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Frigga Fantasy Football Friday: BYE Week Edition

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The Daily Norseman breaks down the statistical production of the Vikings during the first quarter of NFL action during the team's week four BYE.

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Surprise, Adrian Peterson was the highest scoring fantasy producer last week.
Surprise, Adrian Peterson was the highest scoring fantasy producer last week.
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

With the Vikings on a BYE this week, there's not much to say about their chances in fantasy football.  But since we've also completed the first quarter of the season, it would be an excellent time to look at some of the usage trends for the Vikings.  Four games is a mighty small sample size, but I wanted to share with you a few interesting "stats of opportunity".

When thinking about quarterback production there are two things that stand out: passing attempts and yards per attempt.  It probably goes without saying that a quarterback that generally throws the ball 40 times per game is worth a lot more than one that throws only 20 times.  That is unless of course the one who throws it 20 times, throws more than twice as far on average than the one who throws it 40.  When looking for consistent points, you want a quarterback with lots of attempts, and lots of yards per attempt as well.  Touchdowns are fluky, but you obviously want a quarterback that tends to throw in the red zone as well.  Teddy Bridgewater is averaging only 28.8 pass attempts per game, somehow ranked 34th most in the NFL.  If that isn't bad enough, he's only averaging 6.7 yards per attempt, ranked 25th most in the NFL.  Teddy hasn't been attempting many passes, and hasn't been throwing the ball very far down the field when he has thrown.  On top of that he has thrown only two touchdown passes in four games.  It should come as no surprise that when it comes to total fantasy points on the year so far, Teddy is ranked only 27th best.  Teddy is averaging only 11.2 standard fantasy points per game, which is dreadful for quarterbacks.  Seeing as how he was the 16th quarterback drafted with an ADP of #118 (according to Fantasy Pros consensus ADP tracker), it is safe to say that he has failed to meet expectations so far.

All that said, Teddy's attempts and yards per attempt on a per game basis can be tracked in this handy little graph:

Teddy FF Stats

First off, I cut each of his attempts number in half just so it would show up on the graph a little better for comparison to the other stats.  But you can see that his yards per attempt number correlates most closely with his fantasy production (which makes sense, since he earns points based primarily on how many yards he gets).  But the number of attempts themselves, don't seem to correlate very closely in this small sample size, except in the case of the last two weeks.  Anyway, his trends are certainly pointing up after last week where he threw the ball 44 times and for a touchdown, but it remains to be seen what's in store for him the rest of the way.  I think he's entirely droppable in all leagues, with the exception of dynasty where you might hold onto him to see where it goes from here.

There's not much to say about Adrian Peterson.  He's ranked third overall in fantasy scoring behind Devonta Freeman (who has had two monster games the last two weeks) and Jamaal Charles.  That said, he currently leads the league in rushing yards after four weeks, and is second in rushing attempts behind only Matt Forte.  The Vikings have committed to running the ball with Peterson, which is great for fantasy football. If I have one area of concern, it is his usage in the passing game.  Through four games he only has 9 catches for 92 yards.  If his per game average holds for the rest of the year he would end with 36 receptions for 368 yards, only his 2nd highest total of his career.  There was a lot of hype surrounding Peterson's potential opportunities in the passing game with Norv Turner, but so far that hasn't come to fruition.

And then we get to the Vikings receivers.  I only have one word to describe them so far: yuck.  With Bridgewater near the bottom of the NFL in pass attempts and yards per attempt, there simply isn't enough volume for any Vikings receivers to be consistently reliable in fantasy football.  Mike Wallace leads all Vikings receivers with 24 targets through four games (only 6 targets per game), which ranks 41st in the NFL among wide receivers.  Passing targets generally correlate most closely to fantasy production, and he's also ranked 42nd in total fantasy points among wide receivers.  Based on that kind of opportunity, he's barely a flex play at this point.  There's no other receiver really worth mentioning, as Charles Johnson has been a complete bust, and Jarius Wright was never worth drafting to begin with.  While Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen both had a good game last week, until we see them get the same kind of opportunity on a regular basis (both were filling in because of injuries to guys ahead of them) neither one should be rostered.

Kyle Rudolph continues to disappoint, year after year.  He seemingly has all the skills, and will tease us with weeks like he had in week 2 against Detroit (5 catches for 30 yards and a touchdown).  But he has the same problems as the wide receivers: not enough volume in the passing game.  While Rudolph does have 22 passing targets (13th most among tight ends through the first four weeks), because Teddy is not throwing the ball deep down the field, or in the red zone much, Rudolph only has 104 yards and 1 touchdown to show for it.  He has only the 25th most fantasy points among tight ends so far this year, behind guys like Anthony Fasano, Darren Fells and Jake Stoneburner (!).  Rudolph has typically needed touchdowns to be fantasy relevant anyway, and those don't seem to be coming.  The Vikings seem committed to giving the ball to Peterson and Zach Line at the goal line.  Perhaps that trend will reverse in the future, but if Rudolph has been synonymous with anything in fantasy football it is this: disappointment.  I don't expect that to change anytime soon.

Don't look now, but we might actually have a fantasy relevant D/ST unit!  The Vikings D/ST is currently ranked as the 8th best unit, and that is after having faced Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford.  We have an awesome slate of games coming up after the BYE getting to face: Alex Smith, Matthew Stafford (again), Jay Cutler and Nick Foles.  The Vikings aren't an elite defense yet in fantasy (they've scored half as many points as Denver, the top defense in fantasy), but they should be owned and started in nearly every league (except for this week obviously!).

