FanPost

Frigga's Fantasy Football: Week 4 vs Pittsburgh

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Frigga Logo (via ccnorsemen)

First of all, I just want to thank all 10s of you that check in each week to read this. And guess what, you are all pretty smart too. It would appear that about half of us were right on the mark with Christian Ponder's passing yard projection last week. 50% of the votes from last week's poll predicted that Ponder would fall somewhere between the highest and lowest yardage projections of 179 and 246 yards, and he had 228. Go us! The downside is that because of his insane rushing totals, Ponder put up a very good fantasy total of 21.7 points nearly doubling his fantasy projection. If it hadn't been for the interception and fumble, it would have been even higher.

Before I get to the projections this week, I thought I'd take a minute and share a bit of my own personal sit/start process. We all have our own rituals, stats and sources we follow to make a decision to sit or start a given player, but how often do we actually make the correct choice? Take Trent Richardson last week for example. I owned him in one of my 12-team standard leagues and he was my first round pick in that league. Through the first two weeks of the year he was averaging 7.8 fantasy points per game, with only 3.7 yards per carry. The workload and production was disappointing to say the least. So the trade is actually great news for me, as the Colts are a much better offense and should provide not only more goal-line carries, but more opportunities in general. Vick Ballard (a fantasy nobody) produced decently well with the Colts before his injury, so imagine what a higher marquee player could do. The problem is, Richardson was traded on a Wednesday, and literally had 2-3 days to practice with the team. At worst, he would probably perform as well as he had the first two weeks, although there was certainly some risk that he would split time with Ahmad Bradshaw. With Matt Forte and Lamar Miller my only other start-able RB options, I wasn't confident with Richardson in my flex. So, for this week, I went all in with the only viable free agent RB left in my league and spent about 20% of my free agent auction budget to acquire James Starks.

Reports Sunday morning indicated that Eddie Lacy was out, so James Starks was in line for the majority of the carries, and Trent Richardson was set to get "10-15 touches", which to me meant maybe 10-12 carries and perhaps a couple receptions. I liked James Starks a bit more, but it was still a tough call since Richardson was going to get some work. So, how did I make a decision between James Starks and Trent Richardson?

The first thing I did was check the scoring projections at ESPN, Yahoo!, CBS and Fleaflicker. Starks was projected higher than Richardson in 3 out of 4 sources. Next, I checked the consensus Week 3 rankings at FantasyPros.com...and that muddied things a bit as Richardson was ranked about 7 spots higher than Starks by a consensus of over 100 ranking sources (Richardson was 21st while Starks was 28th). While Starks had the projection advantage, Richardson's ranking advantage wasn't a significant one. The last thing to consider was the matchup with Richardson going up against the 49ers and Starks facing the Bengals. Both defenses have historically had a great run defense in fantasy, however after two weeks, the 49ers were ranked 28th and the Bengals were ranked 7th. Normally, I think the Bengals are an easier to team to run on, so I chalked this up to a small sample size (and the fact that Lynch historically does well against an otherwise stout 49er run defense, which might be lowering their total). The Bengals also haven't faced a legitimate offense yet. So, based on the projection advantage, the opportunity for more carries and touches, and the historically better matchup, I decided to start James Starks over Trent Richardson.

How did it turn out? Well, it's actually kind of hard to say. Trent Richardson got 13 carries and 3 passing targets (but didn't catch any of them), so he hit his "10-15 touches" pretty much right on the money. Thanks to a goal-line carry that he converted he had a respectable day as a FLEX play scoring 9 fantasy points. James Starks on the other hand had 14 carries for 55 yards before injuring his knee right before half time and having to leave the game. His replacement, rookie Jonathan Franklin ended up racking up 103 yards and a TD on 13 carries for the 2nd half of the game. I'd like to think that if Starks had been healthy and played the whole game he could have achieved something similar. Even if he got half the yardage and didn't score, he would have topped Trent Richardson in fantasy points. So, I'd like to think I made the right decision, and blame the injury to Starks on bad luck. The downside is, I'm stuck with James Starks on my roster now, and he's likely pretty worthless as long as Eddie Lacy is healthy. Would you have made the same call of James Starks over Trent Richardson?

