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Frigga Fantasy Football Friday: Week 6 vs KC

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The Daily Norseman breaks down the statistical production of the Vikings as they take on the Chiefs in week six.

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Stefon Diggs came out of nowhere last week catching 6 passes for 87 yards on 10 targets.
Stefon Diggs came out of nowhere last week catching 6 passes for 87 yards on 10 targets.
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Editor's Note: A new $2,000,000 one-week fantasy football league is open on FanDuel for Week 6. First place wins $150,000 on Sunday. Join now!

If you're a regular reader of the Frigga series, you've no doubt encountered a past article in which I discussed the relationships between music and sports performance.  There are many, many parallels between the type of physical and mental preparation and approaches to performance that go into both disciplines, but one of the more interesting relationships is in how empathy plays a role in performance.  A recent study by a pair of Europeans in the journal "Psychology of Sport and Exercise" make the following point:

Moving the body in rhythm may involve, for instance, learning movement patterns, coordinating movements in space and time, or interacting with others to accomplish concrete objectives.  Such skills require individuals to predict upcoming events, recognize others' intentions, and adapt one's own to others' actions. These perception-performance relationships are underscored by empathic processes associated with the capacity to understand other individuals' affective or cognitive states.

So not only can empathy give a performer an edge, it is also within this context of empathy that we Vikings fans can understand Chiefs fans as they deal with the loss of Jamaal Charles.  Like Adrian Peterson, Charles is a focal point of their offense and one of the most important pieces of their entire team.  We too have dealt with the loss of a dominant running back, and more than once in the past 5 years!  While empathy allows us to "feel their pain" as it were, it is also empathy that allows us to make intelligent decisions in fantasy football.   While we are merely observers of what happens in the field of play, our ability to empathize with sports performance can inform our decisions.  For example, according to the same study above:

When observing oneself performing, or the interaction of a coach and athlete there is a tight coupling between perception and action in the sense that an observer's understanding of a target's cognitive and affective states can be related to the degree of empathizing with this target when experiencing actions, emotions, and somatosensations.  These points are illustrated above in studies of piano performance, enjoyment of evoked sadness in response to music, and body contact while playing sports, among others. These examples suggest that across performance domains, simulation processes (motor resonance and its neural substrates) when experiencing others' states are especially active in individuals who report being more empathic.

In other words, the more empathetic you are, the more you can understand those around you.  And if you can empathize with athletes in a contact sport, you might better understand how they'll perform in a given week.  It will be interesting to see how the Chief's respond to losing Jamaal Charles for the year, especially after opening the season 1-4.  I would guess that they won't play with quite the same fire.  After all, the Chiefs were up against the Bears 17-3 with the ball in the redzone when Charles went down early in the 3rd quarter.  They would end up not scoring again, and would ultimately lose the game 18-17.  For as good as the Chiefs defense has been the past few years, giving up 15 unanswered points to the lowly Bears in the second half of the game last week, sure doesn't make them look all that great.  In fact, in fantasy football their defense has been terrible so far this year.  They are 2nd worst against quarterbacks, and THE worst against wide receivers.  Even against running backs they are allowing the 15th most fantasy points per game.  The only position that is struggling against the Chiefs are tight ends, where the Chiefs only allow 4.2 fantasy points per game (7th best).  This week represents an excellent matchup for the Vikings in fantasy.  The consensus projections come to us courtesy of Fantasy Pros, and include the following sources: CBS Sports, ESPN, NumberFire, FFToday and Stats.com.

