Vikings running back Matt Asiata will be starting this Sunday at home against the Detroit Lions. With starter Adrian Peterson doubtful, and second string tailback Toby Gerhart ruled out with a hamstring injury, Asiata will receive the bulk of the carries.
In Asiata’s only other start in Week 15, he was able to do some serious damage. Though he was only able to manage 51 yards off of 30 carries, he picked up 3 touchdowns in the process. He got into the end zone multiple times due to Minnesota’s inability to maintain a solid passing offense, as they were forced to rely on the back in his first start of the season.
Expecting Asiata to reach that high touchdown total again is very foolish, and his match up will not allow him to pick up many yards on the ground either. Detroit is fourth in the league in allowing only 94.8 rushing yards per game and Matt Asiata will struggle to produce. The Lions are coming off a loss that is keeping them out of the playoffs, so expect them to come back with a vengeance and shut down the Minnesota Vikings.
Asiata should only be used as an RB2 if a fantasy manager is desperate for a fill in for Peterson and Gerhart, but other than that he should be avoided.
The final week of the 2013 NFL season is upon us and so is the final week of fantasy football. While many fantasy championships were won or lost last week, there are still some leagues playing for fantasy glory this week. If you happen to play in one of these leagues, make sure to check out the season’s final sleeper report for the wide receiver position.
Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers
Still available in almost half of NFL.com leagues, Michael Crabtree is a solid sleeper candidate for Week 17. Catching fire since returning from injury, Crabtree posted his first 100 yard receiving game of the season last week against the Atlanta Falcons and has now scored double digit fantasy points in two straight weeks. It looks like his chemistry with quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, is as good as ever and his recent success should continue this week against the Arizona Cardinals.
Cordarralle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings
Patterson has been doing it all lately for the Minnesota Vikings as the rookie wideout has now scored a touchdown in four straight games. Not only dominating through the air, two of his last four touchdowns have come on the ground as the Vikings are finding more and more ways to get the ball to one of their most explosive players. This week, the Vikings take on the Detroit Lions who give up the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season at 26.7 PPG. If the Vikings can find ways to get Patterson the ball on Sunday, the wide receiver could be a sneaky play to secure a championship for his owners.
Andre Holmes, Oakland Raiders
Holmes did not register a single catch for the Raiders until Week 11, but has become one of the team’s top receiving options. Developing a solid connection with quarterback, Matt McGloin, Holmes has averaged 82 yards a game over the last four weeks and has one touchdown in that span. He saw eight targets last week and led the Raiders with five catches for 71 yards. This week, Holmes and the Raiders take on the Denver Broncos in what may be a high scoring affair. If the Raiders do get into a shootout with Peyton Manning and the Broncos, Andre Holmes may produce a solid game in the season’s final week.
It is never a happy moment when Week 17 rolls around and fantasy owners and NFL fans know that many of their teams will be finished for the season after Sunday. However there is still one more game and we should all be thankful for that.
DeSean Jackson- The Philadelphia Eagles will face their bitter inner-division rivals in the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, in a show down that sends the winner to the playoffs. Luckily for the lightning fast Desean Jackson the Cowboys have the league’s second worst pass defense in the NFL, a unit that has allowed an average of 290.7 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. Start Jackson against his rival Cowboys.
Greg Jennings- While his first season as a Minnesota Viking has been less than stellar; Greg Jennings still showed that he was the one of the team’s only passing threats. In the final game of the season, the Vikings will host their divisional rival Detroit Lions. While their rush defense is one of the best in the league, Detroit’s pass defense has struggled all season, as they are sixth worst in the league against the pass with the final game coming this Sunday. Greg Jennings is a good FLEX player in Week 17.
Harry Douglas- The Atlanta Falcons could be fighting for the most disappointing teams of the season award this year. However there have been some bright spots in Atlanta, and one of them is Harry Douglas. The fifth year receiver stepped into a depleted group of Atlanta wide outs and recorded his first 1,000-yard season of his career. Unfortunately his season finale brings the tough Carolina Panther defense to town, a squad that ranks second in the league, and seventh against the pass. Harry Douglas serves a better purpose on most benches to end the season.
Torrey Smith- The Baltimore Ravens find themselves in a must win scenario going into Week 17 against the Cincinnati Bengals. After getting blown out against the New England Patriots last week, the Ravens need big games from some of their star players. Unfortunately for receiver Torrey Smith, the Bengals have the league’s sixth best pass defense, a unit that has allowed an average of just 211.3 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. Smith has been held to under 70 yards receiving in his last three games and his matchup in the season finale is not favorable.
