The Washington Redskins will be taking on the Minnesota Vikings in Minnesota to begin Week 10. Despite the fact that these two teams are in separate divisions, this is the fourth year in a row they've faced one another. The match up may bring up some painful memories for some. In 2011, Adrian Peterson suffered his season-ending ACL and MCL injury against the Washington Redskins. Of course, Peterson had a monstrous 2012 performance when he returned from the injury.
Still, the Redskins, when led by Robert Griffin III, have yet to lose to the Vikings. Could the Vikings get their second win of the season on Thursday? Or will the Redskins be able to continue clawing their way toward a lead in a division that is anyone's for the taking? As usual, we're here to discuss the fantasy implications.
Robert Griffin III: He's been underwhelming the past few weeks, but his match up is too tempting to not take advantage of. The Vikings are giving up the 5th most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. That said, the Broncos and Chargers weren't exactly stingy toward fantasy quarterbacks, but Griffin has struggled against both teams over the past two weeks. It would be a bit bold to consider him a top-five quarterback in Week 10, but RG3 deserves to be in the discussion of being a solid QB1 with upside.
Running backs: Alfred Morris continues to be one of the more solid standard scoring running backs out there. He faces a generous Minnesota defense in Week 10 and will likely put up top-ten numbers once again. Assuming the Redskins maintain some sort of a lead throughout most of Thursday's game, Roy Helu Jr. will likely not see many opportunities out of the backfield. He's a desperation play that will hold little to no value outside of PPR leagues.
Wide receivers: Pierre Garcon stands to gain the most against a Minnesota defense that has allowed the 8th most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. He's averaging over 11 targets per game and is a strong WR1 in Week 10. As tempting as the match up is, Leonard Hankerson has been overshadowed by the emergence of tight end Jordan Reed. He's also dealing with a hamstring injury. Consider him a WR4 against a soft Minnesota defense.
Tight ends: It may be starting to seem as if Minnesota is weak against every position in fantasy football, but they're actually solid against tight ends. Regardless, Reed will be a solid TE1 against the Vikings. He's a playmaker that simply needs to get the ball into his hands, and he's averaging nearly nine targets over the last four weeks. Find a way to get him into your lineup.
Defense/ Special teams: Minnesota can actually put points up on the board (23 ppg), and Washington isn't a fantasy defense worth betting on. There are much better match ups to take advantage of, so look elsewhere.
Christian Ponder: Head coach Leslie Frazier has committed to Ponder heading into Thursday's game. Beyond two-quarterback leagues, Ponder isn't much of an option despite his soft match up. The Redskins have given up the 7th most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Don't let Washington's struggles against quarterbacks create too much temptation; the Redskins have faced the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Peyton Manning, and Philip Rivers. Ponder obviously isn't the same threat that Washington has seen for a good portion of this season. If Ponder can limit his turnovers, he's a strong QB2, but he's not worth gambling on in most formats.
Running backs: Adrian Peterson has put up solid if not great numbers with Ponder under center. He'll likely have a big day against a Washington defense that has given up the most fantasy points to running backs this season. Even if the Vikings fall behind, Peterson is averaging a monstrous 25 targets per game when Ponder is on the field. He deserves to be in the discussion for one of the best starts in Week 10.
Wide receivers: Greg Jennings was targeted a team-high nine times in Week 9 and he's facing a soft Washington defense. Jennings isn't seeing many big gains in yardage, and he hasn't scored a touchdown outside of Week 4. He'll be a low-end WR3 due to the match up. Jerome Simpson hasn't scored all season and is a risky start in all formats. The juicy match up is the only reason he's even in any sort of fantasy discussion in Week 10. If anyone takes targets from Simpson and Jennings, it will likely be Cordarrelle Patterson, but he's more of a stash option than a start option.
Tight ends: Kyle Rudolph is out for at least a month, leaving John Carlson as the starting tight end in his absence. Carlson is a sixth-year player originally drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. He's a big body on the field that could see some targets, but it's hard to imagine Carlson seeing much work considering Rudolph is such a touchdown-dependent fantasy option to begin with. He's barely worth putting on your Watch List.
Defense/ Special teams: Washington has given up a lot of points to fantasy defenses this season, and Minnesota has matched up well against struggling offenses. They're probably best to avoid outside of deeper leagues, because they can be a bit feast or famine. However, if you're in a jam, you could do much worse.