Washington Redskins (-3) at Minnesota Vikings O/U 49
The NFL schedule makers have taken a lot of slack for their primetime selections through the first nine weeks, but tonight's matchup should be an entertaining one, at least for fantasy purposes. Both of these teams were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs a season ago, but since then have seemed to be going in opposite directions. After starting the season 0-3, the Redskins have managed to win three of their last five games, giving them an outside chance of making the playoffs, if they can go on a strong run. The Vikings on the other hand, well, they stink. Sitting at 1-7, their season is already over, and plans of rebuilding this offseason are likely already in the works.
Despite the differences between the teams, there are key fantasy players taking the field tonight, which is likely the only reason for turning into this game in the first place. While I don't expect a shootout, especially with Christian Ponder under center, there is a chance for plenty of scoring with both defenses near the bottom of almost every statistical category. So sit back and enjoy as we kickoff Week 10, let's just hope we don't get another dud.
Robert Griffin III (WAS)--It has been an up and down season through eight games for Robert Griffin III this season, with both flashes of greatest and signs of a sophomore slump all rolled into one. Currently, Griffin is the 15th ranked quarterback in standard scoring leagues, meaning he is likely riding the pine in leagues of 12 or less managers (or at least should be). Having scored 20 or more fantasy points only twice this season, Griffin continues to be a major disappointment coming off of a brilliant rookie campaign, but maybe tonight's matchup will be what he needs to start trending in the right direction. The Vikings have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, including two or more passing touchdowns in all but two games this season. However, having only allowed 77 rushing yards to quarterbacks this season, Griffin will have to be productive with his arm not his legs. Will he be able to find the holes in the Vikings defense? I think so, while going over 20 fantasy points for the third time this season.
Christian Ponder (MIN)--Similar to Griffin, Ponder has had his fair share of troubles in 2013, but continues to get the starting nod from head coach Leslie Frasier. Tonight's will be his third consecutive start, after missing time due to injury earlier in the season. With just 381 passing yards and one touchdown combined over his last two starts, there really isn't much to look forward to tonight for those sorry souls starting Ponder (hopefully in a 20+ team league), but the Redskins haven't played very well on the defensive side of the ball. Through eight games, the Redskins have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in standard leagues, giving up at least two passing touchdowns in five of eight contests. Having rushed for four touchdowns this season, Ponder could find some room to run tonight, considering the Redskins, are statistically the worst team in the league against the run. There is room for optimism in this matchup, but I am not willing to trust him just yet.
Alfred Morris (WAS)--in a dramatic overtime win over the Chargers in Week 9, Alfred Morris went over the century mark for the second time this season, finishing with 121 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. It was the first time all season that he was given over 20 carries, and is likely something that we will start seeing more of moving forward. Morris owners had to to be pleased with his performance, but with three touchdowns from teammate Darrel Young prevented him from having the best game of his career. This week, Morris will go up against the league's seventh-worst run defense in terms of fantasy, with the Vikings allowing just under 20 points per game to opposing running backs. With Roy Helu taking away carries only in hurry-up and speed packages, Morris should get the rock early and often in this contests, considering the Redskins should be on top early. As the season progresses, Morris continues to get better, having now scored in three of four games, and tonight should be another solid game for this downhill runner.
Adrian Peterson (MIN)--The Vikings may be 1-7, but their terrible record is not because of a lack of effort from Adrian Peterson. However, Peterson's fantasy value has taken a hit over the last few weeks, with last week's performance being his first 100-yard game since the Vikings only win back in Week 4. If Peterson is healthy, he needs to be in your starting lineup, and tonight has the making of being an epic night for Peterson on the ground. The Redskins have allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season, having allowed six touchdowns over their last four games. As we saw since Week 1 when the Eagles rushed for 209 yards against the Redskins, as a whole, they have many holes on the defensive side of the ball, and if anyone can exploit them it will be Peterson. Expect him to get around 25 carries in this contest as he keeps the Vikings hanging around in this one, with or without the help of his teammates.
