Frey’s Fantasy Focus: Vikings Draw a Stout Chicago Defense

Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith (84) celebrates after catching a 10-yard touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

The Vikings are coming off back-to-back huge divisional wins to jump right back into the thick of things. Meanwhile, after starting 5-1, the Bears have lost three straight games and desperately need a win. 


Dalvin Cook has been the key to Minnesota’s recent success, but the Bears boast one of the best run defenses in the NFL. Will he be able to carry Minnesota once again, or do the Vikings need other players to step up?


Kirk Cousins

ESPN Projection: 12.8

Yahoo Projection: 16.17

Frey’s Projection: 13.1


This one feels like a no brainer. Kirk Cousins is not the guy to rely on for fantasy points this week, and it’s not just because of Cook’s production. The Bears have given up the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this year, and through nine games have allowed just ten touchdown passes. 


The saving grace for Cousins is that there’s a good chance that he continues his streak of not turning the ball over. Chicago has forced just five interceptions this year, putting them in the bottom 10 in the league. 


Even so, I don’t see him reaching Yahoo’s projection, and I think he will finish much closer to ESPN’s. There really isn’t any circumstance where Cousins should start for your fantasy team this week. 


Dalvin Cook

ESPN Projection: 17.5

Yahoo Projection: 17.65

Frey’s Projection: 18.9


If you watched the Bears and Titans play last week, you might be shaking in your boots after seeing how Chicago shut down Derrick Henry. I know it definitely makes me nervous for this game. 


However, Cook doesn’t rely on just running over guys as much as Henry does. He is much more elusive, and that should give Vikings fans hope for another stellar performance. 


Looking at how other elusive backs have played this Chicago defense, there’s definitely been some success. Todd Gurley and Brian Hill combined for 138 rushing yards and two touchdowns in week three. Alvin Kamara piled up 163 scrimmage yards just a few weeks ago on Monday Night Football. Even Saquon Barkley seemed on pace for a great game before tragically getting hurt, with 28 yards on just four rushes. 


If you combine this history with Cook’s superior ability to get touchdowns on the goal line, it’s absolutely safe to bet on 15+ points from him this week, with a good chance of him getting to 20 once again. Pencil him in at RB1 once again this week. 


Adam Thielen/Justin Jefferson

ESPN Projection: 9.2/ 8.0

Yahoo Projection: 10.55/ 8.48

Frey’s Projection: 7.1/ 6.7


Thielen hasn’t broken 100 yards receiving since week four against Houston, and I wouldn’t bet on that trend ending this week. In fact, Chicago has allowed just two receivers to break 100 yards this season: Calvin Ridley with 110 yards, and A.J. Brown just barely did it last week with 101 yards. They also don’t give up a ton of big plays, which Jefferson thrives on. 


This leaves touchdowns as the only way for Minnesota’s top receivers to really make a fantasy presence. However, this might be just as unlikely as breaking 100 yards. Chicago has given up three touchdowns to wide receivers all season. 


Given this history, the two Vikings wideouts should probably be reduced to flex or WR3 options for this week. 


Irv Smith Jr.

ESPN Projection: 3.6

Yahoo Projection: 4.14

Josh’s Projection: 8.4


Yup, that’s right. Irv Smith is going to be Minnesota’s top fantasy receiver this week. Smith has gotten at least four targets in the last four games, and I think that continues this week, especially in the red zone. 


The Bears have given up touchdowns to tight ends in the last three games, and if Cousins is going to throw a TD this week, I would bet it’s to Smith. He got his first two scores last week against Detroit, and his confidence has to be at an all time high going into this weekend. 


If you are looking for a tight end to slot into your lineup this week, Smith is not a bad option.