It’s championship week and time to cash in on all those hours of fantasy research. Wes Welker and Jordan Cameron are out with concussions and no owner should start Larry Fitzgerald even if he ends up playing against Seattle.
Owners need to correctly start a WR3 or Flex to ensure a fantasy championship and we have a few under the radar guys that can help owners bring that trophy home. Greg Jennings, Doug Baldwin and Andre Caldwell lead the crop of Week 16 WR sleepers.
Greg Jennings (WR – MIN)
Greg Jennings had his first monster game of the year last week hauling in 11 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown. Jennings has had no fantasy value most of the season, with the inconsistent play at the quarterback position but he seems to have found new life with Matt Cassel at quarterback.
Jennings appears to have a bad match-up on the surface facing a Bengals defense with a lot of talent but they have suffered several key injuries in recent weeks and have been giving up a lot of touchdowns through the air. Jennings is a nice filler for owners looking for replacements for Welker or Fitzgerald.
Doug Baldwin (WR – SEA)
Doug Baldwin has been quietly producing decent fantasy numbers for the last six weeks. He doesn’t get much press playing for a team that’s known for their defense and power run game but Baldwin has scored double-digit fantasy points in five of his last six games in PPR leagues.
Baldwin also doesn’t appear to have a great match-up facing a stingy Arizona defense but Golden Tate will likely be matched up with Patrick Peterson most of the day and Baldwin might have a field day in the slot working against a defense that lost their best slot defender (Tyrann Matthieu) for the season.
Baldwin doesn’t have a high ceiling or a low floor but he’s almost a lock to get between 11 to 19 points in PPR formats and has scored four touchdowns in his last six games. Baldwin is a nice WR3 and Flex play in 12 plus team leagues.
Andre Caldwell (WR – DEN)
Andre Caldwell was a hot pickup off waivers this week after he caught six passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns in Week 15 against the Chargers. With Welker out for the rest of the regular season, Caldwell will have plenty of fantasy value the next two weeks.
Several factors point towards Caldwell having an opportunity for another big game on Sunday. For starters, Peyton Manning is three touchdowns shy of tying Tom Brady’s all-time record of 50 touchdowns in a season and the Broncos will want him to break that record this week. Additionally, the Broncos defense appears to be getting worse every week and the Texans should be able to hang with the Broncos for a few quarters. As long as the game remains competitive, Manning will continue to throw the ball and Caldwell will get plenty of single coverage throughout the day.
Caldwell is a low-end WR3 or Flex play this week with a good chance to find the end zone this week in Houston.
The Minnesota Vikings may be down to their third string running back come Sunday if neither Adrian Peterson nor Toby Gerhart can recover from injuries suffered in the Vikings wild loss to the Ravens this past Sunday. Peterson is highly unlikely to play while Gerhart is nursing what was has been labeled as a hamstring “tweak”.
Peterson, the NFL’s second leading rusher, is currently listed as doubtful with a mid-foot sprain which required Peterson to be carted off the field in the second quarter on Sunday. Luckily for the Vikings, he will not need surgery and has avoided the dreaded Lisfranc injury, but his chances of playing this week are slim to none. He will be in a walking boot for much of the week, and with the Vikings officially out of playoff contention, there is no need for the team to rush back their franchise player.
Meanwhile, Toby Gerhart filled in marvelously for the injured Peterson on Sunday, rushing for 89 yards and 1 touchdown, but suffered a hamstring injury on the Vikings second to last drive. Unable to return, head coach, Leslie Frazier, did not seem overly concerned about Gerhart’s injury after the game, but did acknowledge that Gerhart did tweak his hamstring. Gerhart is a must-add with Peterson’s doubtful tag, but his injury is a slight cause for concern.
If neither Peterson nor Gerhart are ready by Sunday, the Vikings will likely turn to their second year fullback/running back, Matt Asiata, to start at the position. Asiata has only three carries in his career and would be a risky fantasy play even if he were to get the start against a shaky Philadelphia Eagles run defense. It seems as if the Vikings just can’t catch a break in a very disappointing 2013 season.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson’s MRI showed no ligament damage, eliminating the possibility of a Lisfranc injury. The good news for Peterson is minimal however, as Coach Leslie Frazier has not yet ruled out shutting him down for the season.
The results of Peterson’s CT scan will determine the condition of the bone itself, but A-P feels like the damage isn’t too significant. He claims that he will be able to play against the Eagles Week 15, but Frazier has a good point in taking precautionary measures with his star player.
