Frigga's Fantasy Football Fridays: Week 15

Another Jennings vs Jennings battle! - Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Take a look at our Minnesota Vikings prospects in fantasy football for Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles, and check out my Overachiever and Underachiever picks for the week.

Welcome to another edition of Frigga's Fantasy Football Fridays where you can read up about our Minnesota's Vikings chances in fantasy football every week. As always, using Norse Goddess Frigga's inspiration and guidance, I will be checking back on this thread periodically to provide sit/start and trading or general roster advice in the comments section should you wish to seek it. And others should feel free to chime in as well. Think of this as a weekly open thread dedicated to all things fantasy football. As a general rule, the stats provided here assume a standard 10-team league, such as those found at Yahoo! Sports or ESPN.

If you're reading this article, chances are you have one or more fantasy teams in the playoffs, and congrats if you do! I'm a huge advocate of participating in more than one fantasy league, because it gives you much better odds of making the playoffs in at least one of them. Myself, I am in 6 leagues this year of varying formats. I was in a couple standard leagues, a PPR league, a dynasty league, the main Daily Norseman league (14 teams and some interesting custom scoring rules) and also Mark's crazy 14-teamer with 30 starting positions, outlandish custom scoring rules and only 2 bench spots. It keeps things interesting for sure. Of my 6 fantasy teams, only 3 made the playoffs this year, and I was unceremoniously knocked out of two of them already. I'm clinging to a small bit of hope on my last one. My six teams have a combined win/loss record of 45-37. That's not terrible, but it isn't awesome. Since I'm a huge proponent of the RB-RB draft strategy, if it hadn't been for the huge amount of 1st round bust running backs this year, I would have been a lot better off (I'm looking at you Trent Richardson, C.J. Spiller, Arian Foster and Ray Rice). In any case, I hope your fantasy teams are still doing well and good luck in any semi-final matchups (or first round championships if your league does a 2-week championship). Of course, I continue to battle it out in consolation ladders since I never just "give up" on my fantasy team. I fight for every last meaningless win, because I'm just that competitive.

If you compare the starters on offense this week to the starters on offense from Week 1, those two Vikings teams will not look anything alike. We've got a different starter at quarterback, running back, tight end and our wide receiver depth chart looks a little different too. This is largely the byproduct of so many injuries, but it's also partly the fault of the players themselves (getting arrested or just playing poorly). In any case, we have to play host to the Philadelphia Eagles this week, and they currently sit atop the NFC East. While I don't like our defense's chances against Chip Kelly's super-up tempo offense, our own offense should be able to put up some numbers against a suspect Philly defense, especially their passing defense. Even though we've got a lot of backups starting this week, they've all proven they can produce in fantasy football, so let's take a look at some projections.

Matt Cassel

Passing Yards

TDs

INTs

Rush Yards

Rush TDs

Fantasy Points

ESPN

262

1

1

11

0

13

Yahoo!

243

1.1

1.2

9.1

0

13.46

CBS

233.3

0.7

1

10.7

0

12.2

Fleaflicker

272

1

1

0

0

16

Average

252.575

0.95

1.05

7.7

0

13.665

Matt Cassel looked pretty good last week in Baltimore, and he way out-scored his 11-point projection by putting up over 250 passing yards and 2 TDs, without any turnovers. The projections show a small uptick this week as a result. Philly sports the 22nd best fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks, allowing an average of 17.1 points. Although they somehow managed to shut down Matthew Stafford last week, and their stats are skewed a little bit by getting torched by Peyton Manning in week 4. Without that, they've held everyone not named Philip Rivers and RGIII to under 19 fantasy points. So, I expect Cassel to have roughly the same kind of game he's had in his 4 starts thus far: over 240 yards and at least 1 TD, and probably another TD with the chance for a pick. If he does well again this week, I expect Cassel will start the rest of the way.

Frigga Says: He should outscore his projection again, but in the fantasy playoffs, you should have better options available.

Toby Gerhart

Rushing Yards

Rushing TDs

Receiving Yards

Receiving TDs

Fantasy Points

ESPN

88

1

14

0

15

Yahoo!