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

Per Game

Average

QB Teddy Bridgewater

3.7

19.8

0.1

n/a

n/a

n/a

225

1.5

0.9

15.8

11.2

RB Adrian Peterson

20.0

89.5

0.8

2.5

20

0.1

n/a

n/a

n/a

15.8

15.6

WR Mike Wallace

0.0

0.1

0.0

4.1

59.7

0.5

n/a

n/a

n/a

8.9

7.3

WR Charles Johnson

0.0

0.0

0.0

2.6

33.3

0.1

n/a

n/a

n/a

4.0

1.5

WR Jarius Wright

0.1

0.6

0.0

1.7

24.1

0.1

n/a

n/a

n/a

3.2

2.5

WR Stefon Diggs

0.0

0.0

0.0

1.7

19.0

0.1

n/a

n/a

n/a

3.2

8.7

WR Cordarrelle Patterson

0.3

1.9

0.0

0.7

8.9

0.0

n/a

n/a

n/a

1.2

0.5

WR Adam Thielen

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.3

3.9

0.0

n/a

n/a

n/a

0.4

2.2

TE Kyle Rudolph

n/a

n/a

n/a

3.5

34.8

0.3

n/a

n/a

n/a

5.1

4.1


To my surprise, Teddy Bridgewater found some life in the passing game two weeks ago, beating his consensus projection by more than 4 fantasy points.  That was pretty impressive against the best defense in the NFL, and I think you have to give some credit to Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs for picking up the slack around Mike Wallace.  They seemed to have outplayed the combination of Charles Johnson and Jarius Wright who themselves were disappoints through the first three games and didn't really play in Week 4 due to injury.  I included all of the receivers in the projection table above mainly to illustrate a couple of points.  First, if Teddy is going to pass for 225 yards and 1-2 touchdown passes as projected, who is going to be on the other end of all that production?  Adding up the receiving yardage in the table equals only 183 passing yards.  Granted, the backup tight ends and running backs were not included, but there's a chance that Charles Johnson doesn't play this week which makes that pretty much a wash in terms of missing yardage.  So there's 40-50 passing yards unaccounted for.  Second, if we buy Teddy's projection this week, then one of those 7 receiving options is going to have a great day...it's just impossible to predict who.  Either that, or maybe Teddy is over-projected.  His per game average is still only 11.2 fantasy points per game, so I'd expect him to do better than that in a positive matchup, but that doesn't mean he's starting in your 10 or 12 team leagues.  The Denver game showed us signs of life in our league-worst passing offense, but this was probably due to game flow and the fact that they were forced to throw the ball 41 times losing on the road (nearly double his per-game attempt average through the first three games).  Teddy will need to repeat the effort a few times before I'm a believer for fantasy purposes.

You're starting Adrian Peterson.  There, done.

As mentioned above, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen picked up the slack last week combining for 12 catches and 157 yards on 18 targets.  In fact, Diggs was targeted the same number of times as Wallace in that Denver game (10 targets each), and notched a few more receiving yards too.  Wallace finally found the endzone and had his best game in purple so far.  At this stage, I can't really recommend starting any Vikings receivers, although Wallace is the safest play of anyone as he has the most receiving targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns of any Vikings receiver on the team through the first four games, and it's not close.  But for you daily fantasy types looking for a long-shot dart in those GPP games, take a look at Stefon Diggs who should be at a league minimum price.  He's been talked up all week by the coaches and players and with Wallace and Charles Johnson still banged up, Diggs could see a few more looks.  He looked fantastic against a tough defense in Denver, but it's still the longest of shots as I expect another run-heavy game-plan with Adrian Peterson.  If you're dealing with injuries and BYE weeks, consider starting Wallace in the flex, otherwise the rest of the wide receiver options are too risky for me.

Do you remember what I said last week about Kyle Rudolph and disappointment?  He's not going anywhere near my starting lineups this week against this tough Chiefs defense.  They've got some good linebackers who can cover tight ends, and in fact, I dropped Rudolph in one of my leagues.  There might be one decent week worth starting Rudolph the rest of the year (Week 10 against Oakland), otherwise I don't want Rudolph anywhere near my lineup.  I'm sure he'll find the endzone again sometime this year, but you can't count on him for more than about 30-40 receiving yards in any given week, and it will be impossible to predict when those couple of touchdowns will happen.  I'm not banking on it this week.

