Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater continues to show why he was selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, as he gets better every week. In last Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers, Bridgewater recorded his first-career multi-touchdown game, throwing for 210 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also posted 32 rushing yards, which was also the best to date in his rookie season. It was his most complete effort of the season, and he picked up a respectable 19.6 Fantasy points in NFL.com leagues.
In fact, over the past four weeks, Bridgewater has scored 44.84 points in NFL.com Fantasy leagues, besting regulars such as Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler (39.38 points), Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco (42.8 points) and this week's opponent, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (43.86 points), during the same span. It might also surprise some that Bridgewater has been even more of an effect from a Fantasy perspective during the past month than more heralded options like Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford (32.78 points) and San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (22.98 points).
In Week 13, the rookie from Louisville will face a very favorable matchup against a Carolina Panthers pass defense which has allowed 254.9 yards per game while yielding 20 passing touchdowns in 11 outings. In fact, opponents have posted 37 pass plays of 20 or more yards against the Panthers, who have had a bit of a tumble on the defensive side since last season. Look for Teddy's improvement to continue, as he flirts with 250 yards and two more touchdown tosses this year, outshining his counterpart in Charlotte.
We discussed new addition Ben Tate last week, but it was Joe Banyard who was active last weekend behind Jerick McKinnon, presumably due to his familiarity with the offensive system. Once Tate sees more reps he will be a fantastic Fantasy option for owners scanning the waiver-wire for bargains. The coaching staff has reiterated McKinnon is a No. 1 back, and he went for 54 yards on 15 carries with three receptions for nine yards last weekend. He should find a lot more running room against a Panthers rush defense which allows 119.1 yards per game and 13 rushing touchdowns, tied for second-most in the NFL. McKinnon will visit the end zone, and he will have a healthy rushing total approaching 60 yards in Charlotte.
At receiver, Charles Johnson continues to look more and more comfortable in the offense. He has led the team in receiving each of the past two weeks, going for 52 yards and a touchdown on three receptions, and he also hauled in a two-point conversion reception. He was targeted a whopping 11 times, so Bridgewater obviously has tremendous confidence in the downfield threat. Veteran Greg Jennings also found the end zone, and he has scored in two of the past four outings, while also gathering at least three receptions in five of the past six games. He has re-emerged as a viable WR4 or 'flex' Fantasy option in most leagues. A total of 50 yards and another foray into the end zone is expected for Jennings.
The good news keeps coming on offense, too. In his second game back from hernia surgery, Kyle Rudolph showed some glimpses of brilliance. He was good for 50 yards on three receptions, including a 23-yard big gainer, and he was targeted five times. Rudolph looked much healthier in Sunday's game against Green Bay, and he can be a Top 10 Fantasy option at his position when he is 100 percent. Rudolph's growing role meant a reduction in targets for Chase Ford, although he still remains a very valuable option to the team for his blocking capability. He has graded out evenly as a pass catcher and run blocker this season, and he is too valuable to be taken off the field.
Blair Walsh continued to do what he does best, bagging two field goals with an extra point. He posted another 50-plus yard field goal with his successful 51-yard conversion midway through the third quarter last Sunday, and is a fabulous Fantasy option in leagues which reward longer makes.
The Minnesota Vikings have also become a Fantasy favorite for those looking to stream defenses each week. Facing the Carolina Panthers is tremendously attractive for prospective Fantasy owners in Week 13. The Vikings have studs dotting the field on defense, from Everson Griffen up front, Anthony Barr and Chad Greenway in the middle, to Harrison Smith patrolling the secondary. This group is very good, and their makeup harkens back to the days of the Purple People Eaters. They likely will heavily pressure Newton, who has been sacked 32 times. Look for Griffen and company to put tremendous heat on Newton, perhaps rolling up four or more sacks while also forcing him into at least one interception.
In other games, it could be a very nice day for Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons, as they host an Arizona Cardinals pass defense which is coming east and could be a bit sluggish. The Cardinals allow 254.6 yards per game through the air with 15 touchdowns. They have also allowed 41 pass plays of 20 or more yards. Don't forget Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill, either. He faces a very favorable matchup on Monday Night Football against the New York Jets, and the Dolphins' signal caller ranks third in NFL.com Fantasy leagues with 81.92 points over the past four weeks. Another 300-yard week with multiple touchdowns will be in the offing for Tannehill.
Baltimore Ravens RB Justin Forsett has posted total of 64.7 Fantasy points over the past four weeks, including 332 rushing yards and four scores, good four fourth among all tailbacks in the league. He'll be facing a San Diego Chargers rush defense which ranks middle of the pack. The Tennessee Titans rank last in the league in rush defense, so that is great news for the Houston Titans running back. Arian Foster (groin) could be back, but if he is not Fantasy owners can safely depend on Alfred Blue to get the job done.
At wide receiver, Keenan Allen is primed and ready for a big week. The Baltimore Ravens rank 29th in the NFL against the pass, and they have given up 40 pass plays of 20 or more yards this season. Look for 65-75 yards from Allen with a visit to the end zone. James Jones of the Raiders is a solid sleeper for Fantasy owners searching for a WR3 or flex play. He will find the end zone in back-to-back weeks for the first time since the first two games of the season. He has been targeted at least five times in each of his past 10 games, and he has three or more receptions in 10 of his 11 outings this season.
The Houston Texans rank near the bottom of the league in pass defense, and that should mean good things for Tennessee Titans TE Delanie Walker. Last week in Philadelphia he posted 10 receptions for a season-best 155 yards, playing a full game with no setbacks after a concussion sidelined him in Week 12. Walker has been targeted five or more times in each of his past five games, including 10 targets last Sunday. He will go for at least 60 yards with is fifth visit to the end zone of the season in Sunday's game.
Daniel E. Dobish of***RotoExperts.com**** is a 15-year veteran of the Fantasy industry and has won four Fantasy Sports Writer's Association awards. For more in-depth Fantasy Football analysis from the RotoExperts team, ***click here***. Dan and the RotoExperts team will also answer your Fantasy Football questions ****right here***.