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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

Prediction: Adrian Peterson 17, HOU 27 (Line: HOU by 7.5)

Players to Watch: Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster

Adrian Peterson's team is currently 8-6 and still in the running for a wild card along with four other teams. The Vikings are only 2-5 on the road. The 12-2 Texans are 6-1 at home and have clinched the AFC South and remain the #1 seed in the AFC by one game over the Broncos. Gotta still win and that's a very good thing here in week 16 for every Andre Johnson and Arian Foster owner.

Minnesota Vikings
Homefield: Metrodome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 JAC 26-23 ot 10 DET 34-24
2 @IND 20-23 11 BYE -----
3 SF 24-13 12 @CHI 10-28
4 @DET 20-13 13 @GB 14-23
5 TEN 30-7 14 CHI 21-14
6 @WAS 26-38 15 @STL 36-22
7 ARI 21-14 16 @HOU -----
8 TB 17-36 17 GB -----
9 @SEA 20-30 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIN @ HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 270,2
WR Jarius Wright 2-30
TE Kyle Rudolph 5-50,1
PK Kai Forbath 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: This is absolutely amazing. Honestly. Amazing. The Vikings literally have no passing game anymore. There is no one worth covering even if Christian Ponder could get the passes thrown accurately which is apparently not possible anyway. All eleven defenders know all they have to do is stop one guy. Just one guy. No need to respect anything else but one guy and yet they cannot do it. Adrian Peterson is only about 190 yards away from a 2,000 yard season and about 300 yards away from breaking Eric Dickerson's all-time record of 2,105 yards.

(Side note - did you realize that O.J. Simpson broke 2,000 yards in a 14 game season?)

The wildcard is possible though maybe less likely than for any of the other contending teams thanks to a schedule that ends with this game in Houston and then hosting the Packers.

There is no fantasy value on this team aside from maybe the team defense other than Peterson. Christian Ponder has not passed for more than 159 yards for the last four weeks. For the last three weeks, he hasn't even passed more than 25 times in a game. Meanwhile, Peterson has ran more than that for the last two weeks and racked up 576 yards in just the last three games. Every play could not be more obvious if Ponder grabbed the middle linebackers facemask and screamed at him "WE ARE GOING TO RUN PETERSON NOW!". The receivers have become such afterthoughts here that they might as well all carry huge arrows and then follow Peterson around on every play while pointing at him so the camera doesn't get lost.

Returning from a catastrophic knee injury in nine months is already miraculous. Challenging for 2000+ yards is jaw-dropping. Doing all this on the worst passing team is inconceivable. Peterson is the only fantasy play here. I know it. You know it. The defenses all know it. No one is stopping him. This is the #1 rushing defense playing at home. This will be interesting. And JJ Watt is back too...

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 29 7 31 18 6 16
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 19 1 25 29 5 3

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Sam Bradford, MIN CHI 0000025020 ***
Chicago provides a midrange matchup, giving up four TDs in the last five games and picking off two passes along the way. Bradford went for 228 yards and a touchdown in Week 8 against the Bears.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Latavius Murray, MIN CHI 5002100000 *
Remember the last time these teams met? Murray does, and probably will the rest of his days. He scored three times. Denver really righted the ship against RBs after that game, and without Derek Carr, it is tough to expect Murray to come anywhere close to that level of output.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN CHI 4001100000 ***
The only thing Chicago has done a good job of stopping versus RBs of late is receptions, so keep McKinnon in reserve.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Adam Thielen, MIN CHI 009901000 ***
Thielen is coming off what very well may end up being a career day upon his eventual retirement. Aside from the game two weeks back when he was knocked out of action, he has posted double-digit fantasy points in seven of his last eight appearances. He went for 3-40-0 the last time these teams played.

Update: Stefon Diggs is doubtful, paving the way for Thielen to receive more targets.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, MIN CHI 004500000 ***
Update: Floyd enters the rankings after Malcolm Mitchell was deemed doubtful to play, but the former Cardinal is no better than flier for brazen gamblers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN CHI 005501000 ***
In Week 8, Rudolph went for 5-31-0 against the Bears. Chicago has been statistically strong against the position of late, but the competition has been suspect.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, MIN CHI 3333 ***
The Bears have permitted the 12th largest weekly combination of kicking attempts, which has resulted in being the fourth best matchup for the position in Week 17.

