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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 13
2011
PHI at SEA (thu) CIN at PIT * GB at NYG * OAK at MIA
* ATL at HOU DAL at ARI * IND at NE * STL at SF
BAL at CLE * DEN at MIN KC at CHI TEN at BUF
* Updated * CAR at TB * DET at NO NYJ at WAS SD at JAC (mon)

Prediction: DEN 24, MIN 13

Players to Watch: Tim Tebow but only in fourth quarter

Update: Be aware that Percy Harvin is listed as questionable and did not practice on Friday due to an unnamed illness that would only be described as "not a migraine". I am not changing his projections on the premise it is a cold or flu bug that can be dealt with and not affect the game but check the inactives to ensure that whatever it is did not get worse.

The Broncos are on a four game winning streak and just one game behind the Raiders for the AFC West lead. They are a very respectable 4-2 in road games though three of those wins were running through the weak AFC West. The Vikings are just 2-9 and 1-4 in home games. The line is currently "Pick 'em" meaning that the odds-makers in Vegas do not want to go against what is clearly Divine Inspiration at work. Chances of a lot of points here? Not that great.

Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 OAK 20-23 10 @KC 17-10
2 CIN 24-22 11 NYJ 17-13
3 @TEN 14-17 12 @SD 16-13
4 @GB 23-49 13 @MIN -
5 SD 24-29 14 CHI -
6 Bye - 15 NE -
7 @MIA 18-15 16 @BUF -
8 DET 10-45 17 KC -
9 @OAK 38-24      
Broncos Report | Statistics | Roster
DENVER at MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Tim Tebow 60,1 - 150,2
RB Willis McGahee 70 - -
WR Eric Decker - 70,1 -
WR Eddie Royal - 20 -
WR Demaryius Thomas - 30,1 -
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: It has to be one of the most fascinating situations in NFL history - a team winning at the last minute every week with a quarterback who ranks lowest in all categories except when the game is on the line. Of course this winning streak is also related to a defense that has not allowed more than 13 points for the last three games. Here is the kicker though - this is easily the worst secondary that the Broncos have met - maybe even Tebow can look good.

QUARTERBACK: He has never passed for more than 172 yards and has eight passing scores against only one interception. In the Kansas City win, Tim Tebow only completed two passes but one was a touchdown and he also ran in the game winner. Tebow nearly set a record in San Diego when he rushed the ball 22 times as a quarterback. Even Michael Vick in his dog fighting days never ran the ball 22 times. Defenses are having to borrow college playbooks to figure out how to defend the read option.

This week Tebow goes against a secondary that is probably worse than its #31 ranking since the secondary has been depleted. The VIkes have allowed 15 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks over just the last five games. There will not be a lot of yardage here but at least one score should be a lock. And of course the obligatory rushing score as well.

RUNNING BACKS: A healthy Willis McGahee bounced back nicely with 117 yards on 23 runs last week while Lance Ball shrinks back to only a relief player in the offense. McGahee goes against a defense that has been much better against the run though with only one player gaining more than 87 rushing yards on them. McGahee is still a worthy start even with his complete absence of any receptions but he's only scored in two games this year and the Vikes should be good enough to keep him out of the end zone. He is a marginal starter this week since the Vikes do not give up big games to running backs.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The lack of passing yards obviously has stripped this position of much fantasy value but Eric Decker has been sucking out virtually all of the scoring and yardage there is. He has scored in four of the last five games though his one miss was against the Jets when he had no catches. That is highly unlikely this week against the weak Vikings secondary. I like the two passing scores and they should both end up here. One has to go to Decker but the second could end up anywhere and regardless there will be minimal yardage attached.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 13 16 29 27 28 13
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 31 19 30 21 32 16


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 14-24
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 vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Christian Ponder - - 180,1
RB Toby Gerhart 40 10 -
TE Vishante Shiancoe - 30 -
WR Devin Aromashodu - 40 -
WR Percy Harvin 20 60,1 -
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: Life without Adrian Peterson on a 2-9 team is pretty predictably bad and the Vikings continue their stumble to the end of the season with what should be a daunting schedule. Even the easier matchups come on the road. There have been some strides made this year with Christian Ponder learning the ropes for next year but the wide receiver corps will need some attention in the offseason if this team is ever going to be more than Peterson's band.

QUARTERBACK: Christian Ponder still has not passed for more than 236 yards in any game but he has scored in four of the last five and is improving despite getting sacked four or five times every week. He is also playing with arguably one of the least talented sets of wide receivers outside of Percy Harvin and with no run support last week with Peterson out, Ponder had problems. He did not turn the ball over to the Falcons but only passed for a season low 186 yards and scored one touchdown.

This week he goes against a defense that has been getting better and better. This will be a non-divisional game that should benefit Ponder some since they have never played against him but it appears that Peterson could miss this week as well and with that ratchets up the focus of the defense. No reason to expect much more than what he accomplished last week and maybe not even that much.

RUNNING BACKS: Assuming that Peterson does not play and with a high ankle sprain - it is hard to expect Peterson to rush back - Toby Gerhart gets the start again this week and looks to improve on his meager 44 yards on 17 carries against the Falcons. Problem is that the Broncos are very good against the run and only allowed one running back to rush in a touchdown and most settle for less than 60 rushing yards. Not having Peterson makes a big difference and that will again be on display this weekend.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Percy Harvin had a nice outing in the Falcons loss when he rushed for 11 yards on five carries and caught a season best eight passes for 95 yards and one touchdown. That made two straight games with 70+ yards and a score. This is fortunate since outside of Harvin there have only been four touchdowns to wideouts this year and three of those went to Michael Jenkins who just injured his knee and was placed on injured reserve. That leaves Devin Aromashodu who only catches one pass per game and Greg Camarillo and his four catches over four games.

The Broncos really only have to cover one player but Harvin lines up everywhere and even in the backfield so it is not as simple as just sticking Champ Bailey on him and not worrying. Harvin is the only Viking worth a fantasy start this week and even he should likely have a lower output than last week.

TIGHT ENDS: Vishante Shiancoe provides a constant three or so catches per week for marginal yardage but has only scored once over the last eight weeks. With bye weeks over, Shiancoe has no fantasy role.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 28 11 23 21 25 20
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 28 20 25 4 29 23

WEEK 13
2011
PHI at SEA (thu) CIN at PIT GB at NYG OAK at MIA
ATL at HOU DAL at ARI IND at NE STL at SF
BAL at CLE DEN at MIN KC at CHI TEN at BUF
  CAR at TB DET at NO NYJ at WAS SD at JAC (mon)

a d v e r t i s e m e n t