What We Saw: Week 8

The QB List staff catches you up on everything you missed during Week 8 of the 2020 NFL season.

Vikings @ Packers

 

The Minnesota Vikings shocked the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers on the back of a monster rushing performance from superstar running back Dalvin Cook, running out 28-22 winners at Lambeau Field. The Vikings were able to establish the run early with two long drives, both resulting in Cook hitting paydirt. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was turnover-free, and after narrowly losing out by a point to both the Seahawks and Titans this year, the Minnesota defense finally made a game-ending stop in the 4th quarter to give them a little light at the end of the tunnel. It was a disappointing day for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, despite a 3 touchdown day for star wideout Davante Adams. Hampered by some laborious playcalling from Matt LaFleur, the Packers turned the ball over on downs twice in the second half on their way to losing their second game in the last 3 weeks.

 

Minnesota Vikings

 

Quarterback

 

Kirk Cousins: 11/14, 160 yards, 1 TD, 1 sack

 

It doesn’t look like the best stat line in the world, but the most important statistic doesn’t appear at all – zero turnovers for Kirk Cousins (10.40 fantasy points), who threw the ball just 14 times in 7 possessions for the Vikings. In fantasy terms, this is a disaster as Cousins is only worthy of consideration as a streaming option if the Vikings either get into a shootout or if they make mistakes and go down big early on. In football reality, however, this is exactly how the Vikings want games to go. Allow Cousins to feed star running back Dalvin Cook, relying on him to move the sticks every so often by finding his two primary receivers, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson.

Ironically, his longest passing completion today was a screen that Cook turned into a 50-yard touchdown run, juking past Packers defenders like they were statues.

 

 

Running Backs

 

Dalvin Cook: 30 carries, 163 yards, 3 TDs | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 63 yards, 1 TD

Alexander Mattison: 3 carries, 8 yards

CJ Ham: 1 carry, 2 yards

 

What a day for the returning Dalvin Cook (48.60 fantasy points), who scored 4 touchdowns on the Vikings’ first 4 possessions to amass fantasy points galore on a career day at Lambeau Field. In the absence of Christian McCaffrey, Cook has established himself as the premier running back in the NFL this season, trailing Alvin Kamara by just a handful of fantasy points despite playing one less game. Cook became the first-ever Vikings player with 200+ scrimmage yards and 4+ TD in a single game.

The Chef was cooking right from kickoff, taking advantage of the holes in the Packers rush defense that ranks a lowly 22nd in DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) according to Football Outsiders. His first touchdown run displayed his wonderful ability to cut into his lanes before exploding through and taking runs to the next level.

 

 

The Vikings face “soft” defenses in 5 of their next 6 contests and will look to lean heavily on Cook as they attempt to run the table in the NFC North. He has a great opportunity to finish as the RB1 in fantasy this season. Alexander Mattison (0.80 fantasy points) is the best handcuff in the league but will likely take a backseat for the rest of the season.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Adam Thielen: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 27 yards

Justin Jefferson: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 26 yards

Chad Beebe: 1 target, 1 reception, 16 yards

Irv Smith Jr: 1 target, 1 reception, 16 yards

Kyle Rudolph: 1 target, 1 reception, 12 yards

 

With Cook leading the Vikings in both rushing and receiving yards, there were only scraps on the table to fight over for Adam Thielen (5.70 fantasy points) and Justin Jefferson (5.60 fantasy points). Many fantasy owners would have expected so much more from these two today but the game script never called for the Vikings to turn to the passing game. Thielen has been the subject of plenty of trade rumors recently, and maybe a certain quarterback was trying to seduce him today.

 

 

If offensive players received points for blocking, the Vikings’ standout tight end Irv Smith Jr. (2.60 fantasy points) would rack them up for fun every week. It is a shame that he is not more involved as a receiver as he has elite hands. But Cook probably owes him at least a couple of his touchdowns today for his work as a blocker.

 

 

Green Bay Packers

 

Quarterback

 

Aaron Rodgers: 27/41, 291 yards, 3 TDs, 1 fumble lost | 2 carries, 9 yards

 

This was far from a vintage showing from Aaron Rodgers (22.54 fantasy points) despite connecting with his favorite target Davante Adams 3 times in the endzone. The Packers had just 2 possessions in the first half – a 13-play, 75-yard first drive followed by a 15-play, 76-yard drive, both of which resulted in touchdowns for Adams. Those drives combined for 16 rushes and just 9 pass plays. This game script impacted upon Rodgers’ ability to score fantasy points at will, and the Packers suffered in the long run due to the sluggish nature of these drives.

 

 

However, Rodgers has 3+ passing touchdowns in 5 of 7 games this season after having just 3 all season in 2019. He has re-established himself as a top 10 fantasy quarterback and is a solid bet to please owners every week going forward.

 

Running Backs

 

Jamaal Williams: 16 carries, 75 yards | 6 targets, 6 receptions, 27 yards

A.J. Dillon: 5 carries, 21 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 16 yards

Tyler Ervin: 3 targets, 1 reception, 7 yards

 

It is no surprise that this offense is desperately missing the short-yardage prowess of Aaron Jones. A key turnover on downs today in the 3rd quarter turned the tide of the game in favor of the Vikings. If Jones was on the field there is no doubt they gave him the rock and make that yardage. Instead, it was left to Jamaal Williams (18.20 fantasy points) to carry the load, which he has done admirably these last two games, eclipsing 70+ rush yards in consecutive games for the first time in his career. Unfortunately for fantasy players, the only dance the former BYU back did in the endzone today was in pre-game.

 

 

Rookie A.J. Dillon (4.70 fantasy points) again saw minimal involvement in this offense and should only be considered as a waiver wire add if both Jones and Wiliams go down to injury.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Robert Tonyan: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 59 yards

Davante Adams: 12 targets, 7 receptions, 53 yards, 3 TDs

Jace Sternberger: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 46 yards

Malik Taylor: 1 target, 1 reception, 26 yards

Marquez Valdes-Scantling: 1 target, 1 reception, 19 yards | 1 carry, 4 yards

Equanimeous St. Brown: 3 targets, 1 reception, 12 yards

Darrius Shepherd: 1 target, 1 reception, 6 yards

 

Davante Adams (30.30 fantasy points) is a fantasy beast – coming off a huge 44.60 fantasy points the week prior, Adams nabbed 3 endzone catches all from within the 10-yard line. After tormenting Vikings’ first-round rookie Jeff Gladney at the goal line twice in the first half, he embarrassed rookie Josh Metellus for his third score of the day.

 

 

There is no better receiver in the NFL outside the numbers and Adams continues to show elite route-running skills, excelling in contested-catch situations. He trailed tight end Robert Tonyan (12.90 fantasy points) in receiving yards today, however, with the breakout tight end having another good day at the office as he builds upon his 23-309-5 season. It is all about trust sometimes with Rodgers and he seems to have found a worthy candidate for regular targets in Tonyan. He is certainly someone who can help your fantasy roster as he is just 65% rostered in Yahoo! leagues. He is certainly preferred over fellow tight end Jace Sternberger (7.60 fantasy points).

There isn’t much else to write about in this Packers receiving room, something that has been repeatedly emphasized throughout Rodgers’ career. Any other option in this offense is a straight-up boom or bust dart throw.

 

— Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1)

One response to “What We Saw: Week 8”

  1. Really good website, thank you very much for showing us

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