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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 5
2011
*ARI at MIN *NO at CAR *SD at DEN CHI at DET (mon)
CIN at JAC *NYJ at NE *SEA at NYG BYE
GB at ATL OAK at HOU *TB at SF BAL, CLE, DAL
*UPDATED KC at IND PHI at BUF *TEN at PIT MIA, STL, WAS

Prediction: ARI 20, MIN 23

Players to Watch: Beanie Wells, Vishante Shiancoe

Update: Todd Heap pulled a hamstring in practice and has not practiced for the last two days. I am removing him from the projections since he may not play. Beanie Wells is listed as questionable and was limited in all practices this week but it is still the same hamstring injury he had for a few weeks and he had a career game last week. I am leaving Wells in and untouched but check game inactives just in case something happens. At this point, he looks to be active and no worse than last week if not better.

This is an interesting game that could a number of different ways. The Vikings have lost all four games but always by a touchdown or less and almost always after they jump out to a lead. The Cardinals are 1-3 and have lost their last three games all by four points or less. This game is bound to go down to the wire and the winner is the team that makes the fewest mistakes. These are both the sort of teams that do not know how to win. But one will.

The Vikings won 27-24 when the Cardinals visited last year.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CAR 28-21 10 @PHI -
2 @WAS 21-22 11 @SF -
3 @SEA 10-13 12 @STL -
4 NYG 27-31 13 DAL -
5 @MIN - 14 SF -
6 Bye - 15 CLE -
7 PIT - 16 @CIN -
8 @BAL - 17 SEA -
9 STL - - - -
Cardinals Report | Statistics | Roster
ARIZONA at MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Kevin Kolb - - 240,1
RB Beanie Wells 70,1 - -
TE Todd Heap - 40 -
WR Larry Fitzgerald - 80,1 -
WR Andre Roberts - 20 -
WR Early Doucet - 40 -
PK Jay Feely 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Cardinals have somehow managed to play just a little worse than their opponents no matter what the score. On the plus side, the rushing game has never looked better and this after the season opened with minimal expectations. The team has evolved so far into one runner and one receiver and that has not been quite enough to win. But really close.

QUARTERBACK: The fortunes of Kevin Kolb depend not only on the defense he faces, but now also the effectiveness of his running game. He's been a safe enough risk for around 250 yards per game and scored twice in the first two weeks. But he only managed one touchdown in Seattle and then none against the Giants thanks to Beanie Wells delivering a career best game. Chances are better that Wells won't explode in a road game in Minny on Sunday and that Kolb should have some success.

The Vikings have never allowed less than 243 pass yards and one score to an opposing quarterback. On the road against a desperate Vikings team, that should be about as good as it will get for Kolb..

RUNNING BACKS: By far the biggest surprise in Arizona has been the success of Beanie Wells. He opened the season with back-to-back games of around 90 yards and a touchdown in each and then injured his hamstring. After sitting out in week three, he was back on Sunday after being a game time decision and having almost no practice during the week. And yet Wells turned in a career best game of 138 yards on 27 carries with three rushing touchdowns against the Giants. Beanie has been solid every week he has played and not just because he had one long run to skew his stats. His only downside now is that he rarely ever has a reception.

The Vikings have been very good against the run lately though KC and DET are hardly rushing well against anyone this year. Have to give Wells the benefit of the ever shrinking doubt and expect him to be at least a decent start with a chance for one touchdown.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The limiting part of the offense remains that Larry Fitzgerald is almost the only wide receiver of any note on this team. He has been golden in almost every game including two touchdowns and two efforts over 100 yards. But Early Doucet had a big catch in week one and then never more than 50 yards in any game. Andre Robert is a complete nonfactor which last week meant he not only had no catches, he had no passes thrown his way. Whatever Fitzgerald does is amazing because he is doing it alone.

The Vikings secondary is their weaker part of the defense and they have already allowed four scores to wide receivers and both Dwayne Bowe and Calvin Johnson broke the 100 yard mark against them. Fitzgerald is a must start anyway and has a good shot at a score and good yardage.

