Daniel E. Dobish of RotoExperts.com says the Vikings passing game will certainly be Fantasy-friendly in Week 11.
The Minnesota Vikings are back from their bye rested and raring to go, heading to the Windy City for a key NFC North Division battle against the Chicago Bears. The Vikings went into the bye on a two-game win streak, and can square up at .500 for the first time since Week 4. The key to the Vikings keeping the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers within sight, is for the team's Fantasy studs to step up.
Teddy Bridgewater has tossed a touchdown in each of the past three games, and he completed 62 percent of his passes in the Week 9 win against Washington. The rookie is on an obvious upward tick, and he will take another big step forward in Week 11. The Bears allowed six touchdown passes to Packers QB Aaron Rodgers last weekend. Chicago's pass defense ranks 28th in the NFL, allowing 268.6 yards per game with 23 pass touchdowns allowed, which is last in the NFC. The Bears have also allowed 35 pass plays of 20 or more yards, and nine plays of 40 or more yards. Chicago also has an opponent quarterback rating of 107.0, which ranks 31st in the NFL.
Bridgewater will have his first-career multi-touchdown game while flirting with 300 yards in Sunday's game. He might also have a new target at his disposal, too. Kyle Rudolph, making his way back from hernia surgery, was able to practice on a limited basis Wednesday. Rudolph hasn't seen any game action since Week 3 in New Orleans, which is the same game Bridgewater saw his first action off the bench. Bridgewater has shown he likes his tight ends, developing quite the rapport with Chase Ford over the past two games. Rudolph will re-emerge as a Top 10 Fantasy option if he can stay healthy.
Speaking of Chase Ford, the good news is that he posted a career-best 66 yards and a touchdown against the Redskins. Also good he was able to practice in full Wednesday despite a foot injury. Ford is likely to share some targets with another mouth to feed in the offense. Still, there is plenty of football to go around despite Rudolph's return and Ford will still see a handful of catches with 35-40 yards.
The rest was very welcome for Cordarrelle Patterson, who has been dealing with a hip injury this season. Two full weeks to get healthy will have Patterson looking more like the dynamic player who finished up the 2013 season strong. Expect Patterson to run for at least 30 yards while hauling in at least four catches and 40 yards. He'll also find his way into the end zone for the second time in four games.
Patterson isn't the only receiver who will make a big Fantasy splash, either. Greg Jennings always seems to light up when he faces the Bears. Over his past five games against Chicago, Jennings has at least four receptions and 50 yards in each meeting, and he found his way into the end zone in Week 13 against the Bears last season. Since the 2009 season, Jennings has at least 50 yards receiving in seven of his eight games against Chicago, with two 100-yard days. Expect Jennings to find plenty of wide-open spaces Sunday, and a total of 75-80 yards and a score.
View images from the Thursday, November 13 practice at Winter Park.
The Bears rush defense is statistically identical to that of the Vikings, ranking in the middle of the pack, although neither team has given up many big plays at all on the ground. Jerick McKinnon will have a challenging task against the Bears interior, although he can still pile up a solid yardage total. Matt Asiata is always worth Fantasy owners' attention, as he has emerged as one of the best short-yardage and goal-line backs in the league. He found the end zone thrice against the Redskins for his second three-touchdown game of the season. His pass-catching ability is often overlooked, too. He has eight receptions for 57 yards over the past two games, emerging as a strong low-end RB2 or 'flex' Fantasy play in most formats.
Fantasy owners in leagues which use individual defensive players (IDPs) will be thrilled to see the Vikings back from their bye. Minnesota has one of the best trios in all of Fantasy Football in Anthony Barr, Everson Griffen and Harrison Smith. Barr has seemingly been everywhere lately, racking up four or more tackles in each of his nine games, while managed four or more solo stops in each of his past four with two passes defensed, a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries during the impressive stretch.
Griffen has been a disruptive force in the pass rush, dropping the opposing quarterback nine times. Griffen has also managed 35 tackles, with 29 solo and a forced fumble. And Smith is not only a must-start IDP option, but a Top 3 defensive back in Fantasy Football. He recorded his first double-digit tackle total in Week 9 against the Redskins, and he has 49 tackles on his ledger with 42 solo stops and a sack, six passes defensed, three interceptions, a forced fumble and a foray into the end zone.
In other games, Robert Griffin III should have a nice bounce-back game against Tampa Bay, a team which ranks 31st in the NFL against the pass. The 19 passing touchdowns allowed by the Buccaneers is ranked 15th in the NFC. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson will also find the end zone at least once against an Arizona Cardinals pass defense which has been susceptible to the big play. Meanwhile, Fantasy owners looking for a bye-week replacement or value in salary-cap formats should keep an eye on St. Louis Rams QB Shaun Hill, who takes over for the benched Austin Davis. And in Arizona, Drew Stanton is back under center after Carson Palmer's unfortunate knee injury last weekend against those Rams.
The one-two rushing punch of Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde will be very busy against a New York Giants rush defense which has given up 144.7 yards per game with 13 rushing touchdowns allowed, tied for last in the NFL. The Giants have allowed 10 plays of 20 or more yards on the ground. The Bengals have also allowed big yardage on the ground, so that bodes well for the Fantasy prospects of New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram, assuming he can shake off a shoulder injury which had him limited in practice Wednesday. LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles could also find plenty of open spaces in Philadelphia's road game in Green Bay, and with temperatures in the 20s and blustery conditions, both teams might rely more upon the rush rather than taking it to the air and testing the cold November wind.
The Panthers have fallen on hard times lately, but Kelvin Benjamin continues to be a bright spot. He has rolled up seven touchdowns this season, including two in Monday's loss in Philadelphia. The Atlanta Falcons have given up 280.8 yards per game through the air with 10 or more plays of 40 yards and 12 touchdowns, so 85 yards and a score is expected from the rookie. Keenan Allen scored a touchdown in each of his two games against the Oakland Raiders last season, and a trip to the end zone is expected this weekend as well.
The Colts have struggled against opposing tight ends, so Fantasy owners of New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski have to be licking their chops. It is going to be a giant week, as 'Gronk' will have at least seven receptions while flirting with triple digits in yardage and at least one score. Greg Olsen should have another fruitful week against an Atlanta Falcons pass defense which has given up plenty of big plays.
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***.*