I hate to even bring it up, but I guess I should.  Blair Walsh is ranked 22nd against kickers in fantasy.  He has attempted the 12th most field goals in the NFL (tied with 8 attempts), but unfortunately is only converting 75% of those attempts (tied for 22nd).  Walsh has seemingly lost his mojo as an accurate kicker who can connect from long range.  In fact, his longest on the year so far is only 38 yards (tied for 31st in longest attempt made).  Although to be fair, he's only attempted 1 kick from beyond 40 yards.  Still, he should not be a part of anyone's roster, even the most die-hard of the die-hard of Vikings fans.

So to sum up: Peterson and the Vikings D/ST are really the only fantasy relevant Vikings players so far, with the exception of Mike Wallace as a sometimes flex play, or Rudolph when he plays the Raiders in week 10 (hint: they can't defend against tight ends...like at all).  So, let's get onto my league wide picks.

Well-Played of the Week

Well Played

WR Willie Snead vs PHI

This pick is part speculative, part shot in the dark.  It's always risking betting on a Saints wide receiver in any given week, because Drew Brees always likes to spread the ball around.  With the exception of Week 1, Snead has been second among wide receivers in targets on the team.  The last three week's he's averaged 6.3 targets per game, and has turned that into 59 yards per game, and 0.33 TDs per game.  In other words, he's averaging 7.2 fantasy points per game the last three weeks.  What I like even more is his yards per reception number: 15.0.  Snead is functioning as a deep threat in the Saints offense, and historically that has been a very good place to be.  This week he gets the Eagles and their 22nd best fantasy defense to wide receivers.  The Saints are on the road, and Vegas is predicting a shoot-out which could mean high volume in the Saints offense, with Drew Brees getting back to healthy.  Fantasy Pros has Snead projected for only 5.9 fantasy points this week, but I think he'll top that as a bit of a sleeper pick.

Oops of the Week

Oops Award

RB Devonta Freeman vs WAS

This could be folly picking a guy as hot as Freeman (he's scored 70.2 fantasy points in just the last two weeks!).  But hear me out.  First off, the Falcons are facing the #1 defense against running backs this week in the Redskins.  Secondly, Tevin Coleman will be back in the lineup for the Falcons with an official probable label.  And lastly, the defenses he faced the last two weeks haven't been good against the run: Dallas and the Texans.  Dallas allowed 80 yards to the Giants and a 104 yards to the Saints on the ground.  Houston allowed 82 yards to Kansas City and 96 to Carolina.  I believe Freeman's production was a product of two things: being the only game in town, and having favorable matchups.  He gets neither of those two things this week.  And yet, Fantasy Pros is projecting him for 14.5 fantasy points, 3rd most of the week.  I think he'll regress to the mean this week and fall back down to earth, failing to meet his projection.

Last Week: 1-1, Season So Far: 5-3

Daily Norseman Fantasy League

All I have to say is: thank you Larry Fitzgerald.  Thanks in part to his ridiculous fantasy totals the last two weeks, I'm riding a 4-game win streak to remain as one of only two 4-0 teams still standing in the league.  I still believe this is mostly on luck as I'm sitting in 2nd place behind Heath Miller Time and his rock solid roster of Tom Brady, AJ Green, Odel Beckham Jr. and Julian Edelman.  He's hurting at RB, but so far it hasn't really mattered in this PPR league.  Much worse times are ahead for my squad who is having to choose between Eli Manning and Sam Bradford at quarterback; Giovanni Bernard and Ronnie Hillman for the #2 running back spot behind Mark Ingram; and a battle for the #3 wide receiver spot between Michael Crabtree and Markus Wheaton behind Antonio Brown and Larry Fitzgerald.  I can't see how Fitzgerald can maintain his production, and Freeman will come back down to earth, probably this week (as I mentioned above).  In any case, here are the final standings:

Rank

Team

W-L-T

Div

Pts For

Pts Agnst

Streak

Division 1

3

MarkSP18 - Jules Winnfield

3-1-0

3-0-0

649.04

553.3

L-1

7

vikingarmy - Zim Reaper

2-2-0

2-1-0

477.38

516.46

W-1

9

Christopher Gates - Joe Webb Still Sucks

1-3-0

0-2-0

480.6

513.5

L-1

11

Typically Lazy - TheBlairWalshProject

0-4-0

0-2-0

442

576.32

L-4

Division 2

1

TINO24 - Heath Miller Time

4-0-0

2-0-0

595.82

415.64

W-4

4

Eric Thompson - 2 Glovez

3-1-0

1-0-0

529.26

448.12

W-1

5

Viketoryordeath - MayTheNorseBeWithYou

2-2-0

0-1-0

529.1

521.3

L-1

12

Arif Hasan - We're Ball Wittenses

0-4-0

0-2-0

405.6

545.58

L-4

Division 3

2

CCNorseman - Diggs Darklighter

4-0-0

2-0-0

586.68

406.74

W-4

6

RedHat16 - CrisCarters FallGuys

2-2-0

2-1-0

503.76

475.46

W-1

8

DADAIR25 - HitmanHarry

2-2-0

1-1-0

452.24

612.32

W-1

10

Jackson McIntire - Jackson's Team

1-3-0

0-3-0

451.06

517.8

L-1

If you're interested in joining my Week 5 Fanduel League, join here.  Most of my league plays disappointed last week, so I'm hoping for a rebound!  At least I'm coming out ahead in my cash games.  It's still only $2 to enter, a 12-team league with the top 4 winners earning cash.  Our own Arif Hasan got in the action last week, and sneaked into 4th place, nice job Arif!  He made a great call with Doug Martin.  I didn't have time to field any #HelpMeFrigga questions this week (sorry about that), but I'll be back at it next week.  So, 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.  And don't forget to check out the new league-wide sit/start column Fantasy Football Foray.