Show-Me the Film! Vikings @ Panthers - Clock Dodgers
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Show-Me the Film! Vikings @ Panthers

Week 3 Recap:

Minnesota Vikings at the Carolina Panthers

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The Defenses:

Before I even get into the majority of the fantasy relevant players, I have to include a tidbit about the defenses. Minnesota consistently generated pressure on Cam while only rushing 4 guys, and they got home more than enough to win the game. They are playing together insanely well as a unit, and the wiley veteran Terence Newman made some very savvy plays in the passing game. He’s one of many guys that jumped off the film from this game. On the other side of the ball, Luke Kuechly may very well be a better linebacker than Von Miller. The two are asked to do very different things within their respective defenses, but I feel like Kuechly is asked to do more because of his position. He can cover practically anyone you send his way, and he absolutely stuffs the run. With Watt out the rest of the season, I would not be surprised to see either Kuechly or Miller taking home defensive player of the year honors. Thomas Davis gets an honorable mention here. Multiple ACL injuries ain’t shit.

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Vikings:

Quarterback: Sam Bradford is who he is. When the play design is for quick drops with one or two reads he’s going to excel. I noticed several instances where he just seemed like he had some timing issues with his receivers. Given the fact that he’s been there a month, I think this will get better over time. He only seems to trust Diggs and Rudolph, and this is for good reason. They are the only two reliable targets.

Running Back: When you lose a future hall of fame caliber running back it’s tough to replace them. The last time this happened, All Day was in trouble for things that we’re not discussing for the purposes of this recap. McKinnon was a rookie and he was still learning the ways of the NFL. As a result, Asiata got a lot of work – in particular on passing downs. For this game, things were quite a bit different. For completion, the McKinnon/Asiata splits are included below.

Minnesota Vikings running back touch breakdown against Minnesota Vikings Week 3. Statistics used from www.pro-football-reference.com.

Player Car Yds Rec Tgts Catch % Yds TD
Jerick McKinnon 16 45 1 2 50 2 0
Matt Asiata 6 15 1 1 100 4 0

Here’s what the film told me. McKinnon is, well, very talented, and on the other hand Asiata is like a smaller version of LeGarrette Blount. Don’t ask him to do anything other than hit the hole. McKinnon saw a total of 17 touches for 47 yards, and Asiata saw 7 touches for 16 yards. Neither one looks impressive in the box score, but when you watch the film it’s clear McKinnon is the guy to own here.

The Minnesota backfield was full of speculation leading into week 3, and I have to admit that I was wrong. I was saying grab Asiata for reasons mentioned above. When I watched the tape, Asiata really reminded me of Jeremy Hill and LeGarrette Blount. He is a no nonsense runner that happens to be an excellent pass blocker. McKinnon can cut, accelerate, and catch the ball all while pass blacking every bit as good as Asiata (there was one play where Thomas Davis made McKinnon his bitch, but this was an exception). He also met contact very well, and made something out of nothing on more than one occasion. There was a very interesting battle between McKinnon and Kuechly that was insanely fun to watch. At the end of the day, the Panthers D was almost as stifling as the Vikings D. The Vikings D really stole the show here though. If it weren’t for Kuechly I think the box score would have looked to be skewed towards McKinnon. He’s the Vikings back to own.

Wide Receiver: I really don’t know what to say here other than Stefon Diggs. The target breakdown is listed below, but the only Vikings wide out worth owning right now is Diggs. Charles Johnson dropped at least one surefire catch; it was so bad I felt I could have made the catch. Cordarrelle Patterson made an appearance and really jumped off the screen in the process, but he’s not worth an add unless you need an absolute prayer. Kyle Rudolph was the only other receiver of note. He caught a team leading 7 receptions on a team leading 10 targets, and he caught one of them for a nice TD run. More on him later.

Stefon Diggs is an amazing wide receiver. He looks like an AB lite. He has sharp routes that are only going to get better, and he has the quickness, athleticism, and speed to breakaway for long runs. Bradford looked for him early and often, although not as often as their TE. I am hoping to grab Diggs in as many leagues as possible.

Minnesota Vikings receiver target distribution against Carolina Panthers Week 3. Statistics courtesy www.pro-football-reference.com.

Player Rec Tgts Catch % Yds TD
Stefon Diggs 4 7 57.1 40 0
Kyle Rudolph 7 10 70 70 1
Charles Johnson 0 2 0 0 0
Cordarrelle Paterson 1 1 100 8 0

Tight End: I have to say, Kyle Rudolph is legit this year. Bradford targeted him more than any other receiving option in this game which was a tough matchup. Look above for the target breakdown in this game, but he was the number one target for Bradford. Their second TE had at least one catch that I saw, but he is barely worth mentioning here. Season long receiving stats for this corps are given below.

