On Tuesday, news broke that eight Titans players and staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Since the Vikings played the Titans on Sunday, they have gone ahead and closed their team facilities out of an abundance of caution. No Vikings players or staff have tested positive yet, but there is still a chance that further developments could impact the status of this matchup. Keep an eye here for updates.
Kickoff: Sunday, October 4th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Betting Odds: HOU -3.5, 54.5 total via Oddsshark
Kirk Cousins (Sit)
Kirk Cousins has a 59% completion rate on the season and has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in the first three games. Known as a high completion rate QB, that has not been the case this year but part of that has been due to Minnesota’s inability to block on passing downs. According to Football Outsiders, the Vikings have the 8th worst pass-blocking offensive line, which doesn’t bode well against a Houston front that has 7 sacks so far on the season. Houston’s pass defense has actually been serviceable this year, allowing only the 17th most fantasy points per game to QBs so far. It seems to me like it’s going to be a running game for Minnesota, so I would bench Cousins if he’s on my roster.
Dalvin Cook (Start, RB1), Alexander Mattison (Sit)
The Texans have allowed the most rushing yards in the NFL this season. Minnesota has the 2nd best run-blocking offensive line in the NFL. Dalvin Cook is averaging 6.1 YPC on the season. This should be fun.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Adam Thielen (Start, WR3), Justin Jefferson (Sit), Bisi Johnson (Sit), Kyle Rudolph (Sit)
Of the receivers in this offense, Adam Thielen is the only guy you should be starting this week. Yes, Justin Jefferson had a really good Week 3, but he’s too much of a risk in an offense that should be heavily focused on the ground. The Texans have allowed the 13th fewest fantasy points to WRs, so I don’t feel great if I have to start Thielen as anything more than a WR3/Flex option this week. One stat worth noting is that Thielen has a 71.4% catchable target rate, which ranks 79th in the league and goes to show just how poor Kirk Cousins has played. I hope you have better options than the Minnesota WRs this week.
Deshaun Watson (Start, QB1)
The Vikings have been very vulnerable through the air this season despite only allowing 18 fantasy points per game to QBs, good for 22nd in the league. Deshaun Watson, however, is a guy you’re going to start if you have him and the matchup is still juicy enough that he should be a solid QB1 this week. The Houston offensive line has struggled, ranking as the worst pass-blocking line in the league per Football Outsiders, but Minnesota has only three sacks on the year so Watson should hopefully have more time to stand in the pocket and sling it downfield.
David Johnson (Start, RB2), Duke Johnson (Sit)
The Vikings have allowed the 7th most rushing yards on the season, which makes David Johnson worth starting as an RB2 by default, but I wouldn’t feel great about it. The Houston offensive line has been terrible this season, ranked the fourth-worst in the NFL by Football Outsiders, so that should cap Johnson’s ceiling. He’s a low-end RB2 this week.
Duke Johnson returned to practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday, though Bill O’Brien did say that he’s trending in the right direction. Keep an eye on his status, but even if he plays he’s a risky play as anything more than a flex in deeper leagues.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Will Fuller (Start, WR2), Brandin Cooks (Start, WR3), Randall Cobb (Sit, Flex), Kenny Stills (Sit), Jordan Akins (Sit)
Will Fuller has remained healthy so far this season, and in a matchup against a Minnesota defense that has allowed the 4th most fantasy points to wide receivers so far, he’s a solid WR2 with his typical WR1 upside. Brandin Cooks leads the team in targets but has only caught ten of them, and while he is also healthy he is worthy of at least a WR3 start in this matchup. Randall Cobb caught all four of his targets in Week 3 and posted his best game of the season. He’s a sneaky flex play this week but the floor is low, so if you can take the risk it might pay off.
-Ben Brown (@FelixTheDog23 on Twitter, iamatechnician on Reddit)