Packers vs. Vikings Fantasy Advice: Start the Green Bay Defense; Bench Kyle Rudolph

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Peterson will keep Minnesota in the game until the fourth quarter, but Aaron Rodgers and that battered Packers offense will still put up enough points for plenty of fantasy goodness to go around.

It's Vikings week for the Green Bay Packers, and this time the game will be in front of a national audience Sunday night. Yes, we'll get to hear Al Michaels making thinly veiled references to over/unders and point spreads while Chris Collinsworth smiles and talks about how much he'd love to be catching balls from Aaron Rodgers. All in all, the Sunday night game is always a good time, even if the football is sub-par.

But what about the game itself. Adrian Peterson got about 1,500 of his 2,097 yards in the two regular season games against the Pack last year (409, actually but who's counting?), and Green Bay will be without Clay Matthews once again. It should be a help to get Casey Hayward back and Nick Perry and Brad Jones' return would also bolster this Green Bay defense as well. However, no matter who suits up for the Pack's D, there's only one guy on the Vikings side of the ball worth starting. And it ain't Christian Ponder.

QUARTERBACKS

Rodgers is going to do what Rodgers does: Pile up yardage and points, no matter who he's throwing to. He made Jarrett Boykin look fantastic last week, even without James Jones and Jermichael Finley late. The running game couldn't have come on at a batter time, either. Ponder is going to get the nod for Minnesota, thanks to Josh Freeman's sudden concussion symptoms on Wednesday (not to mention him being overwhelmed on Monday Night Football against a bad Giants defense).

Aaron Rodgers: 300 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception; 40 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Start in all leagues

Ponder: 230 pass yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions; 10 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

RUNNING BACKS

Eddie Lacy hasn't had a match-up this juicy since Week 2 against Washington when reckless Brandon Meriweather sent him to the showers early. With no Jones or Finley, I expect the packers to lean on the ground game this week with James Starks even getting some carries. Peterson is the only chance the Vikings have of winning this game. It sounds like his hamstring is better (if not fully healthy), so expect him to churn out a decent performance in the Twin Cities.

Lacy: 105 rushing yards, 1 touchdown; 4 catches, 25 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Start in all leagues

Starks: 25 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns; 2 catches, 10 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Start only as a desperation flex in 14-team or deeper leagues

Peterson: 115 rushing yards, 1 touchdown; 2 catches, 15 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Start in all leagues

Toby Gerhart: 10 rushing yards; 2 catches, 10 yards

WIDE RECEIVERS

Jarrett Boykin had that big breakout game last week that I expected him to have. But given that Joe Haden won't be shadowing Jordy Nelson this week, Nelson should have a bigger game than Boykin. (I'm sure Jones will not be playing.) You know Greg Jennings is going to be jacked up to play his former team, but all the adrenaline in the world won't change the fact that Ponder is throwing to him.

Nelson: 8 catches, 110 yards, 1 touchdown
Verdict: Start in all leagues

Boykin: 5 catches, 70 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Start as a WR2 or WR3 in 12-team PPR leagues

Jennings: 5 catches, 60 yards, 1 touchdown
Verdict: Start as a WR2 or WR3 in 12-team PPR leagues

Jerome Simpson: 3 catches, 40 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Start only as a desperation flex in 12-team PPR leagues

Jarius Wright: 2 catches, 20 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

Cordarrelle Patterson: 1 catch, 15 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

TIGHT ENDS

Without Finley this week (and for the foreseeable future), Green Bay is going to rely on several tight ends to pick up the slack. While Andrew Quarless is more than likely going to get the start, I've always been a huge fan of Brandon Bostick's talent. And if you have to start a Green Bay tight end, he's the one to go with. He's former basketball player whose fast and can catch. Quarless has demonstrated time and again why his stone hands are better for blocking than catching. We'll see it again this week (even though Quarless should see more snaps than Bostick). Kyle Rudolph has been struggling this year, and getting Ponder throwing to him again will not be a recipe for success. I see him continuing to disappoint this week.

Quarless: 2 catches, 25 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

Bostick: 4 catches, 50 yards, 1 touchdown
Verdict: Start as a bye week fill-in or as a sneaky TE1 start in most 12- and 14-team PPR leagues

Rudolph: 3 catches, 30 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

KICKERS

Mason Crosby continues his reunion tour with another solid week in the dome. Blair Walsh has a bad hammy which is preventing him from drilling those 50+ yard field goals that he socked with ease last year. He'll nail the short ones, though--the tough part is the Vikings getting him close enough. Start him, but don't expect anything from deep.

Crosby: 2 field goals, 3 extra points
Verdict: Start in all leagues

Walsh: 2 field goals, 2 extra points
Verdict: Start in all leagues

DEFENSES

I love the Green Bay defense this week. And since I've found some way to rip Ponder in every section of this article, you shouldn't be surprised. Green Bay should get Hayward back, and maybe Jones and Perry as well. The Packers have been playing inspired defense led by A.J. Hawk the past few weeks while injuries have forced some inexperienced guys into duty. Getting some of the vets back this week will not be good for the Vikings. As for Minnesota, their defense just flat-out stinks. If you still have them rostered, stop reading now and fix that situation.

Packers: 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdown, 330 yards allowed, 20 points allowed
Verdict: Start in all leagues

Vikings: 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 0 interceptions, 435 yards allowed, 27 points allowed
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

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