Week 10 begins tonight with a game between two poorly performing teams. The Washington Redskins (3-5) and Minnesota Vikings (1-7) have struggling players who are not playing up to their full potential. Despite the teams’ records, this game features a matchup between a star running back and possibly the best running back in the game today.
The Vikings’ quarterback situation has been in a state of flux, causing inconsistent play from that position and a drop in value for their receivers. The Redskins seemed to have transitioned to a run-first team as they feature three capable running backs. From a fantasy perspective, no owner wants to see that.
There are only three or four players worth a start for fantasy owners (maybe more depending on league size).With that being said, here are my Thursday Night Football predictions.
Robert Griffin III is not the same player from last year. He does not have a rushing touchdown this season. He had six at this point last season. To make fantasy owners feel even worse, Griffin hasn’t thrown a touchdown in three games, including last week.
This may be the week RGIII gets back on track. The Vikings allow the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, 19.1 per game. Don’t expect him to rush for a lot of yards, but his arm could be the difference-maker in this game.
Projections: 18-of-31, 280 passing yards, two TDs, one INT, 40 rushing yards (21 points)
For the third game in a row, Christian Ponder gets the start for the Vikings. In the first three games of the season, Ponder struggled. He threw for 691 yards (good), two touchdowns and five interceptions (bad). With the Josh Freeman experiment not going according to plan, Ponder is back.
Many Tom Brady owners are looking for a bye-week replacement and Ponder could be that guy. The Redskins are the fifth-worst passing defense, just ahead of the Vikings. Ponder can also break free from pressure. He has 143 rushing yards and four touchdowns this season. While the Vikings are a run-first team, Ponder’s decision-making could lead this team and yours to a victory.
Projections: 19-of-35, 250 passing yards, two TDs, 25 rushing yards (20 points)
Alfred Morris had his best game of the season last year, rushing for 121 yards and a score. Surprisingly, Morris has five touchdowns this season. I say surprisingly because he’s been losing carries to Roy Helu Jr. and more recently Darrel Young. Helu had three touchdowns in Week 7 and Young had three in Week 9.
Morris has scored in consecutive games, and will make it three in a row on Thursday. The Vikings allow 19.8 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. All three backs should see some goal-line work. But, for the sake of relevancy, I’m only doing projections for Morris.
Projections: 17 carries, 80 rushing yards, one TD (14 points)
Adrian Peterson has 711 rushing yards this season, just a little off of his almost record-breaking pace from last year. He had 775 yards at this point last year. Peterson could get back on pace in Week 10. The Redskins allow the highest fantasy points to opposing running backs at 21.9 points per game. Luckily, there have been no signs on Toby Gerhart stealing carries from Peterson.
The Redskins did hold the San Diego Chargers backs to just 69 rushing yards last week. However, Peterson is a much, much better player than Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead.
Projections: 22 carries, 103 rushing yards, one TD (16 points)
Because of Griffin’s struggles, the Redskins receivers have suffered as well. Pierre Garcon is getting a lot of yards, on pace for a career high. However, he’s just not scoring, being held scoreless in the last four games. It will be five in a row after this game. His teammate Leonard Hankerson has been hit-or-miss as well. He had 55 yards last week, the most since Week 1. Griffin has been looking to Garcon and Jordan Reed, leaving Hankerson has the No. 3 option.
Projections: Garcon — seven receptions, 92 yards, one TD (15 points); Hankerson — four receptions, 48 yards (four points)
To be blunt, no Vikings wide receiver is worth owning in standard leagues. Greg Jennings had one good game this season in a game where Matt Cassel was the starting quarterback. Jerome Simpson has not scored at all. Tight end Kyle Rudolph will be out for at least a month, which could help the value of both receivers, but don’t expect much improvement.
Projections: Jennings — three receptions, 51 yards (five points); Simpson — four receptions, 38 yards (three points)