With the change at QB, and the recent release of Berrian, my last fanpost sure looks ridiculous, eh? But, as any smart fantasy footballer knows, the key to success is the ability to re-evaluate players and change how you value players as the season goes on. So, what follows is a mid-season adjustment of the fantasy prospects of our beloved Vikings. Read on after the jump.
QB: McNabb is done (hooray!). Ponder put up 15.9 fantasy points in standard scoring in week 7, ranking him 10th among all signal callers for the week. I believe he makes for a solid backup QB for BYE week fill-ins, and depending on his progress could even be a starter down the road. I like him as well as Joe Flacco, Josh Freeman, Matt Ryan and Colt McCoy most weeks. He’ll
rarely never put up elite numbers like Brees, Rodgers, Brady, Vick or Newton, but if you’re hurting at QB or looking for a competent backup, Ponder will have the opportunity. He had plenty of miscues last week and a pair of interceptions, but he more than makes up for that with his running ability. With the Vikings defense banged up and weak in the secondary, they’ll be playing from behind frequently, meaning that Ponder will be forced to throw. He threw it 32 times last week, which is a healthy total for fantasy purposes. Considering that McNabb averaged 11.68 fantasy points per week during the first 5 weeks, I expect Ponder to better that average, making him a solid pickup.
RB: Adrian Peterson leads the NFL in yards and TDs through 7 weeks. Enough said. Or is it? With a competent QB in Ponder keeping defenses honest, AP’s value will only increase.
WR: Harvin was considered a solid #2 receiver at draft day, but has only performed well enough for flex consideration (if that). He’s the 31st ranked WR in standard scoring, averaging only 6.9 points per week. He’s been disappointing for fantasy, but I think this can be attributed more to his injuries and poor QB play than a lack of opportunity. He’s still the most targeted WR on the team, and I think you have to stick by him and hope the upcoming BYE week helps him rest and heal. Jenkins on the other hand has actually out-scored Harvin by 1 point so far this season, and is definitely worth a look as a flex option in deeper leagues as a potential BYE week filler in 10-team leagues . While Harvin leads the team in targets, it is only by 1 target. Jenkins has 38 targets to Harvin’s 39 (this is an average of 5-6 targets per game for both receivers). If Jenkins' 17.1 points last week with Ponder is any indication of things to come, Jenkins has the potential to be the highest scoring Vikings WR by season’s end, especially considering that Berrian is no longer with the team. But don’t go crazy, close to half of that came on the long bomb to open the game, and let's not forget this was still Jenkins' first 100 yard receiving game of his 8-year career.
TE: Well, it sure looks like Shiancoe’s early season hamstring issues have disappeared as he put up 10.5 points last week with Ponder. With all the hype surrounding Kyle Rudolph this offseason (who’s amassed a whopping 11.8 fantasy points on the year), the starting TE job appears to be unequivocally Shiancoe’s. As much as we all like Rudolph’s potential, it’s safe to say that he’s just not getting the looks this year (he’s got 13 targets…total). And if that's not enough to make a case for Shiancoe, he actually has tied Harvin in targets with 39 for the year. Still, he's only averaging 4.9 points per week though. He’s the 20th ranked TE overall so far this year, and is worth a look as a BYE week filler, or in deeper leagues. He seemed much more involved in the gameplan last week, and should be a nice safety valve for Ponder. I like his chances going forward and I think his value is on the rise.
D/ST: This defense is no longer elite, and therefore should not be considered as an every week starter. They are allowing over 25 points per game and have only scored 1 TD. They have brought down 6 interceptions this year and lots of sacks, but at the end of the day they are averaging 6.3 points per week and are ranked 18th. Stay away.
K: Longwell is still a starter. He’s ranked 11th among kickers, averaging 8 points per week. With Ponder at the helm and moving the offense more, I expect his chances to increase. And his value only increases as the weather turns colder. He’s a dome kicker and has several dome games on the road. As one of the NFL’s most accurate kickers, his consistency is worth rostering during the second half of the season.
IDP: Jared Allen is averaging 1.6 sacks PER GAME, which is huge, but with only a 4 tackle per game average, depending on your league’s format he may or may not be worth rostering. As a DE, he’s ranked #1 though. Chad Greenway is worth a mention for leagues valuing tackles at a premium. He’s ranked #12 in tackles at the LB position with 52 total tackles (39 solo, 13 ass). That’s an average of 7.4 per game. Unfortunately, Greenway doesn’t have any interceptions of sacks this year. With Winfield’s injury, he’s fallen off the stat chart, but he averaged 8.4 tackles per week during the first 4 weeks and is even more valuable than Greenway when he’s healthy. Considering Winfield has more opportunity for sacks and interceptions than Greenway, he’s the guy to own on the Vikings Defense. Let’s just hope his neck injury heals sooner rather than later.
Summary: With a change at the QB position, suddenly we can get excited about our MN Vikings' fantasy prospects. I can't wait to see what Ponder can do the rest of the year!