INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The passing game was completely inept for Minnesota, on both sides of the ball. They ranked 28th in passing and 26th on defense against the pass. So, in order for them to be successful, the Vikes will need to see big improvement in both of these areas. A lot of that will depend on whether Christian Ponder can develop into a consistent quarterback, who more manages the game than anything. And they’ll need Adrian Peterson to return from his torn ACL, so they can ground and pound opponents.
The Vikings have the 7th toughest schedule in the NFL according to Vegas oddsmakers with seven quality opponents on the schedule including a Week 16 game versus Houston. In fact, be aware of the difficulty down the stretch of the Viking schedule. After their Week 10 bye, they play the Bears twice, Green Bay twice, and Houston. So, this could affect your fantasy squad in the playoffs.
Percy Harvin is quietly one of the most dynamic, exciting playmakers in the NFL. And, great news for fantasy owners, his ADP falls into the fourth round area of 12-team leagues. That’s amazing considering that Harvin had 87 catches, almost 1,000 yards receiving and 6 TDs. Doesn’t sound quite like WR1 stuff right? Okay, factor in 52 rushes for 345 yards and 2 TDs and you’re getting there, right? Okay, if your league gives individual points for special teams, then Harvin threw in another TD on returns. That’s 9 total TDs, 1,300 combined yards and Harvin is a fantasy stud. I like him as a WR1. I like him so much that I’ve drafted him as such in two of my big fantasy leagues.
Okay, before I get called an idiot (I’m used to it) for putting Adrian Peterson down here, let me explain myself. Peterson tore his ACL on Christmas Eve. Even if you believe that Peterson is an athletic freak (and it’s hard to argue that), the stats are not good for players in their first year back from torn ACLs. So, I’m skeptical of all this AP will be ready for week 1 talk. And I’m skeptical that AP can put up those juicy fantasy numbers that he’s always put up, this year. All of this being said, if Peterson slips down your draft board, you have to take him, but I feel uneasy taking him as my RB1.
In the year of the tight end, everyone is looking for the next Rob Gronkowski. Kyle Rudolph, and his 6’6” frame just might be that guy. Well, maybe not Gronk good, but I expect Rudolph to be an excellent fantasy tight end. As owners scramble to grab Gronk, Gates, Graham, Hernandez, hold back, grab the RB depth, and wait on your tight end. Choosing Rudolph late could be a huge impactful move for your fantasy squad.
(Insert editorial opinion here) The Bengals were fools for not writing a decent paycheck for Jerome Simpson. They coached him, groomed him, and saw the fruits of those labors finally show up last season. And then they let him walk away and sign with the Vikings. What a nice addition for Minnesota. Simpson will be a great compliment alongside Harvin. He had 50 catches for 700+ last year. This year, I expect about those same numbers, but maybe more than the 4 TD total from last year. Now, remember, Simpson is suspended the first three games of the season, so that’s a decent chunk of your fantasy schedule and drops Simpson’s value a decent amount.
With Simpson out the first three games, the Vikings will need to find another WR to fill-in for him. The battle between Michael Jenkins and Devin Aromashadu is the most compelling, but has little effect for fantasy squads as neither are really worth drafting except in extremely deep leagues.
In the four games he started in Peterson’s absence, Toby Gerhardt proved to be a serviceable running back. He scored 3 TDs including two receiving, and went over the 100 yard rushing mark in week 16. With Peterson’s health a question mark, Gerhardt is an absolute must handcuff if you do draft AP, and a nice bench builder in all leagues, because regardless, Peterson won’t have nearly the touches he had last year, and those remnant touches will fall to Gerhardt.
Fantasy Football, NFL