Frazier says he will make a “decision about this ballgames and future ballgames in this season” upon receiving results of the CT scan. Peterson was carted off the field in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens after managing only 13 yards on 7 carries.
AP will obviously be a top RB1 if healthy and active for Week 15, but his situation is not clear at this point in time. If unable to make the start, Toby Gerhart will get the nod and could be an intriguing option against an average Eagles run defense. More news of Peterson’s injury will surface once the results from the scan are in.
It seems like Adrian Peterson is listed as questionable almost every week, but that hasn’t stopped him from destroying opposing defenses during the past two weeks. Peterson has been dealing with a groin injury that has forced him to miss multiple practices the past few weeks.
Peterson has been affected by the injury during the practice week, but not on game day. The past two weeks the reigning MVP ran for over 350 yards. He set a season high Week 12 with 146 rushing yards against the Packers then topped that last Sunday rushing for 211 yards against the Bears.
The rest has obviously been paying off so owners could possibly look at his absence from Wednesday’s practice as a good thing. This injury did sideline Peterson during Week 11 against the Seahawks but the game was out of reach and head coach Leslie Frazier could have just been protecting his best player.
All Day A.P is the best running back to step onto the field during the modern era. He is a freakish talent and heals remarkably fast regardless of the severity of the injury. Owners should keep an eye on him to make sure there are no setbacks up until Sunday.
Peterson is an absolute must start Sunday against the Ravens.
Going into Sunday, there will be less options to start at the running back position if you missed out on someone playing during Thursday’s slate. While Green Bay did next to nothing on offense, Joique Bell provided a nice second fiddle to Reggie Bush for the Lions, running for more than 90 yards and scoring a touchdown.
In the Dallas-Oakland matchup, Rashad Jennings didn’t run for many yards but had two touchdowns to come up with a good fantasy game. And even though Demarco Murray broke out with three TD’s, Lance Dunbar posted a solid 82 yards as well.
In a not-so-shocking revelation from the Steelers-Ravens tilt, Ray Rice continues to kill his owners’ dreams, unable to bring his season average above 3 yards per carry after a 32 yard performance.
Those games are done like your Thanksgiving turkey was, but here are some potential Joique Bell and Lance Dunbar look-alikes for Sunday.
Chris Ogbonnaya (CLE)
Proceed with caution. Ogbonnaya has had fumbling issues that past two games, but in between those mishaps, he has shown promise; especially for a team that has to put the ball back in Brandon Weeden’s hands and can’t rely on Willis McGahee to do much of anything. In his limited role, Ogbonnaya has averaged 6.3 yards per carry and has also caught 36 passes. If he can hold onto the ball, he should produce.
Plus, the Browns are playing the Jaguars this week. It’s easy to beat this drum into submission, but Jacksonville’s run defense is still pathetic. They rank 29th in yards per game and have given up 15 scores on the ground, tied for league-worst.
Toby Gerhart (MIN)
First of all, the Vikings are playing the Chicago Bears this week. By any statistical category, the Bears run defense is putrid: 32nd in yards per game (145.2), 30th in yards per attempt (4.9) and just behind the Jags and others for most TD’s conceded (14). They are much more respectable against the pass, but luckily for Minnesota that won’t be a problem.
Adrian Peterson is still the best running back in football and he’ll likely get a ton of carries on Sunday. However, he does have some level of a groin injury and Gerhart has been solid in limited relief. He only has 19 carries on the season, but 8 of those carries have gone for 10 yards or more. The Vikings season isn’t going anywhere; perhaps Gerhart is the beneficiary of this realization.
Jay Cutler changed from the walking cast on his ankle to a brace, but now the quarterback may be dealing with ligament damage. Cutler admitted that he is not worried about the high ankle sprain and that his main concern is the ligaments in his ankle that have taken a beating.
“There are a couple of ligaments that we’re a little worried about that’s different than the normal high ankle sprain,” Cutler told ESPN. “There are a few other things involved. If I just had a normal high ankle sprain, I wouldn’t be in a cast. [A cast] helps it scar up and stuff, but the normal high ankle sprain isn’t really a concern at this point.”
Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman refused to declare if Cutler would be ready for the Bears Week 13 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.
Trestman told reporters, “We’ll see where he is on Monday.”
Since Cutler has been out, his back-up, Josh McCown, has thrived, completing over 60% of his attempts for 754 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Bears number one receiver, Brandon Marshall hasn’t done too poorly either. In the four games McCown has started, Marshall has 24 receptions for 363 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The Bears face the Rams this Sunday. The Rams have allowed 15 receiving touchdowns this season and Marshall is looking for another big game.