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Frigga's Fantasy Football Fridays: Week 16

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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 Miami Dolphins.

Teddy Bridgewater scored the most fantasy points of any Vikings player last week against the Lions.
Teddy Bridgewater scored the most fantasy points of any Vikings player last week against the Lions.
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

It is Super Bowl week in fantasy football everybody!  Week 16 is traditionally the last usable week in standard leagues, which is when most leagues will schedule their championship game.  With many playoff caliber teams securing their playoff seeds by Week 17, they sometimes sit their star players for an extra week of rest, making Week 17 a pretty dicey week for fantasy purposes.  If your team survived all the way to the Super Bowl, congratulations!  It's a rare feat to survive 15 grueling weeks of picks, projections and speculation.  But my proverbial hat is off to you and your drafting/waiver wire prowess if you're playing for a league championship this week.  There have been plenty of valuable draft selections and waiver wire gems that likely catapulted you into the fantasy Super Bowl, of which I'll highlight and discuss next week in the 2014 Season Review.

This week the Vikings travel on the road once again to take on the Miami Dolphins, who generally speaking, have a tough fantasy matchup for opposing offensive skill players.  They are ranked 7th best against quarterbacks allowing only 13.1 points per game to the position and 14th best against wide receivers allowing only 20.1 points per game.  They are also tough against tight ends, ranked 6th best and allow an average of only 4.9 points per game!  If there is one ray of hope for the Vikings it is their run defense.  They are ranked 18th best against fantasy running backs, and allow an average of 17.2 points per game to the position.  They are even stingy against kickers where they allow an average of only 6.9 points per game (and have only allowed 3 double digit fantasy weeks to kickers).  The Dolphins present a tough matchup for the Vikings, and here are the Fantasypros consensus projections for Week 16, 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 16

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

3.5

14.9

0.0

n/a

n/a

n/a

223.1

1.2

1.0

13.0

12.8

RB Matt Asiata

12.9

51.3

0.5

3.1

18.6

0.0

n/a

n/a

n/a

10.3

13.7

WR Charles Johnson

0.0

0.0

0.0

4.5

66.8

0.4

n/a

n/a

n/a

9.1

9.6

WR Greg Jennings

0.0

0.0

0.0

3.5

39.1

0.2

n/a

n/a

n/a

5.3

6.3

WR Jarius Wright

0.1

0.7

0.0

2.8

35.3

0.1

n/a

n/a

n/a

4.0

4.1

TE Kyle Rudolph

n/a

n/a

n/a

3.3

31.2

0.4

n/a

n/a

n/a

4.7

4.4

Teddy threw for over 300 passing yards for the 3rd time this year last week against the Lions, and if it hadn't been for two interceptions his fantasy total would have been even better than the 15 standard points he did get.  He's got another tough matchup this week for fantasy purposes, so there's no way anyone is using him in their fantasy Super Bowl, but I love his chances next year.  While he's only averaging 12.8 fantasy points per game this season, over the last 4 games he's put up a very consistent 16.4 average.  That puts him in the conversation for reliable QB2 numbers with borderline QB1 status in generous matchups.

Well, when you only look at the seven weeks where Matt Asiata has gotten the majority of the snaps as the starter, his 13.7 fantasy points per game average looks pretty respectable.  But this seven game average is propped up by his seven touchdowns, which is where it gets misleading, because those seven touchdowns have come in only three games this year.  In reality his 3.3 yards per carry average is pretty bad, so he simply can't be relied upon for consistent fantasy points.  Even though this week represents a friendly matchup, he isn't likely to get more than 12-15 carries in the game and I would be surprised to see him top 70 rushing yards.  The projections have him at essentially a 50/50 chance for a touchdown, so if you start him you're risking a lot on a touchdown to make his fantasy day relevant.  Ben Tate has gotten the following carries the past three weeks since joining the team: 5, 3, and 5. Unless something dramatic has changed for him in practice, and learning the playbook (which is always a possibility), I don't see that trend changing.  It would appear that the Vikings are comfortable with Asiata's pass blocking and pass catching abilities as the starter with Peterson and Mckinnon both out.  It's noteworthy that Teddy checked it down to Asiata 7 times for 50 yards last week in Detroit, his most receptions and receiving yards of the season.  It's possible the Vikings utilize a similar game plan against another strong pass rushing defensive line this week, but despite all that, if it were me, I would not start Matt Asiata except in the most desperate of situations.

Charles Johnson had a respectable day against a strong defense last week catching 5 of 7 targets for 72 yards, but failed to find the end zone.  He was once again Bridgewater's most targeted wide receiver, although Teddy checked it down a fair amount also tossing 7 targets each to Kyle Rudolph and Matt Asiata.  Greg Jennings continues to find ways to stay fantasy relevant despite not getting a ton of targets since the BYE week.  I've mentioned this stat before, but if you throw out the Chicago game where Jennings didn't finish because of injury, in games that Bridgewater has started Jennings is averaging 7.7 standard fantasy points per game.  He's been even better over the past 4 weeks averaging 8.5 points per game.  I probably wouldn't start either Johnson or Jennings this week, but if you're desperate feel free to start either one as a flex play.  It's noteworthy that Jennings is banged up dealing with a hamstring issue practicing in a limited fashion early in the week, so if I had to pick one Vikings receiver to start as a flex play, it would be Charles Johnson.  If Jennings can't go, Patterson could see some snaps, although it may not matter.

We had another Kyle Rudolph sighting last week as he pulled down all 7 targets for 69 receiving yards.  I still don't trust him as a starter, and he has a terrible matchup this week.  He also started off the week limited in practice, so he's clearly not 100% healthy.  He's not worth a start.

The woes continued last week for Blair Walsh as he had another disappointing effort.  Not all of it was his fault though.  A blocked field goal is a random, unpredictable event, and no one could expect him to make that desperation 68-yard field goal.  Still, -1 fantasy points is a sure-fire way to find yourself on the waiver wire.  There is no way I would be starting Blair Walsh this week against a stingy defense at home.  I would not start the Vikings D/ST either.  While I expect a couple of sacks and maybe even an interception, the Matchup Index expects the Dolphins to be able to score some points and put up some yards on the ground.  That could gas the defense and make them vulnerable.  There are better options out there than the Vikings D/ST for your fantasy Super Bowl.

I am still alive in the fantasy playoffs where I have advanced to the Super Bowl in 2 out of my 8 leagues.  It should have been three Super Bowl appearances, but I was "Odell Beckham'd" out of the fantasy playoffs in one league, despite putting up the 2nd most fantasy points of the week and outscoring the 3rd place team in points by more than 40.  It was a very frustrating loss that I'm still pissed off about four days later.  In any case, it just so happens that one of those Super Bowl appearances is in our very own DN Writers league as I was able to defeat Eric by a score of 130.69 to 91.79 (as angry as I was to get beat by Odel Beckham in that other league, he is the reason I won that matchup in the DN league, so I guess I get to have it both ways; one of the benefits of being in multiple leagues).  I will now face off against Christopher Gates as he pulled off a surprising upset victory over MarkSP18 (who had previously been dominating our league thanks to Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck, both of whom put up a collective dud last week) with a very close score of 140.52 to 136.93. Chris and I are projected for a nearly identical point total in our Super Bowl, so I am expecting a close match.  The DN Writers League playoff bracket is below.

DN Playoff 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.