The Vikings D/ST is growing into an elite unit, even if they don't really have a starting strong safety opposite Harrison Smith.  No matter, we're all starting them against Alex Smith and the Jamaal Charles-less Chiefs, who have given up an average of 8.2 fantasy points per game to opposing D/ST units (ranked 10th worst).  Oh, and it's still a no on Blair Walsh in case you were wondering.  There's a little game I like to play with my trumpet students when they are having trouble playing a musical passage correctly, it's called "Three Times in a Row Without a Mistake."  They have to keep playing the passage over and over until they get it correct three times in a row.  If they make a mistake on the second or third try, then they have to start over.  I'm going to take the same approach with Blair Walsh in fantasy, but for him, I want to see no misses in a game.  He had no misses in Week 2 and 3, but then missed one in Week 4, so we have to start over.  I want to see three times in a row without a mistake Blair!

It's onto to my league-wide picks!  I like to highlight one player that I think will outscore their consensus projection by giving them the "Well Played" designation, and then also highlight one player I think will fall short of their projection by giving them the "Oops" designation.  Here are my picks for this week:

Well Played of the Week

Well Played

QB Jay Cutler vs DET

Jay Cutler is back you guys!  Wait...why are you all laughing?  Last week against the Chiefs on the road, he threw for over 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns for his second week in a row of more than 17 fantasy points.  And this week not only does he get another juicy matchup against Detroit, he should get most of his receiving weapons back.  In eleven career games against Detroit, Cutler is averaging 222 passing yards, 1.4 passing touchdowns and get this, only 0.6 interceptions.  Here's another kind of cooky stat, he also is averaging almost 3 rushing attempts for 13 yards.  In other words, in standard scoring leagues Cutler is averaging 16 fantasy points per game against Detroit the past 11 games.  Fantasy Pros has him projected for only 14.3 fantasy points this week, but I think he'll beat it.  In fact, I put my figurative money where my figurative mouth is and picked him up in more than one league where I had Big Ben and Tyrod Taylor as my only quarterbacks.  If Tyrod can't go, I'll be starting Cutler.

Oops of the Week

Oops Award

QB Aaron Rodgers vs SD

I really hate to pick against Aaron Rodgers at home, but that San Diego passing defense is legit, ranked 7th best against quarterbacks in fantasy.  They've held opposing quarterbacks to an average of only 228 passing yards and 1.6 touchdowns per game, and that includes Stafford, Dalton, Bridgewater, McCown and Vick.  Rodgers' weapons are all banged up as none of his starting receivers have put in more than a "limited" practice session so far this week.  Cobb, Jones and Adams all have a "questionable" tag as of Thursday night.  With a banged up receiving corp and a bad matchup, there's almost no way I'd rank Rodgers as the number 1 quarterback this week.  With this banged up receiving corp, he's averaging only 15.9 fantasy points per game the past two weeks.  And yet, Fantasy Pros has him projected for 21.5 fantasy points as the #1 quarterback this week.  This pick could blow up in my face as Rodgers is usually money at home, but I'm still cautious this week due to injuries and the tough matchup.

Last Week: 1-1, Season so far: 6-4

HELP ME FRIGGA

I got several great questions via twitter this week, but I chose the following from Tim Cummings, who you should follow @Tim_Muffrey

Analyzing trades are always fun, because it's a combination of determining their current and future value.  At this stage in the game Julio Jones is the #1 fantasy wide receiver, and it's easy to understand why, he's been the second most heavily targeted receiver through the first five games of the year and has the most receptions and second most receiving yards so far.  On the flipside, Antonio Brown is the 7th best wide receiver in the league.  After getting off to a hot start the first two weeks, Brown fell off a cliff when Ben Roethlisberger went down with a knee injury.  In terms of current fantasy value, Jones heavily outweighs Brown at this point, with Brown having gained only single digit fantasy points the past two weeks, even in PPR leagues.  Michael Vick is a huge downgrade from Ben Roethlisberger.  However, future value is where things get interesting.  Julio Jones is dealing with a hamstring injury and is attempting to play through it.  But as we've seen the past two weeks, he just hasn't been as effective.  It remains to be seen how this injury will impact him going forward, but assuming he gets healthy his long term projections should remain high.  He's still a dominant #1 receiver and should remain top 5 at the position, but expectations should be lowered a bit until he gets back to 100% health (and with his injury history, it's kind of a big question mark).  On the flipside, Antonio Brown's fate is tied directly to Ben Roethlisberger's health.  The good news is that Big Ben returned to practice this week, albeit severely limited.  He's almost certain not to play this week, is probably 50/50 next week, but by Week 8 might be back in the lineup.  I do think that Brown is considered an elite, top 5 play with Big Ben at QB, and he should return to elite production within the next couple of weeks.

