Kickoff: Sunday, January 1st, 4:25 PM ET
Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay
Betting Odds: GB -3.5, 48.5 total via PFF.com
Writer: Estevão Maximo (@estevao_maximo on Twitter)
Kirk Cousins (Start, QB1)
Well, it is Week 18 and the Vikings are still winning all close games, not some of them, not most of them, but all of them. Their 11th one-score win last week against the Giants broke the record for most triumphs in one-possession games in a single season. Not a lot has changed, but one thing, in particular, should be pointed out, Cousins is playing significantly better in the second half.
The Vikings QB has had three of his four best ratings in the last five weeks, with the fourth one having come all the way back in Week 1 against these very same Green Bay Packers. The expectation is for the weather to be around 35ºF, so pretty cold, but after what we saw last week, nothing to drastically affect the game.
Cousins is the QB8 on the year and has virtually half of his passing touchdowns in the last five games, he is a fine QB1 for your championship week.
Dalvin Cook (Start, RB1)
Dalvin Cook hasn’t been Najee Harris-level disappointing, and he certainly hasn’t had his finest year, but here we are in championship week, and he gets a pretty enticing matchup against the Green Bay Packers’ suspect run defense. Green Bay is coming off two good games against the run facing the Dolphins and Rams, and like you’ll hear in probably all broadcasts, their overall numbers kind of got a bit skewed by that Sunday Night against the Eagles, in which they allowed 363 rushing yards.
It’s not really good process to be hand-picking a team’s results to fit your narrative, but we have to contextualize that one a bit. At the end of the day, Green Bay has allowed the eighth most points to fantasy running backs, and has also allowed 5.0 yards per attempt, 29th in the league.
Cook is a RB1 for your final.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Justin Jefferson (Start, WR1), Adam Thielen (Start, FLEX), K.J. Osborn (Sit), TJ Hockenson (Start, TE1)
Justin Jefferson isn’t the MVP. That’s the entire list of not-awesome things we can say about this man. People will remember the Greg Joseph 61-yard kick, but in those last two drives, to score the TD, and get into field goal position, it was all JJ, capping off a 12-catch day, for 133 yards and a score. The man is not only WR1, but unquestionably the top non-QB asset in dynasty play, and a top 5 regardless, maybe even top 3.
Ok, KJ Osborn had that one huge game, but Thielen has still out-targetted him in four out of the last five weeks. Right now, this offense goes through JJ and Hock, but I’m still on Thielen as my preferred third choice in the passing game.
Hockenson’s trade to the Vikings was one of the better deadline moves for fantasy managers, the former Lion has been targeted nine or more times in five out of his eight games in Minnesota. Don’t expect last week’s monster game, but be glad you’re starting one of the more dependable options at a very thin position.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers (Start, QB1)
This is a bit of a stretch, but here is an important fact driving the Rodgers low-end QB1 for Week 17 take. The Minnesota Vikings defense is BAD. Lost in another one-score win is the fact this secondary was the first one all season to get torched by the Isaiah Hodgins, Richie James, Darius Slayton trio, which combined for nearly 270 receiving yards.
Minnesota is allowing 6.0 yards per play, and is 29th in net yards per passing attempt (7.0), and for the unusually high number of picks Rodgers has thrown this year, his TD-INT ratio is more Rodgers-esque at 13-2, and there is a reason why this game has by far the second highest O-U out of any matchup this week (48.5).
We’ll feel better about this if Christian Watson plays, but even if not, Green Bay shouldn’t have many problems moving the ball on this Vikings D.
Aaron Jones (Start, RB2), AJ Dillon (Start, flex)
Aaron Jones is clearly not 100%, but apparently, part of why he only got 38% of the snaps was the fact his ankle got rolled up on, early in the second half, and we must acknowledge that one week earlier, LaFleur was pretty ok with giving him a healthier workload with 22 touches against the Rams.
Even in best case scenario, Jones is never going to get as much work as his fantasy managers would wish, not with Dillon as a more than capable option to spell him, but we still give him the nod as the RB2, and Dillon as the high-end flex play.
Jones has yet to miss a game, and with GB in the middle of the playoff chase, he’s all but a lock to start on Sunday.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Christian Watson *if he plays (Start, WR3), Allen Lazard (Start, flex), Romeo Doubs *if Watson doesn’t play (Start WR3) *if Watson plays (Start, flex), Robert Tonyan (Sit)
Christian Watson was a full-go before a hip issue took him out of the second half at Miami. Why can’t we have nice things? This is a huge game for GB, so if there is any chance he can suit up, Watson will probably play, but it’s too early in the week to tell. For now, though, I’d plan like he is out, and just take the surprise if he is there, come game day.
Lazard is coming off a season-high 11 targets, and definitely becomes a bigger focal point of the offense with no Watson, but I’d still play him at flex no matter what. The name you want to replace Watson is Romeo Doubs, who after an injury-riddled year is finally back, and even if Watson starts, I’d look at Doubs as the better flex play over Lazard.
Even on a limited snap share (32%), Doubs still commanded five targets against the Rams and will get more work as his playing time increases.
Robert Tonyan has disappeared in the last few weeks and is getting challenged by Marcedes Lewis for looks out of the tight end position, which I’d stay away from with the Packers.