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Frigga's Fantasy Football: Week 6

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The Daily Norseman takes a look at the Minnesota Vikings prospects against the Detroit Lions, from a fantasy football perspective.

Matt Asiata was only the 2nd leading fantasy scorer in last week's...wait...what?
Matt Asiata was only the 2nd leading fantasy scorer in last week's...wait...what?
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

After last week's....wait...what happened last week?  I must have been slipped a Forget-Me-Now pill, because I'm pretty sure we had a BYE week last week.  Yes, I'm sure that's what happened.  I remember that we dominated the Atlanta Falcons and then...well, I think we had the first of our two BYE weeks last week.  So now as the Vikings gear up to take on the Detroit Lions at home, they better be ready for a team that has to be steaming after they lost a game last week that they had no business losing...thanks to their kicker missing three field goals.  Alex Henery was unceremoniously shown the door, and the Lions brought in troubled kicker and former Denver Bronco Matt Prater for the upcoming game in his place.  Still, the Lions sit atop the NFC North at 3-2, thanks to a tiebreaker over Green Bay; although Detroit was very close to being there outright with a record of 4-1.

So, how do the chances look for the Vikings from a fantasy football perspective?  In short: not good.  You mean not good, like...1 out of a hundred?  No, not good like...sit all your Vikings players this week if you can.  The Detroit defense is tops in the NFL in overall yards allowed, 4th best in run defense and 5th best in pass defense.   In fantasy football they are the best defense against the QB, allowing an average of only 6.2 points to the position.  Before you scoff at the small sample size consider that they have faced: Eli Manning, Cam Newton, and Aaron Rodgers along with scrubs Geno Smith and Kyle Orton.   Detroit is the 10th best against running backs allowing only 15.2 points per game.  They are very good against receivers too allowing only 15.5 points per game, ranked 4th best.  The only positions against that they aren't ranked in the top 10 are D/ST and Tight Ends.  I outlined the tough road ahead for the Vikings this week in the Matchup Index, and unfortunately the fantasy stats don't paint any better of a picture.  In any case, let's take a look at the Fantasypros projections for week 6, which take into account 6 different sources, including ESPN, CBS, and Pro Football Focus (among others) in their consensus:

Minnesota Vikings Fantasy Projections for Week 6

Vikings Player

Rush Att.

Rush Yds

Rush TDs

Rec.

Rec. Yds

Rec TDs

Pass Yds

Pass TDs

Pass INTs

Total Points

Season

Average

QB Teddy Bridgewater

4.6

25

0.4

n/a

n/a

n/a

220.8

0.4

1

13.1

16.05

RB Matt Asiata

14.5

54.2

0.5

2.7

20.8

0

n/a

n/a

n/a

10.4

10.4

WR Cordarrelle Patterson

1.0

9.2

0

3.2

41.9

0.1

n/a

n/a

n/a

5.7

6.4

WR Greg Jennings

0

0

0

3.6

47.3

0.1

n/a

n/a

n/a

5.3

5.6

WR Jarius Wright

0

0.2

0

3.1

40.2

0.1

n/a

n/a

n/a

4.4

3.6

TE Chase Ford

n/a

n/a

n/a

1.6

18.6

0.1

n/a

n/a

n/a

2.2

2.0

Well, how about some good news.  We get Teddy Bridgewater back!  He's easily had the best game of any Vikings quarterback so far this year.  Ok, now for some bad news again: he'll have his work cut-out for him against the most difficult matchup for a fantasy quarterback.  With Rudolph still out and Patterson dealing with an injury (he was a limited participant in practice after leaving last week's...wait...was there a game?) Bridgewater won't have a ton of healthy receiving weapons.  Anyway, he's projected for only 13 fantasy points, which is still more than double what Detroit has allowed to quarterbacks so far this year.  There are 50 passing yards unaccounted for in the table above.  So, either Bridgewater is over-projected (which could be the case), or there's something missing from one of the receiving options (or perhaps Adam Thielen and Jerick Mckinnon pick up the slack?).  I think Bridgewater's rushing projection seems about right as he rushed for 27 yards in both games in which he made an appearance, and it's nearly twice the rushing yards that Cassel or Ponder achieved in their starts.  It's also interesting to note that the prognosticators seem to think Bridgewater is more than twice as likely to throw an interception as a touchdown pass, which is odd since he's not thrown either one yet.