81.8

0.8

13.7

0

14.33

CBS

72.3

0.3

27.3

0

10.8

Fleaflicker

88

1

28

0

18

Average

82.525

0.775

20.75

0

14.5325

There are a lot of question marks surrounding Gerhart. As of this writing he hadn't practiced all week due to a hamstring injury, and his status depends on what he can do in practice Friday. Assuming he does indeed get the start, he's facing an average run defense. The Eagles are ranked 15th against opposing running backs, allowing an average of 15.5 points to the position. They've looked particularly susceptible the past 5 games as they've allowed over 100 rushing yards in 3 of the last 5 games. They haven't allowed many rushing TDs however. Gerhart is still a very fine running back, but he does represent a slight downgrade from Adrian Peterson obviously, and the projections show that as well. All that said; keep your eye on Matt Asiata, because if Gerhart can't go Asiata is in line to get all of the carries as the only healthy running back on the roster outside of fullback Jerome Felton. The Vikings recently signed Bradley Randle to their practice squad and there's always a possibility he sees some action before the end of the year. And lastly, there's a teeny tiny chance that Adrian Peterson actually suits up for the game. His practice status on Friday will determine whether he plays.

Frigga Says: If Gerhart plays he's a great fill-in for Peterson owners. Hopefully you already have him on your bench as a hand-cuff!

Greg Jennings

Receiving Yards

Receiving TDs

Rushing Yards

Rushing TDs

Fantasy Points

ESPN

66

1

0

0

12

Yahoo!

65.4

0.3

0

0

8.19

CBS

44.7

0.3

0

0

5.8

Fleaflicker

76

1

0

0

14

Average

63.025

0.65

0

0

9.9975

I bet Greg Jennings is super happy to have Cassel starting at QB. Once again he saw an uptick in targets as he got a team high 10 targets last week and hauled in 5 of those targets for 56 yards. It was actually somewhat of a disappointment, and there was one play in particular I remember where he slipped on the snow and otherwise would have been gone for a 50 yard TD. The conditions definitely played a role. But of all the wide receivers this week, the prognosticators all give him the best odds to score a TD. I think the odds are very good as the Eagles have the WORST fantasy defense in the NFL against wide receivers, allowing an average of 28.2 points to the position each week. With the exception of last week against Detroit, receivers have been going off against this team. So somebody is going to have an excellent game, and due to the high volume of targets from Matt Cassel, it's likely to be Greg Jennings (because he's always open).

Frigga Says: Greg Jennings makes for a good flex play once again this week, but you've probably got better options for your fantasy playoffs.

Cordarrelle Patterson

Receiving Yards

Receiving TDs

Rushing Yards

Rushing TDs

Fantasy Points

ESPN

58

0

16

0

6

Yahoo!

55.5

0.2

4.3

0

8.12

CBS

49.3

0.3

19

0

6.8

Fleaflicker

91

0

0

0

9

Average

63.45

0.125

9.825

0

7.48

Once again Patterson is finding a way to stay relevant in fantasy football, as he put up 141 yards and a TD on his way to 20 fantasy points last week in Baltimore. For some reason the snow did not seem to bother ceepeeflash one bit. He's scored 8 or more fantasy points in 4 of the last 7 games as well. Patterson started last week for only the 2nd time this season and played in 50 out of 66 snaps. He was targeted 7 times last week, and has averaged 8 targets per game the past 4 weeks. He's definitely getting more involved in the offense and appears to be slowly rising to the level of a #2 receiver in the offense.

Frigga Says: If you gambled on Patterson last week, you were rewarded. Feel free to gamble once again in your flex spot.

Jerome Simpson

Receiving Yards

Receiving TDs

Rushing Yards

Rushing TDs

Fantasy Points

ESPN

64

0

0

0

6

Yahoo!

51

0.3

0

0

6.63

CBS

45.7

0

0

0

4

Fleaflicker

72

0

0

0

7

Average

58.175

0.075

0

0

5.9075

Welcome back to Frigga's Fantasy Football Jerome Simpson. The prognosticators evidently like your chances a little bit more this week than in past weeks, especially after putting up 48 yards and a TD in Baltimore on 8 targets. He saw just a few less snaps than Patterson last week, but Jerome Simpson is still very involved in the offense as the deep threat. He'll continue to get some decent looks and make for a gamble of a flex play.

Frigga Says: Keep Simpson on your bench, unless you're desperate.

Rhett Ellison

Receiving Yards

Receiving TDs

Rushing Yards

Rushing TDs

Fantasy Points

ESPN

12

0

0

0

1

Yahoo!

