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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Fantasy Football: Vikings values change without Adrian Peterson

By Bo Mitchell

Anthony Maggio, John Tuvey and Bo Mitchell will be here all season delivering the edge you need to dominate your fantasy football league. Visit 1500espn.com each Thursday for a new column and a new episode of the Fantasy Football Party podcast.

Forget postseason implications for a moment. From a fantasy football owners’ perspective, this Sunday’s game in Charlotte between the Vikings and Panthers is a match-up of two teams who lost their starting running backs to injury in Week 2. You may have heard last Sunday was a particularly bad one for running back injuries, and Adrian Peterson and Jonathan Stewart were two of the headliners.

By now, the two injured backs should be safely ensconced on fantasy football benches until further notice. Hopefully you were able to land a waiver-wire replacement such as Vikings Jerick McKinnon or Matt Asiata or the Panthers’ Cameron Artis-Payne or Fozzy Whitaker. I’d wait on stashing Ronnie Hillman, who the Vikings signed Wednesday.

Obviously, we’ve seen the Vikings in this predicament before. No Adrian means a timeshare in the backfield with McKinnon getting the bulk of the first and second-down work and Asiata getting snaps on third downs, short-yardage and goal-line situations. In 2014, when Peterson missed 15 games Asiata scored 10 total touchdowns while McKinnon (a rookie) had none. As such, both will have at least some fantasy value – with Asiata the one more likely to find the end zone. That would be a novel concept, huh? The Vikings running for a touchdown? It hasn’t happened yet this season – not even close, really.

Indeed, the Vikings rushing offense has been nonexistent this season, ranking dead last in the NFL. According to Sportradar, Peterson leads the NFL in stuffs (8) and stuff yards (-19). Among qualified rushers (6.25 carries per game), Peterson has been stuffed for no gain or a loss on a league-high 25.8 percent of his carries. The reasons for this are many: poor blocking by the offensive line, eight and nine-man defensive fronts and a lot of tentative dancing around in the backfield by a 31-year-old running back.

That doesn’t exactly leave much room for optimism for the fantasy outlook of Asiata or McKinnon; however, they will be running against a Panthers defense with only seven men in the box most of the time. So there’s that.

Carolina’s defense is solid against the run, though. Sure, C.J. Anderson had a nice night against them in the season opener, but the Panthers stymied Carlos Hyde at home last week (14 carries for 34 yards) and now have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in their last 12 home games. Asiata and McKinnon should not be used as anything more than flex plays for fantasy purposes this weekend.

That puts most of the pressure squarely back on the shoulders of Sam Bradford.

He handled the pressure with aplomb in his Vikings debut, putting together arguably the best game of his career after less than two weeks learning the offense. Expecting a repeat performance, however, might be expecting a little much. Without Peterson, the Vikings will pass more. That’s no secret. So through sheer quantity, Bradford should have a chance to post over 200 yards and a touchdown or two – his ceiling feels like something along the lines of Blaine Gabbert’s 243-yard, two-touchdown performance at Carolina last week. He’s not a starter outside of super-flex fantasy leagues.

The two Vikings you know to start, and who really require no explanation: the NFL’s leading receiver Stefon Diggs (who we highlighted in this space a week ago) and the Vikings team defense, which is tied for second in the league in turnovers (6), tied for fourth with seven sacks and tied for first with two defensive touchdowns.

— Bo Mitchell

DFS Week 3 Values

If you’re a fan of Daily Fantasy Sports—or DFS, as the cool kids call it—we’ll provide the best values at QB/RB/WR/TE for DraftKings and FanDuel on a weekly basis. Here’s what 2V has come up with for Week 3.

QB: Marcus Mariota vs. Raiders

DraftKings: $5,900

FanDuel: $7,700

Through the first fortnight of the season the Raiders are giving up an average of 409 passing yards and 3.5 passing scores per game. Mariota has multiple TD tosses in each game this year, so he’s equipped to exploit Oakland’s weakness via the air. And his feet always provide the potential for bonus fantasy points as a runner.

QB: Ryan Tannehill vs. Browns

DraftKings: $6,200

FanDuel: $7,400

Adam Gase makes his home debut against a Browns’ squad that has plenty of issues—including that they’ve given up multiple passing scores in each game this season. After struggling against Seattle in the season opener—and who doesn’t?—Tannehill threw a pair of scores in the Week 2 loss to New England. He and his coach will be anxious to reward the South Beach faithful with some pyrotechnics, and with the Dolphins’ running back situation in disarray Tannehill is just the guy to direct the show.

