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Frigga's Fantasy Football Fridays: Week 15

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The Daily Norseman takes a look at the fantasy football prospects of our Minnesota Vikings as they travel on the road to face the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.

Jarius Wright was the Vikings leading fantasy scorer last week, with 20 standard fantasy points.
Jarius Wright was the Vikings leading fantasy scorer last week, with 20 standard fantasy points.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

With the St. Louis Rams loss to the Arizona Cardinals last night, the Minnesota Vikings slim playoff hopes have been officially dashed.  So if your fantasy team is more like the Vikings and didn't make the playoffs, there is still a way to continue to enjoy fantasy football: daily fantasy sports (or DFS for short).  The two most popular DFS websites are Fanduel (which has a partnership with SB Nation) and Draft Kings.  The allure of DFS leagues is the weekly payouts in money leagues of course, but they do have free league options too.  Chris, our fearless leader, has been writing about Fanduel leagues all year so be sure to check it out!  DFS leagues are only becoming more popular and this season was the first year I saw articles about DFS leagues all over twitter and the internet for fantasy football (of course you can also play DFS leagues in a variety of other sports too), and the first year I actually participated in them.  DFS leagues are also popular for charity fundraisers, with the our Vikings own Greg Jennings and Matt Kalil having hosted some DFS league charity fundraisers this season as well.

This week the Vikings go on the road to battle the Detroit Lions at Ford Field and it looks pretty scary from a fantasy football perspective.  The past three weeks have represented wonderful fantasy matchups for the Minnesota Vikings players for the most part.  And it shouldn't be a coincidence that our Vikings players have put up surprisingly start-able point totals for the last three weeks as a result.  If you've been enjoying that fantasy production the fun is about to stop.  The Lions are the 3rd best fantasy defense against quarterbacks allowing an average of only 13.3 points to the position.  They are 4th best against running backs, allowing only 14.1 points per game and 7th best against wide receivers allowing only 19.8 points per game.  About the only position they allow a consistently high point total to is tight ends, where they are the 17th ranked defense and allow 8 points per game (which still isn't saying much).  It looks like a rough matchup for the Vikings, and here are the Fantasypros consensus projections for Week 15, 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 15

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

3.3

12.8

0.0

n/a

n/a

n/a

225.8

1.1

1.3

12.2

12.6

RB Matt Asiata

11.1

38.6

0.1

2.7

17.3

0.0

n/a

n/a

n/a

6.2

9.7

WR Charles Johnson

0.0

0.0

0.0

4.2

60.6

0.5

n/a

n/a

n/a

9.3

10.3

WR Greg Jennings

0.0

0.0

0.0

4.1

48.9

0.1

n/a

n/a

n/a

5.4

6.0

WR Jarius Wright

0.4

2.3

0.0

3.0

41.2

0.1

n/a

n/a

n/a

4.6

4.2

TE Kyle Rudolph

n/a

n/a

n/a

2.8

23.5

0.4

n/a

n/a

n/a

4.4

4.2

Teddy Bridgewater continues to get better and better each week as he posted 18 fantasy points last week, his 3rd highest total of the year.  His 309 passing yards was his second time eclipsing the 300-yard mark this year and his second highest total of the year.  Teddy has averaged 17 fantasy points per game the last three weeks, which is good but not "elite".  That average would not have been enough to land in the top 10 at the quarterback position any of the past three weeks, so keep that in perspective.  Considering that he had his worst game as a starter in Week 6 the last time he faced the Lions (where he scored only 2 fantasy points) I would expect him to underperform his average.  And his projections expect a bit of a downturn as well, with him more likely to throw multiple interceptions than multiple touchdowns.  This will be a good "test" game for Bridgewater to see if he can improve upon his 3-interception game and keep his efficient play against a strong divisional opponent on the road.

