The Minnesota Vikings are set to do battle with the Detroit Lions this Sunday! The Lions have struggled for the entire season, while the Vikings have been hot and cold all year. While the Vikings are trending up after a blowout win against the Dolphins this past week, many fans are questioning the longevity of the team’s success. This week also marks the beginning of fantasy football finals for many fans, and for many others this week is just another week for some betting. Let’s breakdown some fantasy matchups and look at the betting lines, and make some key, last minute decisions.
FANTASY FOOTBALL: WHO TO START? WHO TO SIT? WHO ARE SOME SLEEPER PICKS?
START: VIKINGS DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS
No defense in the NFL has this favorable of a matchup this week. The Lions traded away Golden Tate earlier this year, leaving them with a severe lack of a passing attack. As of now the Lions rank 21st in passing offense. The team announced this week that they were putting their rookie running back Kerryon Johnson on IR. The Lions offense ranks 24th in rushing. Vegas is calling for another large Vikings win this week, so expect the same style of defense as last week. The Lions will be trying to catch up and they will become one dimensional, and the Vikings pass rushers will pin their ears back and get home. The over/under for the number of sacks the Vikings will have is 7.5, and I could see the Vikings easily getting 5 in this game. That alone would be 5 points for the defense.
SIT: ALL LIONS RUNNING BACKS
Whether the Lions give the ball to Theo Riddick, or Zach Zenner, I would sit all their running backs. The Vikings defense has been playing at a level comparable to last year’s team, and the stats back this up. They have recorded 9+ sacks twice this year, they rank 13th against the rush and 4th against the pass. The Vikings have given up a few big runs in recent weeks, but Zimmer will address this and get his defense back to shutting down the run regularly. Also, as mentioned above, Vegas is calling for this game to be a large Vikings win, so I don’t see the Lions running backs getting the volume needed to be effective in fantasy.
SLEEPER PICKS: KENNY GOLLADAY AND LATAVIUS MURRAY
Starting with Golladay, I believe he will get at least 12 points against the Vikings. Because Vegas is calling for this large Vikings win, I see Golladay catching a late touchdown against Xavier Rhodes, a player that hasn’t played at the same elite level as he did last year. Golladay has averaged nearly 14 points since the Tate trade, so I think he is a solid flex option this week. The other sleeper is Latavius Murray. Murray has been a solid number 2 in the Vikings backfield. While Murray is a desperation start, last week he saw 15 attempts and went for 64 yards and a touchdown. Stefanski used Murray in a big way last week, and because of Stefanski’s limited playcalling experience, we have to assume that his plan is to continue to use Murray like this.
GAMBLING: THE SPREAD! OVER/UNDER!
THE SPREAD: TAKE THE VIKINGS(-6)
The Vikings opened the week as a 4.5 point favorite, but the lines have shifted and the Vikings are now favored by 6. The Vikings were favored by a whopping 7 points against the Dolphins, and when Vegas sets a line that high you can tell that Vegas expects a big win. The line has crept up to be close to 7 again this week, and I believe the Vikings will cover against a bad Detroit team. The Lions were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention last week, so they have nothing to play for. The Vikings are fighting to remain the #6 seed, and have their season on the line this week. I like the Vikings to clearly be the more determined team and win by 13 points.
OVER/UNDER: BET THE OVER
This game is currently has an over/under of either 42 or 42.5. I like the Vikings to score 30 by themselves in this game, and I like the Lions to score 14-20 points. The Lions defense hasn’t been great this year against the run, so the Vikings will establish Dalvin Cook and the run game early and get the Lions biting on play action, opening up some big plays through the air. The Vikings will look to use a game plan similar to last week’s this week, and I expect the game plan to work against a deflated Lions team with nothing to play for.