Viking Quest

Staring at the standings on FantasyDraft can be a bit nerve-racking if sitting just slightly inside or outside the cash line of a contest but owning players from this game should ease those concerns. Assuming you find yourself in a situation where tonight’s game can make or break the weekend, here are my projections for the game tonight that will help make your likely fate abundantly more clear:

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears

Quarterbacks: In a game with a measly 40.5 point projected over/under, offense is not likely to be aplenty. Neither team is an offensive juggernaut and, in fact, both rank in the bottom half of total yards with the Vikings ranking second to last (299.2 yards per game). With the team’s top two running backs both on the shelf, Sam Bradford is going to have to attempt to shoulder a larger portion of the offensive load. Of the two QBs, he is the preferable option as the Bears rank middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to the position. However, Bradford is not exactly a superstar as he has only thrown for 280-plus yards once this season and two-plus TDs. A good old-fashioned suck-off on offense is expected, and I think that is what we are going to get. As for Jay Cutler, well, good luck. He will be squaring off against the league’s best defense as a whole and one that has allowed the absolute fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs. The corners are great and the line will create pressure for Cutler so this looks like a recipe for a disaster. Multiple turnovers are certainly possible for Cutler and this game may prove to be unwatchable by halftime. Projections: Sam Bradford 16 fantasy points, Jay Cutler 10 fantasy points

Running Backs: As mentioned in the previous tidbit, both Adrian Peterson and Jerick McKinnon are out so Matt Asiata will take over the lead back responsibilities. In most cash games on FantasyDraft, Asiata is around 35-percent owned only because of the heavy workload likely headed his way. For his career, Asiata is only averaging 3.5 yards per carry (YPC) but he has scored 14 TDs including two this season. He is coming off a six catch performance against the Eagles and now he is clearly destined to receive all the goal line carries. Virtually none of his value comes from runs between the 20s but rather the prospects of him catching passes and/or finding the end zone. Against a turnover-prone Bears offense, it is not inconceivable the Vikings find themselves in the red zone by accident on more than one occasion. On the other side, the Bears running game is a mess right now with Ka’Deem Carey (26) playing more snaps than Jordan Howard (22) last week. Howard is quite clearly the best talent in the backfield to outside observers but Coach John Fox likes Carey’s pass blocking abilities. Again, none of this probably matters against a Vikings team that has allowed just one rushing TD. Interestingly, they have surrendered two receiving TDs to the RB position so maybe Howard could be in a sneaky position to succeed. Projections: Matt Asiata 16 fantasy points, Jordan Howard 12 fantasy points and Ka’Deem Carey six fantasy points

Wide Receivers: With Xavier Rhodes set to shadow Alshon Jeffery, he is likely in for a long evening. According to Pro Football Focus, Rhodes has graded as a top 22 cornerback this season but both he and Terrence Newman have been dominant this season. Former NFL cornerback Ike Taylor writes a column for NFL.com and he ranks both in the top 10 at the position this season and notes Rhodes only allowed one TD in a three game stretch where he faced Kelvin Benjamin, Odell Beckham Jr. and DeAndre Hopkins. Slot receivers have the best chance against this secondary so there is a chance Cameron Meredith can string together a productive game. For the Vikings, Stefon Diggs is back, healthy and should be licking his chops against this Bears secondary that allowed three different Packers to catch 10-plus passes last week. In a Norv Turner offense, the focus is on the top option in the passing game and so I would expect Diggs to be featured tonight. Diggs possesses a sizeable talent advantage against Tracy Porter so I like him to throw back the clock to earlier this season and produce a true WR1 performance. Projections: Stefon Diggs 19 fantasy points, Cameron Meredith 10 fantasy points, Alshon Jeffery seven fantasy points and Adam Thielen seven fantasy points

Tight Ends: Another heavily-owned player in tonight’s ballgame is Kyle Rudolph at about 25-percent in most cash games. Only Greg Olsen and Jason Witten have been targeted on a higher percent of their respective teams’ red zone targets than Rudolph and only Martellus Bennett and Jack Doyle have scored more TDs. Essentially, Rudolph has emerged as a true TE1 this season but the Bears have allowed the ninth fewest fantasy points per game to the position. Even so, he would be Bradford’s first read in the end zone if the Vikings’ offense ever puts them in such a position. Zach Miller’s prospects depreciate a bit with Jay Cutler under center considering all three of Miller’s TDs were thrown by Brian Hoyer this season. In the first two games with Cutler, Miller caught seven passes for a total of 47 yards. Against a stout Vikings defense, expect him to produce an output similar to his averages with Cutler earlier this season. Projections: Kyle Rudolph 13 fantasy points, Zach Miller five fantasy points

Defense: With neither offense expected to do much, the defenses both make for excellent plays…but especially the Vikings. In two games this season, Cutler had already thrown two interceptions and fumbled thrice before succumbing to injury. In 2014 and 2015 combined, he threw 29 interceptions and lost a whopping 11 fumbles. Since the odds-makers only imply a week-low 18.3 points from the Bears, their fantasy prospects are through the roof when combined with the turnover potential. Nothing jumps off the page in terms of the Bears matchup other than the fact they will be facing one of the game’s least efficient RBs. Projections: Vikings Defense 18 fantasy points, Bears Defense six fantasy points

Final Score Projection: Minnesota Vikings 24, Bears 10

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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