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 DET 10000030020 ***
Rodgers was abysmal in the earlier matchup--162 yards, one TD--and he's actually been awful in three straight against the Lions. That run includes two home dates, so it's not just a home/road split. Rodgers hasn't been much of a fantasy helper the past fortnight, and expectations should be kept in check this week as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Eddie Lacy, GB DET 8013300000 ***
Lacy has averaged 60 yards from scrimmage per game against the Lions, with no TDs to boot. Doesn't help when Aaron Rodgers attempts to pad his stats by throwing at the stripe rather than giving Lacy a shot, though Lacy has scored in three straight and five of the last six. It's taken burly backs to crack the Lions' code at the stripe--Matt Asiata, LeGarrette Blount, Steven Jackson--and Lacy certainly has the bulk, if given the opportunity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordy Nelson, GB DET 006902000 ***
Subdued passing numbers for Aaron Rodgers mean subdued numbers for Nelson, who has been fantastic at home but hasn't scored or topped 100 yards against the Lions since New Year's Day of 2012. Check your expectations accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB DET 0071000000 ****
Cobb has been held in check by the Lions as well, with just one career TD and one career 100-yard game against them. He's been a little less volatile than Jordy Nelson, especially on the road, but he hasn't been quite as productive as his running mate in Lambeau either. It's not a great matchup, but at this juncture Cobb is an every-week fantasy play regardless of foe.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Davante Adams, GB DET 003500000 ***
While Green Bay's receiver depth has been especially productive at home, the Lions aren't giving up enough to feed all three mouths so keep Adams in reserve this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB DET 2233 ****
Crosby has multiple field goals in four straight and seven of his last eight, and double digit points in five of his last eight. He posted a season-low single point in the earlier meeting with Detroit but this one's at home, where he's averaging four more points per game than on the road. So he's good for at least five here, right?

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
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 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.

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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