The storylines leading up to this game may not distinctively have a whole lot to do with fantasy football. It's Leslie Frazier's first week as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. It's the week that Clinton Portis may have played his last game in Washington. And all are wondering if it may be the last week that Brett Favre starts at quarterback ahead of Tarvaris Jackson.
Do those storylines have fantasy implications? Absolutely. Pretty much everything does around these parts if you tend to overanalyze things like I do.
So let's get to the matchups. We discuss each player by position, and as always, we use the Yahoo public league fantasy scoring system to track points.
Donovan McNabb is currently the 16th best fantasy quarterback in the NFL. Favre doesn't even make the top 25. But Favre is the one facing the 29th ranked passing defense in the league. Still, I don't think either quarterback is a good play this week, as the Washington Redskins are likely to keep this a low scoring game again, similar to their victory over the Tennessee Titans one week ago.
This is the second of two straight brutal rushing attacks at the Redskins will have to face. Last week, Chris Johnson scored a quiet 13.60 fantasy points, which is a very respectable total, but maybe less than you'd expect against the Redskins' 27th ranked rushing defense. It was below Johnson's average. We think you'll see something similar on Sunday from Adrian Peterson, who is the second highest scoring running back in the league, behind only Arian Foster. It's been three weeks since Peterson has scored nine points or more, as the Vikings went down early against both the Packers and Bears. We don't exactly expect the Redskins to take a large early lead, but we do think Peterson will be held to around 100 yards and just one touchdown.
I couldn't stress more how much I like Keiland Williams going into this game. With Portis and Ryan Torain both out, Williams stands to get 20-25 carries this week. His 31.90 fantasy points two weeks ago led all running backs, and he will continue to put up consistent numbers. Pick up Williams and start him in your fantasy league, if he's not gone already.
Santana Moss continues to be hit or miss. He followed up a 2.80 fantasy point performance against the Eagles with a 16.60 game against the Titans. He's healthy this week, and should probably remain in your lineup. That's more than we can say for Anthony Armstrong. If your league is deep enough for you to start someone averaging 5.52 fantasy points a week, then Armstrong could be your guy. But if you're in a normal 10-team league, there are probably better options available.
Another storyline going into Sunday's game is the question of how Sidney Rice will continue to progress as he recovers from injury. In his season debut last week, Rice led his team with 56-yards receiving, and did it against a much better Green Bay defense. If you've had him on your bench all year, now is the time to get him in your lineup, because he's the only Minnesota wide receiver likely to put up good numbers.
Chris Cooley is the eighth highest scoring tight end on Yahoo, and should be starting in most leagues. His 554-yards puts him third in the NFL in receiving among tight ends, but a few more touchdowns sure would be nice. Visanthe Shianco, on the other hand, has been a major fantasy disappointment. Despite being the 21st scoring tight end, he is still owned in 75% of leagues by people who are too proud to just get it over with and pick up Brandon Pettigrew.
Graham Gano is coming off his best game of the year from a fantasy perspective, scoring 16 points last Sunday against the Titans. He is the eighth highest scoring kicker, but is only owned in 9% of leagues. If you've still got Ryan Longwell of the Vikings as your kicker heading towards the fantasy playoffs, it's time to make a change. But if you've still got Ryan Longwell as your kicker, then you probably won't be heading to the fantasy playoffs anyway.
This might be a good week to pick up the Washington defense again, since you probably dropped them after the Eagles game. They are the sixth best fantasy defense on the year, but are owned in only 34% of leagues. Compare that to the Vikings defense, which stands 28th in fantasy points, but is owned in 59% of leagues. I just don't understand people sometimes. The Redskins defense is facing the quarterback who is leading the league in interceptions. Expect the team to grab a few on Sunday.