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 0000026020 ***
Before you pencil Rodgers in for something gaudy, note that in the two meetings since Matt Flynn embarrassed the Lions for 480 and 6 Green Bay QBs have totaled 413 and 1. Rodgers hasn't throw for multiple TDs against Detroit since November 2012 or topped 275 yards against them since November 2011. The Lions haven't allowed a multiple TD tosser this year, though Rodgers is a step up from Eli and Cam. Still, check expectations at the door.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Eddie Lacy, GB @DET 4013200000 ***
The good news is similarly-sized backs Rashad Jennings and Jonathan Stewart have both scored against the Lions this year. The bad: Detroit's D is allowing a shade over two yards per carry. Lacy himself is barely above three and was held to 16 yards on 10 carries his last trip to Motown. Still playable in TD-heavy systems, but yardage leagues may want to shop around.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordy Nelson, GB @DET 008901000 ***
30 targets, 18 catches... so what if Jordy hasn't done a think against Detroit since tallying a hat trick in Matt Flynn's record-setter at the end of the 2011 season? Detroit has allowed only one WR TD and one WR to top 50 yards, but given the quarterbacking (and to some degree the receivers) they've faced those numbers are misleading. Nelson's an every-week starter, even if you need to dial back expectations just a hair this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB @DET 005601000 ***
Cobb may be playing second fiddle to Jordy Nelson, but at least one TD in each game is sweet music to fantasy owners. Cobb rushed for 72 yards the last time he faced Detroit, so perhaps he can augment his fantasy value with a little legwork as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Davante Adams, GB @DET 002400000 ***
Welcome to the party, rookie! Unfortunately, all signs point towards reduced production from the Packers passing game this week and that reduction starts at the bottom, where Adams and Jarrett Boykin are battling for looks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarrett Boykin, GB @DET 001200000 ***
Being blanked by Richard Sherman is one thing; being usurped by a rookie in the Packers' passing game pecking order is something else entirely.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Andrew Quarless, GB @DET 002200000 ***
The Lions have had their difficulties defending the tight end this year; too bad the Packers don't have a reliable one for fantasy purposes.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB @DET 1133 ***
You'd think Crosby would appreciate going indoors after kicking at Lambeau, but he hasn't mustered multiple field goals in Motown since 2011. The Packers have averaged 16 points per game their last four visits to Detroit, which doesn't help Crosby's prospects.

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 Matt Cassel, MIN @NO 0000020012 ***
If the Vikings really want the passing game to pick up the slack left by Adrian Peterson's absence, they'll turn to Teddy Bridgewater. Cassel will continue as a placeholder who can't be banked on for fantasy contributions.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN @NO 6012100000 ***
Asiata isn't going to dazzle anyone with his three yards per carry, though his work in the passing game last week was a welcome surprise. Keep expectations in check and hope for a goal line look to salvage Asiata's fantasy day.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN @NO 4005600000 ***
The Vikings need to get the ball into Patterson's hands as often as possible. Emphasis on "need". And "often". Given those parameters, he's bound to carve out some fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN @NO 004500000 ***
The secondary--maybe thirdary, if you include Kyle Rudolph--target in a non-productive passing game doesn't exactly whet the fantasy whistle.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN @NO 005601000 ****
Rudolph scored in Week 1, topped 50 yards last week, and after Cordarrelle Patterson is about all the Vikings' passing game has going for it. Given that the undermanned Vikings are likely to be playing catch-up here, he should see plenty of opportunities--enough to boost his fantasy stock.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN @NO 1122 ***
Opportunities are bound to be hard to come by for Walsh, though any time the Vikings cross midfield he's in range--especially indoors.

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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