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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 6 NYG at CHI (THU) DET at CLE OAK at KC TEN at SEA
ARI at SF GB at BAL PIT at NYJ WAS at DAL
CAR at MIN JAC at DEN PHI at TB IND at SD (MON)
*UPDATED CIN at BUF NO at NE STL at HOU On Bye: ATL, MIA

Prediction: CAR 24, MIN 27 (Line: MIN by 2.5)

Players of Interest: Ted Ginn Jr., Brandon LaFell

Update: Blair Walsh is questionable with a hamstring strain but it is in his non-kicking leg and the Vikings intend on using him this weekend. Adrian Peterson is dealing with the personal tragedy when his 2-year old son was murdered by the mother's boyfriend. He intends on playing.

Here's a coin toss game with the 1-3 Panthers 0-2 on the road and yet the 1-3 Vikings are winless at home. They have only played there once thanks to the London game. The Vikings have rested up for ten days and that should help.

1 SEA 7-12 10 @SF -
2 @BUF 23-24 11 NE -
3 NYG 38-0 12 @MIA -
4 BYE WEEK 13 TB -
5 @ARI 6-22 14 @NO -
6 @MIN - 15 NYJ -
7 STL - 16 NO -
8 @TB - 17 @ATL -
9 ATL - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR @ MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 20 320,3
RB DeAngelo Williams 60
WR Jason Avant 3-30
WR Jerricho Cotchery 3-50,1
TE Greg Olsen 6-60,2
PK Graham Gano 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Just when the Panthers were feeling great about their shutout of the Giants, they return from their bye and get flattened by the Cardinals. This is not a great road them and that plays into this week. But the next four weeks should be a fantasy point bonanza facing the Vikings, Rams, Buccaneers and Falcons. The Panthers should be starting a winning streak but including this week will depend on them playing better away from home.

QUARTERBACKS: Cam Newton has been a disappointment so far this season with only six passing scores against five interceptions. More than that, he's only scored once as a runner and never gained more than 45 yards rushing. He's still ranks around the middle for quarterbacks but there's been no advantage on relying on Newton this year. That should see some improvement for the next month with a nice slate of games.

RUNNING BACKS: This remains one of the worst units in the NFL. Only one touchdown on the year and that ended up with Michael Tolbert who hasn't topped 31 yards in any game. DeAngelo Williams was turning in solid rush yardage with no role as a receiver but that fell off against the Steelers when he only managed 39 yards on 12 runs. The intention is working Kenjon Barner in more as a third-down type back but that only ended up with one catch in London.

For now, the projections are only for Williams who has some consistency with yardage. Once Stewart ever returns, there will be no reason to issue projections.

WIDE RECEIVERS: It defies explanation but the best wideout for the Panthers is now Ted Ginn Jr. who was only brought on board to play special teams. Ginn remained above 60 yards for the last three weeks and scored twice. By the same token, Steve Smith averaged around 50 yards per game and hasn't scored since the season opener. Brandon LaFell had his one two-score game but still has never topped 53 yards in any game.

Ginn gets fewer targets than the other two wideouts but does more with less. That makes him a risky fantasy start but also the only one that has offered any upside here for the last three games.

TIGHT ENDS: Greg Olsen offers consistent yardage each week between 50 and 80 yards but only scored once in the Bills game. He was limping after the loss to the Cardinals and was wearing a walking boot. I will assume he returns this week but will update later if warranted.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Vikings give up at least 292 pass yards every week and usually two or three touchdowns. This should be a better game for Newton and one where the rushing effort should remain mediocre and prompt the passing effort to do more. The Panthers also just lost their starting left guard Amini Silatolu which won't help the run game. Notable too is that the Vikings are the worst at stopping tight ends and already gave up six touchdowns to the position so Olsen will be a nice start if he can play. Facing the VIkings means starting all the normal options - Newton, Smith and Olsen and even consider Ginn if you are in a pinch.

WHAT TO WATCH: This should be a return to passing success for the Panthers that will carry on for the next four games. Watch to see how Newton can use his wide receivers.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 17 24 19 14 23 16
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 26 30 23 32 20 25

 

1 @DET 24-34 10 WAS -
2 @CHI 30-31 11 @SEA -
3 CLE 27-31 12 @GB -
4 PIT 34-27 13 CHI -
5 BYE WEEK 14 @BAL -
6 CAR - 15 PHI -
7 @NYG - 16 @CIN -
8 GB - 17 DET -
9 @DAL - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIN vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Cassel 230,1
RB Adrian Peterson 90,1 2-20
WR Greg Jennings 4-60,1
WR Cordarrelle Patterson 2-30
WR Jerome Simpson 4-50
TE Kyle Rudolph 4-30
PK Blair Walsh 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Nice win in London makes up for the loss to the Browns (maybe) but in the process Christian Ponder was lost. The remaining schedule is no cakewalk but the next month is about as soft as it will get. The Vikes still haven't actually won a game on this side of the Atlantic and they burned up a home venue with that England game. The problem won't be the offense that has scored at least 24 points each week but instead the defense that has yet to give away fewer than 27 points.

QUARTERBACKS: The Vikings stand behind Christian Ponder who will be out until week eight or nine and he threw just two touchdowns against five interceptions over the first three weeks. Matt Cassel merely passed for a season high 248 yards and two scores in one game with no turnovers and, by the way, the Vikes grabbed their first win while playing against the toughest pass defense yet faced.

The Vikings acquired Josh Freeman over the bye and while he is not expected to play this week, his $3 million salary already says he will be starting very soon and for the rest of the year. Freeman comes from a team with Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson and Cordarrelle Patterson should not be a step down.

RUNNING BACKS: Adrian Peterson comes off his season high of 140 rush yards and two scores on just 23 carries. He's never been worse than 107 total yards in any game and already scored six times.

WIDE RECEIVERS: With Cassel under center, Greg Jennings mere caught three passes for a season high 92 yards and his first TWO touchdowns wit the Vikings. Against the Steelers. Jerome Simpson turned in seven catches for 124 yards. This was clearly the best the starting wideouts performed this year and it came on the road against the Steelers. That was the Cassel difference. Keep those stats going and Ponder and sit on the bench and ponder what just happened.

TIGHT ENDS: Kyle Rudolph has lost all fantasy value this year. His season best is only 42 yards and he's scored just once. With Cassel throwing the ball to actual wide receivers, Rudolph only caught two passes for a total of six yards.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: With Cassel as the starter for this week (and maybe this week only), it places a bit more risk on the situation but it could well be a much better game for the Viking receivers. The Panthers have yet to allow more than one passing score to an opponent but the yardage has been high on occasion. The Panthers are only average at stopping the run so consider this week to be a good place to start Peterson, and only a moderate expectation for Cassel, Jennings and Simpson. It helps that the Vikes have spent ten days resting and preparing.

WHAT TO WATCH: The game plan with Cassel won't differ from those with Ponder much but it would be encouraging to see the wideouts perform well here in a tougher matchup. This all can change when Freeman takes the start probably next week but at least the receivers will play a full non-Ponder game so it will give some indication of what Freeman might do.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 19 8 18 28 7 2
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 2 16 10 2 10 23

WEEK 6 NYG at CHI (THU) DET at CLE OAK at KC TEN at SEA
ARI at SF GB at BAL PIT at NYJ WAS at DAL
CAR at MIN JAC at DEN PHI at TB IND at SD (MON)
*UPDATED CIN at BUF NO at NE STL at HOU On Bye: ATL, MIA


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