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Thursday Night Matchups: Adrian Peterson, Stefon Diggs, David Johnson, John Brown & More


For those that made the playoffs in your respective leagues, congratulations! Hopefully the advice from one or many of the website's contributors played a part in your success. To those who weren't as lucky, just remember, like the Cleveland Browns, there's always next year.

With a microscope on decision-making for the fantasy football playoffs, below is another round of start 'em/sit 'em for the Thursday Night Football game between the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals.

 

Vikings @ Cardinals - Thursday Night Analysis

Adrian PetersonIt's shaping up to be a two-week bummer for managers having to play Adrian Peterson in some of the biggest weeks for the fantasy season. Last week, Peterson was bottled up by Seattle's defense, rushing eight times for just 18 yards, including only three second-half carries.

Arizona's defense has given up the eighth-fewest points to running backs this season, but at this stage in the game there's nothing else one can do besides hope for a better game plan and a non-blowout like last week. It should be noted that Peterson complained after a lack of carries in the game against Green Bay three weeks ago and was rewarded with 29 touches the following week.

Stefon DiggsDiggs should be on the bench for anyone that has been using him as a flex or WR3 play. After bursting onto the scene earlier in the season, it's been a slow decline for the rookie wide receiver for five straight weeks.

In those five starts, Diggs tallied more than four catches only once, didn't find the end zone and never surpassed 70 receiving yards. With Arizona's wicked secondary on deck, Diggs is taking a seat. He can be considered for the fantasy semifinals against the Chicago Bears and championship round against the New York Giants.

Teddy BridgewaterNo. Not even in two-quarterback formats.

Carson PalmerA true NFL MVP candidate, Palmer has thrown for nine touchdowns to only three interceptions in four games since their bye week. Palmer has only had less than 40 pass attempts one time in those four games and should be on that pace again with the Cardinals' running back issues. Coming off back-to-back road games, the home fans are going to be jacked-up to root for the 10-2 first place Cardinals, and all signs point to Palmer putting on a show.

David JohnsonHe's been the obvious beneficiary of injuries to Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington, as he tallied 22 carries for 99 yards in addition to two catches and a receiving touchdown against the St. Louis Rams. Head coach Bruce Arians has publicly stated that he wants Johnson to see about the same workload, so it would be an odd decision to not trust his word.

John Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael FloydI do not see any logic for either of these three players to be left out of lineups. Their position in the pecking order is pretty clear at this point--Fitzgerald is the obvious number one, and when both are healthy Brown gets more likes than the deep threat Floyd.

Fitzgerald has seen double-digit targets in five straight games and in six of his last seven. Averaging nine catches per game over his last four, Fitzgerald will approach double-digit points in addition to having plenty of opportunities to score.

Brown has three straight games with double-digit fantasy points scored and has over 200 receiving yards in his last two games. Anywhere from five to eight targets is expected, but Palmer and Brown have a good rapport on those mid-range throws. He also typically catches at least one bomb every week.

Floyd is the scariest to play of the three, as he seems to have cooled down from his beastly midseason stretch of games. Last week he caught 7-of-12 passes for over 100 yards, which was one week after his two-target, one-catch performance. He's splitting targets and catches with two others, so there's obvious potential for a dud, but not many WR3 or flex plays have a higher upside than Floyd in this high-powered offense.

Arizona D/ST: Arizona is riding a six-game streak of causing at least one turnover and Teddy Bridgewater isn't Mr. Ball Security. I like this above-average play for the first round of the fantasy playoffs. If Peterson is bottled up early, then you're in real business.

 

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