Kickoff: Sunday, November 14th at 4:05 PM ET
Location: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
Betting Odds: MIN +2.5, 52.5 total via Oddsshark
Kirk Cousins (Sit, High-end QB2)
Kirk Cousins put up 21.5 fantasy points last week, but his performance was helped a bit by a one-yard rushing touchdown. He’s usually a weekly low-end QB1 option, but this week’s match-up has me second-guessing Cousins’ fantasy projections. The Chargers defense is allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and the third-fewest passing yards. I recommend leaving Kirk on the bench this week if you have a better option.
Dalvin Cook (Start, RB1)
The Vikings offensive coordinator recently said, “We’ve got to give [Dalvin Cook] more opportunities moving forward” and proceeded to give Cook only 17 carries against the Ravens. Dalvin still tallied 110 yards with the lackluster workload, so fantasy managers will need to take the good with the bad and hope the consensus overall second pick has more elite performances. This week’s match-up is quite encouraging. The Chargers have allowed the most rushing yards in the entire league, so I like Cook’s chances for an impressive RB1 performance.
Dalvin is facing a messy lawsuit against an ex-girlfriend that has recently come to light, but situations like this usually take some time to resolve. It doesn’t look like this lawsuit will have any effect on Cook’s fantasy status this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Justin Jefferson (Start, Low-end WR1), Adam Thielen (Start, Low-end WR2), Tyler Conklin (Start-able high-end TE2)
Justin Jefferson had the worst game of his season in Week 8 and almost put up another stinker last week against the Ravens. It looked like Jefferson would have an impressive bounce-back performance after a huge 50-yard touchdown early last week, but he only saw four more targets for the rest of the game. Justin’s talent isn’t the issue here; it’s the Vikings’ baffling play calling. I can’t explain why Jefferson saw only five targets against one of the worst secondaries in the NFL. He should still be in the WR1 conversation, but I’m ranking Jefferson towards the back end of that tier. The Chargers’ secondary is playing very well this year.
Adam Thielen had six receiving yards last week. He had more targets (seven) than receiving yards. The only reason he had 8.6 fantasy points was thanks to a one-yard touchdown catch at the end of the game. The good news is that Thielen is still seeing a healthy target share and is one of Kirk’s favorite red-zone targets. That alone makes him a solid WR2 option most weeks. This week’s match-up against a talented L.A. secondary has me tempering expectations a bit, but I still think Adam can return low-end WR2 value.
Tyler Conklin has been pretty darn consistent for Minnesota lately. Conklin is the second most targeted player on the Vikings over the last three games, seeing more targets than even Justin Jefferson in that span. In a fantasy position that is usually quite barren, Conklin could be a useful tight end for desperate fantasy managers. He has the targets and a reliable enough floor to stay in the high-end TE2 conversation. He will once again be towards the top of the TE2 tier this week, but I like his potential upside. The Chargers have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends this year.
Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert (Start, QB1)
After two consecutive disappointing games, Justin Herbert returned to form last week with his second-best fantasy performance of the season against a capable Philadelphia defense. The rushing touchdown helped, but Justin was still incredibly efficient with his throws. The Vikings’ defense is pretty much in the middle of the league when it comes to fantasy points allowed to QBs and passing yards allowed, but Herbert (and this offense) is talented enough to reach QB1 territory again.
Austin Ekeler (Start, RB1)
Austin Ekeler confirmed that he dislocated a finger on a running play last week on his Twitch channel. He also said that his finger is “swollen but fine.” That’s pretty typical for a dislocated finger. Most people need the finger realigned and a little ice. So Ekeler should be good to go this week.
Ekeler faces a Minnesota defense this week that has struggled against the run. The Vikings are allowing the third-most rushing yards per game this year. They are also giving up roughly 20 fantasy points to running backs per game. Start Austin with confidence.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Keenan Allen (Start, Low-end WR1), Mike Williams (Start, Low-end WR2), Jared Cook (Sit, TE2)
Keenan Allen has turned it up lately. The veteran receiver set season-high fantasy performances in each of his last two games. The 12 targets per game over that same span is encouraging as well. The Vikings are allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers this year, so Allen should be in line for another impressive performance in Week 10.
Mike Williams had a red-hot start to begin the season but has struggled lately. He’s had five catches and two targets in each of his last three games, scoring single-digit fantasy points in every game over that span. I’m unsure if a lingering knee issue is holding him back or not, but fantasy managers need to keep expectations tempered on Williams until he starts looking like he did when the season began. The Vikings are allowing enough fantasy points to wide receivers to keep Mike in the WR2 discussion this week, but I’m not expecting too much from him.
Jared Cook was okay last week, catching all four of his targets for 48 yards. The problem is that his usage has been sporadic and Herbert is capable of succeeding without him. Two other Chargers tight ends NOT named Jared Cook caught a touchdown last week. Cook will likely remain very match-up dependent for the rest of the season. This week brings the Vikings, who have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to the position this year. I believe Cook is best left on your bench if you can afford to do so.
-Ryan Kruse (@ryanpkruse)