Vikings @ Broncos
Final Score: Broncos 21, Vikings 20
Writer: Adam Nardelli (@adamnardelli on Twitter)
A toss play to the quarterback? That sure isn’t something you see every day, and after Vikings QB Josh Dobbs fumbled early in the game on a designed toss play it’s easy to understand why. The Broncos couldn’t fully take advantage of the Vikings’ blunder, however, only finishing the drive with a field goal after starting on the Minnesota 30-yard line. Missed opportunities were a theme for Denver in the first two quarters after they were unable to punch the ball into the endzone and were forced to settle for three field goals. Vikings QB Josh Dobbs did his best Patrick Mahomes impression early in the second quarter after he somehow found TE Josh Oliver on a scramble for the first half’s lone touchdown. Dobbs found the endzone himself on a 10-yard run in the third quarter, but turnovers proved to be costly in the second half for Minnesota after an interception by Dobbs and a fumble by RB Alexander Mattison. Denver continued with the field goals theme throughout the second half, up until they desperately needed a touchdown. Russell Wilson found WR Courtland Sutton on a 15-yard jump ball to give the Broncos the lead at 21-20 with a little over a minute left. Denver’s defense held off the Vikings again on the final drive of the game and the Broncos were able to come away with their fourth consecutive win, firmly cementing themselves in the AFC playoff picture.
- Samaje Perine – Significant involvement in passing game, especially on the Broncos final drive
- Courtland Sutton – Made the biggest play of the night along with some really impressive catches
- Ty Chandler– Made two critical plays on a fake punt and a 3rd and 20; also touched the ball 14 times
- Javonte Williams– Inefficient in the run game and minimal involvement in the passing game
- Jordan Addison – Six targets, but clearly did not make the impact we all know he can make
- Marvin Mims – the days of his big plays seem to be getting further and further away
Josh Dobbs: 20/32, 221 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 2 sacks | 8 carries, 21 yards, 1 TD, 3 fumbles (1 lost)
Dobbs had an eventful start to his night in the Mile High City, to say the least. On the third play from scrimmage, TE TJ Hockenson took a direct snap and tossed it to Dobbs, who fumbled the ball after it was knocked out by Broncos LB Baron Browning. The Vikings defense somewhat bailed out Dobbs by holding the Broncos to three points. I think it’s safe to say toss plays to the quarterback might be a one-and-done for Kevin O’Connell and the Vikings. The seven-year pro nicely redeemed himself from the early turnover by orchestrating a 10-play 65-yard drive culminating in a three-yard touchdown pass to TE Josh Oliver at the beginning of the second quarter. Dobbs did a tremendous job of scrambling and extending the play, allowing him to eventually find Oliver wide open in the endzone for what was one of the more exciting plays of week 11. It’s worth checking out if you haven’t seen it. He clearly thrives when he’s under pressure having completed 4/6 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown when under duress in the first half.
The Georgia native helped extend the Vikings lead to 17-9 in the third quarter by coordinating a nine-play 69-yard touchdown drive. His knack for making a play at the right time was on display again when he took matters into his own hands and ran the ball in for a 10-yard touchdown in the third quarter. The turnover bug found Dobbs again, however, in the fourth quarter when Broncos LB Josey Jewell hit Dobbs’ arm as he threw leading to an interception by Ja’Quan McMillan. It was a night of ups and downs for Dobbs, but from a fantasy perspective, he showed you can do a lot worse when it comes to the world of streaming quarterbacks.
Alexander Mattison: 18 carries, 81 yards, 1 fumble lost | 2 targets, 1 reception, -1 yards
Mattison was busy from the start for the Vikings offense, having eight carries for 45 yards by the middle of the second quarter. The five-year pro, who was questionable coming into the game with a concussion, bulldozed through the Broncos defense on a 15-yard run late in the first quarter. Cris Collinsworth noted on the broadcast it wasn’t even good run blocking that helped spur Mattison, but his sheer ability to break tackles and bounce off defenders. Mattison’s impressive night took a hit when he coughed up the ball on a third-quarter drive in Denver territory. It was the latest example of the Vikings’ struggles with turnovers throughout 2023. 81 yards and 4.5 yards per carry is nothing to sneeze at, but it was another game without a touchdown and Ty Chandler’s touches saw a significant increase.
