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Frigga's Fantasy Football Fridays: Week 8

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The Daily Norseman takes a look at the fantasy football prospects of our Minnesota Vikings as they go on the road to face the Tampa Bay Bucaneers.

Everson Griffen had his best game last week, notching 3 of the Vikings 6 sacks.
Everson Griffen had his best game last week, notching 3 of the Vikings 6 sacks.
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The other day I had a conversation with one of my trumpet students about "development" and "progress."  This was a student who came to me with a lot of natural talent, but his former high school teacher told me he was kind of a "hot head" and didn't really like to practice.  While I haven't seen the attitude issues at all, he has not impressed me much with his work ethic and for about 3 weeks in a row he came to the lesson unprepared.  After 7 weeks of lessons, I have yet to see much progress in his playing.  He's still making similar mistakes in etudes, has the same struggles with lip flexibility I saw in the first lesson, and we've had to review the G-flat major scale for the third week in a row.  I told him that what I want to see out of my students is simple: progress.  I want to see them learn from their mistakes and improve in those areas where they are weak.  So I had to sit him down this week and explain to him that I'm not seeing the kind of progress that he will need to be successful.  His weekly practice log has been devoid of entries and we've been kind of stuck in neutral.  Hopefully this talk about needing a better work ethic and developing an internal drive hit home.  He wants to have a career as a professional trumpet player, but if he's not willing to put in the daily practice and grind it out over the next few years, he'll never reach his goals.  Music students tend to succeed or fail largely because of their time management choices within the first year of serious study at the college level.  Those that are motivated and that are willing to sit in solitary confinement honing their craft for at least 2 hours every single day tend to make it.  Those that would rather go out and party, or waste away in front of the TV or video game console, and leave the instrument in the case outside of class and rehearsals, usually do not make it.

While I'm no football coach, and Teddy Bridgewater is about as far from being one of my trumpet students as he could get...as a fan and teacher, I want to see progress from Teddy Bridgewater.  Week in and week out I want to see Teddy grinding it out, learning from his mistakes and improving.  It's really hard to pass judgment on a rookie quarterback after only three starts and 113 pass attempts, so I'm going to save the final verdict until after something more like 800-900 pass attempts.  But there are two reasons I'm encouraged by Bridgewater's first three starts in the NFL.  First, he showed us flashes of brilliance against a weak Atlanta defense.  If Teddy is going to develop into a skillful quarterback, he's going to have to show that he can succeed against those kinds of defenses on a routine basis.  He'll get another test this week against Tampa Bay's league worst defense in points and yards allowed.  Second, despite a generally poor showing against two of the top defenses in the NFL in Detroit and Buffalo, he showed marginal improvement in a number of passing statistics from week 6 to week 7: yards per attempt, QB Rating, adjusted yards per attempt and reduced interceptions.  Just like with my trumpet students, from Teddy Bridgewater I want to see development and ultimately: progress each and every week.

So this week the Vikings hit the road again and travel to Florida to take on their former division foes: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  There really couldn't be a more friendly fantasy matchup for the Minnesota Vikings this year than the Bucs.  They allow the 28th most points to QBs (20 per game), the 28th most points to RBs (20.8 per game), the 32nd most points to WR (31 per game), the 21st most points to TEs (8.3 per game), the 29th most points to D/ST (10.2) and even the 27th most points to kickers (9.7 per game).  The Vikings players literally won't face a more friendly fantasy defense the rest of the year.  So what follows are the Fantasypros consensus projections for Week 8, which take into account 7 different sources including CBS, ESPN and Pro Football Focus among others.  It's worth pointing out that the "Season Average" stat is their average fantasy points per start (or game where they played the majority of the snaps).

