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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 8
2011
* ARI at BAL * DET at DEN * MIN at CAR * SD at KC (mon)
* CIN at SEA IND at TEN * NE at PIT Bye Week
* CLE at SF * JAC at HOU * NO at STL ATL, CHI, GB
* Updated DAL at PHI * MIA at NYG WAS at BUF NYJ, OAK, TB

Prediction: MIN 13, CAR 27

Players to Watch: Christian Ponder, Michael Jenkins, Visanthe Shiancoe

Update: Percy Harvin is still questionable to play and was held out of practice on Wednesday. The last two days he has been limited but is expected to play but will again not play a full role. He is a risk to rely on.

The Vikings are on a two game losing streak with a 1-6 record but things are looking up with Christian Ponder. The Panthers remain at home after picking up their second win thanks to the visiting Redskins. The Vikings are 0-3 on the road and the Panthers are 2-2 at home with close losses there to the Saints and Packers.

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 34-10 14 @DET -
6 @CHI 10-39 15 NO -
7 GB 27-33 16 @WAS -
8 @CAR - 17 CHI -
9 Bye -      
Vikings Report | Statistics | Roster
MINNESOTA at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Christian Ponder 30 - 170
RB Adrian Peterson 120,1 - -
TE Vishante Shiancoe - 30 -
WR Devin Aromashodu - 20 -
WR Michael Jenkins - 60 -
WR Percy Harvin 10 40 -
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: Sure, the season is already a lost cause and the Vikings serve little more purpose than to let Adrian Peterson owners reap the benefit of drafting early. But the Vikes saw a spark in Christian Ponder and at least Peterson still plays like every game decides a Super Bowl. Injuries are starting to take a toll though with the secondary ravaged and the receivers getting hit as well. Get through this week and the Vikes get to take a week off before hitting the harder part of their schedule.

QUARTERBACK: Granted - Christian Ponder faced a Packers defense that has been doling out the passing yards and scores to everyone but Ponder showed some skills. He only completed 13 of 32 passes but gained 219 yards and two scores on top of his two interceptions. There were several "where was that supposed to go" passes and his receivers did him few favors by dropping balls. But Ponder did throw a few "thread the needle" strikes and will only get better.

The Panthers secondary has been quite good at home and that is after facing some of the best quarterbacks in the league. With Ponder on the road, safest bet is to shy away knowing that Peterson is going to have success and Ponder is in his first road game.

RUNNING BACKS: Adrian Peterson remains the reason why the Vikes are ever in any games this year. He has scored eight times and been above 80 rush yards in all but one game. He has topped 100 rushing yards three times but has pretty much been excluded from the passing effort. Peterson is a good example of what it is to get paid and they still play like you're hungry.

The Panthers are very weak against the run and have already allowed seven rushing touchdowns and virtually every opponent has a runner who exceeds 80 yards. This is the defense that let Matt Forte run for 205 yards. At home they have been much better but Peterson comes in as a premiere runner. He should leave with his 100+ yards and at least one score.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Percy Harvin re-injured his ribs against the Packers and will have them tested this week. Pending further information, I will assume he will again play with minor limitations. Bernard Berrian was a healthy scratch from a coach's decision that was not punitive, it was because Berrian sucks and his seven receptions on the year are not worthy of him owning a uniform much less wearing one. He was released on Tuesday. Devin Aromashodu replaced him but only had one catch for 13 yards. Michael Jenkins was the primary receiver with eight targets that turned into 111 yards on three receptions that included a 71-yard completion on Ponder's first pass that came within inches of a touchdown.

I will assume Berrian is out again - no difference either way - and that Harvin can play. Most important this game is to see the ratio of passes and if Jenkins remains the primary and if Aromashodu can step up into any bigger of a role. None are worthy of a fantasy start aside from taking a bye week risk on Jenkins who comes off his first 100 yard game of his entire career.

TIGHT ENDS: Notable was that Ponder gave Vishante Shiancoe his best game of the season with a touchdown on his four catches for 45 yards. Shiancoe also had a season best eight targets and may become a safety blanket for Ponder.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 28 12 21 20 17 17
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 11 30 7 20 27 21


Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @ARI 21-28 10 TEN -
2 GB 23-30 11 @DET -
3 JAC 16-10 12 @IND -
4 @CHI 29-34 13 @TB -
5 NO 27-30 14 ATL -
6 @ATL 17-31 15 @HOU -
7 WAS 33-20 16 TB -
8 MIN - 17 @NO -
9 Bye -      
Panthers Report | Statistics | Roster
CAROLINA vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 40,1 - 260,1
RB DeAngelo Williams 50,1 - -
RB Jonathan Stewart 40 20 -
TE Greg Olsen - 20 -
TE Jeremy Shockey - 20 -
WR Brandon LaFell - 40 -
WR Steve Smith - 120,1 -
WR Legedu Naanee - 30 -
PK Olindo Mare 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Panthers finally got past the constant games won or lost by seven points or less when they took down the Redskins. The Panthers have never been beaten badly, just rarely good enough to win though. This week goes against the weakest opponent so far and a two game winning streak is just the way for the Panthers to reach their bye week.

QUARTERBACK: While Cam Newton calmed down from his monster games that opened the year, he still remains a rock solid fantasy starter who always scores at least one passing and one rushing touchdown when at home. His rushing yards and scores are a major benefit in most fantasy scoring and while every defense knows he is coming, he has scored eight times via the run already,. He has now tied Vince Young for the most rushing touchdowns in a season for a rookie quarterback only Newton still has nine more games.

The Vikings secondary has been abused by most decent quarterbacks who have faced them and this being a road game for them - Newton should shine. The Vikings already have several injuries in the defensive backfield plus their best cornerback is still waiting to be released from jail from a spousal abuse charge. Start Newton.

RUNNING BACKS: The two-headed attack remains in force with DeAngelo Williams the wealthier and yet more inconsistent runner and Jonathan Stewart the less productive and yet more consistent third down back. Stewart has scored in each of the last two games though while outperforming Williams. But the last home game saw Williams churn out 115 yards and a score on the Saints.

The Vikings have been good against the run with no one rushing for more than 87 yards against them. But this is on the road and the Panthers should turn in a touchdown here though it could be either back with it. They are both only moderate plays and carry risk because if one ends up as the hot hand, the other suffers.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Steve Smith comes off his fourth 100+ yard game of the year and that bodes very well for a game against a weak secondary like the Vikings. Brandon LaFell just scored his second touchdown but has remained below 50 yards since the season opener while Legedu Naanee has even less and never scores. This unit is all about Steve Smith and in most games - it works really well.

The Vikings secondary was nothing special before losing players to injury and the legal system. Played at home, expect another good showing by Smith and a decent shot at one touchdown. LaFell and Naanee remain below fantasy consideration.

TIGHT ENDS: Greg Olsen was limited in practice last week and while he still played, he only produced a season low one catch for four yards while Jeremy Shockey ended with four catches for 32 yards. Olsen has not scored since week five and now his turf toe appears to be limiting him on the field. Olsen will be a close watch in practice this week but relying on either tight end is a risk. Shockey has never been much and now Olsen seems to be playing hurt.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 2 25 11 8 15 29
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 20 21 24 6 32 8

WEEK 8
2011
ARI at BAL DET at DEN MIN at CAR SD at KC (mon)
CIN at SEA IND at TEN NE at PIT Bye Week
CLE at SF JAC at HOU NO at STL ATL, CHI, GB
  DAL at PHI MIA at NYG WAS at BUF NYJ, OAK, TB

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