Carolina Panthers receiver target distribution in 2016

Player Rec Tgts Catch % Yds TD Snap %
Stefon Diggs 20 27 74.1 325 1 88.6
Kyle Rudolph 14 26 53.8 166 2 94.9
Charles Johnson 3 10 30 20 0 72.6
Cordarrelle Paterson 2 2 100 14 0 7.4

Panthers:

Quarterback: Cam made several bad decisions in this game. Ironically enough, he had a couple of INTs when throwing towards Ginn. I can’t say with certainty that Ginn was the reason for the picks to occur, but he sure as hell didn’t help. Cam has made massive strides since joining the league in 2011. However, he still has a long way to go before proving he is among the elite passers in the league. If you read my review of the Cardinals-Bills game then you know I’m not a fan of Tyrod as a passer. The comparison goes as far as they are mobile quarterbacks. Cam is easily better than Taylor as a passer, but his receivers couldn’t seem to come down with what I would say were very catchable passes. His rushing is always going to save him. The dude is a machine. I can’t help but wonder how long he can sustain some of these brutal looking hits though. As long as he does, he’s a legit top 10 QB play.

Running Back: If J Stew is in, then I think you have to play him as a RB2 with RB1 upside. This backfield will always suffer because of the Cam factor, but without J Stew as the consistent option other than Cam in the backfield… good luck. I included the total touch breakdown of this backfield in this game below.

Carolina Panthers running back touch breakdown against Minnesota Vikings Week 3. Statistics used from www.pro-football-reference.com.

Player Car Yds Rec Tgts Catch % Yds TD
Cameron Artis-Payne 12 47 1 1 100 11 0
Fozzy Whittaker 5 22 5 6 83.3 34 0
Mike Tolbert 2 5 2 3 66.7 14 0

Look, this is what the raw statistics are, but I watched the film. Fozzy Whittaker is their best back not named Jonathan Stewart. I see a bit of a Tevin Coleman issue with Artis-Payne. He’s really not as talented as his counterparts, but holy shit does the coaching staff want to force him into the lineup. Whittaker didn’t really look good running out of the backfield, but when he got out on screens or dump-offs he was excellent. This doesn’t include the holding call by Kelvin Benjamin that negated a 56-yard catch and run TD in which Fozzy Whittaker made a couple of Vikings defenders look foolish. Artis-Payne does not have good acceleration, but he can change direction once at full speed. I guess this is reason enough to give him the bulk of the carries out of the back field. Whittaker has better acceleration and speed, and I think he’s the better back. As with Tevin Coleman in ATL, fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, sometimes all you need is the coaching staff to force the ball into your hands.

Wide Receiver: I don’t want any part of this receiving corps outside of the big Benjamin. Funchess had several passes hit him right in the hands that he dropped. Corey Brown had a couple of nice grabs, but it was nothing to rely on. Kelvin Benjamin received one target THE ENTIRE GAME. I really don’t know what to say about this. On several occasions I felt like KB would have won his match-up, but they never threw him the ball. I DON’T GET IT! The post-game press conferences really seemed to confirm the inexplicable fading of KB. If the Panthers want to win, they need to feature their best offensive weapon not named Cam Newton or Jonathan Stewart. For posterity, the WR targets are included below. Even though I think they’re worthless for fantasy. Unless you want to plug Ginn as an absolute hope and prayer into a DFS lineup. Another viable reason to play Ginn is that you’re down a shit ton after a massive TNF outing by someone.

Carolina Panthers receiver target distribution against Minnesota Vikings Week 3

Player Rec Tgts Catch % Yds TD
Kelvin Benjamin 0 1 0 0 0
Ted Ginn Jr. 3 7 42.9 62 0
Devin Funchess 0 2 0 0 0
Corey Brown 4 5 80 57 0

Let’s not pretend like season long trends don’t matter. Let’s take a quick look at these same four receivers, and include their snap percentage for the entire season. Undoubtedly the Panthers stupid disregard of what KB could do for them affects big Benji’s season stats.

Carolina Panthers receiver target distribution in 2016

Player Rec Tgts Catch % Yds TD Snap %
Kelvin Benjamin 13 22 59.1 199 3 70.8
Ted Ginn Jr. 6 12 50 118 0 61.8
Devin Funchess 3 10 30 28 0 57.5
Corey Brown 8 13 61.5 83 0 54.5

 

Tight End: Greg Olsen is their de-facto WR2. He has played 97% of their snaps so far in 2016. Through 2016, Olsen has made 18 catches on 27 targets for 259 yards and 1 TD. Not to mention he is a decent blocker. In this game he caught 6 of 10 targets for 64 yards. Beyond Olsen, I really don’t think there’s a worthwhile TE. That being said, look at what Barnidge did when he got out of Olsen’s shadow. The only way another TE becomes relevant for Carolina is if Olsen goes down. For dynasty leagues, maybe stash a guy and see if he pans out. I wouldn’t count on that though.

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Written By: Adam Drewery – Follow Adam on the Fantasy Life App @ad87 or on Twitter @adrewery87

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