Ty Chandler: 10 carries, 73 yards | 4 targets, 4 receptions, 37 yards
Chandler got his share of carries on offense, but his most impactful carry came on a fake punt in the fourth quarter leading to a 31-yard gain. He came up huge again when he caught a short pass from Dobbs on a 3rd and 20 in the middle of the fourth quarter and took the ball right near the line to gain. Good things seemed to happen when Chandler touched the ball, especially at critical times. While his yards per carry is a little skewed from the 31-yard run on the fake punt, it’s evident that good things can happen when Chandler touches the ball. It would be hard to imagine his role not at least staying the same or increasing after his productive night.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Jordan Addison: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 44 yards
Joshua Dobbs could’ve used a little bit more of an impact from the 2023 first-rounder. Anyone who watched Addison a month ago against the 49ers knows the kind of ceiling Addison has, but tonight the Broncos did a great job of limiting his chunk plays. Dobbs did look his way a decent amount with six targets, but the connection between the two is still in its infant stages, which was evident tonight.
TJ Hockenson: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 55 yards
Similar to Addison, Hockenson’s chunk plays were largely limited. He did catch an 11-yard pass to get the Vikings in the red zone on a late fourth-quarter drive, leading to a field goal and a 20-15 lead, but 55 yards on seven targets is somewhat underwhelming for one of the best tight ends in the league. Broncos Safety Justin Simmons did a great job on at least two occasions of knocking the ball out of Hockenson’s hands and forcing incompletions. You do have to give the Iowa native some slack considering the highly productive numbers he’s put up lately, so there’s nothing to get too down about with Hockenson. After all, as much as fantasy managers don’t like that players are humans, that unfortunately is the case.
Brandon Powell: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 32 yards
Powell took a short pass from Dobbs early in the second quarter and exploded for 22 yards. It looked like he got shot out of a cannon, exhibiting impressive short-area quickness, and clearly appears to be a guy who needs to get the ball in space a heck of a lot more.
Josh Oliver: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 47 yards
Oliver was the recipient of one of the most fun plays of week 11. Josh Dobbs found Oliver for a three-yard touchdown after an impressive scramble and a broken tackle. Oliver also connected with Dobbs on a 29-yard reception in the third quarter, making for a nice PPR stat line for the nine people worldwide who started him in fantasy. While I don’t want to take anything away from the former Raven, he hasn’t had more than 32 receiving yards in any other game (which was all the way back in week 1).
KJ Osborn: 2 targets, 1 reception, 7 yards
Osborn missed last week after he left their week 9 matchup against Atlanta with a concussion, and looked to still be getting back in the swing of things tonight. His rapport with Dobbs understandably needs more time to develop, which was evident as he only received two targets.
Russell Wilson: 27/35, 259 yards, TD | 2 carries, 1 yard
Wilson had an efficient start to the night, completing nine of his first eleven passes. A 33-yard perfect throw to Courtland Sutton (maybe even a better catch) and another 19-yard connection to Jerry Jeudy on a second-quarter drive highlighted the first half of Wilson’s night, but it only led to a field goal after the drive stalled. Wilson and the rest of the offense continued to struggle to get in the endzone in the second half after two of their drives ended in field goals once again. The almost 35-year-old guided a 10-play 75-yard drive with a little over three minutes left in regulation that finally resulted in a touchdown. He relied heavily on Samaje Perine on the final drive, completing four passes for 40 yards to the former Bengal. Wilson showed the trust he has in WR Courtland Sutton when he lobbed a short pass to Sutton on a 4th and 3 play, which Sutton was able to snag with one hand and helped extend the drive. Later on in the drive, Wilson threw up a jump ball to Sutton from 15 yards out, which of course the Texas native came down with giving the Broncos their first lead in what felt like forever. The Broncos’ defense kept giving the offense a chance, and eventually, Wilson and the rest of the offense took advantage of that opportunity.
