By Stephen Dolan
Playoff seeding is on the line Thursday night when the Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings square off. It’s also playoff time in your fantasy league. Is your team still in the hunt? If any player on your team plays on Thursday night, here are a few recommendations on who to play and pass on.
Play: Carson Palmer (vs. MIN)
Palmer had a huge game for the Cardinals in Sunday’s blowout victory over the Rams, completing 65 percent of his passes for 356 yards and two touchdowns. He has now completed 60 percent or more of his passes in 11 consecutive games and he only has two games this season in which he threw multiple interceptions in a game. He gets a tough task on Thursday as Minnesota boasts the sixth ranked pass defense in the NFL, but stick with the guy who has gotten you where you are.
Pass: Teddy Bridgewater (vs. ARI)
Bridgewater struggled last week against the Seahawks, completing 17 of his 28 passes for 118 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. He hasn’t been stellar under center for the Vikings over his last six games as he’s been held below 200 yards passing in five of those games, also gathering three touchdowns and four interceptions over that span. Bridgewater will have Cardinals defensive back Patrick Peterson roaming the secondary on Thursday making an already tough situation even worse.
Play: Adrian Peterson (vs. ARI)
Peterson had a down week against a tough Seattle defense on Sunday rushing eight times for only 18 yards. Part of his down week was due to the quick hole the Vikings dug themselves which forced them to abandon the run and rely on the pass. The week prior to Seattle, Peterson rushed 29 times for 158 yards and two touchdowns against the Atlanta Falcons. Play Peterson.
Pass: David Johnson (vs. MIN)
Johnson was the third option in the Arizona backfield a few weeks ago; but thanks for injuries to Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington, he is now in the spotlight. He had a great debut as the featured running back on Sunday rushing 22 times for 99 yards while also catching two passes for 21 yards and a touchdown. His strong performance was a good sign, but it’ll be interesting to see if he can do it in back-to-back weeks. Pass on Johnson this week.
Play: Larry Fitzgerald (vs. MIN)
Talk about a resurgence! Fitzgerald is third in the NFL with 91 receptions and seventh in the league with 1,047 receiving yards to go along with seven touchdowns on the year. He caught eight of his 11 targets for 55 yards on Sunday marking the fifth consecutive game and 11 out of 12 with 50 or more receiving yards. He has been targeted 10 or more times in six of his last seven games making him a clear favorite of Palmer’s. Play Fitzgerald.
Pass: Stefon Diggs (vs. ARI)
Diggs is the Viking’s leading receiver this season posting 42 receptions for 626 yards and two touchdowns on the year. He burst onto the scene in October posting 87, 129 and 108 yards receiving in his first three games but has not topped 100 yards since. He was kept in check the last two weeks with 31 and 22 receiving yards, respectively. Pass on Diggs.
Play: Kyle Rudolph (vs. ARI)
Rudolph is a big red zone target for Minnesota standing at 6-foot-6, 265 lbs., so it makes sense why he leads the team in receiving touchdowns with four. He was held in check last week with three receptions for 13 yards after catching seven passes for 53 yards, but three weeks ago Rudolph was a force in Minnesota’s loss to the Packers catching six passes for 106 and a touchdown. Play Rudolph.
Pass: Darren Fells (vs. MIN)
Fells has not been part of the Arizona offense much this season. He has 14 receptions for 207 yards and three touchdowns on the year. He has caught more than one pass just once in the last five games and has not recorded four or more receptions since his four-catch, 82-yard performance in Week 1. Palmer isn’t afraid to spread the ball around but Fells doesn’t seem to be cashing in. Pass on Fells.
Play: Chandler Catanzaro (vs. MIN)
Pass: Blair Walsh (vs. ARI)
Steve Dolan is an MBA student at Villanova University and a graduate of the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University. Steve co-founded Whiz Wit Sports, a Philadelphia-centric sports blog, in March 2011 growing the site to win PHL 17’s Best Local Blogger on the Philly Hot List in 2013.