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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 12
2011
GB at DET (thu) * BUF at NYJ DEN at SD PIT at KC
MIA at DAL (thu) * CAR at IND HOU at JAC * TB at TEN
SF at BAL (thu) * CHI at OAK * MIN at ATL * WAS at SEA
* UPDATED ARI at STL * CLE at CIN * NE at PHI * NYG at NO (mon)

Prediction: MIN 13, ATL 27

Players to Watch: Percy Harvin, Harry Douglas

Update: Adrian Peterson is not expected to play and is listed as doubtful. Percy Harvin was listed as questionable adn was limited in practices because of his ribs but is expected to not only play but to be a featured part of the offense. Check in actives to make sure his ribs do not somehow get worse but best bet is he plays and is a big contributor. Julio Jones has been able to practice this week and is expected to play. That is always the chance of him re-aggravating his hamstring but I am inserting him into the lineup and expecting him to play.

The 2-8 Vikings bring their 1-4 road record to Atlanta where the 6-4 Falcons are one game behind the Saints in the NFC South and 3-2 in home games. Vegas sees this as one of the biggest wins of the week and that's hard to dispute.

Minnesota Vikings
Homefield: Metrodome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @SD 17-24 10 @GB 7-45
2 TB 20-24 11 OAK 21-27
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 24-21 17 CHI -
9 Bye -      
Vikings Report | Statistics | Roster
MINNESOTA at ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Christian Ponder - - 230,1
RB Toby Gerhart 40 10 -
TE Vishante Shiancoe - 40 -
WR Devin Aromashodu - 20 -
WR Michael Jenkins - 60 -
WR Percy Harvin 50 70,1 -
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: Losing Adrian Peterson is not going to be a positive for this offensively challenged team that has not done well in road games anyway. If nothing else, it should be a good exercise for Christian Ponder to lead a team that will now have no discernible weapons to rely on while facing a decent defense on the road. The best hope here is for trash time.

QUARTERBACK: After four starts, Christian Ponder has passed for five touchdowns and six interceptions. Unfortunately he has been sacked 14 times in those games as well but overall - not a bad showing for a rookie on a team that has every defense focused on stopping Adrian Peterson. That won't be the case this week so Ponder gets a crash course in having the defensive spotlight on him.

The Falcons are nothing special in the secondary and most teams score multiple times via the pass on them but relying on more than one touchdown will be tough this week with Peterson out. Trash time could boost stats.

RUNNING BACKS: Adrian Peterson has a Grade I high ankle sprain which is good enough to keep him out this week but he could bounce back as early as next week. Toby Gerhart will get the start but his busiest game of the year was just last week when he ran seven times for 18 yards replacing Peterson in the Raiders game.

Gerhard did run for 77 yards on the Bears last season when Peterson missed a game but that was a divisional rival and a home game. , He only gained 76 yards on 22 runs in Washington last year as well. The Falcons are ranked #2 against running backs and allowed just three runners to score on them all season. No reason for optimism here about Gerhart against a defense that has not allowed a 100 yard rusher and all but LeSean McCoy never gained more than 48 yards as a visitor in Atlanta.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The only good news here is that Percy Harvin has been more productive in recent weeks with Ponder as the starter with three straight efforts over 50 receiving yards and a season high five carries for 21 yards last week. Harvin also scored against the Raiders on a catch. Michael Jenkins has been stuck at sub-50 yard games and Devin Aromashodu tries to catch one or two passes per week.

A monster game is highly unlikely for anyone in this unit this year. But Harvin has already done better lately with Ponder and with Peterson out, HC Leslie Frazier has already said that Harvin will see more work this week as a runner in addition to being a receiver. The Falcons are weaker against wide receivers anyway making Harvin already a more attractive start. One caveat - this is Michael Jenkins return home. He'd love to have a big game here sort of like he never did when he was in Atlanta all those years. He just has not shown chemistry with Ponder. He only has one game of note this year anyway and that was the long score against the Packers.

TIGHT ENDS: Vishante Shiancoe aggravated his hamstring strain against the Raiders but should play this week. He originally injured it in practice and played anyway with a very standard 42 yards. He's been a very marginal play with Ponder under center and the Falcons have been tough against the position anyway. Only two tight ends had scored on the Falcons all year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 27 12 24 20 23 17
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 23 2 26 9 24 14


Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CHI 12-30 10 NO 23-26
2 PHI 35-31 11 TEN 23-17
3 @TB 13-16 12 MIN -
4 @SEA 30-28 13 @HOU -
5 GB 14-25 14 @CAR -
6 CAR 31-17 15 JAC -
7 @DET 23-16 16 @NO -
8 Bye - 17 TB -
9 @IND 31-7 - - -
Falcons Report | Statistics | Roster
ATLANTA vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan - - 290,2
RB Michael Turner 100,1 - -
TE Tony Gonzalez - 70,1 -
WR Roddy White - 80,1 -
WR Julio Jones - 70 -
WR Harry Douglas - 40 -
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: This is a softer matchup before the Falcons spend three of the next four weeks on the road against HOU, CAR and NO. Those will define where the Falcons end up in the standings and losing to the visiting Saints in week ten by just three points may have already excluded them from a divisional win. This should be a higher scoring game unless the Falcons pack it in early knowing they travel to Houston next week.

QUARTERBACK: Matt Ryan has scored in every game since the season opener and now has five games around 300 or more yards. His fifteen scores are balanced by ten interceptions but he's been better in recent weeks with easier matchups and home games which describe both aspects of this matchup. He's been throwing 270+ yards in the softer matchups.

The Vikings have allowed 12 passing scores in just five road games and never less than 250 passing yards. That means a very nice week to start Ryan and potentially a monster game unless he gets bored.

RUNNING BACKS: Michael Turner has scored in all but one home game and even then he gained 106 total yards on the Saints. The Vikings have been better against the run than the pass with only six rushing touchdowns allowed but in a game with Peterson out and on the road, have to expect one score or more for Turner and healthy yardage. His lack of receptions hurts his overall value but he has been very consistently good when at home.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Julio Jones is likely to miss this week as well because of his hamstring so I will count him out and update if warranted. He'd likely be less than healthy if he even plays. Roddy White took one of his tougher matchups of the year against the Titans secondary and yet had his biggest game of the year with 147 yards on seven catches. That was only his second game over 80 yards all year and he has not scored since week seven.

Harry Douglas turned in 133 yards in the Saints matchup but then was held to only 51 yards in the Titans tilt while replacing Julio Jones. The good news this week is that the Vikings are horrible in the secondary and losing players far faster than they can adequately replace them. This is a must start week for White and even Douglas should show up against a secondary that allowed seven passing scores to the position in just the last four road games.

TIGHT ENDS:Tony Gonzalez is on a string of three straight games with a touchdown and he has been banging around 60 to 70 yards in all the recent games. He remains a very safe play at home against a weak secondary of the Vikes. He should make it four in a row.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 11 7 20 8 11 25
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 30 20 28 14 32 18

WEEK 12
2011
GB at DET (thu) BUF at NYJ DEN at SD PIT at KC
MIA at DAL (thu) CAR at IND HOU at JAC TB at TEN
SF at BAL (thu) CHI at OAK MIN at ATL WAS at SEA
  ARI at STL CLE at CIN NE at PHI NYG at NO (mon)

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