MNF Matchup: Vikings @ PackersMonday, November 14, 2011
Monday Night Football
Minnesota @ Green Bay
Adrian Peterson's value has actually risen during the season, which is a rare but welcomed fantasy development. Not only has Christian Ponder sparked the Vikings' offense by increasing chain movement and sustained drives, Peterson is benefiting from expanded usage in the passing game. Peterson capitalized on more targets in Week 8 by hauling in a season-high five receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown at Carolina. The passing plays get him in space, where Peterson's game-breaking open-field running ability can be put to greater use. On Monday night, it helps Peterson's fantasy matchup that the Packers have struggled all year with backs that catch passes. Green Bay has yielded 472 yards on 50 catches to running backs through eight games, good for a five-catch, nearly 60-yard weekly average. ... Percy Harvin had a slow first half of the season, playing limited snaps that were further curbed by a rib injury. Harvin is back to 100 percent after Minnesota's Week 9 bye, and coach Leslie Frazier has pledged to increase his playing time. Harvin can be a legitimate threat for 10 touches per game the rest of the way. If you didn't pick up Denarius Moore or trade for Dez Bryant this week, Harvin is an excellent value target for the fantasy stretch run.
A stiff, straight-line wide receiver, Michael Jenkins has topped 45 yards in just 2-of-8 games this season. For a player with such a limited talent level, we need to see sustained production before even considering betting on him in a fantasy league. Usually, the consistency never comes. ... Ponder's target distribution since replacing Donovan McNabb: Jenkins 14, Visanthe Shiancoe 13, Devin Aromashodu 13, Harvin 10. With Harvin now healthy, the rest of the Vikings' pass catchers should be considered hands-off fantasy commodities. ... Ponder has decent two-quarterback league potential because he's entrenched as the starter the rest of the way, is athletic enough to bolster his fantasy value with rushing stats, and now has his top receiver back at 100%. Green Bay's defense has been big on creating turnovers this season, but is allowing lots of yardage and touchdowns.
Unless they dial up a season-best game with the pass rush, the Vikings simply aren't equipped to slow Green Bay's roll. Minnesota doesn't match up well in this game. The Vikes can stop the run (No. 5 ranking) but not the pass (No. 30), and even the most casual observer is aware that Green Bay's greatest strength is the passing game. Aaron Rodgers has a 23:3 TD-to-INT ratio in his last six home games, including two rushing scores. ... The Vikings are expected to get back Antoine Winfield from a neck injury on Monday night, but they typically use him to cover the slot when opponents go three-wide. Burnable Cedric Griffin and Asher Allen play outside cornerback in the nickel. Split end Greg Jennings notoriously abuses Griffin, racking up lines of 7-147-1, 7-152-3, 6-74-1, and 8-88-1 in his last four meetings with Minnesota. ... While Jennings is the No. 6 wideout in fantasy points per game, flanker Jordy Nelson ranks No. 11 despite seeing just over five targets a week. Atoning with playmaking ability, Nelson is averaging a career-high 19.7 yards per reception and is on pace for ten touchdowns.
Coming out of their Week 8 bye, the Packers made a concerted effort to get Jermichael Finley more involved. Rodgers threw Finley's way on three of his first six pass attempts at San Diego, and Finley ultimately capitalized with five catches, 44 yards, and a touchdown. Finley has scored in each of his last two meetings with the Vikings and is the best second-half tight end trade target in fantasy football. ... James Jones has been targeted six times in the Packers' last three games. He has caught all six, but the efficiency is likely to decrease and his week-to-week role isn't significant enough for fantasy reliability. ... Green Bay did emerge from its bye giving James Starks 14 touches compared to Ryan Grant's four, but the Packers are continuing to use the run game on change-of-pace plays only. Neither Starks nor Grant is likely to have per-play success against a Vikings defense that ranks fifth in the league against the run and is permitting just 3.81 YPC. Starks is a very low-end flex option and Grant won't be usable barring a Starks injury.
Score Prediction: Packers 29, Vikings 20
Check out Gregg Rosenthal's fantasy take on tonight's game.