Minnesota Vikings Fantasy Projections for Week 8

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

3.7

16.5

0.2

n/a

n/a

n/a

229.6

1.1

0.7

14.7

10.4

RB Jerick Mckinnon

16.2

78.5

0.6

3.1

21

0

n/a

n/a

n/a

13.6

9.2

WR Cordarrelle Patterson

0.8

6.7

0

3.4

37.2

0.4

n/a

n/a

n/a

6.8

6.2

WR Greg Jennings

0

0

0

4.3

55.5

0.3

n/a

n/a

n/a

7.1

5.8

WR Jarius Wright

0.1

0.5

0

3.8

47.7

0.1

n/a

n/a

n/a

5.4

5.2

TE Chase Ford

n/a

n/a

n/a

2.1

24.6

0.1

n/a

n/a

n/a

2.8

2.1

Well, last week I said that Teddy Bridgewater had a good chance to bounce back after a dreadful 2 point day against Detroit.  Well, he did improve...to a mere 7 points.  It could have been right on projection if not for a pair of interceptions that killed drives and thus limited further opportunity.  He was also sacked 6 times by a dominant Buffalo defensive line that also knocked out offensive lineman John Sullivan and Vlad Duccase for the majority of the game.  While I love the matchup this week on paper, and I believe that Bridgewater will continue to make progress...I would still temper expectations.  He is still a rookie, on the road, in only his 4th ever NFL start.  I would feel a lot better about starting him at home against Tampa Bay than I would on the road.  There are surely better options out there to start than Teddy Bridgewater.  But if you want to read into the on paper matchup and give in your homer tendencies, then by all means...live on the edge and give him a start!  Who I am to stop you?

I think the Vikings might have something in Jerick Mckinnon.  Somehow, he managed to top 100 rushing yards last week against what was previously the top rushing defense in the NFL.  And here's another fun fact for you: he ranks 3rd in yards after contact among running backs who have had at least 30 carries so far this year.  With a nickname of "Jet" in college, I would be putting Mckinnon in as many starting lineup as you can.  His 5.2 yards per carry mark is tied for 4th among running backs who have at least 30 carries as well.  The Bucs are terrible defending the run and as mentioned above give up nearly 20 points per game to running backs.  Last week Zimmer said they wanted to get Matt Asiata more involved, and they did.  His snap count went up from 23% to 40%, but his carry total only went up from two carries in week 6 to six carries in week 7.  At this point Asiata shouldn't present much danger in the way of stealing carries.  That said, he could still be a risk in the red zone as a TD vulture.  Since the Vikings haven't had many trips in the red zone yet, it remains to be seen how that will play out.  But still, start Mckinnon as a very solid FLEX play, or low-end #2 RB this week.

I wish I could say that Patterson finally "went off" last week, as he found the end zone.  But with only 2 receptions for 9 total yards, his final point total was a mere 6 points in ESPN standard leagues (or 7.2 for those of you using decimal scoring).  Despite not finding the endzone, Greg Jennings actually did better than Patterson with 6 catches for 77 yards.  If you're going to start any Vikings receiver in your flex this week, make sure it's Greg Jennings as he has a lot of experience carving up Frazier's Tampa 2 scheme.  In 6 games against Frazier's defense while he was in Green Bay he averaged 12.8 fantasy points per game.  Granted, this was with a different offense, a different quarterback and he was 2-4 years younger.  But the point is, he's been productive against Frazier's defense in the past and there's no reason he can't be productive again this week.  And like last week, there are about 40 yards missing from the receiver projections when compared to the passing projection.  Some of that will go to the likes of Asiata, Thielen and maybe even Rhett Ellison, but I think Greg Jennings looks a little under-projected again this week.

There' s not much to say about Jarius Wright and Chase Ford at this point, neither should be owned in any fantasy leagues.  So instead, let's talk about the top fantasy scorer last week: the Vikings Defense/Special Teams!  They recorded an interception, three fumble recoveries, 6 sacks and held the Bills offense to only 17 points.  It was the 2nd best performance for a fantasy defense last week.  I only have one regret: that I didn't recommend starting them in all fantasy leagues last week  (I only recommended then in 12-team and deeper).  The Bucs have allowed at least one interception and sack in every game this year, and are averaging only 20 points on offense.  This is another tasty matchup for our defense, so start ‘em up!

Blair Walsh had a big bounce back game last week, hitting all three of his field goals, including a career long 55-yarder.  He now creeps back into the top 10 after last week, ranked as the 9th highest scoring kicker on the year.  I think Walsh is worth a start again against a Bucs defense that allows the league most 34 points per game.  The Vikings offense should be able to move the ball well, and that should make Walsh a pretty safe play.

So, after seven weeks I am now 34-22 overall in my 8 fantasy leagues after getting my first "perfect" fantasy week (every single one of my teams won!).  As always here are the updated standings for the 6-team DN Writers League.  I'm making a come-back, and if/when Calvin Johnson gets healthy...look out.

Team Owner

Wins

Losses

Total Points For

1.       MarkSP18

6

1

1,051.62

2.       Kyle Segall

5

2

981.79

3.       Christopher Gates

4

3

809.16

4.       CCNorseman

3

4

967.40

5.       Eric Thompson

3

4

931.66

6.       Arif Hasan

0

7

791.79

Lastly, if Fantasy advice is what you seek, look no further.  I've 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 inspiration and wisdom shall be yours.