Daniel E. Dobish of RotoExperts.com says Jerick McKinnon's rise as a Fantasy player will continue in Week 9, and the team's defense is a quality starting option.
Fantasy players will want to pay close attention to the Week 9 matchup between the Redskins and the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. The contest will feature plenty of players who continue to see an increase in Fantasy ownership, including rookies Teddy Bridgewater and Jerick McKinnon. Both players continue to gain valuable confidence, especially after last week's overtime road victory in Tampa Bay.
Bridgewater had his best passing yardage total since Week 4, going for 241 yards and a touchdown against the Buccaneers. He also had his best quarterback rating in a month, and seems to be gaining confidence as he continues to log on-field experience. Things are opening up a little more down the field with McKinnon running the ball so effectively.
Against the Buccaneers, McKinnon totaled 83 yards on 16 carries in his third consecutive start, giving him a total of 186 rushing yards in the past two outings. He has shown a nice mix of patience and explosiveness, averaging a robust 5.3 yards per carry. The Redskins have been decent against the run this season, but McKinnon should still be able to find plenty of open spaces. Remember, the Buffalo Bills are a Top 10 rushing unit, and McKinnon hit the century mark in rushing yardage against them in Week 7. Fantasy owners can expect at least 70 rushing yards from McKinnon against Washington.
Bridgewater has developed a nice rapport with veteran Greg Jennings, who found the end zone last weekend. He has been the apple of Bridgewater's eye lately, and the two have connected for 12 receptions over the past three games, with at least three catches in each outing. With 13.2 yards per reception through eight games, Jennings is having his finest season in two campaigns with the Vikings. It seems like Jennings has been around forever, but he is still just 31 years old and has plenty left in the tank. Look for a handful of targets with at least 45 yards receiving.
Cordarrelle Patterson ranks second on the club in receptions and receiving yardage. He left the stadium last week in a walking boot, but shrugged off the injury as not being serious, and he has already shed the boot. Confirmation came Wednesday when Patterson wasn't listed on the injury report. Fantasy owners can expect him to not only play, but post a total of 80 total yards from scrimmage. He is a fabulous WR3 or 'flex' play in most Fantasy formats.
While the overall statistics against the run and pass have been middle of the road for the Redskins, they have allowed 25.0 points per game, so all eyes will be on the Minnesota offense. They could move the ball in the same effective manner as Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons.
The quarterback situation for the Vikings is rather stable these days, but the same cannot be said in the nation's capital. Washington lost Robert Griffin III to injury early in the season, and had to turn to Kirk Cousins. Then Head Coach Jay Gruden gave the keys to the car to Colt McCoy, who returned to the state of Texas Monday night and led his team to a rousing overtime victory against the first-place Cowboys. There will be another QB change for the Redskins this week, as RG3 practiced in full Wednesday and he is expected to be tabbed as the starter for Sunday, barring any setbacks.
The Vikings defense/special teams could be extremely attractive from a Fantasy perspective, too. Griffin is sure to have a little bit of rust after a long layoff. The Redskins have averaged 21.4 points per game, but they haven't scored more than 20 points in a game since Week 3. The biggest threat will be from DeSean Jackson, who had 136 receiving yards in Dallas Monday, his third 100-yard receiving game in the past four starts. Jackson has found the end zone three times this season, and will provide the Minnesota secondary with plenty of challenges. Jackson is averaging 20.8 yards per reception, which would be his best output since the 2010 season. Jackson will be good for a minimum of 65-75 receiving yards.
Alfred Morris continues to buoy the run game for Washington, and he posted 73 rushing yards in Dallas while finding the end zone for the first time in over a month. The former sixth-round pick from Florida Atlantic has picked up the pace over the past two outings and will need to be closely accounted for.
A position for Fantasy owners to pay close attention will be at tight end. With Kyle Rudolph not expected to return until after the team's bye in Week 10, Chase Ford is expected to make another start. He posted a career-best 61 yards with six receptions in Tampa, and he caught all six of his targets. On the other side, Jordan Reed showed good hands Monday, rolling up seven receptions for 40 yards while acting as a safety valve for McCoy. He and Niles Paul are vital in Washington's passing game.
Matt Asiata continues to provide valuable depth for the Vikings, and his skills as a pass-catcher and goal-line runner can translate into some important Fantasy points if you need a fill-in running back for bye week purposes. Jarius Wright also has the potential to break loose at any time, and he is worth bye week consideration in larger leagues.
In other games, Brian Hoyer could also surprise for Fantasy owners, squaring off against a Buccaneers pass defense which has been very leaky. And Nick Foles went for over 400 yards in Arizona last weekend, and he'll face a Houston defense which has allowed a league-high 10 pass plays of 40 or more yards. Foles will top 300 passing yards again with at least two passing scores.
A couple of weeks ago, Denard Robinson ran for triple-digit yardage against Cleveland. He could find plenty of space against a Cincinnati Bengals run defense which has surrendered 140.7 yards per game while yielding eight scores through seven games. Robinson is worth a flier as a low-end RB2 or flex play given the favorable matchup. Marshawn Lynch has not scored a rushing touchdown in four games since Sept. 21, but Beast Mode should be in full effect against a Raiders rush defense which has allowed 130.1 yards per game with seven touchdowns. Lynch will visit the end zone against the Raiders while rumbling for at least 80 yards.
Jeremy Maclin re-emerged as a must-start Fantasy option in Arizona. He was targeted 16 times last weekend, posting 12 receptions for 187 yards and two scores, putting a smile on many Fantasy owners' faces.. And Fantasy players certainly took notice of John Brown, who showed great hands, catching everything thrown his way, while also showing off blazing speed. Fantasy owners will be keeping a close eye on the injury reports from Cincinnati. A return from a toe injury for A.J. Green might mean a big week against Jacksonville's pass defense. If not, the beat should go on for Mohamed Sanu, who has been more than adequate as a No. 1 fill-in.
The Colts have had some difficulties against opposing tight ends, so Fantasy owners could see a re-emergence of Giants' Larry Donnell. The Jets have also struggled to keep the tight end down, so Travis Kelce is worth keeping an eye on as a sneaky sleeper. The Jaguars have had difficulty putting points on the board this season, especially on the road. The Bengals defense is a solid defense to stream, while the Seahawks will be a bona fide No. 1 unit. The Chiefs will also face Michael Vick and the Jets offense.
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. Dan and the RotoExperts team will also answer your Fantasy Football questions right here.