Game Predictions & Player Projections - MIN vs. SF

Game Predictions & Player Projections - MIN vs. SF


Game Predictions & Player Projections - MIN vs. SF


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Prediction: MIN 20, SF 17 (Line: MIN by 2)

The Vikings ended 7-9 last year and even that was a surprise after playing the entire season with a rookie quarterback and no Adrian Peterson. They were only 2-6 on road but that was better than 2013 when they ended 5-10-1 and were just 0-7-1 away from home. The Vikings have not been a good road team in years. The 8-8 49ers were not much better and only posted a 4-4 record at home.

The Vikings are in their second season with head coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner. This remains much the same team but with Mike Wallace replacing Greg Jennings. The 49ers are a team in disarray since they dumped Jim Harbaugh and his coordinators but then just promoted Jim Tomsula to head coach and Geep Chryst to offensive coordinator. The 49ers lost Frank Gore and replaced him with Carlos Hyde and brought in Reggie Bush. They also lost Stevie Johnson and Michael Crabtree and acquired Torrey Smith. Their defense was hard hit by surprise retirements as well.

This should be a good game. The 49ers are at home but the team is likely to stumble at least in the first game. The Vikings are a team on the rise and their offense gets back Peterson which makes everything work better.

Minnesota Vikings

1 @SF —— 10 @OAK ——
2 DET —— 11 GB ——
3 SD —— 12 @ATL ——
4 @DEN —— 13 SEA ——
5 BYE —— 14 @ARI ——
6 KC —— 15 CHI ——
7 @DET —— 16 NYG ——
8 @CHI —— 17 @GB ——
9 STL ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
MIN @ SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Teddy Bridgewater 30 230,1
RB Adrian Peterson 100,1 3-20
WR Charles Johnson 5-60
TE Kyle Rudolph 4-40,1
PK Blair Walsh 2 FG 2 XP

The first season with Norv Turner in control of the offense quietly went very well. The team improved their record from the painful 2013 season and now in their second year are ready for the next step up. The passing game looks improved and the value of Adrian Peterson’s return cannot be overstated. Teddy Bridgewater is about to learn how much better life is when he is the least of the defense’s worries. The Vikings should be able to take advantage of the continuity of the defense and offense from last year to compete with the 49ers who are in a transition year.

QUARTERBACK : The first round rookie played 13 games and turned in a respectable 2919 yards and 14 scores with just 12 interceptions. Four of his final six games had two passing touchdowns each and he’s already thrown three games of over 300 passing yards. Teddy Bridgewater had no wideouts that gained over 750 yards last year. He should have at least two for 2015 – Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson.

RUNNING BACK : Adrian Peterson and Norv Turner are a match made in heaven that was derailed last season. There is talk about using Jerick McKinnon more but Peterson is the immaculate workhorse back and coming off a year of rest. At the age of 30, Peterson should have at least one big season left in him. And likely more.

WIDE RECEIVER : The Vikes added Mike Wallace who was a deep threat miscast as a possession receiver in Miami where they don’t throw the deep ball much. Even still, Wallace accounted for ten touchdowns there last year. He joins Charles Johnson as the two starters and even Norv Turner has glowed about Johnson’s value to the team. He only turned in 31-475-2 as a Vikings but has turned heads this summer. Cordarrelle Patterson is still impressive as a special teams returner who cannot generate nearly as much excitement when he plays as a wideout. Jarius Wright also figures in as well.

Wallace and Johnson won’t become the best tandem in the league so long as the Vikes have Peterson. But they’ll offer at least moderate fantasy value each week. This game will be a good introduction to the new wideouts to see just how well Bridgewater connects with them. There is no real room for a #3 wideout in this scheme.

TIGHT END : Kyle Rudolph is back to once again tantalize, tease and then get hurt. After four seasons, he still has yet to top 500 yards and his nine scores back in 2012 are still more than his other three seasons combined. A Turner offense likes to use the position as a receiver but last year Rudolph only managed 24-231-2 while missing seven full games due to ankle, knee or hernia issues.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The 49ers had a good defense in 2014 but have suffered several retirements and a change in coaches. Playing at home helps and this will be one of the easier matchups of the season. But the offense has not looked good this summer and the defense is still coming together. They only allowed two rushing scores at home last season but Peterson is coming to town and should be on a mission. Peterson is an obvious weekly starter but none of the other Vikings offer more than a moderate level of production and with the inherent risk that week one always brings. Both Wallace and Johnson are lower end starters here. This will be easier to forecast after we finally have a real look at what Bridgewater will do when he has Peterson to lean on.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 26 25 21 21 21 12
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 8 4 11 22 7 20

