View images from the Wednesday, December 3 practice at Winter Park.
Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater posted a multi-touchdown effort for the second consecutive week, as he continues to get more comfortable in the offense. Bridgewater and the Vikings have posted a 3-2 record over the past five games, and one of the main reasons for the improvement is the offense jelling nicely behind the rookie signal caller. Over the past month, the Vikings have seen the offense, defense and special teams all come up big, giving the team more balance, and, most importantly, more wins.
Bridgewater was very efficient against the Panthers, completing 15 of his 21 pass attempts for 138 yards, two touchdowns and zero turnovers. The output was pretty good considering Carolina's decent pass rush and the fact the game was the seventh-coldest in franchise history.
For the first time since joining the Vikings before last season, WR Greg Jennings has touchdowns in back-to-back games. He has posted four or more receptions in five straight outings, and he has re-emerged as a decent WR4 or 'flex' Fantasy option heading into Week 14 against the New York Jets. New York ranks in the middle of the pack in passing yardage allowed. However, they have given up 19.5 points in NFL.com Fantasy leagues to the opposing quarterback, so Bridgewater and the Vikings pass attack will have more success Sunday.
The weather forecast for Sunday's game calls for temperatures in the low 30's with a 60 percent chance of light wintry mix, but it shouldn't be overly concerning for the passing game. Look for Bridgewater to post at least 200 yards and two touchdowns, with one touchdown going to Jennings. Over the past four weeks, Jennings has 20.7 NFL.com Fantasy points, and he has outscored the likes of Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson (19.7), Baltimore Ravens WR Steve Smith (16.8) and Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (10.8) during the span.
Charles Johnson made his second consecutive start, and he has totaled five receptions for 98 yards with a score during the span. Fantasy owners are always scanning the waiver wire, especially for wide receivers, and Johnson has emerged as a WR4 or 'flex' option to help Fantasy owners down the stretch.
TE Kyle Rudolph landed in the end zone last weekend for the first time since returning from injury. It wouldn't be surprising to see Rudolph find his way to a TD again, as the Jets have allowed five touchdowns to opposing tight ends over the past five games. In fact, in 2014, the Jets have allowed 10.94 points in NFL.com Fantasy leagues to opposing tight ends all season. That's the second-most in the NFL.
RB Matt Asiata took the reins in the backfield with Jerick McKinnon sidelined due to a back injury, and Asiata posted a respectable 52 yards on 14 carries, while Ben Tate made his team debut with five carries and 15 yards. Jon Banyard also was in the mix for eight yards on a pair of totes. McKinnon did not practice Wednesday, and if he is unable to play in Sunday's game, the carries split is likely to be similar to the breakdown from last weekend's game. Asiata would be the most attractive Fantasy option, serving as an RB3 or 'flex' play in deeper leagues. He is particularly attractive in touchdown-only leagues, as he really has a nose for the goal line.
Blair Walsh posted a 39-yard field goal in the chilly air, and he knocked through four extra points. The extra points were his most since the opening game at St. Louis. Walsh has posted 21 field goals on 25 attempts, and he has not missed a field goal attempt at home since Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons. He remains a viable Top 10 Fantasy option at his position thanks to his strong leg. He has a pair of 50-plus field goals in two of his past three games, making him a boon to Fantasy owners in formats which reward field goals of longer distance. Walsh has been extremely dependable in the fourth quarter, too, making all eight of his field goal attempts in the final stanza.
Fantasy owners looking to stream a defensive/special teams (DST) unit will want to use the Vikings this weekend. They were outstanding last weekend with a pair of special teams touchdowns via blocked punt returns. It was just the fifth time in NFL history one team had a pair of blocked punts returned for touchdown. While that is unlikely to happen again Sunday, a defensive touchdown is a good possibility against QB Geno Smith and the Jets, and New York has allowed 38 sacks. Look for Everson Griffen to turn in another great stat line for his Fantasy owners in IDP leagues. Harrison Smith could come up with an interception and a handful of passes defensed, too.
In other games, it will be interesting to watch the New York Giants and Tennessee Titans. WR Odell Beckham Jr. created huge waves in the Twitterverse with his three-fingered, one-handed grab two weeks ago against the Dallas Cowboys. The rookie from Louisiana State will be facing his college quarterback, Zach Mettenberger. Beckham has arrived as a must-start Fantasy WR2, and Mettenberger is a quality QB2.
Fantasy owners might be treated to an aerial show when the Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars hook up. Texans QB Ryan Fitzpatrick joined the six-TD club in Week 13, and he could far well against a Jaguars pass defense which has given up 257.0 yards per game with 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Look for Fitzpatrick to toss at least three touchdowns with 250 yards.
Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Jets.
Those using Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson have been very pleased with their player since drafting him. However, now that the Fantasy playoffs are here in most leagues, this is when production means the most. Nelson will face the league's 32nd ranked pass defense on Monday Night Football. The Falcons have allowed 284.9 yards per game, and 12 pass plays of 40 or more yards. Nelson will hit the century mark with a score in the prime time game.
A less heralded Fantasy option who is likely to help his owners to the next round of the playoffs will be Miami Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry. He'll be working against the 31st ranked pass defense of the Ravens. Landry has posted five or more receptions in five straight games, and he has 46 or more yards in each game during the span. Landry has also found the end zone four times during the span, making him a worthwhile WR3 or 'flex' option in all formats.
We mentioned the Giants-Titans matchup above. Fantasy owners will also want to closely watch the rushing attacks in this game, as New York ranks 31st against the run, while Tennessee ranks 32nd in the NFL. Andre Williams is a nice sleeper for Fantasy owners this weekend, as he could roll for 60 yards and multiple touchdowns, while fellow rookie Bishop Sankey also has the potential to post 50 yards and a touchdown. Trent Richardson also travels back to Cleveland for the first time since being traded to the Colts after Week 2 of last season. The Browns have allowed 132.5 yards per game, and Richardson and Daniel 'Boom' Herron should each excel, totaling 120 yards and a score between the two.
Daniel E. Dobish ofRotoExperts.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*.
DOLEMAN'S FANTASY RUSH
Vikings legend and NFL Hall of Fame defensive end Chris Doleman is now a Fantasy spokesman and analyst at the Fantasy Sports Network (www.fantasysportsnetwork.com))*). Chris will regularly stop by with his latest tips to help you sack the opposition in your leagues. *
"Charles Johnson can certainly be a helpful player in Fantasy right now. He is big, tall and rangy, and physically he actually reminds me of Julio Jones in terms of his build. I think he can be the Vikings' .No 1 pass-catcher for the rest of the year. He and Teddy Bridgewater have developed a nice rapport. They seem to complement each other well. As we have seen Teddy progress it's clear he does not lock on to a single wide receiver, so Charles Johnson will get some chances to make plays as we see more balance in the passing game."