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.
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.
Many receivers can be very inconsistent and may perform much better when the matchup is right. But some receivers have matchups where the odd are heavily stacked against them. It would be wise to bench these players out for Week 11 fantasy competition.
Benching of the Week – Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
Just as the Falcons got wide receiver Roddy White back for a complete game, they may have have lost tight end Tony Gonzalez for Week 11. White played 55 of the Falcons 58 offensive snaps during Week 11, but the absence of Gonzo is bad news for White owners.
With Gonzalez out, the Tampa Bay secondary can focus primarily on receiving threats, Harry Douglas and Roddy White. Meanwhile, White is surely to matchup against Tampa Bay cornerback, Darelle Revis, who is once again looking like the best corner in the league. Roddy White and the Falcons can’t seem to catch a break this season and the struggles should continue this week.
Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders
As Terrelle Pryor’s status for Sunday’s game remains up in the air, Moore’s potential to produce this week continues to look bleak. Pryor is certainly not himself and Moore’s production is nose-diving because of that.
With Pryor nursing a sore knee last week against the New York Giants, Moore only managed to pull in 3 of his 9 targets for 45 yards. Not only is Pryor questionable for Sunday’s game, but a matchup with the Houston Texans, who boast the league’s top pass defense, does not bode well for Moore.
Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings
With Christian Ponder under center the last few weeks, Greg Jennings’ already disappointing season has become a disaster. During the last three games, Jennings has only seen 16 targets, which he has turned into 10 catches for a measly 83 yards. That averages out to around 27 yards per game.
Jennings could be in for an even rougher time during Week 11 when the Vikings face off against the Seattle Seahawks and their vaunted secondary. If Jennings is somehow still in your lineup, put him on the bench immediately.
Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman has the opportunity to impress his new organization against a subpar New York Giants pass defense during Week 7’s Monday night football matchup. Freeman is the new starter and has an easily exploitable opponent to help get him acclimated during Week 7.
Freeman beat out Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder for the starting job, even though the Vikings were expected to wait a few weeks to let him get used to their offense. However, head coach Leslie Frazier said that Freeman looked fluent in the team’s offense during a scout team session following practice on Wednesday.
Expect Freeman to put up solid numbers, while facing off against an easily penetrable Giants defense. The G-Men currently rank 27th in team defense allowing 2,348 total yards through 6 games. They also allow 268 passing yards per contest, putting them 20th in that category.
Freeman has a decent receiving corps led by Greg Jennings, while also featuring rookie Cordarrelle Patterson and veteran Jerome Simpson. The Giants will have to set up for the run to limit Adrian Peterson’s production, giving Freeman more of an ability to beat them through the air.
Josh Freeman has plenty to prove after being benched and eventually released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this season. This is a great opportunity for Freeman to put up solid QB2 numbers and retain the starting job going forward in Minnesota.
Despite all the trash talking out of Tampa, it didn’t take troubled quarterback Josh Freeman long to find a new job.
He signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings just a few days after his release from the Buccaneers.
The current Vikings starter is Christian Ponder who is dealing with a rib issue and his backup is Matt Cassel.
It’s too early to tell where Freeman will fall into the mix, but he’s by far the most talented quarterback on the roster now.
He may not start right away, but it’s very unlikely that Minnesota signed him just to ride the bench.
Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown might be able to repeat his monster Week 3 fantasy performance this weekend in London against the Vikings.
Brown exploded for 196 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns off of 9 receptions a week ago and has the opportunity to continue his success against a weak Minnesota defense.
Minnesota was unable to contain Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, allowing him to haul in 11 catches for 196 yards and a touchdown. The Vikings have allowed a wide receiver to score a touchdown in each of their last two contests and Brown will likely extend that streak.
If Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger continues to look Brown’s way in the passing game, there seems to be no way his production could be limited. Big Ben has targeted Antonio Brown 29 times in the season’s first 3 games, and should continue to look toward his best receiver to make big plays.
The 25-year-old lead wide receiver had not put up impressive numbers until this past week, but this should not discourage fantasy owners from believing that it could happen again. Brown should be considered a pretty solid start in all fantasy formats, as he looks to keep building off his momentum.
After some impressive performances in their Week 3 match-ups, many players could be serious candidates for waiver wire pickups in standard fantasy formats. It’s important to assess each player carefully, in order to avoid the one hit wonders and the ones that got lucky.
There are definitely a couple promising standouts that are available in most leagues, but others are too risky and should therefore be left alone.
1. Brian Hoyer, CLE:
Brian Hoyer had an astounding performance in a 31-27 win against the Minnesota Vikings, throwing for 321 yards, 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. In his start for the injured Brandon Weeden, Hoyer could have very well earned himself the starting job. His numbers are not completely overwhelming, but the former 3rd string quarterback led the Browns to their first win of the season just days after trading Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski says he will evaluate Hoyer’s performance against the Vikings, as well as Weeden’s progress before making the decision. In deeper leagues, Hoyer may be worth a look to make up for the possible loss of Brandon Weeden, but do not expect a crazy amount of production on a consistent basis.
2. Santonio Holmes, NYJ:
Holmes went off during Week 3 hauling in the 69-yard difference making touchdown to beat the Bills 27-20. The 29-year-old wideout hauled in 5 receptions off of 10 targets for 154 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully, he and rookie quarterback Geno Smith can continue to build a good rapport as the season progresses and Holmes will get more opportunities to put a dent in opposing defenses.
He may also be able to help fantasy teams struggling with lackluster receivers. It is definitely a good decision to target Holmes as a waiver wire pickup heading into Week 4 even though the Jets face a stiff Tennessee pass defense. Holmes could wind up being the perfect guy to step in as a bye week replacement or fill the void for an injured starter.
3. LeGarrette Blount, NE:
LeGarrette Blount carried the workload at tailback for New England in their 23-3 win against his former team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He led the team in carries and rushing yards with 14 and 65 respectively, with a long run of 23 yards. With Stevan Ridley playing poorly and Shane Vereen being out for a significant period of time, this is Blount’s time to shine.
The 26-year-old rusher is a better fit for fantasy owners than Ridley right now. It would be wise to pick up Blount in hopes that he can be the feature back and possibly get involved as a receiver in Tom Brady’s pass-heavy offense.