Rams vs Vikings....a fantasy perspective
MINNESOTA VIKINGS VS. ST. LOUIS RAMS Who would have thought that after the Vikings had started the season at 2-5 that they would now be rebounding to 7-5? After their fifth straight win the Vikings are beginning to hit on all cylinders. The St. Louis Rams provide a solid test against the team as they hope to make the playoffs. Let's see how the fantasy stars matchup.
PASSING MATCH-UP: QUARTERBACKS QB Brad Johnson has become a nice little pickup for those that picked him up when he began his starting campaign. In his last four games while pulling out the victories, Johnson has averaged 1.3 passing TDs, 0.5 INTs and just over 200 passing yards per game leading to a solid 93.0 passer rating. Johnson played the best game of his season in Week 13 against the Detroit Lions. In that game Johnson was 17-for-23 for 256 passing yards, 2 TDs and no picks. Against another defense that is struggling in recent weeks, Johnson is now a strong play and solid No. 1 quarterback. If he happens to be on the waiver wire and you need a quarterback or backup quarterback for the playoffs, he is a solid addition.
The Rams have struggled against in recent weeks in defending the pass. Opposing quarterbacks have averaged 2 passing TDs and 244 passing yards per game. In a home game with a fan base that is back on the bandwagon, Johnson may be in line for a big showing.
RUSHING MATCH-UP: RUNNING BACKS The streaky play of RB Michael Bennett continues. In Week 13, Michael Bennett had one of his best outings of the season with 2 TDs, 79 rushing yards and 10 receiving yards. Unfortunately that performance is following a Week 12 minus-three-offensive-yard performance. Since Week 10 Bennett is averaging 15 targets per game (24 percent) and 1.5 plays per game in the red zone (20 percent). He has converted those plays into an average of 25 rushing yards, 9 receiving yards and 0.5 TDs per game. Bennett's carries have typically been when Moore has been injured. Watch the news. If Moore doesn't play, Bennett's possibilities significantly increase. He is viewed as a strong play and a solid No. 3 RB this week.
RB Mewelde Moore continues to be bothered by an ankle injury. In Week 13 Moore was only able to muster one carry for minus-six yards. HC Mike Tice says Moore will rebound and should play in Week 14. Since Week 10, Moore is averaging 13 plays per game (20 percent) and 1.3 plays per game (17 percent). Over that time span, Moore is averaging 46 rushing yards and 6 receiving yards per game but has only found the end zone on a punt return in Week 10. If Moore can play, it is still likely that he will get a large amount of the carries. He is viewed as a strong play and a solid No. 3 RB this week.
Over his last four games RB Ciatrick Fason has averaged 3.3 plays per game (5 percent) and one play per game in the red zone (13 percent). Fason has just 34 yards and 1 TD over that time span amounting to an average of just 8.5 yards per game. He is not viewed as a significant threat, although if Moore doesn't play, Fason may see a few carries. He is a weak play and bench running back.
No team has struggled more against the run since Week 10 than the St. Louis Rams. Over that period opposing running backs are averaging 1.8 TDs, 150 rushing yards and 24 receiving yards per game. Needless to say, if the Vikings running backs are to perform, this may be the team to do it against.
RECEIVING MATCH-UP PART I: WIDE RECEIVERS PK/WR Koren Robinson has rebounded from a tough offseason to return to the spotlight for the Vikings. Since Week 10, Robinson is being targeted 5 times per game (8 percent) and 0.5 times per game in the red zone (7 percent). With his play as of late, his targets should continue to increase. Over that span, Robinson has averaged a solid 3 receptions for 68 receiving yards and 0.3 TDs per game. His 148- receiving-yard performance in Week 13 could be a sign of good things for his fantasy future. He is viewed as a solid No. 2 wide receiver and a strong play. If he is available on your waiver wire going into the playoffs, it would be wise to grab him now.
