What We Saw: Vikings at Saints

An entertaining shootout on Christmas Day saw a fantasy bonanza to open up championship week.

Vikingsย @ Saints

 

The New Orleans Saints clinched the NFC South title by walloping the Minnesota Vikings 52-33 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on the back of a record-setting 6 rushing touchdowns for Alvin Kamara. Kamara amassed a staggering 56.20 fantasy points in Yahoo! leagues, heavily swaying many fantasy championship games towards those who have him rostered despite a full slate of games yet to be contested.

There were plenty of fantasy points to go around in this one and the game was a Christmas treat for the neutral โ€“ an entertaining game of football aided by horrendous defensive performances from both teams.

 

Minnesota Vikings

 

Quarterback

 

Kirk Cousins: 27/41, 291 yards, 3 TDs, 1 FUM, 2 sacks

 

Another competitive fantasy performance from Kirk Cousins (23.64 fantasy points) on a day when the Vikings defense shipped a boatload of points has become somewhat of the norm this season, and this was his 5th game out of the last 6 with a 20+ fantasy points finish. The truth was that the Vikings were never really in with a chance of winning and as soon as Cousins failed to keep pace with the Saints offense, the game was all but over.

Cousins found tight end Irv Smith Jr. twice in the endzone to keep the Vikings within reach going into the 3rd quarter.

 

 

3 Saints touchdowns in the 4th quarter ended the Vikings hopes, and Cousins was lucky to escape losing a forced fumble after being mauled by Cameron Jordan.

 

 

The big question still remains unanswered in Minnesota going into next season โ€“ can Cousins lead the Vikings to be successful in 2021? Today, he received no help from his defense despite keeping the offfense within touching distance for most of the game. He was a serviceable streaming quarterback for most of the season.

 

Running Backs

 

Dalvin Cook: 15 carries, 73 yards, 1 TD, 1 FUM | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 12 yards

Ameer Abdullah: 1 carry, 13 yards | 1 target

Mike Boone: 1 carry, 4 yards, 1 TD

 

For the second straight week, Dalvin Cook (16.50 fantasy points) was overshadowed by the opposition’s running back. Cook did come out the gates flying, scoring after impressing with a number of tough runs on the Vikings’ opening drive.

 

 

The negative game script meant that Cook had only 12 carries and saw just 2 targets for the rest of the game. Inexplicably, Cook was overlooked for a carry inside the 5-yard line in the 2nd quarter โ€“ Mike Boone (6.40 fantasy points) ran the ball in with just his 6th carry of the season.

 

 

Cook leads the NFL with 16 rushing touchdowns alongside Alvin Kamara after his phenomenal effort today. He is also 2nd in total rushing yards in 2020. Cook is a top 3 fantasy running back and is a permanent fixture of this offense going into 2021.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Adam Thielen: 9 targets, 8 receptions, 97 yards, 1 TD

Justin Jefferson: 10 targets, 6 receptions, 85 yards

Irv Smith Jr.: 9 targets, 6 receptions, 53 yards, 2 TDs

Tyler Conklin: 6 targets, 4 reception, 31 yards

Bisi Johnson.: 1 target, 1 reception, 13 yards

 

After a tough 2nd half of the season playing second fiddle, Adam Thielen (23.70 fantasy points) led the Vikings in catches and yardage, saving his fantasy day with a late garbage time touchdown โ€“ his 13th touchdown grab in the red zone this season.

 

 

Thielen (15) trails just Tyreek Hill (16) in receiving touchdowns on the year and has been a wonderful WR1 this season. With his huge contract in tow, Thielen will either be in line for a repeat performance in 2021 or could find himself traded to a contender. Either scenario works nicely for fantasy purposes. Justin Jefferson (14.50 fantasy points) would have been flattered to get the assignment from ace cornerback Marshon Lattimore, and he didn’t look out of place with another fantastic showing against one of the NFL’s best secondaries. Every game brings a highlight reel of superb routes from the former LSU receiver. Jefferson will be a popular 2nd round pick in fantasy drafts in 2021.

 

 

The Irv Smith Jr.ย (23.30 fantasy points) breakout game was a week late for those who rostered him for their semi-final matchups. Still, the popular 2nd-year player out of Alabama looks every bit the next great tight end for fantasy purposes. His 2 TDs on the day have set up many fantasy rosters to win their championship matchups.

 

 

New Orleans Saints

 

Quarterback

 

Drew Brees: 19/26, 311 yards, 2 INT, 1 FUM | 3 carries, -3 yards

Taysom Hill: 2/2, 8 yards | 5 carries, 18 yards, 1 TD | 1 target, 1 reception, 19 yards

 

It was lucky for the Saints that their running game went wild as Drew Brees (10.14 fantasy points) looked shaky in just the 2nd game back from his nasty injury to his ribs. Brees threw 2 interceptions, one when going long and into tight coverage, something that has become all too familiar for the veteran.

 

 

He was a little unlucky with the 2nd one โ€“ a routine dump off to Emmanuel Sanders was mishandled by the journeyman receiver, parrying the ball straight into the hands of Hardy Nickerson Jr.

 

 

Taysom Hill (11.02 fantasy points) actually outscored Brees in fantasy production after taking a direct snap in for a late score to put the game beyond doubt. Hill also converted a key 4th down and remains an integral part of this redzone offense.

 

 

Running Backs

 

Alvin Kamara: 22 carries, 165 yards, 6 TDs | 5 targets, 3 receptions, 17 yards

Latavius Murray: 12 carries, 72 yards | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 24 yards

Michael Burton: 2 carries, 10 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 4 yards

 

Well, what a day for Alvin Kamara (56.20 fantasy points), who tied the NFL record for most rushing TDs in a game with his 6 scores and registered the 3rd highest non-PPR fantasy finish of all time. The Saints superstar has won many fantasy championships already on the back of this dominant performance against a young, inexperienced Vikings defense that was missing 5 key starters. It was the perfect concoction for Kamara to solidify his position as one of the top fantasy assets in football.

Here is a montage of one of the best rushing performances you will ever see.

 

 

There was still room for former Viking Latavius Murrayย (12.60 fantasy points) to put up a useful FLEX performance against his former team.

 

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Emmanuel Sanders: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 83 yards | 1 carry, 12 yards

Jared Cook: 4 targets, 3 reception, 82 yards

Adam Trautman: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 45 yards

Marquez Callaway: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 24 yards

Juwan Johnson: 1 target, 1 reception, 19 yards

Ty Montgomery: 1 target

Austin Carr: 1 target

 

On a day when the Saints recorded 10 drives that resulted in 7 scoring drives and 2 interceptions with zero punts, it was remarkable that they failed to notch a receiving touchdown. The young Vikings corners actually did a decent job for most of this contest as the damage was done on the ground. Veteran Emmanuel Sanders (13.50 fantasy points) was the Saints best performer through the air and was a popular FLEX start for many in their championship game. Most of his yards came on 2 plays, including this nice move to outsmart Cameron Dantzler.

 

 

Jared Cook (11.20 fantasy points) failed to find the endzone in a favorable matchup which was a disappointment to many who had him as a TE1 candidate this week. Brees did find him on 2 drives which set up 2 scores for Kamara.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Icon Sportswire / Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

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