20.7

0.1

0

0

2.75

CBS

13.3

0

0

0

1

Fleaflicker

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Average

15.33333333

0.0333333

0

0

1.583333

If you're confused about these projections, don't worry. I am too. Many of the sources still have projected numbers up for John Carlson, but with his concussion history I would be very surprised if he plays on Sunday. He hasn't practiced all week. With Kyle Rudolph placed on IR last week that leaves us with Rhett Ellison and Chase Ford. Between the two, I actually like Chase Ford a little better, but most of the sources didn't project him for anything. Ford is more of a pass catching tight end, and Rhett Ellison is more of a blocking tight end/fullback hybrid who doesn't catch many passes. In fact, Chase Ford has actually caught more passes this year than Rhett Ellison, although it's not saying much as he has 4 receptions to Ellison's 2. But, I've included Ellison here, because he's the highest projected tight end not named John Carlson. Not only do we not have much of an option at tight end this week, we're also facing one of the best fantasy defenses against the tight end. The Eagles are ranked 2nd in the NFL allowing an average of only 5.2 fantasy points per game to tight ends. That said, they've really only had to face 3 decent tight ends all year: Antonio Gates, Jason Witten and Julius Thomas, who all combined for an average of 6 fantasy points per game. This is not very good, but the stats are still skewed, because otherwise they've faced tight ends like Rob Housler, Brandon Myers, Andrew Quarless, Mychal Rivera, and Timothy Wright (exactly...who are all those guys?). So they're not as scary good as they seem. Still, you shouldn't be looking to any Vikings tight ends this week as neither Rhett Ellison nor Chase Ford have ever been featured in a starting, premiere pass catching role before. Sure, anything is possible, but this is not the time to gamble with a player in this kind of position.

Frigga Says: No Vikings tight end should be on anyone's roster this week.

Fantasy Points

Vikings Defense/Special Teams

Blair Walsh

ESPN

-2

14

Yahoo!

5.93

6.89

CBS

3.3

8.2

Fleaflicker

8

5

Average

3.8075

8.5225

As expected the Vikings D/ST is a little down in the projections as they have to face the high flying Chip Kelly offense with Nick Foles setting all kinds of records. Curiously, Blair Walsh's projections are all over the place.

Frigga Says: Feel free to roll the dice with Blair Walsh, but keep the Vikings D/ST on your bench this week.

Fantasy Over Achiever/Under Achiever

Like always, each week I'm going to pick a non-obvious player that I think will significantly outscore and underscore their weekly average based on opportunity, matchup or both. Don't think of this as sit/start advice necessarily, but rather to upgrade or lower your expectations.

Once again I got one right and one wrong last week. Colin Kaepernick fell short of his average by more than 3 points last week putting up only 12 fantasy points against the Seahawks defense. I was high on James Jones against an excellent matchup, but he just couldn't deliver. To my credit Jones received the most targets of any Green Bay receiver and tied for the most receptions. However the downside is that it was only 4 catches for 19 yards on 5 targets (sad trombone). Jordy Nelson caught all 4 of his targets for 81 yards and not a single receiver scored a TD. It's pretty clear that Aaron Rodgers is the Green Bay passing offense, and without him they have nothing (sorry Greg Jennings, but it is true). I've got 2 more weeks to try to get over 50% with my picks.

Overachiever: WR Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings

Gasp! That's right; I'm choosing a Viking player as my overachiever this week. I am on board with what the prognosticators are cooking. It's partly a hunch, but it's also rooted in trends. Matt Cassel is clearly looking for an always open Greg Jennings, much more than Ponder ever was. And his matchup against the Eagles is just too good to pass up. Jennings has averaged 5.8 fantasy points per game on the year. But check this out; in the 4 games he's played with Matt Cassel as the starter he's averaged 10.9 fantasy points per game. It's not a fluke that there is some chemistry between Cassel and Jennings, and with this great of a matchup, and no real tight end option to throw to, Cassel will be looking for Jennings early and often.

Underachiever: QB Eli Manning, New York Giants

First off, it's not like Eli Manning has lit it up this year in fantasy football. He's only averaging 11.8 fantasy points per game. But this week Seattle and their #1 fantasy defense against quarterbacks comes to town. They are allowing an obscenely low 10.6 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Even scarier? Manning has scored in the single digits 5 times this year, including an absolutely dreadful 4.5 point effort against Carolina's elite defense. His only respectable games have come against some truly bad defenses: Washington, Philadelphia, Green Bay, Minnesota and Dallas. If you remove those cushy matchups from his resume, his best game was a 10.4 day against San Diego. I am expecting his worst game of the year during what is a lost season for the Giants. The Seahawks defensive line will completely steamroll what has turned out to be one of the worst offensive lines in the league, leaving Manning to run for his life and to likely throw a couple picks to a very opportunistic Seahawk secondary. Eli Manning is probably not even on many fantasy rosters at this point, but just in case he is...seriously, look for a better option.

Last Week 1-1, Season So Far: 6-6

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