Frey’s Fantasy Focus: Will Dalvin Cook Whip up More TDs?
After a shocking road win at Lambeau last week (and a fantasy preview that was dead wrong about pretty much everything), the Vikings get to head back home for a matchup with the Detroit Lions and former Vikings Everson Griffen and Adrian Peterson.
With rumors going around about a potential playoff expansion, this game suddenly becomes an oddly important one for two sub-.500 teams. Both the Lions (3-4) and Vikings (2-5) are on the fringe of the competition for that potential fourth wild card position currently held by the Chicago Bears (5-3). So, what can we expect from the Vikings’ offense this week?
ESPN Projection: 15.9
Yahoo Projection: 16.34
Frey’s Projection: 14.8
Last week, Kirk Cousins’ role was the epitome of a game manager. He threw just 14 times and averaged a measly 1.8 air yards per attempt. This week may have to be a little different, though. The Packers’ run defense is absolutely atrocious, and Minnesota took advantage of that all afternoon.
Detroit’s ability to stop the run, while not elite, is certainly superior to Green Bay’s. Unless he is as clueless a head coach as we all think (which is certainly possible), Matt Patricia is going to load the box and do everything he can to stop Cook.
If this happens, Cousins will be forced to make a few plays. I’m predicting that the Vikings win this game, so I think he gets the job done. While I don’t expect his fantasy output to quite reach the point of ESPN’s and Yahoo’s projections, he should be in line for around 200 yards and a touchdown or two.
He’s really only worth considering in deep two QB or super flex leagues, unless you’re really hurting for quarterback.
ESPN Projection: 10.8
Yahoo Projection: 9.88
Frey’s Projection: 11.4
Adam Thielen has been very quiet the last few weeks, gathering five and four targets in the last two games. While I don’t really expect a huge game from the veteran wide out this week, I do believe his production will approach what should be considered normal for him.
With Detroit’s rookie corner, Jeff Okudah, struggling to begin his career, he should be targeted as much as possible. Thielen will probably see a lot of Okudah on Sunday, which should lead to passes being thrown his way.
I would expect somewhere around 70-80 yards for Thielen, and with Detroit’s 14 passing touchdowns allowed being right in the middle of the pack, I’m leaving some room in case he catches a ball in the end zone.
ESPN Projection: 9.1
Yahoo Projection: 9.21
Frey’s Projection: 10.7
Jefferson’s production has been extremely reliant on targets. The rookie’s double digit fantasy outputs have come in games where he has nine, five, and eleven targets. The other games he has managed at most 4.4 points and has seen three, three, five, and four targets.
He still isn’t much of a red zone threat either, so he will likely need to see these targets in the open field. The Lions have been one of the worst teams in the league at putting pressure on the quarterback as their pressure rate is fourth worst at 18.6%, according to pro-football-reference.com. Because of this, Jefferson should have plenty of time to make himself a deep target for Cousins.
I would bet on Jefferson to be able to approach 100 yards, but I think Thielen has a much better chance at earning a touchdown due to his red zone presence. Both receivers are probably decent flex or WR2 options this week.
ESPN Projection: 20.4
Yahoo Projection: 17.0
Frey’s Projection: 23.6
You already know that Dalvin Cook had the best fantasy game of the season. His 46.6 points probably single-handedly led to a lot of wins in fantasy leagues last week. I know it certainly did in mine.
The question is, what are the chances lightning strikes twice? While I don’t expect the numbers to quite be on par with last week’s, I do think he needs to get a similar number of touches for the Vikings to win. His astounding 33 touches were instrumental to Minnesota earning last Sunday’s victory, and I would bank on another 20-25 this week.
As mentioned, Detroit’s run defense is not as bad as Green Bay’s in terms of yardage, so a replica of last week’s 163 yards is unlikely. However, Detroit cannot keep talented backs out of the end zone. They’ve allowed five rushing touchdowns in the last two weeks, and 11 to this point in the season.
Because of that, I bet Cook gets at least two more scores this week, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he reaches triple digits in yards as well. Cook is undoubtedly an RB1 this week.