I didn't include Jerick Mckinnon in the table above, but his involvement has slowly increased over the course of the season.  Starting in week 1, his percentage share of the offensive snaps has been: 4.8%, 33.3%, 29.8%, 43%, 38.8%.  Based on his 5.5 yards per carry average, I can't imagine that the Vikings wouldn't want to get him more involved in the offense, seeing as how Matt Asiata is only averaging 3.7 yards per carry.  In any case, Asiata continues to offer a relatively high floor thanks to his workload, making him a pretty safe play most weeks with a double-digit fantasy point average per game.    It's worth mentioning that Mckinnon is projected for 8.4 carries, 34.7 rushing yards, 0.1 rushing touchdowns, 2.3 receptions and 16.4 receiving yards in route to 5.7 fantasy points.  After exploding against Atlanta's terrible defense, he was held in check (along with the rest of the offense) last week...allegedly.   If you're going to start any Viking this week, Matt Asiata is worth another start in the FLEX, but I'd play a wait and see game with Mckinnon for a few more weeks.  If his snaps begin to increase past the 50% mark then I'd feel much better about starting him.  Until then, Mckinnon is nothing more than a speculative add.

At wide receiver I think it's safe to say that Cordarrelle Patterson has been a big disappointment.  But I hinted that this was a distinct possibility in my Preseason Fantasy Guide, because with the exception of one game last year, he's never had more than 5 catches or 61 receiving yards in a single game.  It would appear that he still has some developing yet to do as a wide receiver.  It also appears that Norv Turner has chosen to use him more as a traditional receiver than as a "gadget play"  kind of player like Bill Musgrave did last year, and that has completely killed his fantasy potential.  At this point, Greg Jennings is the Vikings receiver to own, but I wouldn't start any of them this week.

But I'd like to play a game here.  I'm going to give you the per game receiving averages of three very similar players.  All three players are currently in their 2nd year in the NFL.  All three players started off their rookie years not receiving the majority of the offensive snaps, and then all three players became much more involved in their team's offenses at the tail end of last year, which has continued into this year.  All three players are not the reception/yards leader on their respective teams so far in 2014 either.

Player A, Last 9 Game Averages

4.8 targets, 3.0 receptions, 50.6 yards, 0.56 TDs (8.4 fantasy points per game)

Player B, Last 9 Game Averages

5.6 targets, 3.3 receptions, 44.9 yards, 0.33 TDs (6.47 fantasy points per game)

Player C, Last 9 Game Averages

6.4 targets, 4.2 receptions, 52.4 yards, 0.56 TDs (8.6 fantasy points per game)

So, which player would you rather have on your fantasy team?  It seems like Player C has the clear advantage with the most targets, receptions and yards.  Although Player B has more targets and receptions than Player A, despite the lack of yards and TDs.  I can tell you that one of those players is Cordarrelle Patterson, but which one?  Well, it's time to let the cat out of the bag.  Player A is Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams, and Player C is San Diego Chargers receiver Keenan Allen.  Player B is our own Vikings player Cordarrelle Patterson.  Did you guess right?  Does that change your perception of Cordarrelle Patterson at all?  Keep in mind the fantasy points per game I listed here ignores any rushing production.  That is just their pure receiving production.  So, Patterson would naturally get a little bit of a boost in his total fantasy points per game average.  But, for whatever reason Norv Turner and the Vikings don't seem committed to the idea of giving him very many carries.  And because of that, I think it's time to downgrade expectations for Patterson.

As I said two weeks ago, Chase Ford would be the receiving tight end, not Rhett Ellison.  He's been awfully close to scoring some touchdowns, and at 6'6" he's a very good red zone threat.  As he continues to get worked into the offense I expect his production to see a slight uptick.  He's worth a speculative add for Vikings fans, but won't be worth a start until we can see some real production.

Hey, what do you know Blair Walsh narrowly avoided a second fantasy doughnut last week and is now the 9th best kicker in fantasy football.  He's 10 of 12 on field goals this year, including hitting two 50+ so far.  You could do a lot worse than starting Blair Walsh in your fantasy leagues, but this week might not be the best week, since Detroit is 6th best against fantasy kickers allowing an average of only 6.2 points per game.  The Vikings D/ST is ranked 18th overall and averaging only 5 fantasy points per game.  Outside of a 19-point outburst against a dreadful Rams offense in week 1, they haven't scored more than 2 fantasy point in a game since.  I would not start them this week.

So, after five weeks I am now 21-19 overall in my 8 fantasy leagues.  As always here are the updated standings for the 6-team DN Writers League (with Calvin Johnson limited the last few weeks, I've lost 4 in a row, and lost a heart-breaker to Eric last week by less than a point):

Team Owner

Wins

Losses

Total Points For

1.       MarkSP18

5

0

778.19

2.       Kyle Segall

4

1

702.29

3.       Christopher Gates

3

2

704.93

4.       Eric Thompson

2

3

549.38

5.       CCNorseman

1

4

685.20

6.       Arif Hasan

0

5

533.21

Lastly, if Fantasy advice is what you seek, look no further.  I offered no fantasy advice last week, because I have a vague recollection that we were on a BYE.  I've also stopped keeping track of the accuracy of Frigga's advice, but just know I tend to be slightly better than a 50/50 shot in the dark...slightly.  In any case, post your questions below in the comments section and Frigga's wisdom shall be yours.