Like last week, Frigga's Fantasy Football will take a look at the Week 4 scoring projections from the four most popular fantasy football websites on the web in an attempt to find consensus. Sitting or starting depends totally on your own roster and what other options you might have available. Frigga will only consider Vikings players projected for at least 5 fantasy points or more. At this point it probably goes without saying, but the point totals included here assume a standard, 10-team league. Check the end of the article for each source's accuracy ratings. So, let's get to it!

Christian Ponder

Passing

Yards

Passing

TDs

INTs

Rush Yards

Rush TDs

Fantasy Points

ESPN

150

0

1

25

1

12

Yahoo!

205

1

0.6

20.4

0.1

13.32

CBS

214.7

0.3

1

13.7

0

8.2

Fleaflicker

289

1

1

15

0

18

Average

214.7

0.6

0.9

18.5

0.3

12.9

This week Ponder is dealing with a "rib injury"...in quotations because...yeah. We'll see if he actually plays this week, but don't get fooled by his 21.7 points last week. Those were solely because of Ponder taking advantage of the Browns defensive breakdown by giving up the middle of the field in the red zone. Those kinds of play are very unlikely to repeat. Take those away, and Ponder would have scored in the single digits, even worse than his lowest projection last week. The projections even look a little high to me this week as Pittsburgh sports the 7th toughest fantasy defense against QBs, allowing an average of only 10.7 points to opposing QBs (they've also only faced Locker, Dalton and Cutler). Keep an eye on his injury status update, and depending on what happens we may have to start talking about Matt Cassel soon.

Frigga Says: Ponder's on your waiver wire, right? Good. That's where he still belongs.

Adrian Peterson

Rushing Yards

Rushing TDs

Receiving Yards

Receiving TDs

Fantasy Points

ESPN

103

1

15

0

17

Yahoo!

99.6

0.8

22.6

0.1

17.01

CBS

105

1.3

19

0

18.8

Fleaflicker

119

1

45

0

22

Average

106.7

1.03

25.4

0.03

19.6

Analysis, words, words.

Frigga Says: Start him. Done.

Greg Jennings

Receiving Yards

Receiving TDs

Rushing Yards

Rushing TDs

Fantasy Points

ESPN

36

0

0

0

3

Yahoo!

44.3

0.2

0

0

5.84

CBS

41.7

0

0

0

4

Fleaflicker

88

0

0

0

9

Average

52.5

0.05

0

0

5.6

Jennings continues to take a slight backseat to Jerome Simpson in targets, as he saw 2 less targets than Simpson last week. Jennings is averaging a mere 6.3 targets per week, and a lowly 8.4 yards per target. Until his target number goes up, there's not much reason to ever start Greg Jennings, unless you're really in dire straits during a BYE week. Jennings is primarily being used in crossing routes, slants and "middle of the field" type of routes. Ponder is rarely looking for Jennings deep, and he's spreading the ball around to a variety of receivers (he's connected with 8 different receivers the past 2 weeks). Pittsburgh is the 2nd best fantasy defense against wide receivers allowing an insanely low 12.7 points to opposing team's wide-outs. This week does not bode well.

Frigga Says: Keep Jennings on your bench.

Jerome Simpson

Receiving Yards

Receiving TDs

Rushing Yards

Rushing TDs

Fantasy Points

ESPN

44

0

0

0

4

Yahoo!

