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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
December 6, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday Nite
BAL at KC NYG at CAR   SEA at ARZ *updated

Prediction: MIN 13, DET 17

The Vikings have won only one of their last five games and are just 2-4 on the road. The Lions are just 2-4 at home but that's the only place they ever win. The Vikings are bringing the better defense but they are also bringing the worse offense. This is just an ugly game that could go either way.

The Vikes won 26-17 when they hosted the Lions in week five this season.

Update: Chester Taylor remains doubtful to play this week with bruised ribs and did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday. He has not been officially ruled out of the game but it looks more like he will miss this week and be replaced by Ciatrick Fason. Taylor is from the Detroit area and really wants to play this week but even if he does he'll likely be limited. This is an early game so Taylor's final status should be certain before the first kickoff of the day.

Minnesota Vikings (5-7)
1 19-16 @WAS 10 17-23 GB
2 16-13 CAR 11 20-24 @MIA
3 16-19 CHI 12 31-26 ARZ
4 12-17 @BUF 13 13-23 @CHI
5 26-17 DET 14 --- @DET
6 Open Bye 15 --- NYJ
7 31-13 @SEA 16 --- @GB
8 7-31 NE 17 --- STL
9 3-9 @SF - MON THU
MIN at DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Brad Johnson 0 0 190,1
RB Chester Taylor 70 20 0
RB Ciatrick Fason 60 20 0
TE Jermaine Wiggins 0 40 0
WR Marcus Robinson 0 40,1 0
WR Billy McMullen 0 20 0
WR Travis Taylor 0 50 0
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: After watching Brad Johnson throw for interceptions last week, the Vikes opted to switch quarterbacks (twice) and prove once again that Chester Taylor is the only element of the offense that has any punch from week to week (and that does not give the ball away often). The rest of the schedule is pretty light for the Vikes but there's nothing lately that says they can take advantage of it.

Quarterback: Hopefully you were watching Brooks Bollinger last week because he looked sharp throwing six of nine for 70 yards before injuring his shoulder. He is not available this week though his injury has not been fully diagnosed. Tavaris Jackson came in late to the game and he completed three of four passes for 35 yards and one lost fumble. Both looked better than Brad Johnson who had only 73 passing yards, completed just 11 of 26 and threw four interceptions. It's just a mess in Minnesota without a clear solution.

Johnson threw for 201 yards and one score against the Lions in week five.

Running Backs: Regardless of the passing woes, Chester Taylor went over the 1,000-yard mark at Chicago. He became the first Vikings' running back to reach that total since Michael Bennett in 2002. Taylor ran for 99 yards on just 17 carries against the Bears last week and he's been consistently good every week. His role in the passing game has waned but he remains a force as a runner.

Taylor injured his ribs last week but the severity is unknown. I will update his projections once the prognosis is more apparent.

Taylor gained 123 yards on 26 carries and added 31 yards on five receptions against the Lions this year.

Wide Receivers: Troy Williamson is inactive lately and he was supposed to be the best wideout this year. Since most games do not even have passing scores or much yardage, splitting that out over three or more wideouts each week only further devalues the wideouts on this team. Marcus Robinson is always the best bet, but last week it only paid off with 37 yards.

Travis Taylor led all receivers with just 44 yards on four receptions and had the only offensive touchdown when the Lions visited in week five.

Tight Ends: Jermaine Wiggins had 30 yards on three catches last week despite playing on a sprained MCL. He's easily the most consistent receiver though he rarely has more than 50 yards in a game and sometimes disappears.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions at home have a good rush defense that has only allowed two runners to rush in a score this year. Gore had a big game there but otherwise opponents are gaining less than 100 yards. Look for Taylor to challenge that mark and likely not score this week. He could be big in pass yardage but the Vikes have not been using him like that for a while now.