So, they both have a similar timeline actually, but for different reasons: immediate downturn in production, with a positive projection long term.  They both have late BYE weeks (Week 10 and 11), and should both be elite for the playoffs.  Aside from the injury risks, the other variable that I haven't mentioned yet is upcoming schedule.  In the last three games of the fantasy season (weeks 14-16) which are typically the playoffs, or just before the playoffs, Jones faces three tough matchups: Carolina twice and Jacksonville, both top 10 against wide receivers.  Brown has a little easier schedule with Cincinatti, Denver and Baltimore, although that Denver game will be tough.  At least he gets Baltimore in Week 16.  In the end, I'd call this trade totally fair.  I might give the edge to Brown just a little bit if Big Ben suits up sooner rather than later.  I also think Brown has less injury risk and a slightly better end of the year schedule.  But it's likely just a preference trade at this point: who do you like better?  It's pretty much a coin flip to me, especially in a PPR league.

Daily Norseman Fantasy League

I can't explain it, but my team is still undefeated, and so is Heath Miller Time.  One of us will fall eventually, and Jules Winnfield is right there too with a 4-1 record and the most Points For in the league.  My season is riding on the success of Larry Fitzgerald at this point, so let's hope the fantasy train keeps on keeping on.  For those interested, here are the current standings after the first five weeks, which just so happen to be pretty much the same as last week:

Rank

Team

W-L-T

Div

Pts For

Pts Agnst

Streak

Division 1

3

MarkSP18 - Jules Winnfield

4-1-0

3-0-0

815.46

672.18

W-1

7

vikingarmy - Zim Reaper

2-3-0

2-1-0

599.04

652.36

L-1

9

Christopher Gates - Joe Webb Still Sucks

2-3-0

1-2-0

541.22

545.54

W-1

12

Typically Lazy - TheBlairWalshProject

0-5-0

0-3-0

474.04

636.94

L-5

Division 2

1

TINO24 - Heath Miller Time

5-0-0

2-0-0

753.22

521.16

W-5

4

Eric Thompson - 2 Glovez

4-1-0

2-0-0

643.2

561.26

W-2

5

Viketoryordeath - MayTheNorseBeWithYou

2-3-0

0-2-0

642.24

635.24

L-2

11

Arif Hasan - We're Ball Wittenses

1-4-0

0-2-0

541.5

667.24

W-1

Division 3

2

CCNorseman - Diggs Darklighter

5-0-0

3-0-0

722.32

501.58

W-5

6

RedHat16 - CrisCarters FallGuys

2-3-0

2-1-0

622.64

641.88

L-1

8

DADAIR25 - HitmanHarry

2-3-0

1-2-0

547.08

747.96

L-1

10

Jackson McIntire - Jackson's Team

1-4-0

0-3-0

556.58

675.2

L-2

If you're interested in joining my Week 6 Fanduel League, join here!  I had a very poor showing last week finishing 10th out of 12, thanks largely to the injury to Jamaal Charles and the pair of duds from Kendall Wright and the Giants defense (both were cheap with great matchups, they just disappointed).  As always, it's a 12-team league and still a $2 entry fee with the top 4 finishers earning a payout.  Don't forget if you want to see your fantasy football question featured here in the Frigga Fantasy Football series, hit me up on twitter @CCNorseman with the hashtag: #helpmefrigga on Wednesdays or Thursdays.  Feel free to leave your sit/start questions in the comments below for myself and others to chime in.