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Frigga Fantasy Football Friday: Week 12 vs ATL

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

Teddy scored the most fantasy points of any Vikings player last week, putting up 20.1 standard fantasy points.
Teddy scored the most fantasy points of any Vikings player last week, putting up 20.1 standard fantasy points.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Thank goodness this week's game isn't a "prime-time" game, amiright?  I'm convinced that the Vikings still don't know how to play the game of football at any time other than 12:00pm CST.  And thankfully, that's exactly when they get to play this week as they travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons.  Hopefully you got the day off yesterday and today and are relaxing as your body continues to digest all that food you stuffed down your throat for Thanksgiving.  If not, maybe you can join the company of the Vikings players who surely had their work cut out for them in practice this week after a lackluster effort against Green Bay.  They likely didn't get to enjoy their Thanksgiving nearly as much as they might have if they had actually beaten the Packers.  Ah well, we'll get another shot at them in their house in week 17.  For now, it's onto the Falcons!

Like the Packers, after opening the season with a fast start (going 6-1), the Falcons are on a 3-game losing streak.  They currently sit at 6-4 and in second place in the NFC South behind the undefeated Carolina Panthers.  This is a big game for both teams who are fighting for a playoff spot and the outcome of this game could be a deciding factor in tie breakers.  But in the world of fantasy football, none of that really matters, because what matters to us is the statistical production of each player in the game.  The Falcons are kind of like the Packers in another way too: good against some positions in fantasy and terrible against others.  The Falcons pass defense is quite good as they only allow an average of 14.2 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks (4th best).  Similarly, they limit opposing wide receiver groups to only 15.1 points per game (3rd best).  Their potent offense has only allowed 6.4 fantasy points per game to opposing D/ST units (12th best) and they are the toughest matchup for fantasy kickers as well.  But they can be beaten on the ground as they allow an average of 21 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (6th worst) and 9.1 fantasy points per game to tight ends (11th worst).  Since our offense runs through Adrian Peterson anyway, we should expect the "usual" numbers.  As always this week's projections come to us from Fantasy Pros, which calculates a consensus from the following sources: CBS Sports, ESPN, NumberFire, Stats.com and FFToday.

Minnesota Vikings Fantasy Projections for Week 12

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

3.6

18.5

0.1

n/a

n/a

n/a

219.7

1.1

0.9

13.7

13.0

RB Adrian Peterson

21.0

97.2

0.7

2.3

16.2

0.0

n/a

n/a

n/a

15.1

14.8

WR Stefon Diggs

0.1

0.6

0.0

4.6

63.0

0.3

n/a

n/a

n/a

8.4

10.2

WR Mike Wallace

0.0

0.1

0.0

2.6

33.5

0.2

n/a

n/a

n/a

4.4

3.8

TE Kyle Rudolph

n/a

n/a

n/a

2.7

26.4

0.2

n/a

n/a

n/a

3.8

5.3


In the first half of last week's game Bridgewater attempted 11 passes against 12 rushing attempts (only 9 of which were from Peterson).  But when the Packers jumped out to a sizeable 19-6 lead to open the 3rd quarter, the Vikings switched to a more pass heavy approach that saw the ratio change dramatically to 27 passes against 6 rushes.  The game script last week was completely different than what we've seen almost the entire year, as the defense had a slew of uncharacteristic mistakes allowing the Packers to jump out to a big early lead.  This forced the Vikings to throw a ton and resulted in a huge fantasy day for Bridgewater as he racked up 296 passing yards and a touchdown to go with 43 scrambling yards on the ground.  It was his best fantasy day of the year, and despite taking 6 sacks and maybe holding onto the ball a little too long in a few instances, he threw the ball well and made good decisions despite a lot of poor play around him.  But with the matchup he has this week against the Falcons who are poor against the run and good against the pass, I don't expect the same game script.  If the Vikings hope to win this game, it will be won on the ground with Peterson.  There is a small chance the Falcons offense gets going and the Vikings are forced to pass a ton to try to get back into the game like last week, but the Vikings offense really isn't built for it.  They have a weak pass blocking offensive line and pass catchers that can't get open consistently.  So I would expect the Vikings to lean on their defense to limit the Falcons offensively and control the game on the ground with Peterson, the same formula that helped them to a 5-game win streak mid-year.  I wouldn't go chasing points and expect Bridgewater to put up big numbers again.

Unfortunately, Peterson only logged 13 carries against the Packers as they had to abandon the run after falling behind early in the 3rd quarter.  But his 45 yards and a score salvaged what could have been a terrible outing that saw him fumble the ball for the only turnover on the day.  It was really a pretty poor day for Peterson, but somehow he still put up 10.1 points.  I don't think health was an issue for the low score so much as it was game script dependent.  He was held to only 3.5 yards per carry, but without breaking a long run to pad his per carry stats, he had a pretty typical outing, just without the heavy volume. With the Falcons sporting such a bad run defense this week, I expect Peterson to have a bounce back game.

I mentioned last week that the Vikings have a problem not only with passing volume, but also that they like to spread the ball around.  While the passing volume was much better last week, Teddy still spread the ball around targeting 11 different pass catchers!  Stefon Diggs received the most targets (9 of them), but only logged 66 yards and failed to find the endzone.  Wallace was targeted only twice and dropped both passes.  I would imagine that the Vikings are getting mighty frustrated with Wallace as he has only two catches in the last four games.  Jarius Wright actually got the second most targets of any wide receiver catching all four of them for 50 yards.  It remains to be seen if Wright will earn a larger role in the offense with Wallace struggling, but it's noteworthy that despite the increased passing volume last week, Cordarralle Patterson and Charles Johnson both received 0 targets.