RB: Matt Forte at Kansas City

DraftKings: $7,000

FanDuel: $7,500

Opposing backs have had success against the Chiefs via both ground and air—and Forte handles both assignments for the Jets. He’s posted triple-digit combo yardage in each of the first two games and scored his first three TDs in green last week. With the Jets’ receiving corps a bit banged up, don’t be surprised if Todd Bowles asks the ground game to take over this one—with Forte leading the charge.

RB: Melvin Gordon at Indianapolis

DraftKings: $5,800

FanDuel: $7,100

Gordon rolls into Indy fresh off a 102-yard effort and his third touchdown of the young season. And he won’t be losing touches to Danny Woodhead, who tore his ACL and will miss the 2016 season. The uptick in opportunity couldn’t come at a better time: a date with a Colts defense that’s given up more yards, scores, and fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other club in the league.

RB: Darren Sproles vs. Pittsburgh

DraftKings: $3,700

FanDuel: $5,200

The Steelers have given up the third-most receiving yards to running backs, including 100 and a touch to Giovani Bernard last week. Sproles has seven of Philly’s nine RB receptions, and with the Steelers likely to throw everything and the kitchen sink at rookie QB Carson Wentz this week the check down will be an even more popular option. That’s Sproles’ role to fill, though his snaps are on the uptick as he’s an integral part of the Eagles’ offense under Doug Pederson.

WR: Larry Fitzgerald at Buffalo

DraftKings: $6,900

FanDuel: $7,600

If this is indeed Fitzy’s final NFL season he’s going out with a bang; through two games he’s on pace for 160 targets, 1,300 yards and 24 touchdowns. That’d be a heckuva swan song. Facing a Bills defense that’s allowed four receivers to top 90 yards already this season, expect Larry to remain on his breakneck pace.

WR: Travis Benjamin at Indianapolis

DraftKings: $5,200

FanDuel: $6,900

Multiple factors at play this week favoring Benjamin: a banged-up Indy secondary, a likely shootout, and Benjamin’s emerging target share in the wake of Keenan Allen’s season-ending injury. Oh and by the way, he’s caught 12 of 13 targets and is coming off a 115-yard outing with multiple touchdowns.

WR: Tajae Sharpe vs. Oakland

DraftKings: $4,700

FanDuel: $5,800

No team has given up more catches, yardage, touchdowns or fantasy points to wideouts than the Raiders. And the rookie has clearly emerged as Marcus Mariota’s top option, suggesting Sharpe is the back end of a bargain-bin stack to build around.

TE: Delanie Walker vs. Oakland

DraftKings: $5,000

FanDuel: $6,900

Gronk production at below-Gronk prices! Walker is a highly targeted and borderline elite fantasy tight end, with the added bonus of facing an Oakland defense that doesn’t devote much attention to covering the position. Last week in this very space we spotlighted Jacob Tamme against the Raiders and he rewarded us with 75 yards and a TD. That’s the floor for Walker this week.

TE: Dennis Pitta at Jacksonville

DraftKings: $3,400

FanDuel: $5,000

If you prefer to bargain shop at the tight end position, look no further than Pitta. A month ago we wondered if his battered body would let him play football again; two weeks into the season no tight end has more catches and only Greg Olsen and Jordan Reed have more yards. On paper the matchup isn’t overly favorable, but Pitta is too targeted to not have a day for the Ravens.

Check back next week for Week 4 DFS values. Good luck in Week 3!

— John Tuvey

Anthony Maggio, John Tuvey and Bo Mitchell co-host the 1500ESPN Fantasy Football Party podcast. Bookmark the podcast page for upcoming episodes and subscribe to the podcast now! Don’t act like you’re not impressed.

Maggio hosted Fantasy Football Sunday on 1500ESPN from 2012-2013 and is the Fantasy Football Editor at Zoneblitz.com. Mitchell is Vice President of Content for Sportradar. And Tuvey is Director of Content at SportsHub Technologies. All three men are kind of big deals, enjoy leather-bound books and have woodwork at home that smells of rich mahogany.

Follow Maggio @MPLSMaggio
Follow Bo @Bo_Mitchell
Follow John @jtuvey

The post Fantasy Football: Vikings values change without Adrian Peterson appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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