Johnson, assumedly, faces one of the weaker secondaries in the league but even at home he only had one score and 200 yards. And now his confidence has taken a hit if he even remains the starter this week. And if he does start, he may not finish - again. There should be at least one passing score here that most likely ends up with Robinson if only because Johnson trusts him most.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 28 11 20 18 16 4
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 26 21 21 28 29 28


Detroit Lions (2-10)
1 6-9 SEA 10 13-19 SF
2 7-34 @CHI 11 10-17 @ARZ
3 24-31 GB 12 10-27 MIA
4 34-41 @STL 13 21-28 @NE
5 17-26 @MIN 14 --- MIN
6 20-17 BUF 15 --- @GB
7 24-31 @NYJ 16 --- CHI
8 Open Bye 17 --- @DAL
9 30-14 ATL - - THU
DET vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna 0 0 270,2
RB Kevin Jones 50 50 0
TE Dan Campbell 0 20,1 0
WR Roy Williams 0 110,1 0
WR Mike Furrey 0 50 0
WR Corey Bradford 0 30 0
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: Losing is wearing thin on the Lions right on cue since this happens every year. HC Rod Marinelli made the obligatory statement about sticking with his quarterback (Kitna) and the four game losing streak is straining everyone on the team. This week at home against the Vikes will be the best shot at an elusive third win on the season. After that, a road game in Green Bay holds promise (though not really since it is a road game) and then CHI and DAL get to apply the final indignities to the season. The Lions were competitive last week in New England but could not quite get it done. This week at home, it won't get any better.

Quarterback: Jon Kitna's 3,190 passing yards rank third best in the NFL but he has only passed for 13 touchdowns this year. He has scored at least once in the last five homes games while only throwing one interception in each. Kitna is a lock to pass for more than 200 yards each week and he scores well at home but rarely quite good enough. Recent improvements in using both wideouts will help so long as Kitna doesn't turn the ball over. He is tied with Roethlisberger for 22 turnovers on the season.

Kitna threw for 225 yards and one score in Minnesota this year. He also had three interceptions.

Running Backs: Kevin Jones has been great in home games this year and has scored four times in the last four home stands while topping 100 rushing yards in two of them. Where he continues to make an equally valuable contribution is as a receiver. Jones has never had less than four catches for 30 yards in a home game this year.

Jones gained a mere eight yards on ten carries against the Vikes earlier this year.

Wide Receivers: The Lions are now using quarterback Josh McCown more as a receiver and he caught two passes for 15 yards against the Pats. Roy Williams comes off one of his worst games of the year when he had only three catches for 50 yards last Sunday. Williams has not scored since week nine though he did have a nice 126 yard game in week 12 - at home. Four of his five 100 yard games and three of his four touchdowns all came in Detroit. Mike Furrey is the opposite, scoring four times this year and always in a road game. Furrey had a season high 123 yards and a score in New England last week while his worst efforts come at home - thanks to Williams taking the lion's share of passes.

Roy Williams was held to just one catch for seven yards in week five and Mike Furrey had just 41 yards on three receptions. The best receiver was Hakim with 92 yards on eight catches. He was later released by the Lions.

Tight Ends: Dan Campbell has caught a touchdown in the last two home games but he never amounts to more than 20 or 30 yards per week.

Match Against the Defense: The Vikings may have offensive woes, but that doesn't translate to their defense much. No runner has gained more than 78 yards against the Vikes this year and only four have scored all year - always just once and almost always on road games. Jones could score here even though he had a terrible game against them last time in Minnesota, Most likely he won't and ends up with moderate to good rushing yards and solid receiving yards to preserve his fantasy value.

Kitna goes against a secondary that has been formidable this year but mainly from playing bad opponents. He should throw for at least one score here and possibly two with solid yardage since the run won't be showcased this week. That strongly favors Williams to score this week with the second one going almost anywhere. I'll credit Campbell but Bradford, Jones or Furrey could end up with it.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 8 21 13 20 11 29
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 16 2 27 6 26 29