While WR Marcus Robinson was able to take in a whopping three touchdowns in Week 12, his play has been limited otherwise. Since Week 10, Robinson is averaging 3 targets per game (5 percent) and 1 target per game in the red zone. He has converted those targets into an average of 0.8 TDs and 19 receiving yards per game. While Robinson will see a few balls thrown his way, it will be difficult for him to repeat his Week 12 performance. He is a decent No. 3 wide receiver or an injury replacement and a strong play against a mediocre defense.
WR Travis Taylor is the most targeted of all of the Minnesota wide receivers. Since Week 10, Taylor is averaging 5.3 plays per game (8 percent) and 0.5 plays per game in the red zone (7 percent). Taylor has converted those targets into an average or 2.3 receptions for 32 receiving yards per game, but he has not found the end zone over that stretch. He is a strong play against the Rams defense but just an average injury replacement or bench wide receiver.
WR Nate Burleson's injuries could not have come at a worse time. In a contract year, Burleson's early-season injuries have allowed players like Taylor and Koren Robinson to emerge. His targets have dwindled to just three per game since Week 10 (5 percent). Burleson has turned those limited targets into an average of just 10 receiving yards per game and no scores. He is a bench player and a weak play against the Rams.
WR Troy Williamson's rookie year has not been as stellar as the top 10 draft pick would like. Since Week 10, he has a grand total of just seven plays and has not seen a ball thrown to him in his last two games due to a Tice's decision to inactivate him. Even if he plays this week he is a weak play and a bench wide receiver.
The Rams defense has been mediocre at best in defending against opposing wide receivers. Opposing wide receivers are averaging 167 receiving yards and 0.8 TDs per game over that time span. While they held the Washington Redskins wide receivers to just 57 yards and no touchdowns in Week 13, they will have difficulty giving a repeat performance.
RECEIVING MATCH-UP PART II: TIGHT ENDSWhile TE Jermaine Wiggins did not see a pass thrown his way in Week 13, Wiggins is still the most targeted receiver since Week 10. Over that span he is averaging six plays per game (9 percent) and 1.3 plays per game in the red zone (17 percent). Wiggins is averaging 44 receiving yards per game but has not found the end zone in that stint. He is viewed as a decent No. 1 tight end or bench player and a strong play against the Rams.
TE Jim Kleinsasser had one of his better games in Week 13 with 26 receiving yards. Since Week 10, he has been targeted just five times for 2 percent of the offense. He has caught each of those passes for a total of 5 receptions for 37 yards and an average of 9 offensive yards per game. While he is viewed as a bench player and a weak play, it is worth watching to see if Johnson prefers throwing to Kleinsasser over Wiggins going forward.
The St. Louis Rams have struggled in stopping opposing tight ends in recent weeks. Since Week 10, opposing tight ends are averaging 0.5 TDs and 54 receiving yards. There is a decent chance that Wiggins and Kleinsasser will have good days.
KICKING MATCH-UP While PK Paul Edinger has had only one field goal attempt in his last two games, he is averaging 1-for-1.8 on FGAs and 2.8-for-2.8 on XPAs over his last four games. He has the advantage of going up against a Rams defense that has given up solid fantasy performances to opposing kickers. Edinger is viewed as a strong play and a solid No. 1 place kicker this week.
As mentioned, the St. Louis Rams have struggled against opposing place kickers. Opposing kickers are 3.3-for-3.3 on XPAs and 1.8-for-2.3 on FGAs. If the offense continues to perform well, Edinger should be a decent fantasy option.
DEFENSIVE MATCH-UP An argument can be made that no unit has had a better turnaround this season than the Minnesota Vikings defense. Since Week 10, their defense is allowing just 16.5 offensive points per game and nabbing 2.5 INTs, 0.8 fumbles and 2.5 sacks per game. They have also scored 2 special teams TDs and 2 defensive TDs over that span. They are a solid matchup this week as one of the top fantasy defenses and a strong play.
While the St. Louis Rams offense isn't as potent as it has been in the past, the Rams continue to put up a decent amount of yards and points. In their last four games they are averaging 21 offensive points and 360 offensive yards per game. They also are averaging 0.8 INTs, 1 fumble and a league-high 4.5 sacks per game. The Vikings defense has a chance for a big week.
Re: Rams vs Vikings....a fantasy perspective