San Francisco 49ers

1 MIN —— 10 BYE ——
2 @PIT —— 11 @SEA ——
3 @ARI —— 12 ARI ——
4 GB —— 13 @CHI ——
5 @NYG —— 14 @CLE ——
6 BAL —— 15 CIN ——
7 SEA —— 16 @DET ——
8 @STL —— 17 STL ——
9 ATL ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
SF vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Colin Kaepernick 30 240,1
RB Reggie Bush 20 4-30
RB Carlos Hyde 90,1 1-10
WR Anquan Boldin 5-50
WR Torrey Smith 4-70,1
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG 2 XP

The 49ers divorced Jim Harbaugh but kept his underlings so there is some amount of continuity from last year despite all the coaches in new offices. This will be the first time in ten years that they will not open with Frank Gore at tailback and that alone is a big change. Bringing in Reggie Bush also suggest an upgrade though it may not be as much as the name seems to carry. The passing offense has a makeover as well but decided to keep the oldest receivers and dump the younger ones. On paper this looks like a lesser offense and it was already one of the worst passing teams in 2014 and below average in rushing.

QUARTERBACK : Collin Kaepernick comes off a career best season but that only equated to 3369 passing yards and 19 touchdowns while adding 659 yards as a runner with just one touchdown. Kaepernick’s fantasy value is more about his rushing than his passing and he has been given the green light to run the ball even more this year. He needs the extra stats though since all of last year he only managed one game over 300 passing yards and 214 yards and the one touchdown as a rusher all happened in the final two games.

RUNNING BACK : Despite claiming that there would be a committee approach to the backfield and that there would be no defined roles, Carlos Hyde took a prominent position as the rushing back in practices and preseason games. Hyde ran for just 333 yards on 83 carries as Frank Gore’s caddy last year. He only caught 12 passes. But he’ll replace Gore who regularly carries 250 to 275 times per season.

The 49ers also added Reggie Bush as the third down back but the 49ers ranked just 31st last year in completions to running backs (44). The 30-year-old Bush was banged up as usual and really declined in Detroit with just 76 carries and 40 catches. San Francisco is hardly the place to go to recharge a career and Bush appears to on the wrong side of “The Wall”.

Bush is just a complement to Hyde more than a receiving back unless the offense changes. I’ll project for both but the workload for Hyde is key to this backfield. Bush isn’t going to offer much more than a veteran presence and some relief at this point in his career.

WIDE RECEIVER : Stevie Johnson never fit in with the 49ers but has apparently rebounded in San Diego where he is getting rave reviews. Michael Crabtree also left and there was conjecture that his knee was never the same after 2013 but he too is fitting in well in Oakland. It is fair to wonder if the problem wasn’t the receivers.

The 35-year-old Anquan Boldin hangs on to his 13th NFL season but his yard per catch average has declined for the last three years and while he ended with 83-1062-5 last year, his impact was not that great. He was only marginal in most games and no doubt will be even less productive in his advancing age. He is joined by Torrey Smith who spend four years with the Ravens where he was the deep threat who was wrongly considered a possession receiver.

Smith is clearly the best talent at wideout given the decline of Boldin. But his stock in trade is deep catches which Kaepernick does not often throw. Chances are that the 49ers will need to throw even more this year thanks to their defensive problems.

TIGHT END : Once again the 49ers promise to use Vernon Davis more but the 31-year-old was nearly shut out last year when he only managed 26-245-2 and only received 50 passes all year. This is the same tight end who totaled 850 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2013. The 49ers need the help but the same was true in 2014. The hope is that Torrey Smith can stretch the field and open up the middle for Davis.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Vikings defense is underrated and even last year was better than average in most areas. First games of the year are always a chore to predict and this one even more so given the changes to the 49ers personnel and the upheaval in so many facets of the team. Hyde is still a recommended start and against this defense should be at least moderately good with a chance for more depending on how much Bush is used. Kaepernick would be a very risky play though his rushing could save his fantasy value regardless. Both Boldin and Smith are lower end plays for now. This game is a good measuring stick for the offense in how well Kaepernick plays and how many passes end up with either Davis or Smith.

Gaining Fantasy Points SF 17 28 13 29 20 9
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 6 24 10 12 11 14

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