What We Saw: Week 4
Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire
Each week throughout the NFL season, our staff at QB List will be watching and reviewing all the games from every week and offering up our takes on the fantasy-relevant things that happened. Here’s what we saw in Week 4.
Vikings vs. Rams
The Minnesota Vikings and LA Rams put on A SHOW for all of us that were fortunate enough to watch on Thursday night. Let’s be honest, Thursday night games are not always the best. Coming off short weeks teams can be a little banged up or lackadaisical and yet this one was far from a snoozer. Thex Rams eventually won 38-31 and the eventual game ender was the first turnover of the game when Kirk Cousins was strip-sacked as the Vikings were driving down to try and tie the game up late in the fourth quarter. Regardless, this one was fun with five players going over 100 yards receiving and plenty of fantasy points and big stat lines to go around.
Wide Receiver U
Holy cow. I wish that I had taken Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs in every single fantasy league that I am a part of. This offense is insanely good when it comes to the air attack and they didn’t waste any time taking advantage of the beat up LA Rams secondary. Thielen, my main squeeze this year, logged 8/135/1 as he raised his season total to 40/473/2. Diggs added 11/123/0 to raise his season line to 27/311/3. These two are on pace for WR1 years, Thielen himself on pace for a historical year, and you should continue to roll them out as matchup-proof WR1’s every single week.
Adam Thielen: 160 catches, 1,892 yards, 8 touchdowns
Stefon Diggs: 108 catches, 1,244 yards, 12 touchdowns
Kirk Cousins on pace for career year
Cousins had a great night offensively, tossing 36/50 passes for 422 yards and 3 TDs. He also threw no interceptions which was a good sight to see after an interception the two weeks prior. I said in my Game Preview article this week, I would love to see Kirk Cousins hold on to the ball after putting the ball on the deck multiple times against the Bills. Well, unfortunately this was his and the Vikings kryptonite again as a strip sack ruined any chance the Vikings had to win the game at the end. Still, fantasy owners were happy with what they got from Cousins, especially against a daunting Rams pass rush led by Aaron Donald.
Kirk Cousins: 5,548 yards, 40 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
Where is the defense?
For the third week in a row the Vikings once daunting defense has now given up 20+ points, something that happened only four times all of last season. This week, they gave up 38 points which is more than they gave up in any regular season game dating back to the 2016 season. This defense has a lot of work to do to get their identity back, and it starts with veterans Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith and their leadership. Sure, it is the Rams and they look like a team that has a legitimate shot at going undefeated on the year, but still, if you ask anyone on that Vikings defense they would tell you that there are no excuses. Things don’t get any easier in Week 5 when the Vikings travel to Philadelphia and take on the Eagles who will be angry coming off a walkoff Corey Davis touchdown in overtime and with a healthy and seemingly dominant Alshon Jeffery back in the mix.
It’s only week four and it’s already getting hard to describe the LA Rams in any more unique terms. They’re the most consistent offense in the league. Their defense does enough to keep their team in ball games, especially as they’ve played some really good teams early. Coming into this game, there were some questions about whether they could thwart a great defense like the Vikings’. The answer: 465 yards and five touchdown passes from QB Jared Goff. 465 yards! Just as Troy Aikman said during the broadcast, it seems like Goff is a robot, but in a good way. He and HC Sean McVay have worked and prepared for each matchup so well together, that it looks like Goff is executing perfectly on every attempt. He drops back and his delivery is so confident, it’s amazing any footballs hit the grass.
In what was one of the best Thursday Night Football games, there was no shortage of exciting plays and points being scored. RB Todd Gurley II had another sub-100 rushing yards performance, but he also had 73 receiving yards. It was a very good night in fantasy for Gurley and, although you’d expect to see more usage on the ground, he’s used so effectively in the passing game, there’s really no reason to change up things. What McVay says is gospel.
It’s the planning he’s done that has allowed guys like WRs Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods to really shine through – I exclude WR Brandin Cooks due to his experience. Each of this trio enjoyed 100+ yard games and each found the end zone. This is QB Tom Brady-like distribution, except these receivers are already household names. Like I cited in the preview, even if you have one great corner – in this case CB Xavier Rhodes – to defend Cooks, you still have to account for Kupp. If you cover Cooks and Kupp, Woods is capable of taking the top off a defense. If you cover all three well, Gurley II will leak out. It sounds simplistic, but their talents coupled with the intricate strategic attacks McVay draws up is simply too much for teams and will continue to be so. The Vikings put up a respectable fight, but as the game wore on, the idea of the Rams losing, dissipated. The Rams’ defense broke through several times late and QB Kirk Cousins was bottled up – the Rams were not to be outgunned.
Next up, the Rams travel to Seattle where they will face Russell Wilson and a team that went 0-10 and still won a game in Arizona. But, that was against a rookie in QB Josh Rosen. Now without S Earl Thomas, it’ll be tough sleddin’ trying to stop this Rams offense. And by ‘tough sleddin’, I mean impossible.