I said last week that Mckinnon's back injury was probably serious enough to miss the game, and he ended up IR...I guess I didn't think it was THAT serious.  But that means that Matt Asiata is the de-facto starter going forward with Ben Tate and Joe Banyard backing him up.  We know what we have in Asiata (3.3 yards per carry with no explosive potential), but he is perhaps the team's best pass blocking and pass catching running back we have.  While he is maybe the least effective pure runner, those other assets will continue to give him a role in the offense, until Ben Tate learns the playbook and picks up the timing, terminology and playcalls.  I do think that Ben Tate has more upside than Matt Asiata, but he may not get much opportunity this year to realize it since he was signed only 3 weeks ago.  That said, the Vikings would be wise to give Tate some expanded looks in these final three meaningless games to see if they might have a potential starter going forward, especially depending on what happens with Adrian Peterson.  Still, nobody should be starting any Vikings running back against the #1 run defense in the NFL.

So, how about that Charles Johnson?  If you took a chance on him last week he didn't disappoint as he caught four passes for 104 yards and a touchdown.  But it was Jarius Wright who scored the most points of any Vikings player notching his second 100-yard receiving effort of the year and his first touchdown of the year as well.  He had been battling a hamstring injury this year and it is great to finally have Jarius Wright healthy again as he is one of our better deep threats on the team.  Greg Jennings continues to receive a healthy number of targets and has some value in deeper PPR leagues (where he is the 46th ranked wide receiver).  I wouldn't start any Vikings receiver this week though, but it's clear that Charles Johnson is now the guy to own.  Since the Vikings BYE week, Charles Johnson has led the team in targets in 3 of the past 4 games.  He is averaging 7.5 targets per game which has led to an average of 3.75 receptions, 70.8 yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game.  In other words, he's averaging 10.3 fantasy points per game since he became the starting X receiver after the BYE week.  Again, I don't like the matchup against the Lions, and he achieved those great numbers against some pretty suspect teams, so he's not worth a start against a dominant Lions defense at home.  But things certainly look good for the future.

Well, Kyle Rudolph was disappointing last week.  In what was perhaps the greatest matchup for a tight end of the year, and he put up a virtual donut.  His 2 targets were the only ones for a Vikings tight end and it led to only 2 catches for 9 yards.  Either the Jets planned to take him out of the game, or the Vikings didn't include him in their plans against the Jets, or perhaps he's not really healthy enough to gain separation from defenders.  At this point I don't think anyone can trust any Vikings tight ends.  For all the excitement about Norv Turner's scheme and its friendly usage of the tight end, we really haven't seen much of it this year.  Perhaps Rudolph will get some usage against the Lions.  I think there is a scenario where Bridgewater would be forced to check-down quickly to the tight end against a dominant pass rush and elite covering secondary, but it would still be a pretty big risk to rely on Rudolph as a starter this week.

Poor Blair Walsh.  He had a lot of opportunity last week to put up massive point totals, but couldn't get it done.  He missed two field goals en route to a disappointing 4 fantasy points, when it could have been so much more.  Detroit is ranked 9th against fantasy kickers allowing only 6.7 points per game to fantasy kickers.  Walsh had only 1 attempt in Week 6, so even if he gets a few more opportunities I don't see it amounting to much more than 5-7 fantasy points.  Look elsewhere.  Ditto for the Vikings D/ST.  I expect a few sack totals, and the Vikings defense may be able to cap the Lions scoring a bit, but I would not expect them to outdo their 7-point week 6 total the last time we faced them.  Surely there are better D/ST options out there.

I am still alive in the playoffs in 5 out of my 8 leagues.  The playoffs begin for two of my leagues this week, I had a BYE last week in another and I advanced to the next round in two other leagues.  So this is a big week of fantasy football for yours truly!  I'm hoping to make it to the Fantasy Super Bowl in at least one fantasy league, and I think my chances are good.  In the DN Writers league I was able to soundly beat soundly Arif 179.76 to 111.50 to advance to the semi-finals.  I will now face off against Eric Thompson and our two teams are projected for an almost identical point total; it's gonna be a close one.  The winner of our match will face the winner of MarkSP18 vs Christopher Gates (they are almost identically projected as well).  Unfortunately, Arif and Kyle (both of whom may not have taken this league very seriously) have been eliminated.  The DN Writers League playoff bracket is below.

DN FF Bracket

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.