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIA 30-10 10 @CHI 13-6
2 @JAC 27-7 11 JAC 43-37
3 @DEN 31-25 12 @DET 34-31
4 TEN 38-14 13 @TEN 24-10
5 @NYJ 23-17 14 @NE 14-42
6 GB 24-42 15 IND 29-17
7 BAL 43-13 16 MIN -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @IND -----
9 BUF 21-9 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
HOU vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Brandon Weeden 230,1
RB Lamar Miller 20
PK Nick Novak 1 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: Just win this week and the #1 seed is their clear and simple. A previous win over the Broncos ensures even if the Colts won in Indy in the season finale' that a tied record would not matter. This is the final home game and a chance to treat the hometown fans for the last time until the second round of the playoffs.

Stopping Adrian Peterson will be key as it has for every defense. But even Chris Johnson gashed the Texans for 141 yards back in week four in Houston and Peterson is capable of breaking a long one on any given play... and has... with regularity in recent games.

Matt Schaub at home should always throw at least one touchdown but his yardage will vary depending on need and how well Arian Foster is running. Last week Foster turned in a season best 165 yards on 27 carries but failed to score in a home game for only the second time all year. He was on a three game scoring streak previous and has been a lock for high yardage whenever in Houston.

The passing effort has waned in recent weeks though the Texans kept on winning thanks to rushing scores and good defensive play. The secondary got it back together after the New England loss and held Andrew Luck to only 186 yards last week. All that really matters on the offense now is Foster and Andre Johnson. Ben Tate is back as the #2 but has minimal use. Johnson has been significantly more productive in the second half of the season and comes off a 151 yard last week which was only his third highest game in the last five weeks.

Knowing that a win here means week 17 does not matter, the Texans will give their final home game a total effort like we saw last week. The only way this is anything close to being a close game is if Adrian Peterson can have big success against the best defense versus running backs. It's like the immoveable object and the unstoppable force. Plus Andre Johnson. And Arian Foster. The only weakness of the defense counters the weakness of the Minnesota offense.

This game should have so much running in it that it may be over before any other game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 18 1 25 3 4 5
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 27 14 22 21 10 10

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Savage, HOU @TEN 0000023011 *
Savage will start in Week 17 even though Houston has nothing to play for against the Titans. Tennessee is a top-12 matchup, as this defense has given up the sixth most yards per game in the last five weeks. Starting Savage could brutalize your chances of winning.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Blue, HOU @TEN 4003200000 ***
Blue will again shoulder the load if Lamar Miller cannot go, and Houston would be foolish to chance it without anything to gain. Tennessee is the third strongest opponent of RBs entering Week 17.

Update: Miller has been ruled out of Week 17.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Braxton Miller, HOU @TEN 002301000 **
Tennessee has given up a TD per game to wideouts since Week 11. This is the third best overall matchup for PPR scoring, but Miller is nothing more than a wild flier.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @TEN 004500000 *
Tennessee provides a brilliant matchup, but Hopkins may not play a lot since Houston has nothing on the line. The Titans have provided the third most points per game since Week 11 in PPR scoring. Nuk caught only one pass for four yards in Week 4 with Brock Osweiler under center.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Will Fuller, HOU @TEN 004400000 *
Fuller had a nice game in Week 4 versus the Titans, going for 81 yards on seven catches, including a score. That was with Brock Osweiler, and the Texans have obviously moved on. Fuller is a barely viable play in deep setups for flex spots.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU @TEN 005400000 **
CJF contributed a 4-48-1 line in the Week 4 game against Tennessee. The Titans have put the clamps on his position of late, so this one probably could go either way.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, HOU @TEN 3311 ***
Novak has made all 13 of his field goal tries in the past five weeks, but Houston has afforded him only six touchdown-capping kicks (four made). Tennessee is a neutral matchup for the position.

WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

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