44.2

0.2

0

0

5.32

CBS

47.7

0

0

0

4

Fleaflicker

45

0

0

0

5

Average

45.2

0.05

0

0

4.82

Pretty much ditto to my comments on Greg Jennings above, although the good news is that Simpson is the "#1 Receiver" for the Vikings right now. He has the most targets, receptions and receiving yards of any Vikings receiver, although he has yet to find the end zone. I'm not sure if that's a good thing, but the only upside here is that Ponder looks for Simpson on deep throws. So if any Vikings receiver has the potential for a big fantasy day, at this point, that person is Jerome Simpson. Cordarrelle Patterson is nipping at his heels though, and his saw a big jump in snaps last week (up from 11 snaps to 20). It may take a few more weeks for Patterson's usage to increase (and it may never get much higher than that either), but if Simpson continues to disappoint, we may be talking about Patterson soon.

Frigga Says: Keep Simpson on the bench.

Kyle Rudolph

Receiving Yards

Receiving TDs

Rushing Yards

Rushing TDs

Fantasy Points

ESPN

26

0

0

0

2

Yahoo!

31.6

0.3

0

0

4.68

CBS

32.7

0.3

0

0

4.8

Fleaflicker

45

1

0

0

11

Average

33.8

0.4

0

0

5.8

Mr. Touchdown dependent TE didn't catch a TD last week, although he had a red zone target once again, which is always nice to see. If you followed my advice and benched him, then you didn't get burned, but Ponder is just spreading the ball around way too much for Rudolph to be a reliable fantasy starter. I view him as a TE2 at this point.

Frigga Says: Keep Kyle Rudolph on your bench.

Fantasy Points

Vikings Defense/Special Teams

Blair Walsh

ESPN

7

14

Yahoo!

17.38

8.32

CBS

7.1

10.7

Fleaflicker

12

5

Average

10.87

9.5

The Vikings D/ST continues to take advantage of turnover prone QBs as they intercepted Brian Hoyer 3 times last week, and recovered another fumble. However, they are beginning to become a bit of a liability in the amount of points and yards they allow. If the turnovers don't continue to come, this unit could be in trouble. Blair Walsh is Mr. Automatic. That is all.

Frigga Says: Keep starting both, but keep an eye on the D/ST turnover ratio going forward.

Final Thoughts

It's a good thing in real life that Christian Ponder is spreading the ball around and has hit 8 different receivers in both games the past 2 weeks. He's doubling his per-game average of 20+ yard throws compared to last year and those are the kinds of things useable fantasy QBs do. However, at the same time it means that almost no Vikings receiver is a viable fantasy play most weeks. Ponder just doesn't seem to have a "go-to guy" this season. Jerome Simpson is about as close as it gets, and he only has 2 targets more than Jennings on the year, and 3 more than Kyle Rudolph. At this point, Peterson has more total yards from scrimmage than Greg Jennings and Kyle Rudolph combined. So, while Ponder's passing yards are up this year, no one in particular seems to be benefitting from it. Last week, 6 different receivers all caught passes between 27-49 yards. If that trend continues, then this article will begin to get very, very short.

Accuracy Ratings

Week 3 Predicted Points

Week 3 Actual Points

Week 3 Accuracy Percentage

Season Predicted Points

Season Actual Points

Season Accuracy Percentage

ESPN

70

60

+16.7%

189.4

177

+7%

Yahoo!

61.86

68.22

-9.3%

180.94

192.02

-5.8%

CBS

71.8

63

+14%

205.2

194

+5.8%

Fleaflicker

78

75

+4%

155

160

-3.1%

Cumulative Average

70.42

66.56

+5.8%

182.64

180.76

+1.0%

Of the four individual sources, Fleaflicker once again retains the top spot for being most accurate again last week. For the whole season however, the cumulative average has snuck into the lead as being most accurate, with Fleaflicker again being a close second. No surprise to me, ESPN was the least accurate by a long shot last week, and continues to be on the season as a whole too.

And it is here at the end the article that we thank Frigga for her inspiration. If you take my advice, and it doesn't work out...don't blame me. Blame Frigga, and feel free to use her moniker in your swearing and curse word arsenal...it's kinda fun. FRIGGA!!!!!!!

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.

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