any one player. Nelson is worth consideration if he suffers no setback but Cobb is hurt and James Jones has been a big risk/reward sort of player that can sting you as often as make you smile. Throw in a rushing effort that has been working despite the committee and suddenly the Packers are no longer stocked with elite fantasy options after Rodgers.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 5 28 1 14 22 15
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 26 10 19 20 9 9

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Aaron Rodgers, GB @TB 0000028020 ***
Maybe Rodgers relaxed a little too much last week, as he was blanked by the Bills in Buffalo. It's another road date, and we have more than enough evidence at this point to see that Rodgers is far less effective away from Lambeau. Moreover, the Bucs have been solid since their Week 7 bye, especially at home where they've allowed an average game of 212 passing yards and one passing score. If you survived Rodgers' goose-egg last week your team should be stocked enough to absorb a better--but still not elite--outing here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Eddie Lacy, GB @TB 8012200000 ***
So much for a bum hip and sharing touches; Lacy looked perfectly fine last week and should be good to go against a Bucs D that over the past five games has given up an average of 140 combo yards and a touchdown to opposing backs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordy Nelson, GB @TB 0061001000 ***
Nelson's last road TD came in Week 6, giving him a three-game scoring drought on the road heading into Tampa. Tough to bench an elite receiver, but the numbers suggest Jordy's just another guy away from Lambeau... and Tampa's a long ways from America's Dairyland.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB @TB 007901000 ****
Cobb's productivity has held up better on the road than his receiving corps mates; witness his 96 yards last week in the loss to Buffalo. While it's been bigger receivers having the most success against the Bucs they've surrendered stats to some speed guys as well, and Cobb should carve out another fantasy helper in Tampa Bay this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Davante Adams, GB @TB 002300000 ***
The Packers still haven't received anything resembling a fantasy helper from a third receiver on the road, and there's nothing in the Bucs' pattern of stats surrendered to wideouts to suggest that changes this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Andrew Quarless, GB @TB 002200000 ***
The Packers continue to split TE snaps, cutting into any chance at fantasy stats either Quarless or Richard Rodgers might have.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB @TB 2233 ***
Mason has multiple field goals in three straight and six of seven, with double-digit points in five of those seven outings. He should get his kicks again against a Bucs defense that, after a brief and unexpected three-game bout of competency, is back to giving up double-digit points to opposing kickers.

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 23-6
8 TB 17-36 17 GB -----
9 @SEA 20-30 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIN vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Christian Ponder 20 190
RB Adrian Peterson 120,1 5-30
RB Ben Tate 40 3-20
WR Greg Jennings 4-50,1
WR Jarius Wright 3-40
TE Kyle Rudolph 4-40,1
PK Blair Walsh 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: Regardless if they win or lose, hats off to the Vikings who have prevailed and won their last three games despite having no discernible ability to throw and the defense knowing that Adrian Peterson is going to be getting at least every other play in the game. The defense is largely underrated and yet formidable and the special teams have helped even without Percy Harvin.

Peterson has been held out of practices because of abdomen and groin strains but it is the time of year to expect all runners to be nicked up and in this case, it is a miracle he can take the pounding. Peterson needs 102 rushing yards to break 2000 yards and he already ran for 210 yards on 21 carries with one score in Green Bay three weeks ago. Peterson is banged up by now to be sure and he was held to only 86 yards on 25 runs in Houston last week.

The rest of the league will watch for him to at least break 2000 yards which alone is jaw-dropping considering he is still not a full year removed from his knee surgery.

The winning is even more impressive considering that Christian Ponder has not thrown for more than 175 yards in the last five weeks and scored only three times in that stretch. Ponder only threw for 119 yards and only completed 12 of 25 in Green Bay thanks to getting the 210 yards from Peterson that game.

At least the Packers will probably expect to defend Peterson and already some on the team are publicly saying they will prevent him from getting any record. The running back is the only fantasy play on this team and that has been true since Percy Harvin went down in week nine. Kyle Rudolph did score against the Packers in the last meeting and is now the best receiving option for the Vikes. But this entire game depends on Peterson - what he can get and/or what the Packers are willing to allow in order to limit him.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 29 7 31 17 4 14
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 13 14 17 1 10 5

  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 RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN @MIA 004500000 ***
The Dolphins have only allowed five TE TDs on the year, and Gronk accounted for two of them. That means tough sledding for Rudolph, who is just starting to get his targets back after returning from injury. If high volume targets is what you seek you should be fine with Rudy, but it's not a particularly favorable matchup.
  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.

WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

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