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 @MIN 0000030030 ***
The only thing stopping Rodgers when these teams met earlier in the year was sportsmanship, as the Packers pulled the plug on A-Rod after just 17 attempts--three of them touchdowns. He's thrown 10 TDs in the past three games and topped 300 yards in all of them, so he's in your fantasy lineup even with the caveat that he may be a short-timer once again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Eddie Lacy, GB @MIN 7013400000 ***
Lacy has scored and topped 90 yards in each of his three career games against the Vikings; that includes 13-105-2 earlier this season. No reason to think he can't be just as productive again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordy Nelson, GB @MIN 0061002000 ***
Nelson has scored in every Packers win--and failed to score in every Packers loss. So if you're picking the Packers here you have to believe Nelson will find the end zone this week. He did so on one catch in the earlier meeting, no reason to think he can't do so again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB @MIN 006801000 ****
Cobb has scored in six of the last seven and topped 120 yards in three of the last four. He scored against Minnesota in the earlier meeting and should have little difficulty getting his in the rematch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Davante Adams, GB @MIN 002300000 ***
Adams scored in the earlier meeting as the Packers built a big lead and went to the bench. He's more involved now, so he has an even better chance of being a fantasy factor.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Andrew Quarless, GB @MIN 002200000 ***
Quarless is splitting looks with Richard Rodgers, did little against the Vikings in the earlier matchup, and faces a Minnesota defense that's been surprisingly stout against tight ends all season long. It all adds up to being at the bottom of the pecking order for Aaron Rodgers' stats.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB @MIN 2244 ****
Multiple field goals in three straight and four of five, plus a butt-load (technical term) of PATs; you'll be just fine with Crosby this week.

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 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.
Update: McKinnon may see an uptick in work with Matt Asiata out due to a concussion, but there weren't likely to be many goal line shots anyway so that news doesn't move the needle a ton.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN GB 00000000 *
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.
Update: Asiata has been ruled out of this week's game due to a concussion.
  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.

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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