The Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers get Week 8 going on Thursday Night Football. While Bucs fans are looking to climb back into the wildcard race and Vikings fans are looking to maintain pace with the Chicago Bears, fantasy football fans find themselves entering the second half of their season. In order to prepare you for these pivotal fantasy matchups, we are adding game-by-game projections courtesy of numberFire.
Thursday's matchup features some key fantasy elements. Adrian Peterson is the big name, coming off another NFC Offensive Player of the Week award, and of course remains a must-start in every league. His return from ACL surgery has been spectacular as he picked up right where he left off before the knee injury. He has missed some practice time lately with an ankle injury, but he is expected to play, even with the short week.
Percy Harvin is the other big name for the Vikings, and he faces a choice matchup against one of the worst pass defenses in the league. There were reports Harvin would end up on the injury list this week, but he has been practicing in full and is a must-start.
For those dealing with bye-week QB issues, Christian Ponder is a solid start, projecting well against the Bucs' awful pass defense. The Bucs are giving up 323 passing yards per game, and Ponder should be able to do some good things against them.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are scuffling along at 2-4, coming off a heart-breaking loss to the New Orleans Saints. While the Bucs are struggling as a team, their fantasy prospects have been quite solid this year. Josh Freeman has only one single digit fantasy performance, and has scored 24 or more points each of the last two weeks. He remains a solid starting option, but owners should dampen expectations a bit as Freeman is facing a much better defense than the Saints and Chiefs defenses he faced the last two weeks.
Doug Martin will be an interesting player to follow in Week 8. The Vikings have a solid rush defense, but against Arizona they sold out against Larry Fitzgerald, which allowed LaRod Stephens-Howling to surpass 100 rushing yards. Martin's day will depend entirely on whether the Vikings decide to focus on Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, or whether they look for a more balanced approach. numberFire is not optimistic.