Javonte Williams: 11 carries, 37 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 16 yards
13 touches for Williams isn’t the worst thing in the world, but 53 scrimmage yards on those touches is a letdown. The positive takeaway is that it looks like he has clearly surpassed the other backs as the main ball carrier, with no other running back having more than one carry. The efficiency wasn’t there, which has largely been the case for Williams throughout the season, but the volume was, which is arguably more important. Minnesota showed why they’re seventh in the league in rushing yards per game allowed and did a good job of largely bottling up Williams. It was a disappointing outing, but running backs who have the type of command he has on carries can be hard to find. It’s safe to say he should have better days.
Samaje Perine: 1 carry, 7 yards | 7 targets, 7 receptions, 60 yards
Perine’s lack of involvement in the rushing attack limits his upside, but he was significantly involved in the passing game on the Broncos’ final drive. The former Bengal caught four passes for 40 yards, including a 17-yard reception that got Denver deeper into Minnesota territory. The presence of Jaleel McLaughlin does put a bit of a cap on his ceiling, however, with how much Sean Payton likes using him in the passing game as well.
Jaleel McLaughlin: 1 carry, 1 yard, 5 targets, 5 receptions, 14 yards
The volume in the passing game was there for the undrafted rookie with his five targets, but 14 yards with those targets is disconcerting. He displayed some explosiveness earlier in the season but was contained tonight. His lack of involvement in the running game, similar to Perine, limits his fantasy upside. Tonight was the perfect example of that.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Courtland Sutton: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 66 yards, TD
The SMU product had the early highlight of the night for the Broncos when he came up with a 33-yard reception as he dove for the ball. As I mentioned earlier, it was a great pass, but unquestionably an even better catch by Sutton. He seemed to disappear until late in the fourth quarter when he snagged a pass from Russell Wilson with one hand on a fourth and three. He was also interfered with and it would’ve been a first down regardless. Later on in the same drive, Sutton made the biggest play of the night for the Broncos when he caught a jump ball from Russell Wilson for a 15-yard touchdown, giving the Broncos their first lead since 3-0. Sutton didn’t touch the ball a ton, but when he did he sure made it count.
Jerry Jeudy: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 58 yards
Jeudy took a swing pass from Wilson 19 yards late in the third quarter that helped get the Broncos into Minnesota territory. We haven’t seen it a ton this year, but it was a good reminder of the talent that the 2020 first-round pick possesses. Early in the fourth quarter Wilson threw a wide receiver screen to Jeudy who was able to gain nine yards, but gave all of us watching a chuckle after he faked like he was going to throw the ball downfield. Seven targets are progress compared to last week’s debacle of just three, and if Jeudy was able to secure an endzone target early in the fourth quarter, his night would’ve looked a lot different. It was a middle-of-the-road type of night for Jeudy, but if the Broncos truly are going to be a serious playoff contender Jeudy will need to be an even greater part of the offense.
Adam Trautman: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 33 yards
Sean Payton’s old friend from New Orleans came up with two big receptions of 19 and 14 yards on the Broncos’ final possession of the first half, but unfortunately, that wrapped up his night in the stat sheet. With no Greg Dulcich, the tight end position continues to play a minimal role for the Broncos offense.
Marvin Mims: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 12 yards
Mims picked up a nice gain on a wide receiver screen, showing off the explosiveness we all know is in there, but a holding call negated the yardage. For now, we’ll just have to patiently wait for the next big play from Mims, but if I was a Broncos fan or a Mims fantasy manager, the patience is waning. Three targets for a guy with the type of burst he has just seems wrong.