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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 Case Keenum, MIN @GB 20000026020 ***
The journeyman has two TD throws in each of his last four games and fewer than 20 fantasy points in one of his last seven. The Week 6 matchup with the Pack wasn't one of his finest outings (17.5 points), and this time around it is in Green Bay. The positive: He faces the No. 2 matchup of the week against a defense giving up a TD every 8.3 completions since Week 10 for the worst rate in football.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Latavius Murray, MIN @GB 7011100000 ***
Back in Week 6, Murray wasn't much of a factor. The show was stolen by Jerick McKinnon's two-TD effort. Green Bay remains extremely vulnerable to running backs, though the matchup skews toward pass-catching types. Statistically, this is the worst matchup for rushing touchdowns, but extreme cold at Lambeau could flip the script.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN @GB 4005300000 ***
McKinnon's best fantasy day of the season came against the Packers in Week 6; Latavius Murray wasn't a factor in that game. The Packers have provided the 12th-most rushing yards, most receptions, and second-most receiving yards per contest to RBs in the last five weeks. This is the No. 2 matchup in PPR and slides to 13th in standard.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Adam Thielen, MIN @GB 0071001000 ***
Receivers have scored with the highest frequency against Green Bay in the past five weeks. One in 5.9 catches has made it into the end zone. The Packers have limited receivers to just 9.4 receptions (28th) and 121.8 yards (28th), but much of those figures can be pinned on facing shaky passing attacks of Baltimore, Carolina, Cleveland and Tampa Bay. Thielen posted a 9-97-0 line in the Stefon Diggs-less Week 6 game. This one is at Lambeau Field in what is forecasted to be single digits.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN @GB 004601000 ***
Diggs missed the previous meeting. The Packers have been a poor defense of receivers all year, but the recent weeks have provided a few matchups that have helped improve the look of the stats. This defense is 28th in receptions and yards allowed per game, but it remains the best for finding touchdowns (1 every 5.9 catches).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN @GB 004500000 ***
Rudolph (ankle) played in only 20 snaps last week, and he was limited in Tuesday's practice based on the approximation report. Green Bay provides the third-best matchup of the week, one that rates in the top eight for receptions, yardage and touchdown efficiency against.

Update: Rudolph is not on the injury report for Saturday's game.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, MIN @GB 2233 ***
Twenty of the 21 combined kicking attempts were good, with all seven field goals being accurate. This is the sixth-worst matchup for three-pointers and sixth-best for TD-capping tries.

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
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Lamar Miller 20

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 T.J. Yates, HOU PIT 0000022011 ***
The Steelers get CB Joe Haden back this week in all likelihood, which helps improve a secondary that has fallen on hard times of late. This is the No. 6 matchup to exploit for the week, yet rolling with Yates in a fantasy lineup is begging for a second-place finish.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, HOU PIT 5002200000 ***
Pittsburgh offers one of the better matchups of the week in both scoring formats, and it's an excellent rating for trying to find a cheap touchdown. One in 16.7 carries over the past five games have scored, plus RBs added an aerial TD to the mix. Houston will likely want to run it to keep the game as close as possible. Nevertheless, counting on Miller for more than flex numbers could get games in trouble. He has two scores in his last 93 touches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU PIT 005801000 ***
Hopkins saw 13 targets last week, landing only four, but he salvaged a respectable fantasy line. The Steelers have permitted seven receiver touchdowns in the last five games, or once every 8.0 receptions (4th). This is the 17th-best matchup for weekly receptions and yards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Will Fuller V, HOU PIT 003400000 ***
Fuller hasn't offered much since Deshaun Watson went down. This matchup is good for the flier touchdown gamble, but there is little else to like about it.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Braxton Miller, HOU PIT 002300000 ***
Update: Miller is not on the injury report and should play. Avoid him in all formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Stephen Anderson, HOU PIT 002200000 ***
Anderson has caught a pathetic eight of his last 24 targets and offers no credible reason to enter a fantasy lineup. The Steelers haven't given up a TE score over the last 27 catches.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ka'imi Fairbairn, HOU PIT 2211 ***
This matchup is great for extra points (3rd) and not so much for field goals (23rd). Houston isn't particularly good at racking up either.

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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