It figures that the first week I recommend dropping Kyle Rudolph in all fantasy leagues that he goes out and has the best fantasy day of the year.  Way to make me look bad Kyle!  Do I think that Rudolph is back?  No, and neither are the Packers so stop bugging me about it on twitter.  Look, I understand that Rudolph had a long pass play for a touchdown, but it looked like Micah Hyde got injured after landing awkwardly jumping up for the ball and couldn't catch a slow, lumbering Kyle Rudolph.  He basically dumb-lucked his way into a touchdown, and had it not been for the injury to the guy covering him, I would wager 9 times out of 10 Rudolph is tackled shortly after the catch.  If that happens you can wipe out 30 yards and a score from his total, and then he has something like 6 catches for 70 yards and only 7 fantasy points.  Sure, it's increased usage, but this was kind of a fluky performance.  I understand it was a good matchup, but I need to see more consistent usage and targets from Bridgewater before I'm a believer.  And furthermore, 6 of his 8 targets came in the 2nd half when the Vikings fell behind and starting throwing the ball like crazy.  Assuming the Vikings go back to a run-first style of offense, there just won't be consistent passing volume from week to week to make Rudolph a reliable fantasy option.  He does have a good matchup this week, and like I mentioned with Bridgewater there is a decent chance the Falcons offense gets going and forces the Vikings to air it out, but the odds of that aren't great enough that I could recommend starting Rudolph.

I hope you took my advice and put the Vikings D/ST on your bench last week, because in standard leagues they scored only 1 fantasy point.  It doesn't get any easier this week against the Falcons, and they're on the road.  Keep them on your bench.  With the entire Vikings offense struggling, Walsh didn't even get a single field goal attempt, and missed one of his extra points.  It amounted to 1 whole fantasy point.  With a terrible matchup on the road, I'd be sitting Blair this week.

It's onto 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

WR DeSean Jackson vs NYG

This is a bit of a boom/bust pick, but when is DeSean Jackson not a boom/bust pick?  He's finally healthy and has worked a bit of the rust off after getting a few games under his belt coming out of Washington's BYE.  Last week he turned 8 targets into 5 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown for 14.7 fantasy points and that was against a really poor matchup against the Carolina Panthers.  This week he gets a good matchup against the Giants allowing an average of 24.4 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers.  I expect him to beat Fantasy Pros projection of only 8.0 points.  Jackson is still capable of big fantasy numbers in any given week and is the quintessential must start FLEX play.

Oops of the Week

Oops Award

WR A.J. Green vs STL

I'm going to write essentially the same thing I wrote about Green last week, because after seeing the game against Arizona, my thoughts haven't changed:  "There was a time two years ago when Andy Dalton simply threw the ball to Green over and over and targeted virtually no one else in the passing game.  But those days appear to be over.  Here's an eye-opening stat: in the Bengals last five games, Green has led the team in targets only once.  Outside of Week 8 when he got 17 targets, the other four games he has averaged only 7 targets per game.  For a supposed #1 wide receiver and a 2nd round pick in most fantasy drafts, this has to be viewed as a disappointment.  With the emergence of Tyler Eifert in the passing game, and Marvin Jones offering a legitimate second option, Dalton is able to go with whoever the defense gives him.  Even including the ridiculous Week 8 game with 17 targets, Green is only averaging 7.8 fantasy points in his last 5 games and 10.99 fantasy points per game on the year."  He hit is 5-game average last week, and I expect more of the same in another poor matchup.  This week Fantasy Pros still projects him for 11.0 points and I think he'll fall short of that projection for a second straight week.

Last Week: 1-1, Season so far: 14-8

Daily Norseman Fantasy League

With the Thanksgiving Holiday upon us, I wrote this article much earlier than normal and therefore I wasn't able to field questions on twitter for #HelpMeFrigga, sorry!  So, let's get right to the discussion about the Daily Norseman Fantasy League.  I picked up another win against the hapless Blair Walsh Project who seems to be no longer actively managing his team bringing my current win streak to 5 games.  The win brings me to 10-1 and also clinches a playoff spot and the division title with only 3 games left.  Eric is on a little 2-game win streak and has closed the gap in his division.  With only three divisional games remaining in the fantasy regular season, there are at least 8 other teams fighting for a playoff spot.  Good luck everyone!  Updated standings are below:

Rank

Team

W-L-T

Div

Pts For

Pts Against

Streak

Division 1

2

MarkSP18 - Jules Winnfield

8-3-0

3-0-0

1698.62

1467.3

W-1

7

Christopher Gates - Joe Webb Still Sucks

6-5-0

1-2-0

1216.16

1205.6

W-1

8

vikingarmy - Zim Reaper

4-7-0

2-1-0

1285.8

1428.4

L-1

12

Typically Lazy - TheBlairWalshProject

1-10-0

0-3-0

1014.68

1318.68

L-4

Division 2

3

TINO24 - Heath Miller Time

8-3-0

3-0-0

1537.24

1264.2

L-1

4

Eric Thompson - 2 Glovez

7-4-0

2-1-0

1327.46

1243.46

W-2

5

Viketoryordeath - MayTheNorseBeWithYou

6-5-0

0-3-0

1473.2

1307.56

L-1

9

Arif Hasan - We're Ball Wittenses

4-7-0

1-2-0

1209.98

1417.56

L-1

Division 3

*1

CCNorseman - Diggs Darklighter

10-1-0

3-0-0

1572.8

1193.48

W-5

6

RedHat16 - CrisCarters FallGuys

6-5-0

2-1-0

1318.4

1228.06

W-1

10

DADAIR25 - HitmanHarry

4-7-0

1-2-0

1134.28

1381.54

W-1

11

Jackson McIntire - Jackson's Team

2-9-0

0-3-0

1117.02

1449.8

L-5

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.