TIGHT ENDS : Todd Heap still hasn't scored but he has been a factor for the last two weeks when he had 6-61 against the Seahawks and then 4-41 versus the Giants. Jeff King started the year with a score in each of the first two games but has since not been used. Heap is not yet productive enough to merit a fantasy start but he has been a growing part of the game plan.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 23 11 14 13 30 14
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 19 23 17 15 32 4


Minnesota Vikings
Homefield: Metrodome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @SD 17-24 10 @GB -
2 TB 20-24 11 OAK -
3 DET 23-26 12 @ATL -
4 @KC 17-22 13 DEN -
5 ARI - 14 @DET -
6 @CHI - 15 NO -
7 GB - 16 @WAS -
8 @CAR - 17 CHI -
9 Bye -      
Vikings Report | Statistics | Roster
MINNESOTA vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb - - 230,1
RB Adrian Peterson 110,1 10 -
TE Vishante Shiancoe - 40 -
WR Bernard Berrian - 20 -
WR Michael Jenkins - 20,1 -
WR Percy Harvin 40 50 -
PK Ryan Longwell 3 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: It is bad enough to be 0-4 but to have lost all of your games for the want of one touchdown (or stop the opponent from theirs) is beyond frustrating. The new offense has seemed to stagnate already and even take the rushing game down with it. But for now, the Vikings HC Leslie Frazier said that he is not intending to make any changes yet. Lose this game and maybe it is time since this is softest matchup on the schedule for the next seven games.

QUARTERBACK: Frazier said specifically that he was not going to swap out Donovan McNabb for Joe Webb or the rookie Christian Ponder but that tune may change with a few more losses. Coaches have to look like they are trying new things to find success and standing pat on McNabb will grow old. For the last three weeks, McNabb has been locked around 210 passing yards and he has three touchdowns so pretty much the definition of mediocre.

The Cardinals bring the weakest secondary to face the Vikings yet. They have allowed two passing scores in three of four games and aside from Tarvaris Jackson who never counts, all opposing quarterbacks have been shredding the Cardinals. It is hard to see McNabb exceed his average ways, but if it were to happen anywhere, it would be in this game. But anything above 230 yards and a score is always a risk.

RUNNING BACKS: There is no problem with Adrian Peterson who is averaging 4.6 yards per carry other than he is not getting enough of a workload to roll up stats like he is capable of doing. His three touchdowns scored this year all came in home games which bodes well for this week. He'll toss in a catch or two at times but Peterson has been held to less than 18 carries in two games already.

Statistically the Cardinals have been good against the run but mostly because of who they faced. Last week they gave up two rushing scores to the Giants and Tim Hightower ran for 96 yards on them in a previous road game. No problem starting Peterson this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Percy Harvin still hasn't scored or gained many yards as a receiver but he is give at least two runs each week and he is doing damage on the ground. Combine his yardage and he has been good for 90 yards or so each week including a season best 67 yards on four runs and five catches for 42 yards in Kansas City last Sunday. Bernard Berrian is a starter but no one is sure why since he literally has two catches on the season. Michael Jenkins is the designated scored with three touchdowns though rarely any yardage and last week his touchdown was on his one catch for one yard. Devin Aromashodu scored last week and in limited play is better than Berrian but the depth chart remains unchanged.

There is nothing special about the Cards secondary that has already allowed four scores and three games of 100+ yards to opposing wideouts. But there is nothing special about the Vikes receivers either. I like a score to the position but it could go anywhere and Jenkins will serve as my placeholder.

TIGHT ENDS: While nothing big, at least Vishante Shiancoe is getting back into the game more. He scored in week three on his only catch in the game and then turned in 58 yards on six catches. But he has been far too inconsistent to consider for a fantasy start or even covering a bye week. Consider Shiancoe worth a casual eye to see if they still call his number much this week as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 30 16 24 18 20 19
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 25 8 27 22 10 15

WEEK 5
2011
ARI at MIN NO at CAR SD at DEN CHI at DET (mon)
CIN at JAC NYJ at NE SEA at NYG BYE
GB at ATL OAK at HOU TB at SF BAL, CLE, DAL
  KC at IND PHI at BUF TEN at PIT MIA, STL, WAS

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