Roy Helu (WAS)--We are only three weeks removed from a three touchdown performance from Roy Helu, but it seems like against ago after two games of non-existence. It is unlikely he factors into this game, considering how well Alfred Morris has been running the ball and the fact that it should be a tight game.
Toby Gerhart (MIN)--Outside of an injury to Adrian Peterson, there is no reason to consider using Toby Gerhart tonight, let alone own him. He has only three carries on the season, and my guess is that number will not rise after tonight's game goes final.
Darrel Young (WAS)--After vulturing three touchdowns away from Alfred Morris there may be some people out there who think he could become a factor moving forward. I think not. Anyone who considers using him in fantasy should get their head examined.
Pierre Garcon (WAS)--Despite having recorded only two touchdowns on the season, Pierre Garcon is on his way to a career-year in receiving yards and receptions as the focal point in the Redskins passing game. With added attention given to the newly emerged Jordan Reed, Garcon has benefited from back-to-back seven-catch games. Outside of A.J. Green and Vincent Jackson, Garcon is the most targeted wide receiver in the league, having been thrown to 45 times over his last four games. This week's matchup should allow much of the same, with the Vikings ranked 24th in the league in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. On paper, this looks to be another solid showing from the Redskins top pass catcher as long as Robert Griffin III can be patient and not rush his passes.
Greg Jennings (MIN)--Having yet to go over the century mark this season, it is hard to trust Greg Jennings in terms of fantasy. Through eight games, Jennings has scored double-digit fantasy points once, after a two-touchdown performance against the Steelers in London. He showed some life last week converting six of his nine targets for 56 yards, but has yet to establish a solid chemistry with quarterback Christian Ponder. Tonight Jennings will have a chance to prove to his haters that he is still a good wide receiver, considering the Redskins are terrible against the pass. Over their last two games, the Redskins have allowed four touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, has have only two games of under 20 fantasy points allowed to that same group. While it is hard to trust Jennings at this point, there is a chance tonight could be his best performance since joining the Vikings.
Leonard Hankerson (WAS)--Following last week's emotional win over the Chargers, there was talks that Leonard Hankerson may miss tonight's game with a hamstring injury, but that was cleared up yesterday after returning to practice and being listed as probable. As mentioned in Pierre Garcon's write-up, the Vikings have allowed a lot of production to opposing wideouts this season, so there is some optimism Hankerson could be in line for a solid game. However, there has yet to be a game in which he has been targeted more than seven times, and with the emergence of Jordan Reed in the passing game, his targeted should not climb to higher grounds.
Cordarrelle Patterson (MIN)--Although Cordarrelle Patterson is having a nice rookie campaign, his inconsistency in the Vikings passing game makes it hard to recommend him in fantasy football. In leagues that are special team heavy, there is some optimism, but then again, it is hard to rely on kickoff return yards these days.
Jordan Reed (WAS)--Last week was may have been a dud for the Redskins rising star, after recording only four catches for 37 yards, but that shouldn't sway fantasy owners away from him for tonight's game. The Vikings have allowed the sixth most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends and were torched by Tony Romo and Jason Witten last week as the two hooked up eight times for 102 yards and a touchdown. In last week's contest, the Chargers were able to contain Jordan Reed, making him a focal point of their defense, but the Vikings do not have the personnel of the Chargers, so a solid game of 10-plus targets should be in store for who a lot of people around the league consider the next Jimmy Graham.
John Carlson (MIN)--With Kyle Rudolph expected to miss a month following a foot injury, John Carlson will step in as the team's No. 1 tight end moving forward. being that Rudolph was one of Christian Ponder's favorite targets, especially in the red zone, there is a chance Carlson could become a solid red zone threat once acclimated to his new role. I just don't see that happening this week against a Redskins team that has allowed nine points or fewer to opposing tight ends five of of the last six weeks.
Prediction: Washington Redskins 28 Minnesota Vikings 24
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Matthew Beck is a Fantasy Sports Columnist for FantasyAlarm.com. If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow him on Twitter @MatthewRBeck for up-to-date Q&A and fantasy information. And, to make setting your Fantasy Football lineup easy, be sure to utilize RotoInfo.com’s new NFL Lineup Grids.
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