Kickoff: Sunday, November 3rd, 1:00 PM ET
Location: FedEx Field, Washington
Betting Odds: MIN -3;5, 43.5 total via PFF.com
Writer: Estevão Maximo (@estevao_maximo on Twitter)
Kirk Cousins (Start, QB2)
A seventeen-yard touchdown on the ground is not what you expect as the primary source of contribution when you start Kirk Cousins in your fantasy lineup, but that’s exactly what you received in last week’s win over the Arizona Cardinals.
The Vikings are winning, but Cousins isn’t necessarily playing the best football of his career. Far from it actually. Through seven games, Cousins’ QBR of 49,3 would be the lowest of a full season since he entered the league, but even though you’d like to see more effective production, the volume remains there for an offense that wants to pass the ball.
The Vikings’ signal-caller is averaging over 37 passing attempts per game in 2022, and already has four games with over 250 passing yards. He is a pretty solid QB2 play on a weekly basis.
Dalvin Cook (Start, RB1), Alexander Mattison (Sit)
Coming off a 25 touches game against the Cardinals, in which Dalvin Cook ran the ball 20 times for 11 yards, and added another five receptions to his season tally, on six targets. Cook has shown he is more than capable of remaining a bell cow through his shoulder woes that limited him earlier in the year. Cook has averaged over five yards per carry in each of his last three games and seems to be heating up for a big second half. The Vikings’ running back is a set-it-and-forget RB1 making due on that hefty price you paid for him in the draft.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Justin Jefferson (Start, WR1), Adam Thielen (Start flex), KJ Osborn (Sit), TJ Hockenson (Start, TE2)
Here there is some action following the trade deadline, as a division rival joins the fold at a position of need, even more so with Irv Smith Jr. out indefinitely. TJ Hockenson is the new tight end for the Vikings, and many managers may be wondering what to do with a recently acquired player.
Justin Jefferson is Justin Jefferson and you don’t need to know a lot more. Don’t worry, the touchdowns will come, it’s only a matter of time with the volume he gets on a week-to-week basis. Jefferson has 71 targets on the year, and every other Vikings’ wide receiver combined has 87.
Adam Thielen who’s been a TD-dependent fantasy option for much of his career may take a significant hit with Hockenson joining the fold, but how much of one remains to be seen. For now, we’ll still view Thielen as a high-end flex option. Thielen has received seven or more targets in each game since Week 1.
KJ Osborn is even more of a sit with Hockenson joining the team. And as far as the former Lion, as limited as he may be, it’s hard to imagine a team that rosters Hockenson with a better option on the bench. Even with limited work, we’ll roll with Hockenson as a high-end TE2 under a likely limited snap share.
Taylor Heinicke (Sit)
The Commanders are 2-0 since Taylor Heinicke has taken over, but that says a lot more about their opponents than it does about a significant improvement in the offensive side of the ball for the nation’s capital squad. Heinicke has done just enough to keep the Commanders in these games, and hats off to him for that. As far as fantasy options are concerned, you’re best served to look elsewhere for the foreseeable future.
Antonio Gibson (Start, flex), JD McKissic (Sit), Brian Robinson Jr. (Sit)
Antonio Gibson was the lead back before the year, then he was completely out of the fold, then he was back with Brian Robinson Jr. sidelined, then he was back on the bench once Robinson Jr. returned, and now here we are with Gibson back again as the primary option, even if by the tiniest of margins. It’s been a rollercoaster, to say the least. Gibson tied with JD McKissic in snap shares last week against the Colts with 36% which is kind of underwhelming, but the important factor to know is that Gibson led the team with 15 touches (eight carries and seven receptions on as many targets).
Rivera is bound to turn to Robinson Jr. enough on the ground (eight carries last week), and McKissic in the passing game (five targets last week) to severely limit Gibson’s impact and potential as a fantasy player, but he is a decent weekly flex play, at least until the Commanders coaching staff pulls another 180 on us.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Terry McLaurin (Start, WR2), Curtis Samuel (Start, FLEX), Cam Sims (Sit), John Bates (Sit)
DJ Moore gets all the love as the fantasy darling wronged by poor QB play, but Terry McLaurin needs equal acknowledgment. Here is a great receiver, look no further than his ability to separate on routes in game tape and the well-deserved big contract he received, but one that too often fails to put a mark on the box score because of poor QB play. McLaurin’s worst games of the season (15 and 41 receiving yards at Dallas and Chicago respectively) came in games where the Washington offense was nonexistent due to a variety of factors, including extremely poor QB play.
Even with a limited upside due to his surroundings, McLaurin is a fine WR2 play, especially against a Vikings’ secondary that’s top-10 in points allowed to opposing wide receivers, and with Jahan Dotson still sidelined, more targets should funnel through McLaurin.
Curtis Samuel is coming off back-to-back games with 89 scrimmage yards and has been a pretty decent flex option as that safety net for Commanders’ QBs. Samuel is not going to stretch the field, that’s not his game, but he is a stable play for that intermediate work and near the line.
This Commanders’ offense is still without Logan Thomas and Dotson, which leaves very little else to work with.